We’ve already dealt with the major controversies in the Polish Catholic Church (Part 1 & Part 2), but what about the “little” things? They’re said to carry the most flavor, and that might just be the case with my dear, dear countrymen in robes. The devil lies in the details? Most certainly so, and some horror stories are worse than the others – all of them are unfortunately true, and as you might already know if you’ve read my previous posts, very little is being done to repair the damage these “men and women of the cross” have done. Here are some of the most interesting stories from the past several years.
1. The case of Sister Bernadette – a breeding ground for criminals and deviants.
A couple of months ago, the Polish media brought into light the case of Sister Bernadette – director of the nun-operated juvenile corrections house. Investigative journalists interviewed the now men raised by the nuns in the house pictured above – all of them serious criminals (two murderers and several sex offenders). The convicted men acted as aides to the district attorney, because it was proven that their social and psychological dysfunctions were caused by the abuse they suffered in the corrections house in Zabrze, a rather small town in Silesia, the coal mining region of Poland. According to their account, all children placed under the care of the Sisters Borromean, who run that facility, were victims of vicious physical, verbal, and above all, sexual abuse. Sister Bernadette invented a very particular system of punishments for the misbehaving kids: during the first years of her reign, nuns were authorized to beat the kids for any reason. As the years went by and some of the boys in house grew up and became stronger – they were forced by Bernadette to carry out punishments on the younger, weaker kids. The “sentenced” boys were carried to the attic and there they were beaten severely and raped repeatedly by the older inmates. This was not just endorsed by the revered mother, it was her direct orders. This went on for many years and in the end of the case, when the first victims – now adults – spoke out, it turned out that the whole corrections house became a sort of sexual dungeon. The children were molested and raped on a daily basis, and some of the beatings resulted in permanent disability. In 2010, Sister Bernadette was sentenced to two years in prison, but she didn’t actually go to jail because she hid in a monastery run by the clergy. It took the brilliant Polish justice system four years to actually catch the woman (59 years of age) and put her behind bars.
2. Curious hazing rituals.
Pedophilia in Catholicism is a very wide subject to cover. Sometimes, though, it takes ridiculous forms – like in the case of the priest-principal of a Catholic junior high school in Lubin. According to students’ accounts and photographs taken during a curious hazing ritual, the new students of the school were forced to lick whipped cream off the priest’s knees. Perhaps you’d like to read the previous sentence again. Lick. Whipped cream. Off the priest’s knees. The outraged parents notified the police, who in turn asked the district attorney to analyze the case. As it turns out, there was no crime. Sure, technically making a kid lick your knees is not a crime. Something tells me, however, that this act is just the tip of the iceberg at that school. The priest-principal seems to have a really potent imagination… Can you say headmaster?
3. Poland – a refuge for the persecuted pedophile?
The case of a pedophile missionary priest – Father Wojciech from Poland – has shaken the Dominican Republic last year. The man was accused of having numerous sexual relations with underage altar boys there, and when journalists cracked the case, he fled to his home country to hide, even though he was on the Interpol Most Wanted list for his crimes. His victims claim that his favorite activity was to make boys masturbate in front of him. He’d make video recordings of that with one hand, and jack off with the other (actual victim statement).Apparently, the priest, even though on a mission to a foreign country, was still under the jurisdiction of his Polish cardinals and bishops, who did all in their power to give him safe haven in his homeland. The matter is being investigated by both the Polish attorney general, and the Dominican counterpart. It’s not the only such scenario in recent history: it was recently proven that some American priests accused of pedophilia also fled to Poland and were given refuge by the heads of the Polish Church. The odds of them being sent back to the United States for trial are very slim. Throughout the past five years, the victims of pedophilia in Poland have been coming forward en masse – there are literally hundreds of cases with thousands of victims. There are priests who carried on raping children for twenty, even thirty years. Some of the more disgusting ones kept actual ledgers with names of children they raped, with smiley faces next to the name. Was the boy with just two smileys a worse lay than the one with five?
