Is John Paul II guilty of concealing pedophilia? Was he covering up the perpetrators of sexual abuse in the church? Was it his decisions that left American Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and influential Mexican clergyman Marcial Maciel unpunished for so long? Polina Jozek’s movie “Glass House” answers these questions.
Is it true that the Polish Pope did nothing to cleanse the Church of this terrible sin that so many people suffer? In the past year, the accusations against Karol Wojtyla and his pontiff have doubled. Its sanctity was repeatedly questioned, and a lot of contradictory information appeared in the media, which did not help to assess the situation. As it turned out, the information was mostly without real basis.
TVP journalist Paulina Guzik addressed the topic in her latest film. “Glass House. John Paul II’s Response to the Church Sexual Abuse Crisis” is a film that organizes the facts about the Vatican’s response to the Church’s pedophilia scandals, based on a chronology of events and historical context. They talk to the journalist, among others Prof. George Weigel, the Pope’s biographer, Cardinal George Pell, who was wrongly accused of sexual harassment and the court unanimously acquitted, Mexican journalist Valentina Zaraki, “co-author” of the achievements in the Pope’s outreach to the media, Vatican John Allen or Bishop Juan Ignatio of the Council of Arista – Secretary Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of the Legal Text. There was also a statement made by Cardinal Charles Chiclona, Assistant Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Paulina Jozek’s interlocutors explain the Pope’s reactions, the actions taken, the limitations he was subject to, and the expectations of the world that he could not fulfill. This applies not only to John Paul II, but also to subsequent popes. As the professor clearly says. Weigel – The media believes that the Pope is the embodiment of the Church and that if something goes wrong in the Church, it must be the Pope’s fault. Meanwhile, the Church is not a high school, and the Pope is not the one who does the duty and oversees the discipline in it. Without an understanding of how the Vatican operates and what the role of the Pope is, it is difficult to judge any actions by the head of the Church.
Two cases that shocked the church are an important theme in the film – the scandal involving the American Theodore McCarrick, who was elevated to the rank of cardinal while committing sexual assault, and the Mexican clergyman and founder of the Legion of Christ, Marcal Maciel Digollado. The film’s author analyzes both cases, wondering how it could be that the Pope did not react early enough to the crimes she committed, and then answers these questions succinctly and simply, citing facts embedded in the true chronology of events.
Polina Gocek’s film has three distinct advantages. First of all, it organizes reality by arranging events in a chronological order, which allows us to see the connections between subsequent scandals in the Church and the reactions of Pope John Paul II and his surroundings to them.
Secondly, the journalist invited people who not only had a good knowledge of the events that took place in the Vatican during the reign of Pope John Paul II, but who also knew him personally and were able to respond to the accusations against him in light of who Karol Wojtyla was a priest on whom communism left its mark. Not without significance, because experiences from life in a totalitarian regime made John Paul II sensitive to the question of false accusations aimed at the destruction of a particular person and the need to respect each person’s right to defend himself against accusations and the right to a fair trial. Moreover, it turns out that his idea of the priesthood, based on personal holiness and true vocation, was an opportunity for the Church at the beginning of the Wojtyla pontificate, in which the priesthood, understood as a heroic service, is underestimated.
The third feature of the film is reality. Polina Josic is not looking for much fanfare, but she is also not shy about difficult topics, and she takes a closer look at the events taking place in the Vatican from the first moments when the Pope began to realize the crisis, that is, to announce the visit of Limina to the American bishops. It raises the accusations against John Paul II and seeks answers to the question whether they are factually true, or whether the accusations are out of context, distorted, or made up. This factual verification of the accusations against the Pope shows the enormity of his efforts to help the local churches cleanse themselves from the sin of offending minors, and it comforts all who were intuitively convinced that John Paul II was not guilty of negligence in this matter, but who had insufficient evidence to that.
History shows, from the first moments when reports of sexual crimes began to reach John Paul II, to the death of Wojtyla and the pontificate of Pope Francis, two things that are very important to me today and to the Church in Poland.
The first is that the Church is not a rigid, unchanging reality that is unshakable in the face of terrible things. Changes, made quickly and dynamically by devotees of the faith in the card faith. Ratzinger as president, appointed by John Paul II to handle cases related to sexual crimes; A new law classifies the sexual exploitation of minors as one of the most serious “church” crimes. support local bishops with professional assistance to achieve justice as quickly as possible; Centralization of activities for the common good, although it goes against the spirit of the Second Vatican Council – the list of activities is long. It gives hope that we can emerge from this powerful crisis, although it requires determination, as well as a change in the way information is delivered in ecclesiastical institutions, from the Vatican to the dioceses.
The second issue is the great role of the laity in the Church and the importance of their activity, determination and love for the community. a. In the film, Weigel tells of a very honest letter he wrote to the Pope, clearly telling him the deep problem of the American Church, about which John Paul II was not adequately informed through no fault of his own.
The powerful excerpt from a letter by Mexican journalist Valentina Zarka to the Cardinals is impressive. Pope Francis himself asked her to hand her over. As a mother and a journalist, she made it clear: Dear Cardinals, either you decide to be transparent and we will work together to organize the Church, or you will hide crimes and then the media will become your staunch enemy. Touching is the testimony of Daniel Pettitt, who was sexually abused for four years by Capuchin Father Joel Allaz for four years since 1968, and who speaks of the support he received from John Paul II, even though the Pope did not know anything about the difficulty of his life . Date. The film also emphasizes the role played by the Vatican spokesman, Spanish journalist Joaquín Navarro Valls, in building transparent communication for the Church, as well as on the subject of scandals and the crimes of the clergy.
The role of journalists in the purification of the church is a quiet plot of the film Polina Jozek. Their courage, reliability, and uncompromising attitude make things related to the Church gain momentum. Journalists are the spark, the impulse to which the Church responds, thanks to which she can return to good, when it is clear that sin has spread in her. However, it is not about looking for sensations, fascinating the stories of the abused people, and falsifying facts to achieve the desired effect. Journalism in search of the truth, which it discovers even when it is difficult, and which ecclesial institutions call or compel to confront, seems necessary and decisive at a time when every unsubstantiated or exaggerated argument against the Church is ammunition in the struggle for his image, and even more – for the understandable essence of the Church. deeply. And this essence, which the Holy Pope fully understood, is to be a place where one can truly experience the good and truly meet God.