The most senior Catholic cleric in Poland has caused outrage over comments he made to Polska Agencja Prasowa (Polish Press Agency PAP) regarding sexual abuse and children with divorced parents.
Speaking about paedophilia and sexual abuse, Archbishop Jozef Michalik condemned paedophile priests but also lay blame on divorcees.
Many of these cases of molestation could be avoided given a healthy relationship between parents. We often hear that this inappropriate attitude [paedophilia] or abuse, manifests itself when a child is looking for love. It [children] clings, it searches. It gets lost itself and then draws another person into this.
How many wounds are their in children’s hearts, in children’s lives, when their parents go their separate ways. Today nobody talks about divorce doing great harm to a child. It’s obvious that sex abuse does great harm, one can’t forget about it, but it’s not the only thing.
Responding to angry reactions following the broadcast, The Church called the comments “a pure slip of the tongue” according to Reuters. Archbishop Michalik apologised, saying “a child is always innocent. But it can be hurt not only by priests but also by its own environment.”
Poland has a large Catholic majority, with nearly ninety percent of the country recorded as Roman Catholic, but cases of Child Sexual Abuse, which is still considered a taboo subject, have begun to chip away at this following.
Earlier this month Polish church officials apologised for cases of sexual abuse committed by clerics, but refused to offer compensation. The Rev. Jozef Kloch said last week that “The Church will not pay compensation to victims of paedophile priests. The wrongdoer should do it.”