‘Baby Shoes Remember’ : commemorating victims of pedophilia

The protesters hang baby shoes with tied black ribbons on church-affiliated building in Poznań. Photo: Facebook/Baby Shoes Remember Poland

The “Baby Shoes Remember” campaign, during which participants hang baby shoes on fences of church institutions to pay tribute to the victims of pedophilia, took place in a number of Polish cities on Sunday.

The event was described on Facebook as “the Polish part of the international “Baby Shoes Remember” event, which aims to commemorate all the victims of priests-pedophiles, in particular those, who never got justice”.

The protesters plan to hang baby shoes with tied black ribbons on church-affiliated buildings. The organizers encourage participants to take pictures and post them on social media platforms.

“Bring baby shoes tied with a black ribbon and leave them as a sign of remembrance and sympathy with the victims of pedophile priests, as a wake-up call for our conscience, as a symbol of anger at the disgraceful conduct of the Church”, reads the statement on Facebook.

One of the organizers of the campaign, Nina Sankari, pointed out that shoes would have to be removed from the fences by the themselves. “It will be a symbolic concealment of violence against children in the Church. The detractors should feel that they are alone. The motto of the action is: "When those who demand justice unite, those who want to deny it become an isolated minority" she told Polish radio station TOK FM.

The international “Baby Shoes Remember” campaign originated in Ireland, where Pope Francis is currently on pilgrimage. On Saturday, he met with the victims of pedophile priests and prayed for them at the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Dublin.

“I cannot fail to acknowledge the grave scandal caused in Ireland by the abuse of young people by members of the Church tasked with responsibility for their protection and education,” said Pope Francis at a state reception attended by some of the abuse survivors, referring to a series of scandals in the Irish Catholic Church which served as an impulse for the “Baby shoes remember” initiative.

“The failure of ecclesiastical authorities - bishops, religious superiors, priests and others - adequately to address these repugnant crimes has rightly given rise to outrage and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community,” he added.

The Polish edition of the campaign is coordinated by the “Have No Fear” foundation, which is dedicated to helping the victims of pedophilia as well as by the “Women's Strike” initiative.