News & Analysis

New Polish documentary reveals child abuse by leading clergy

Father Franciszek Cybula, the former chaplain of president Lech Wałęsa, and Father Eugieniusz M, the custodian of the Shrine of our Lady of Sorrows and of the Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń, are among a number of priests who molested children, according to Just Don’t Tell Anyone, a documentary by Tomasz Sekielski.

“He told me to come to his room, and when I got there, he was standing there with his trousers down and with an erected penis. He said ‘what should I do? It won’t go down,” says a young man who was 12 at the time and now, as an adult pays, a visit to the old priest.

“This didn’t exceed any boundaries… there was no ejaculation. There was a moment of petting,” Father Cybula admits. He later suggests financial compensation. The 79-year-old priest, who was Wałęsa’s confessor back in the 1980s, dies while the documentary is being produced. During his funeral the Metropolitan Archbishop of Gdańsk Sławoj Leszek Głódź delivers a sermon remembering Father’s Cybula’s good deeds.

“I reported the case to the Curia, so Głódź must have known about it and yet he didn’t even mention it,” the victim says.

A joint monument representing Father Eugieniusz M. and the late Pope St John Paul II continues to stand in front of Licheń Basilica, Poland’s largest church. The priest, who molested a boy who is now also a member of the Polish clergy, is now retired. The young priest described the circumstances in a letter he sent to Sekielski. In a phone call, the spokesperson of the Congregation of Marian Fathers says that the church leadership had reached a verdict in Father Eugieniusz M.’s case but that he was instructed not to reveal the details.

“I am deeply moved by what I have seen in Tomasz Sekielski’s film,” the Archbishop of Gniezno and Primate of Poland Wojciech Polak said in a special video statement after the documentary premiered on YouTube. “The enormous suffering of all those who were harmed evokes pain and shame. At the moment, in front of my eyes, I also have the tragedy of the victims that I met in person. I thank everyone who had the courage to tell about their suffering,” he added.

Less than 48 hours since it premiered, Mr Sekielski’s documentary — available here with English subtitles — has been watched almost seven million times.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment