Polish bishops set up foundation for Church abuse victims

Polish bishops set up foundation for Church abuse victims Radek Pietruszka/PAP

The St. Joseph Foundation was established by Polish bishops to assist and support persons who were abused during their childhood or youth, in the Church community, Episcopal Conference of Poland (KEP) spokesman Rev. Pawel Rytel-Andrianik told PAP on Wednesday.

According to a KEP press statement, the statute of the St. Joseph Foundation was adopted by the bishops during the 384th Plenary Meeting of the Episcopal Conference of Poland held on October 8-9 in Warsaw, and will now be submitted to the National Court Register. The bishops hope the foundation can begin functioning on January 1, 2020.

Primate of Poland, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, who managed the team which prepared the statute, said the establishment of the foundation is an expression of solidarity between the Polish Church and the victims of the abuse.

He added that the faithful, as well as all of society, had been expecting a clear commitment and specific actions on the part of the Church in the fight against sexual abuse.

The activities of the foundation will be nation-wide. They will provide a variety of assistance to victims in cooperation with a specific diocese and with existing programmes such as the Child Protection Centre and the "Wounded in the Church" initiative. The foundation will draw its funding from monies donated by individual dioceses.

St. Joseph, guardian and protector of the Holy Family, is the patron of the foundation. "The role of the Church is to defend all the faithful, especially the weak and defenceless, against all harm, just as Saint Joseph protected the Child Jesus and His Mother," said Archbishop Polak.