It may not be a pressing issue in the U.S., where about 6% of all Catholics in the world call home, but it is making huge and sometimes hot headlines in other parts of the world.

We’re talking about the TV special broadcast and a book published in Poland that say Archbishop Karol Wojtyla, then archbishop of Krakow and later Pope and St. John Paul II, knew of priests who abused minors but did not expose or punish their crimes.

The charges go to the heart of what it means to be an effective leader in the wake of revelations around the world that priests have sexually abused minors and bishops often covered up their abuses.

The TV program and the new book have launched a firestorm of criticism and rebuttals in Poland and in other parts of Europe.

Defenders of the deceased pope say the reports rely on the files from Poland’s Communist-era secret police, which sought to discredit the Catholic Church and often manufactured charges against priests.

The network that broadcast the program and the author of the book reply they also interviewed abuse survivors and couldn’t examine the archdiocese’s records because church officials have refused to make them available.

The story is reported in much greatrre detail by respected Catholic journalist John Allen in Crux, an electronic news service based in Rome.

The charges have enraged some while others are wondering if church officials moved too fast to canonize such a giant in church history

Allen discusses all of that and more here.


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