Having broken ban on work with minors, priest resigns from priesthood

Father Dariusz Olejniczak submitted his official resignation from the priesthood on Sunday, prompted by a recently published documentary that proves he broke a ban on working with children, which had been placed on him as a result of a 2012 court sentence in a lawsuit over the sexual abuse of minors in 2008-2009.

“Father Dariusz Olejniczak has submitted his request of laicisation to Pope Francis,” said Warsaw Archdiocese’ spokesman Father Przemysław Śliwiński, adding that Father Olejniczak left the missionary seminar in Warsaw and “expressed repentance and promised his full cooperation with state services.”

The Archdiocese’ statement read: “the request was motivated by a violation [on Father Olejniczak’s part] of an injunction, in defiance of which he undertook work with children and youth while concealing this fact from a trustee established by [Catholic] Church authorities.”

Father Olejniczak’s violation of the lawful ban was revealed in Tomasz Sekielski’s “Don’t you tell nobody” (“Tylko nie mów nikomu”) documentary that presents instances of priests sexually abusing minors.

The documentary urged the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception to publish a statement about Father Eugeniusz Makulski, who had been a custodian of the Mary Mother of God’s Sanctuary in the town of Licheń between 1996-2004. In light of the charges of paedophilia against Father Makulski, the Congregation ensured that all reported cases of the custodian’s misconduct were communicated to the Holy See in line with Church law.

“Father Makulski… was removed from the priesthood,” the Congregation reported, adding that “the suffering of paedophilia victims, who suffered at the hands of priests... fills us with deep sorrow. Nothing can repay those crimes,” reads the statement.

Tomasz Sekielski’s documentary follows paedophile priests’ victims who recount their situation and trauma to lawyers and psychologists. The victims confront the priests who abused them.

“The immense suffering of victims evokes pain and shame. At this moment, in front of my very eyes, I see the drama of hurt people whom I met personally. I thank everyone who has the courage to speak about their suffering. I apologise for every wound inflicted upon the people of the [Catholic] Church,” said the Primate of Poland Archbishop Wojciech Polak.

For his part, the head of the Polish Episcopate Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki said Mr Siekielski’s film will bring about even more severe condemnation of the crime of paedophilia. “In the name of the Episcopate, I wish to apologise earnestly to all the victims. I am aware of the fact that nothing can repay their suffering,” said the archbishop.

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