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article imagePolish bishop apologises for clerical sexual abuse

By AFP     Sep 27, 2018 in World

A Polish Catholic bishop apologised Thursday to victims of sexual abuse by clergy in the country as the Church reels from a wave of abuse scandals worldwide.

"With all our determination, we want to protect children and young people everywhere at all times," Romuald Kaminski, the archbishop of Warsaw-Praga, told the media.

"I would like to apologise and am determined to do everything so that those who feel wronged can safely return to the Church community and regain their trust" in the Church.

Kaminski said 12 abuse cases were investigated in his diocese -- one of two in the capital Warsaw -- over the last 26 years.

Abuse was confirmed in ten cases, he said, some involving youngsters aged between 15 and 18.

The accused perpetrators in three cases were referred to the Polish justice system, and two were sentenced, he added.

Kaminski also presented a document outlining measures to protect children and young people from sexual abuse in future, as well as how to help victims.

Similar documents will be sent to every diocese in the country, the Polish Church said on Wednesday.

It added that it would collect data on the scale of sexual abuse by clergy in Poland, where some 90 percent of the country's 38 million people identify as Roman Catholic.

Poland's Catholic Church has previously addressed child sexual abuse by its members, apologising at a landmark ceremony in 2014 which was attended by top clergy and abuse victims.

According to the Polish foundation Don't Be Afraid, which supports victims of clerical abuse, 56 priests have been convicted in recent years, including some for possession of child pornography.

The Church has been rocked by a fresh string of devastating claims of sexual abuse committed by clergy in Australia, Europe, and North and South America.

The German Church apologised on Tuesday after a report was published showing that at least 3,677 minors were abused by clergy between 1946 and 2014.

Also on Tuesday, Pope Francis admitted the scandals have put off some young people who believe the Catholic Church has not condemned the crimes harshly enough.

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