WARSAW: Pope Francis’s representatives in Poland said on Saturday that he had accepted the resignation of an archbishop who was accused in a documentary of turning a blind eye to child abuse.

The TVN24 news channel’s documentary in 2021 alleged that priest Andrzej Dymer, who died that year, had abused children and that the archbishop of the diocese of Szczecin-Kamien, Andrzej Dziega, had known since 1995 but taken no action.

“Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Andrzej Dziega from serving as Archbishop Metropolitan of Szczecin-Kamien,” Poland’s apostolic nunciature, the equivalent of the Vatican’s embassy, said on its website.

A statement on the website of the Szczecin-Kamien archdiocese also said Dziega was retiring.

Neither of the statements referred to the accusations against Dziega, who had served as Archbishop Metropolitan of Szczecin-Kamien since 2009.

The archdiocese did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Dziega could not be reached for comment.

TVN24 reported on Saturday that after the documentary, Dziega had dismissed Dymer from his position as director of a medical institute in Szczecin in northwest Poland.

Polish media repor­ted that in 2008 Dymer was convicted by a church tribunal of sexually abusing minors. Dymer appealed but the appeal was not dealt with before his death.

One of Europe’s most devoutly Catholic countries, Poland has seen a string of child abuse scandals, with the church saying two years ago that between July 1, 2018, and Dec 31, 2020, it received 368 reports regarding abuse of minors.

According to 2021 census data, 71pc of the population consider themselves Catholic.

Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2024

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