VATICAN CITY (RNS) The defrocking of a former Vatican ambassador is a “sign of the seriousness” with which Pope Francis and the Vatican are approaching the clergy sexual abuse scandal, according to the Holy See’s representative to United Nations agencies in Geneva.

Mons. Silvano M. Tomasi is a permanent observer to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi is a permanent observer to the United Nations office in Geneva.Creative Commons image by Jean-Marc Ferré, United Nations

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi was tasked with defending the Catholic Church’s record when he presented reports to the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child and the U.N. Committee Against Torture in Geneva earlier this year.

During questioning, Tomasi was asked whether the Vatican would agree to extradite Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, a Polish archbishop and papal envoy, to his native Poland after he was recalled from the Dominican Republic last September on claims of sexual abuse.

Wesolowski was defrocked last week, and Tomasi said the former nuncio was being investigated by Vatican prosecutors. Speaking in Rome this week, Tomasi said he hoped other states and institutions would now follow the approach taken by the Holy See in dealing with cases of pedophilia. 

Wesolowski, 65, is the highest-ranking church official to be defrocked over sexual abuse allegations and has two months to appeal his removal from the priesthood. After that process, Wesolowski could face charges in a criminal court, although the Vatican has claimed he has diplomatic immunity from secular courts.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said the Vatican has not done enough to bring Wesolowski to justice. The victims advocacy group has demanded that the former diplomat face criminal prosecution beyond the walls of the city-state.

“If this Vatican move leads to Wesolowski being locked up, we’ll be encouraged. However, we fear that it won’t,” said David Clohessy, director of SNAP.

The Vatican committee set up by Pope Francis last year to fight sexual abuse of children in the church is due to meet in Rome for the second time this weekend. And for the first time, Francis is expected to meet abuse victims from Germany, the United Kingdom and Ireland within the next few days at his private residence.




  1. OK, so they defrocked the guy. But so what? That’s not really a punishment. Merely defrocking a cleric doesn’t show anything if the Vatican is still going to support the guy and put him up in an apartment in the heart of Rome. If the Vatican were truly “serious” about this, they’d have let the DR justice system take care of him. That they refused to do this, tells us everything we need to know about them … and what it says, is far from flattering.

    • @PsiCop,
      “Wesolowski could face charges in a criminal court, although the Vatican has claimed he has DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY FROM SECULAR COURTS.”

      “Defrocking” is the removal of a ridiculous collar from one’s neck. Sort of like taking off your special leprechaun socks and being told you may never wear them again.

      Seems like a pretty lame punishment
      for a guy who stripped small children of clothing,
      put his erect penis into the anuses of those children and brutally raped them.

      To call this ‘child abuse’ is an outrage.
      There is no word for the destruction this monster in a fancy collar has committed to these children and the Vatican keeps batting 1000
      it its own commitment to being the biggest crime syndicate in the history of the world.

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    REVELATION 18:4 And I heard another voice out of heaven say: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues. 5 For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind. 6 Repay her in the way she treated others, yes, pay her back double for the things she has done; in the cup she has mixed, mix a double portion for her. 7 To the extent that she glorified herself and lived in shameless luxury, to that extent give her torment and mourning. For she keeps saying in her heart: ‘I sit as queen, and I am not a widow, and I will never see mourning.’ 8 That is why in one day her plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God, who judged her, is strong.

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