WARSAW, Poland: A high official of Poland's Catholic Church apologized on Friday to the victims of pedophile priests while prosecutors said they will probe allegations that two Polish priests, including a Vatican envoy, sexually abused boys in the Dominican Republic.
Secretary of the Episcopate Bishop Wojciech Polak told a news conference that "sorry" was the least that was owed to the victims, and that the church was seeking to make amends and work on prevention.
But he said that any legal responsibility and financial compensation rested with the convicted wrongdoer, not with the church. He was addressing reporters in relation to both the allegations in the Dominican Republic and those in Poland, where some 27 priests have been convicted since 2001.
Mateusz Matyniuk, spokesman for the prosecutor general, said that Poland has obtained sufficient information from Dominican investigators to open a probe into pedophilia allegations against two Poles, one of whom has diplomatic status. He gave no names, but Dominican prosecutors have identified them as papal nuncio Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski and the Rev. Wojciech Gil, a parish priest.
The whereabouts of the two priests remain unknown to Poland's church, according to Polak.
The Holy See recalled Wesolowski, on August 21, and relieved him of his mission as apostolic nuncio after learning of the allegations against him from Dominican church authorities.
Gil was in Poland on vacation from his Dominican parish of Juncalito when the allegations surfaced in May, and hasn't returned to the Dominican Republic, even though his superior has told him to face the Dominican justice system, according to the Rev Tadeusz Musz, spokesman for Gil's order.
Polish media reported that Gil brought Dominican altar boys on vacation to Poland several times and lodged them at his mother's house and at the local parish house.