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Polish bishop apologizes to victims of clergy sex abuse

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A Polish Catholic bishop apologized Thursday to those who were sexually abused by priests in his Warsaw diocese and vowed to take steps to win back their trust.

Bishop Romuald Kaminski of the Warsaw-Praga district spoke as Poland’s church leaders worked on a document to be published later this year to address the abuse of minors and suggest ways to prevent it.

The document will include data on the scale of priestly sex abuse in Poland, according to the head of Poland’s Catholic Church, Archbishop Wojciech Polak.

The topic is especially painful to the church in Poland, where it enjoys great respect due to the often-heroic role it has played in maintaining the country’s national identity, language and tradition during foreign rule, World War II and under decades of communism.

Kaminski told a news conference that abuse cases were opened against 12 priests but two of them have been dropped. Three of the cases concerned minors under 15 and are currently being evaluated by Warsaw courts.

He said the priests involved have been banned from working with minors and went through psychological tests. Three of them have been suspended from all their pastoral work.

“I want to apologize and I will do my utmost to allow those who feel wronged to safely return to the Church community and to have trust again,” Kaminski said.

Pope Francis has acknowledged that the sex abuse scandals rocking the Catholic Church around the world are driving the faithful away and has urged the church to change its ways if it wants to keep future generations.

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