Pope names administrator for Polish diocese hit by abuse allegations

Pope Francis speaks during his weekly general audience after giving a message to people of the United States, honouring George Floyd and saying "no one can turn a blind eye to racism", in this still image taken from video at the Vatican, June 3, 2020. Vatican Media/Handout via REUTERS

Pope Francis appointed an administrator on Thursday to run the Polish diocese of Kalisz, whose bishop has been accused of shielding priests known to have sexually abused children.

The move came little more than a month after Church leaders in Poland announced that they were referring Bishop Edward Janiak to the Vatican for eventual judgement.

The Vatican said the pope had appointed Archbishop Grzegorz Rys of the city of Lodz as apostolic administrator, a temporary post. Janiak will remain bishop of Kalisz while the accusations are investigated.

It was not immediately possible to contact Janiak for comment.

The case came to prominence after a film by brothers Tomasz and Marek Sekielski, purported to show how Janiak failed to take action against priests who were known to have abused children.

The Sekielski brothers released another film last year that suggested that known paedophiles were deliberately shifted between parishes. The film has had more than 23 million views on YouTube.

Victims of sexual abuse have long called for measures to make it easier to report suspected cover-ups by the Church.

Poland’s Catholic Church, an institution with close ties to the ruling nationalist Law and Justice party, has faced accusations in the past of shielding priests who abuse children.