To the outsider’s eye, the Catholic Church reigns supreme in Poland. On a regular Sunday, Polish church pews are full while queues form, even during Mass, for Confession.
In 2016, the country installed Jesus Christ as King of Poland at a grand ceremony in Krakow. Last year, after three decades of lobbying, Polish bishops secured an almost total ban on abortion.
Nearly two decades after the death of the Polish pope in 2005, and nearly a decade after he was canonised, the face of St John Paul II remains omnipresent in his homeland. But the church he shaped like no other is now in meltdown since, last week, the unthinkable finally happened.
After a steady drip of clerical sexual abuse revelations in recent years, a new book and a television documentary presented claims that, in his 14 years as archbishop of Krakow, the then cardinal Karol Wojtyła was not just aware of priests who sexually abused children – he covered up for them.
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