Krakow, Poland, Mar 21, 2019 / 16:00 pm
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, a personal friend and close collaborator of St. John Paul II, this week defended the Polish pope’s record on the abuse crisis, which has lately come under criticism from some areas.
“The emerging opinions that John Paul II was sluggish in guiding the Church’s response to the sexual abuse of minors by some clerics are prejudicial and contradict the historical facts,” the archbishop emeritus of Krakow wrote in a statement March 20.
St. John Paul II “was shocked,” Cardinal Dziwisz said. “He had no intention of tolerating the crime of pedophilia in the Church and fought against it.”
Cardinal Dziwisz was ordained a priest in 1963 by St. John Paul II, who was then an auxiliary bishop of Krakow. When Wojtyla was made Archbishop of Krakow the following year, then-Fr. Dziwisz became his secretary – a role he served in until the pope’s death in 2005.
Dziwisz was appointed Archbishop of Krakow shortly after his mentor’s death, remaining in that position until his retirement in 2016.
In his statement on John Paul’s abuse record, Dziwisz gave several examples of the actions the pope took against abuse, beginning with the United States at the start of the crisis in the 1980s.
John Paul, he said, “first observed the activities of the episcopate of the United States, and when he came to the conclusion that new tools were needed to fight against these crimes, he gave the church superiors new powers.”
The pope’s 1994 indult for U.S. bishops and, two years later, for Irish bishops, approved a “zero-tolerance” policy concerning abuse by clergy, Dziwisz stated.