4. Dead children everywhere.
It’s obvious that Catholic priests don’t take celibacy too seriously. They often maintain relationships with women, some of them of a committed, romantic nature, and some just for the sex. Prostitutes also are common guests in the vicarage. How many love children were born out of such proceedings it’s impossible to say. Most of these children go on living regular lives and are just told that the father left the family or something of an equally innocent nature. Not in the case of Father Marius from Poznan. This man maintained sexual relations with a certain girl from his congregation and eventually got her pregnant. After nine months, the mother came to the priest as she was about to give birth – the priest took her to the living quarters, put a sheet on a bed, and left her there to give birth. As she gave birth to their child, he waited in the next room with headphones on – he didn’t want to hear the birthing mother’s screams (his statement). He didn’t even bother calling an ambulance or a doctor. When he came back to the room, the woman was losing a lot of blood, and the baby didn’t survive – apparently there were complications. The mother stated that he was just standing there looking at her as she was bleeding out, and feeling her death near, she asked, “could you perhaps call an ambulance now?” The man was suspended and the Vatican is now deliberating whether he should be removed from office or not. [Unfortunately, there are no pictures of the priest available.]
5. If your child wears leather – tremble, for Satan is looking!
Now for some comic relief. Actually, it’s only funny for a second – the brief moment before you realize it’s actually fact, rather than fiction. We have some very weird priests in Poland, but probably the most pathetic of them is Father Natanek, the infamous meme priest, who became widely known for his incredible sermons. He first drew attention to himself when he proclaimed that Poland as a state should make Jesus Christ the king. He literally meant Jesus Christ should be named King of Poland in the constitution. Unfortunately, he didn’t bother to explain how exactly the officials are supposed to install a person who doesn’t exist on the throne. When his formal petition was officially rejected, padre Natanek decided that something must be wrong, and drastically changed the subject matter of his sermons, now focusing on parents and their children. His infamy reached its peak when someone recorded such a sermon with a camera phone, documenting his hilarious statements, such as: “if there be hair products on your child’s hair, and later mohawks, be sure that something is seriously collapsing there”, “if your child wears leather jackets and black nail polish – know, that something’s going on”, “if your child dyes their hair black – know, that Satan is looking for them”, and perhaps my favorite, “Chinese medicine, Tibetan medicine, positive thinking, esotericism, Star Wars… all those evils were invited into our land!”
The man also stated in the media that he believes in werewolves and that Harry Potter books are THE DEVIL HIMSELF. As funny as that might sound, it’s actually very disturbing, because as you might’ve already figured out, priests hold unbelievable power over the minds of people in Poland. One Sunday they’re told that if the kid is listening to metal or techno music, the kid’s going to hell. What if the next Sunday he told his congregation to light torches and follow him to burn down the town? They’d do it. Believe you me, they’d really do it.
6. Unknown number of child abuse cases.
We all know how serious of an issue pedophilia is in society, especially when priests are involved. It almost seems like at some point the pedophiles of the world had a meeting, during which they decided they’re going to all become Catholic priests. In the past three years, a lot of cases have surfaced because the victims have more tools to demand justice now – like, for example, an organization called the “Priest Victims’ Movement.” Like I mentioned above, the number of abused children that we know of is in the thousands (what some estimate to be not more than 15% of all pedophilia cases within the Polish church). Keep in mind that Poland is a country with population oscillating around 38 million – the scale of the problem is massive, and we’ll most likely never know exactly how many children were affected.
What is the conclusion here?
I’ve showed you examples of how much power the Catholic Church has over this small, insignificant country, and perhaps that’s just the case. The more they feel the country is insignificant, the more they think they can do whatever the Hell they want with it. Not long ago in a conversation I had, somebody mentioned that Poland is just one step away from becoming a theocratic state, with religion-based law and social order, not unlike some of the more extreme countries in the Middle East. I added that the Polish devotees are basically the same as Taliban extremists, they just couldn’t manage to get their hands on any RPGs yet. These three articles you’ve read don’t even begin to show the complexity of the problem. Human right violations, violent racism, social segregation, homophobia – these are the things you have to deal with on a daily basis if you’re not one of “them”.
With the upcoming elections, the situation is pretty dire. One of these two things can happen: either 1) Poland will finally make the leap towards the West and become a fully civilized, modern country in terms of social equality and justice, or 2) the Catholics will again put their people in the parliament, change the constitution and basically torch everyone who doesn’t fit their idea. Like the Nazis. Just like the fucking Nazis.