Former Papal Diplomat Laicised

Jozef Wesolowski Found Guilty of Clerical Sex Abuse, Has Two Months to Appeal

Vatican City, (Zenit.org) | 1657 hits

A former papal diplomat has been found guilty of sexually abusing minors and laicised, the Vatican announced today.

In a statement, the Vatican said the first stage in the trial against Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, a former apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic, "has been concluded with the laicisation of the prelate" and that he has "two months in which to make an eventual appeal."

It added that the penal trial before the Vatican judicial authorities, following today's ruling by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "will continue as soon as the canonical sentence has been made definitive."

This further trial is necessary since, as a papal diplomat, he is a citizen of Vatican City.

Responding to media reports, the Vatican stressed that Wesolowski has until now been granted "relative freedom of movement, as he awaits the verification by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith of the basis of these accusations made against him."

The Vatican added that considering the CDF's ruling, "all the necessary procedures will be adopted in relation to the former nuncio, in conformity with the gravity of the case."

The Holy See recalled the Polish-born Wesolowski on Aug. 21, 2013 after Pope Francis was informed of rumors that the nuncio had sexually abused teenage boys in the Dominican Republic.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed Wesolowski to the Dominican Republic in 2008. He had previously served as papal nuncio in Kazakhstan, Tadjikistan, Kyrgzstan and Uzbekistan, and before that, Bolivia.

He was ordained a priest in 1972 and entered into the Vatican's diplomatic service in 1980, serving in Vatican embassies in Africa, Costa Rica, Japan, Switzerland, India and Denmark.

In addition to being the Vatican's ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Wesolowski was also apostolic delegate to Puerto Rico.