THE NEWEST METHOD OF A FIGHT WITH THE CHURCH UNDER THE MOTTO OF A FIGHT AGAINST PEDOPHILIA
FR. JERZY KRUKOWSKI
In the recent years in the USA and countries of the Western Europe (especially in Ireland), there appeared a phenomenon of aggression towards the Catholic Church in a form of a wave of accusations, as if priests were the culprits of crimes of sexual character in a form of harassment of the underage, and the authorities of the Catholic Church tolerated this kind of criminals. On the basis of the observed process of the method usage, it is easy to notice that these accusations were often deprived of objective actual and legal basis, but were based on slanders in order to defame priests and destroy the Church with verdicts dooming dioceses to financial damages for alleged moral harms committed by priests. For example, the fact is that archbishop D. - a metropolitan of Detroit was publicly accused of pedophilia and he submitted resignation from the office under the pressure of mass media; and when he fell ill seriously due to such experiences and was on deathbed, a prosecutor came to him and apologized for a false accusation.
It turns out that this ruthless fight with pedophilia of priests, is, in fact, the newest method of a fight with the Church, pursued in a planned and sophisticated way, with the usage of mass media, directed by international groups of pressure. Specially selected journalists appear here in a role of prosecutors and judges, through making a strong pressure on the public opinion and people holding functions of justice organs in order to enforce verdicts. This method turned out to be an effective means of a fight with the Church in Anglo-Saxon countries, where there is a ‘common law’ system in which courts constitute law in a form of precedence.
This year there have been more attempts to apply this method also in Poland in order to weaken the authority of the Church in the country, in which the definite majority of the society admits its belonging to it. There is a question whether there are objective attitudes to apply this method in Poland? In order to explain this issue one has to answer whether in Poland there is a system of continental law which is different from the Anglo-Saxon law existing in the USA, in which courts create law norms generally abiding. In our system one has to consider the Constitution of the Polish Republic from 1997 and the Concordat contracted in the years 1993-98 – which include the basic principles of relations between the state and the Church and norms of criminal law, especially that it is forbidden to breach the generally obliging principle of presumption of a culprit’s innocence, until he is not sentenced with a final judicial verdict.
Supporters of the fight with the Church, under the circumstances of a fight with pedophilia criminals in the Church ignore the basic principles of the democratic system of the law country, which is the contemporary Polish country and abiding norms of criminal law – both the material one and process one. On the basis of the art. 25 of the Constitution of the Polish Republic, Poland is a secular country, but not in a version of hostile separation, but coordinated separation, based on the principle of respecting ‘the autonomy and independence of the Church and the state, each of them in their own range’. Therefore the Catholic Church in Poland is not a state institution, and bishops in Poland are not state clerks who have a duty to make ‘reports’ against their believers, and especially priests. Such methods of subordinating bishops to the secular authority were used in religious countries and in the countries of totalitarian communism, especially in Soviet Russia. There were attempts to impose them also in Poland during the period of the Polish People’s Republic. However the Polish Episcopate, under the supervision of cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, the Millennium Primate, definitely opposed to this pressure. At present, this kind of subordinating bishops to the secular authority is being imposed on by publicists serving to neo-liberal and neo-Marxist ideology. They must be strongly told that in contemporary Poland they do not have any legal grounds, whereas bishops have a right and a duty to oppose it definitely.
It also must be stated clearly that all organs of the state authority in Poland are obliged to comply with the constitutional principle of respect autonomy and independence of the Church in its range; and in terms with it, the Catholic Church has got its own system of law, in which there is a department of criminal material and process law. This department comprises norms concerning crimes committed on the sexual basis whose subject is breach of prohibitions comprised by the sixth commandment of the Decalogue among which there are punishments for the pedophilia crime whose culprits can be priests. What is more, these norms after the promulgation of the Code of Canonic Law in 1983 – to the order of blessed John Paul II, and then Benedict XVI – were novelized and are strictly adhered.
Therefore, I think that all citizens of our country, belonging to the Church – regardless of what their position in the authority hierarchy is, both among priests and lay believers – have a normal and legal duty of taking a critical attitude towards the attempts of applying a method of destroying the Church in Poland, under the circumstances of a fight against pedophilia.