“Not everyone is aware of the extent of the wounds that can reveal themselves even after many years” – wrote Roman Pindel, bishop of Bielsko-Żywiec, in a letter to the faithful of the parish in Międzybrodzie Bialskie. He issued it in connection with the case of sexual abuse described by the Onet portal, which was committed years ago by Father Jan Wodniak, the local parish priest. Janusz Szymik, the priest’s victim, said in an interview with TVN24 that he did not find the word ‘sorry’ in the hierarch’s letter. Earlier, he also pointed to the negligence of the priest’s previous superiors in this matter.
Portal Onet in its report presented the story of the now 48-year-old Janusz Szymik, who in the 1980s was sexually abused for five years by the then parish priest in Międzybrodzie Bialskie near Bielsko-Biała, Fr. Jan Wodniak. According to the findings of the portal, there may be many more victims of the former parish priest.
“Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy completely ignored these complaints”
In 2014, Fr. Jan Wodniak was dismissed from the office of the parish priest and sentenced by a legally valid ecclesiastical sentence to prohibit the public performance of the priesthood and an order to live in an isolated place. The decision to remove the priest from the parish was made at that time by Roman Pindel, bishop of Bielsko-Żywiec, who holds this position to
However, Janusz Szymik puts forward accusations against the former superiors of priest Jan Wodniak, mainly against Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy, who headed the Bielsko-Żywiec diocese in 1992-2013. As Szymik says, he twice alerted the then bishop about the priest’s actions.
– Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy completely ignored these complaints. He even told about these complaints of the perpetrator – said Artur Nowak, lawyer, publicist and representative of Janusz Szymik in an interview with “Fakt” TVN.
Father Isakowicz-Zaleski: I handed the documents to Cardinal Dziwisz
Moreover, Mr. Janusz reported the matter to priest Isakowicz-Zaleski. “I went to him and presented my account from 1984–1989, when I was used. Later I found out that my notes were in the hands of Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz. No one from the Krakow curia contacted me” – the man recalls in an interview with Onet.
The Bielsko-Żywiec diocese is part of the Krakow metropolis. In the years 2005-2016, Cardinal Dziwisz was the metropolitan of Krakow.
“On April 21, 2012, I came to the Krakow curia and handed over to Cardinal Dziwisz the documents containing the precisely described case of Janusz Szymik and his contact details” – said Fr. Isakowicz-Zaleski. He also assured that the Krakow cardinal had also learned about previous omissions in this matter.
– The cardinal did nothing about it. He washed his hands like Pilate – said Janusz Szymik in an interview with “Fakt” TVN. Author of the Onet reportage, Szymon Piegza, about the case of priest Jan WodniakTVN24
Cardinal Dziwisz: when I was a metropolitan, I never received any news that anyone reported accusations to Bishop Rakoczi
On Saturday, Onet published another article on this matter, in which Cardinal Dziwisz refers to the case of Father Jan Wodniak and the actions of Bishop Rakoczy.
“During the time when I was the Archbishop of Krakow, I never received any news that anyone had reported to Bishop T. Rakoczy allegations about Father Jan Wodniak, which Bishop Rakoczy would not have dealt with in accordance with the applicable law,” he wrote in response Cardinal Dziwisz to Onet’s questions.
“When I found out about the accusations against Fr W., it was already after the verdict approved by the Holy See. If I had received the news earlier that the bishop was not acting in accordance with the applicable law, as the Archbishop of Krakow I would not have the authority to deal with the matter (… ) I can assure you that I would make every effort to form an opinion on the matter and act as a man of conscience so that justice would be done in accordance with divine and human law “- assures the hierarch.
Bishop Pindel: I am expressing deep pain and suffering because of great harm
On Thursday, in a statement published on the website of the Bielsko-Żywiec diocese, Bishop Roman Pindel stressed that as important as “pain, suffering, grief, anger and compassion” are “help and seeking solutions”.
“Therefore, trying to understand the victim as well as possible, I met him many times, listening with compassion to his experiences, encouraging them to identify other aggrieved parties and offering help, including a psychologist. The victim was informed about the ongoing process and its results. “- wrote the hierarch.
The Bishop of Bielsko-Żywiec emphasized that the Church has a great responsibility to ensure the safety of the faithful. “That is why I turn to everyone who has been or is a victim of any clergyman to contact the delegate for the protection of children and youth, Fr Klaudiusz Dziki” – he indicated.
Bielsko-Żywiec diocese: employees of the curia were at the disposal of the victim and gave him all the help
The diocese also published the announcement of the director of the Information and Media Center, Fr. Mateusz Kierczak. He indicated that on January 27, 2014, the victim’s application was accepted. On December 13, 2017, the decree of the College for Recourse in matters reserved for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith became final. The diocese did not provide details.
Fr. Kierczak assured that the workers of the curia were at the disposal of the victim and provided him with all necessary help.
“This cooperation has led to another victim coming forward and the commencement of the next proceedings. In this new procedure, other persons who may also be victims appeared. According to the procedures, we are now awaiting responses and indications from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding further proceedings. subsequent steps envisaged by Church law and indications of the Congregation “- he indicated.
