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Pope John Paul II covered up paedophilia, Polish TV investigation alleges

Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II Copyright AP/Copyright 1979 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright AP/Copyright 1979 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews
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An investigation has accused the former head of the Catholic Church of trying to avoid the scandal by sending priests from one parish to another.

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According to a journalistic investigation conducted by the Polish television channel TVN, Pope John Paul II was aware of paedophilia cases and tried to cover these up by transferring priests to other dioceses to avoid scandal.

The station says these events occurred during Pope John Paul II's time in Krakow, Poland, when was still to be named head of the catholic church and known as cardinal Karol Wojtyla.

In the course of the investigation, reporters met with victims of paedophile priests, their relatives and former employees of the diocese. They also cited documents from the former communist secret police SB and rare Church documents to which they had access.

The Krakow diocese and the Polish Church have refused access to their archives, according to the journalists.

One of the priests was sent by the future pope to Austria, who then wrote a letter of recommendation to a cardinal in Vienna, without informing him of the past accusations against the priest.

Wishing to remain anonymous, one witness confirmed that he had personally reported a priest's paedophile acts to Cardinal Wojtyla in 1973.

"Wojtyla first wanted to make sure that it was not a bluff. He asked not to report it anywhere, he said he would take care of it," the man said, adding that the cardinal had explicitly asked him if the case could be kept quiet.

'Maxima Culpa. John Paul II knew'

A book containing similar accusations against Karol Wojtyla is due to be published in Poland on Wednesday, entitled'Maxima Culpa. John Paul II knew'.

Several cases of paedophilia among the clergy, revealed mainly by the media, have shaken the Polish Church in recent years with several high-ranking officials having been sanctioned by the Vatican.

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