Vatican defrocks Polish archbishop Josef Wesolowski accused of sexual abuse
Wesolowski will be stripped of the priesthood pending criminal proceedings
Heather Saul is a digital reporter for The Independent, currently working on the People desk. She has written news and features across a number of topics, paying particular attention to the activities of Isis and events in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Friday 27 June 2014
The Vatican has ordered a Polish archbishop accused of sexual abuse in the Dominican Republic to be defrocked as a priest pending further criminal proceedings, in an extremely rare step for such a senior official in the Church.
The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ordered Josef Wesolowski, a former Vatican nuncio or ambassador to the Caribbean nation to be stripped of the priesthood.
The ruling was delivered after a canonical trial - under Church law - in the Vatican and came after the Catholic Church vowed to clean up the scandal of sexual abuse of children by priests that has blighted it for more than a decade.
In May, Pope Francis declared a “zero tolerance” policy for members of the clergy who abuse children after appointing a former child victim as one of the first members of a new commission to help the Church put an end to clerical sexual abuse in March.
The Pope also announced plans to meet victims at the Vatican next week, The Telegraph has reported.
Wesolowski will have two months to appeal the ruling. The Holy See said in a statement criminal proceedings by Vatican judicial authorities would begin once the sentence was confirmed. If found guilty in a criminal trial, Wesolowski could risk extradition to the Dominican Republic.
He was recalled last August to the Vatican, which said a month later that it would cooperate with Dominican authorities investigating him on suspicion of paedophilia.
The Vatican said his movements had not been restricted while the case was being considered but that following the decision to expel him from the priesthood "all measures appropriate to the seriousness of the case will be adopted".
As an independent city state, the Vatican can detain or limit the movements of those subject to its jurisdiction.
Last month, the United Nations watchdog body against torture called on the Vatican to investigate the Wesolowski case and determine whether it warranted criminal prosecution or extradition to face charges in the Dominican Republic.
Additional reporting by AP
- 2 Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
- 3 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 4 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says jobless migrants should be banned from entering the UK
£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...
£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...
£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...