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Pope accepts resignation of Polish archbishop

Pope Francis’ representatives in Poland have said that he had accepted the resignation of an archbishop who was accused in a documentary of turning a blind eye to child abuse.

The TVN24 news channel’s documentary in 2021 alleged that priest Andrzej Dymer, who died that year, had abused children and that the archbishop of the diocese of Szczecin-Kamień, Andrzej Dzięga, had known since 1995 but taken no action.

“Holy Father Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Andrzej Dzięga from serving as Archbishop Metropolitan of Szczecin-Kamień,” Poland’s apostolic nunciature, the equivalent of the Vatican’s embassy, said on its website.

A statement on the website of the Szczecin-Kamień archdiocese also said Archbishop Dzięga was retiring.

Neither of the statements referred to the accusations against Archbishop Dzięga, who had served as Archbishop Metropolitan of Szczecin-Kamień since 2009.

The archdiocese did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Archbishop Dzięga could not be reached for comment.

TVN24 has reported that after the documentary, Archbishop Dzięga had dismissed Fr Dymer from his position as director of a medical institute in Szczecin in northwest Poland.

Polish media reported that in 2008 Fr Dymer was convicted by a church tribunal of sexually abusing minors. Fr Dymer appealed but the appeal was not dealt with before his death.

One of Europe’s most devoutly Catholic countries, Poland has seen a string of child abuse scandals, with the church saying two years ago that between 1 July 2018 and 31 December 2020, it received 368 reports regarding abuse of minors.

According to 2021 census data, 71% of the population consider themselves Catholic.

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