Last week, the Vatican announced that their Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has found Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski guilty of sexually abusing several young boys while serving as the Vatican's ambassador to the Dominican Republic. As such, he has been relieved of all official duties and defrocked, the most harsh penalty that body can deliver.
Wesolowski may also face a criminal trial within Vatican City, which could actually land him in prison.
In August 2013, the Polish-born Wesolowski was recalled from the Dominican Republic after the archbishop of Santo Domingo informed Pope Francis of the growing evidence that Wesolowski was molesting boys in the Caribbean nation. The Archbishop is actually being investigated by both Dominican and Polish authorities for multiple child sex abuse charges.
While the Vatican officials claim they will take "adequate measures" to see that Wesolowski is not able to flee from justice, many are not convinced that the church will adequately punish the predator.
Following the announcement, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a clerical sex abuse victims' advocacy group representing clerical sex abuse stated: "It’s encouraging when child-molesting clerics are disciplined, but we are troubled by the Vatican’s continued insistence on handling child sex crimes internally."
The statement continued:
Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski should face a criminal trial, not a church proceeding. And he should be in a secular jail. And he might have been in one for months, had Vatican officials cooperated with law enforcement. If this Vatican move leads to Wesolowski being locked up, we'll be encouraged. However, we fear that it won't."
Of course, they have a right to skeptical of the Vatican's stated intentions, considering their lack of candor in the past.
For decades, the Catholic Church shielded and protected child-molesting priests. As complaints would come pouring-in from parents threatening to involve the police, the church would simply ship the offending priest off on a sabbatical, eventually pawning them off on another unsuspecting parish where the process would begin again.
Perhaps, the most telling episode involved Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law, and the offending priests he protected for so many years. One priest that Law moved around to several different parishes was Father Paul Shanley. As it turned out, Fr. Shanley was not only a pedophile, but an advocate for NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association). While Shanley was convicted of child rape in 2005, Cardinal Law was rewarded for his skillful, though despicable shell game by Pope John Paul II, who brought him to Rome and given a prominent position within the Vatican.
Though the Catholic Church has paid-out millions to those victimized by their pedophile priests, Wesolowski is the highest-ranking church official to ever be publicly condemned by the church for his crimes against children. He was ordained by his Pope John Paul II.