The Holy See has made it known that after an apostolic investigation, it considers “correct” the decisions made by Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz when he was archbishop of Krakow, the apostolic nunciature in Poland announced in a letter on April 22, 2022.
Pope John Paul II’s longtime secretary had been under investigation since June 17, after several media outlets questioned his handling of clergy abuse cases in his Krakow Archdiocese.
The investigation followed a request by the president of the Polish bishops’ conference, Bishop Stanisław Gądecki, after a documentary aired on Polish television in November 2020. The report, titled “Don Stanislao; The Second Face of Cardinal Dziwisz,” also questioned the high prelate’s role in handling denunciations sent to Pope John Paul II by victims of abuse.
The documentary directly accused him of covering up abuses, particularly those committed within the Legionaries of Christ. It also claimed that he had been aware of the accusations against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who has been dismissed from the clergy after being convicted of abuse of minors, and that McCarrick had bought silence with a $10,000 donation.
Following the broadcast of this program, the Polish episcopate asked the Holy See to check for possible negligence on the part of the former archbishop. This was done by the Holy See’s investigator, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop emeritus of Genoa and the Pontiff’s visitor to Poland from June 17 to 26.
Rome asked the Italian cardinal to examine the responses of Cardinal Dziwisz only for his time as archbishop of Krakow, that is, between 2005 (the year of John Paul II’s death and his appointment as archbishop) and 2016 (when he retired). This period only partially covers the range of years addressed in the Polish documentary, which also leveled accusations about the time of Dziwisz’s service to John Paul II.
The Italian apostolic investigator collected documents to be examined by the Holy See. After analyzing this documentation, the Holy See “decided not to pursue.”
In a statement issued shortly after the nunciature’s statement, Cardinal Dziwisz thanked the investigators for their “just judgment” against what he called “undeserved and painful” accusations. He said he hoped that this decision would bring “serenity to all those who felt offended” by the accusation and said he had forgiven the injustice committed against him.