The Polish Parliament has passed a decision defending the name of the late Polish Pope John Paul II.
The move comes after a newly published book alleges the late pope deliberately covered up pedophilia scandals in the church when he was archbishop of Krakow.
What are the allegations?
Broadcast on TVN24, a US private channel in Poland, an explosive documentary claims the late pope turned over three priests accused of child abuse during his tenure as Archbishop of Krakow.
The allegations have sparked fierce debate in one of Europe’s most committed Roman Catholic nations.
The report names three priests whom John Paul allegedly relocated in the 1970s following allegations of child abuse.
Archbishop Karol Wojtyla, who was the head of the Church in Krakow, southern Poland, would later become Pope John Paul II.
The debate takes place as the Polish Catholic Church evaluates its own record of clergy sexual abuse.
Government figures, including Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, have vigorously defended the late pope as a national hero and the country’s highest moral authority.
Lawmakers from the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) proposed a resolution in defense of his name, which was passed by the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, primarily by votes from PiS lawmakers.
“The Sejm… strongly condemns the shameful media campaign, largely based on the material of the communist apparatus of violence, which the Grand Pope targets Saint John Paul II, the greatest Pole in history,” the resolution reads in part.
“We will not allow the image of a man recognized by the entire free world as a pillar of victory over the evil empire to be destroyed,” it continued.
Most religious conservatives condemn what they see as a leftist plot to discredit a figure at the core of Polish identity.
The head of the Polish Episcopal Conference, Archbishop of Poznan Stanislaw Gadecki, called on “all people of goodwill not to destroy the common good, and the legacy of John Paul II undoubtedly belongs to this.”
In his statement, he further wrote that “Poles should remember the blessing that Providence has given us through this Pope.”
On the other hand, left-wing politicians called for John Paul’s name to be removed from streets and school names because of the allegations.
Born in the southern city of Wadowice, Archbishop Karol Wojtyla served Krakow from 1964 to 1978, when he became pope. He died in 2005 and was canonized in 2014.
dmn/rc (Reuters, AP)