Polish Catholic Church to help victims of paedophile priests

Poland`s Catholic Church on Wednesday said it would set up a handful of sites across the country where victims of sexual abuse by priests can go for psychological and legal help.

AFP| Last Updated: Feb 19, 2015, 00:41 AM IST

Warsaw: Poland`s Catholic Church on Wednesday said it would set up a handful of sites across the country where victims of sexual abuse by priests can go for psychological and legal help.

"Work is under way to launch points of contact in Poland for victims of sexual abuse committed by clergymen," Archbishop Wojciech Polak, primate of Poland, said on his website.

He said the Church would open four or five sites across the Catholic country that would provide victims with advice.

Several high-profile cases have recently rocked the Polish Church, including that of Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, who is alleged to have had sex with boys while serving as a papal envoy in the Dominican Republic. 

Poland`s Catholic Church apologised in June 2014 for the paedophilia in its midst at a landmark ceremony attended by top clergy and abuse victims.

But it has so far ruled out compensating victims, even as it faces its first civil lawsuit for damages.

The demand for 200,000 zloty (48,000 euros, $54,000) was made by a 26-year-old man -- identified only as Marcin K -- who was molested as a child.

Poland`s powerful Catholic Church played a leading role in the battle against communism until 1989 and continues to exert huge influence on the country`s social and political life. 

Some 90 percent of the country`s 38 million people identify themselves as Roman Catholic, even if ever fewer are heading for the pews on Sunday.