Shocking film on Catholic Church pushes government to increase sentences for pedophilia

A priest who gives a host (Illustration). – OLIVIER MORIN / AFP

The documentary of over two hours on the Catholic Church has been viewed since Saturday 12.7 million times on YouTube. A hearing that served as an electroshock for the Polish Conservative government which announced on Tuesday that it would aggravate
sentences for pedophilia.

The penalty for rape of a minor, currently up to fifteen years in prison, must be increased to thirty years, once the project has been adopted by Parliament. The government also wants to ban sentencing and early release for pedophiles, and to increase the minimum age of consent from 15 to 16 years. As for pedophilic cases presented in the film, they should be the subject of a prosecution investigation.

Adoption of the project is beyond doubt

"Pedophilia has been treated too lightly by our judicial system," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who presented the proposals with the Minister of Justice, told reporters. And the adoption of the project is no doubt, the ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) with an absolute and disciplined majority. Parliament must debate these proposals tomorrow, Wednesday.

The Conservative government, close to the Catholic Church, presented these proposals three days after the publication of Only do not tell anyone, a shocking documentary presenting soberly meetings of victims of pedophile priests with these. Beyond the direct, personalized account of crimes committed by clergymen, the film of freelance journalist Tomasz Sekielski challenges the hierarchy of the episcopal for the weakness – if not the absence – of sanctions in cases of pedophilia.

This documentary was filmed in part with a hidden camera. Several priests questioned, now very old, ask for forgiveness for their behavior, even offer money to their victims. Despite multiple requests from the authors of the documentary, no senior official wished to speak in front of the camera. Two weeks before the European elections, the film could harm the PiS, party in power since 2015, which displays its Catholic identity and alliance with the episcopate.

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