Vatican Trial Begins Eight Years After Church Officials Made Aware of Abuse Within their Walls
Eight years after church officials within the Vatican were contacted by a whistleblower regarding ongoing sexual abuse within its walls, a trial has finally begun. We applaud the brave whistleblower who stepped forward as a child and hope that this trial will expose hidden abusers and the men who enabled them.
It is a farce that it took Pope Francis and his colleagues eight years to act on the information provided by a then-15-year-old child who witnessed his roommate being raped at a Vatican seminary. In apparent retaliation for reporting abuse, whistleblower Kamil Jarzembowski was kicked out of the seminary. While we are not surprised that the wrong person faced consequences in this case, we are disappointed and angered that Vatican officials attempted to silence the whistleblower instead of confronting the abuser.
This retaliation and the long delay in the trial are examples of tactics from the age-old Catholic playbook, designed to ensure that secrets stay hidden and any progress towards uncovering those secrets happens at a snail’s pace. It is beyond disturbing – yet oh so typical – that no progress on this case was made until the whistleblower took his story to the media in 2017. We applaud Mr. Jarzembowski for his bravery in coming forward not once, but multiple times, and are also grateful to the journalists that exposed this story.
Regardless of the outcome of this trial, it is clear to us that Pope Francis’s flowery words about an “all-out battle” against clergy abuse are very rarely backed up by concrete action. This case is a perfect example of why we believe it is up to secular society, and not church officials, to investigate and root out abusers within the Catholic Church.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)