“Explosive” allegations based on Polish archive documents “cast doubt” on late pontiff’s sainthood

A Dutch journalist based in Poland claims to have found archival documents that indict Pope John Paul II of shielding priests allegedly involved in the sexual abuse of children during his tenure as archbishop.

The late Pope, born Karol Józef Wojtyla, was head of the Archdiocese of Kraków between 1964 and 1978. During that time, he knew several priests in his diocese who were accused of molesting minors, and helped cover up their alleged crimes, according to Ecke Overbeek.

A forthcoming book written by Overbeek details the evidence and findings of his three-year investigation. Last week, the author gave a brief account of his discoveries to the Dutch television program Nieuwsvoor.

According to the journalist, many documents directly detailing Archbishop and later Cardinal Wojtyla’s service in Kraków were destroyed, but he managed to find enough papers to file a case against him.

One of the accused sex offenders, he said, was a priest named Eugenius Sargent. Sergeant apologized to Wojtyla under oath, according to a roommate “It will never happen again.” He broke that promise, Overbeek said.


In November, the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita published an investigation into Sargent, who had been sentenced to three years in prison for abusing six boys in the 1970s. The priest, who died in 2008, reportedly went on to molest more victims in the 1980s, and his sex abuse conviction never stopped him from keeping his priesthood.

Tom Doyle, an ordained Catholic priest who has dedicated his life to exposing abuse of minors by members of the clergy, called the evidence collected by Overbeek “Explosive”.

“It’s completely and it’s true. It reverses the old image of the Pope.” he told Dutch media. “He wasn’t part of the solution, he was part of the problem. He didn’t do anything.

Pope John Paul II died in 2005. Pope Francis canonized his predecessor in 2014 in a move that some, including Overbeek, argue was too hasty.

The journalist noted that the late pope’s supporters claimed they did not know about child abuse under his care until the mid-1980s, and even then believed the problem was specific to American priests. . new searches “Doubt his sainthood.”

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