Diocese: the bishop and the staff of the curia monitored the case of Father Jan Wodniak
The clergyman emphasized that the bishop and the staff of the curia, bearing in mind the safety of the victim and the faithful, monitored the case of the former parish priest from Międzybrodzie Bialskie. They reacted quickly and decisively to any reports about the failure to comply with the penal decree by Fr. Jan W.
Fr. Mateusz Kierczak informed that Bishop Pindel “did not receive an order to publish the sentence, but he continued his efforts to properly inform the faithful about the sentence, guided by the principles of ensuring the welfare of the aggrieved party and the public welfare, especially minors”.
He added that the possible negligence of the previous bishop of the diocese, Tadeusz Rakoczy, in this matter, is subject to examination in accordance with the standards of the apostolic letter motu proprio “Vos estis lux mundi” of Pope Francis.
Another announcement on this matter appeared on the diocese’s website on Saturday.
“The Bishop of Bielsko-Żywiecki and the Curia monitor the fulfillment of the sentence by priest Jan W. on an ongoing basis. In connection with press reports about the noncompliance with the sentence by the convict, the Bishop addresses all those who have knowledge of the violation of the sentence by priest Jan W. time to inform the Chancellor of the Curia of the Diocese of Bielsko-Żywiec about it “- they appealed.
Letter from Bishop Pindel to the faithful: not all are aware of the extent of the wound that can manifest itself even after many years
On Sunday in the parish of St. Mary Magdalene in Międzybrodzie Bialskie, the auxiliary bishop of the local diocese, Piotr Greger, read a letter from Bishop Pindel, in which he refers to the case of priest Jan Wodniak.
“In view of the various opinions concerning his life and conduct, it is indisputable that he was convicted by a final judgment of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and is serving the sentence provided for by canon law in the place of solitary confinement. I am talking about this bearing in mind the necessary protection of the victim’s welfare, social welfare, and especially minors, “wrote Bishop Pindel.
“There remains, however, the more painful issue of enormous harm, it is not really known how many people. We could find out about it by listening to the words of the aggrieved person reported by the media” – he added.
The bishop of Bielsko-Żywiec indicated in the letter that “not everyone is aware of the extent of the wounds that may reveal themselves even after many years”. “This applies to the victims themselves, but also to their relatives, relatives and friends. It is about such wounds as: scandal, crisis of faith and trust in God’s goodness” – he continued.
“I realize that I am not going to fully enter your painful experiences. No words will express compassion, regret and asking for forgiveness sufficiently. My subsequent meetings with the aggrieved convince me of this more and more” – Bishop Pindel addressed the members of the community.
A letter from the bishop of Bielsko-Żywiec, Roman Pindel, read on Sunday during the mass in Międzybrodzie BialskieTVN24
He noted in the letter that “no human punishment is able to fully heal the wounds of the aggrieved and their relatives and those who have succumbed to scandal and a feeling of helplessness”. ‘An important step in dealing with such great evil is when those who have experienced or are experiencing it report the harm they have suffered. Sometimes it will be helpful to start therapy or undergo spiritual accompaniment “- he pointed out.
At the end of the letter that if anyone needs help, he encourages him to contact the priest who is responsible in the Bielsko-Żywiec diocese for supporting the aggrieved.
Janusz Szymik on the letter from Bishop Pindel: I did not find the word “sorry” in it
Janusz Szymik referred to the words contained in his letter by Bishop Pindel in an interview with TVN24. – The reading by Auxiliary Bishop Piotr Gryger of a letter from Bishop Roman Pindel makes me happy and sad. I am glad that here are finally the inhabitants of Międzybrodzie Bialskie, parishioners, as well as the inhabitants of the Kąckie deanery, where
Father Wodniak was the dean, as well as all the people who knew Father Wodniak and did not know his true history, now they finally know the truth about this man – he spoke.
– However, it is sad that only now, that only after so many years that it was only under pressure from the media that the bishop ordinary delivered this letter – he said.
– I didn’t find the word “sorry” in that letter. I am sad about that. There were expressions of regret but there was no word “sorry”. It is strange to me that the victims were not entitled to a public apology again – added the man.
Janusz Szymik on Bishop Pindel’s letter: I did not find the word ‘sorry’ in itTVN24
“The only way to cut this ulcer is to expose yourself in public.”
Janusz Szymik also talked about how his life changed due to the disclosure of this case by the media. – I have become a public figure now, I never strove for it. I always wanted to solve this problem with Father Wodniak without the media. However, I have noticed that this is not possible. For so many years, he was always lame, something was always missing (…) there was no good will, no good will. There was no real blow to the chest, there was no admission of Church representatives to their error, he pointed out.
– Therefore, the only way to cut this ulcer is to expose yourself in public, show your image, say that “here I am the victim of Father Jan Wodniak, former secretary of Cardinal Macharski, former dean of Kęcki and former pastor of the Międzybrodzie Bialskie parish” – continued Janusz Szymik.
– It cost me a lot, it is an unimaginable experience for me, an unimaginable moment for me
– he pointed out. – But I believe that I am doing the right thing – not only for the community of Międzybrodzie Bialskie and the Bielsko-Żywiec diocese, but I do it with a sense of responsibility for the entire Catholic Church in Poland – added Janusz Szymik.
We tried to contact Fr. A waterman, to no avail.
The whole conversation with Janusz SzymikTVN24
Main photo source: TVN24