By Paweł Rytel-Andrianik

The Rector’s College of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin says there are no facts or objective findings behind the subjective theses slandering St. John Paul II. The Pope from Poland was the one who started the fight against the perpetrators of the acts against the fundamental dignity of the weakest and introduced the principle of “zero tolerance for pedophilia.”

In a statement issued on Saturday, the College of the Catholic University of Lublin emphasizes that it recognizes the harm and pain of victims of sexual crimes. “We express our deep sympathy to them and assure them of our support and prayer, as well as of help they can receive in the ecclesial community. Undeniably, perpetrators of abuses must fairly account for their actions, repent, and ask for forgiveness for their shameful sins. It is also necessary to constantly raise the security level of children and young people in all environments,” says the document.

Its authors also add that the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin cannot remain indifferent in the face of «fallacious accusations, calumnies, and slander, directed recently against our patron saint.” “When observing the narrative presented by some media that relay opinions voiced by selected commentators, it is hard not to see that they are primarily motivated by a systemic or projected aversion to the Catholic Church. The subjective theses expressed by some circles are by no means substantiated by facts and objective findings—for example, presented in the Report of the Holy See’s Secretariat of State on Theodore McCarrick,” writes the Rector’s College of the Catholic University of Lublin.

The Rector and the vice-chancellors of the university where St. John Paul II taught, emphasizes that the document clearly indicates that he was cynically deceived by McCarrick and shows that there were neither omissions nor negligence in the Holy Father’s actions.

“Attempts to burden St. John Paul II with the responsibility for the tragedy of people who were victims of sexual abuse committed by clerics is insinuation and manipulation. The Pope from Poland was the one who started the fight against the perpetrators of the acts against the fundamental dignity of the weakest and introduced the principle of “zero tolerance for pedophilia”. As early as 1993, John Paul II was pointing out to US bishops that, in the case of sexual crimes, canonical punishments, including expulsion from the priesthood, were necessary and fully justified. He added that they should emphasize the importance of the harm and evil done. The Holy Father, recalling Jesus’ words in the Gospel, indicated in a letter to the U.S. bishops that ‘for someone who sows scandal, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea’,” we read in the statement.

Rector’s College of the Catholic University of Lublin recalls that, in 2002, St. John Paul II told the U.S. bishops that sexual crimes committed by Church people needed quick clarification, and he described them as “a shocking crime.” “He also addressed similar words to the bishops of Ireland, speaking of the ‘devilish nature’ of these acts and the need to detect and punish the perpetrators. In 2001, St. John Paul II published a document, the Motu propio “Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela,” in which he ordered that the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith be informed of all cases related to sexual abuse committed by clerics.

In the face of these facts, we express our firm objection to the authors of false and biased publications that do not intend to promote the good of abuse victims and the unconditional protection of children and youth but to defame the good name of St. John Paul II and so undermine his authority,” emphasize the authorities of the Catholic University of Lublin.

The Rector’s College adds that this Pope’s pontificate had a great influence on the future of the Church, the world, Europe, and Poland. “St. John Paul II’s person, personalistic style of action and teaching are for us an example, a source of inspiration, and a marker in our daily struggle for the respect for the dignity and sacred inviolability of every human person. They indeed represent the highest imperative urging the protection of children and adolescents, that is the people most exposed to exploitation and various forms of manipulation,” emphasize the Rector and Vice-rectors of the Catholic University of Lublin.

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