Primate of Poland heads holy mass for victims of sexual abuse by priests

Archbishop Wojciech Polak, the Primate of Poland. Photo: PAP/Jakub Kaczmarczyk

“First and foremost, the care for the victims, then the salvation for the sinner. Forgive the Church, dear Lord, the accidents that saw this rule rejected,” Archbishop Wojciech Polak, the Primate of Poland said during the holy mass for the victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, held in Gniezno, western Poland on Friday.

“Today we stand arm in arm with people who experienced the tragedy of abuse,” Archbishop Polak said, recalling Pope Francis’ call to take “responsibility for the pain of our brothers who were hurt in their bodies and souls.”

“If negligence used to be the way to react [to the cases of sexual abuse by priests], then today we want solidarity, understood in its deepest and most demanding meaning, to become our way of creating the current and future history,” he said repeating Pope Francis’ words.

The Primate expressed his hope that the prayer, care and authentic solidarity with the victims will result in the purification of the Church.

“Today we let our gaze loiter over those of our sisters and brothers who suffered from the bearing and behaviour of some priests. In the shadow of the Cross we have seen that our communion shared with the victims will not only help us understand but also be close to those tragedies that we all find difficult and embarrassing. We have seen that this would contribute to a genuine purification and healing of the entire Church community,” he said.

It is the third time that the Catholic Church in Poland prayed for the people sexually abused by priests.