Vatican refuses to extradite Polish archbishop accused of child sex abuse

The Vatican has said that a Polish archbishop accused of child abuse while serving as papal nuncio in the Dominican Republic cannot be extradited to Poland.

The confirmation follows a request for clarification by the District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw concerning Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, one of two Polish clergyman accused of child abuse in the Dominican Republic.

“Archbishop Wesolowski is a citizen of the Vatican, and Vatican law does not allow for his extradition,” a statement from the Holy See clarified.

Przemyslaw Nowak from the District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw has said the Vatican has confirmed that it is proceeding with its own investigation concerning the archbishop.

Since this is a very messy case, here is a timeline:

Allegations can be made but all accused are presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Neither accused should be returned to the DR.

According to the Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, no extradition request has been filed. Yes it would appear that stellar new press agencies like the Huffington Post and ABC reported otherwise but here is the official Vatican statement:

Regarding the nuncio’s case, the Vatican is currently doing their own investigation, and in fact has sent an investigator to the Dominican Republic to talk with one of the alleged accomplices of said nuncio.

Regarding both cases, the CC in the Dominican Republic has given full support to the local authorities and has also asked Fr. Gil to return to account for his actions. If Poland refuses the extradition request that is up to them.

Indeed. Poland asked Vatican what they know about Archbishop’s activities in DR, and instead of responding to the questions, Vatican said “We will not extradite”.

It is your decision to disagree with the official Vatican News source.

My statement above was not quite right. I have found what the correspondence actually contained. Poland asked (a) whether Archbishop is a Vatican citizen, (b) is he under investigation in Vatican, © whether he could be extradited, and (d) whether his diplomatic immunity covers alleged pedophilia.

Vatican responded (a) he’s a citizen, (b) we’re investigating, © he can’t be extradited under Vatican law, (d) immunity covers pedophila.

The fact that there was no formal extradition request does not change much here.

Source (Polish)

Another step backwards.

My fellow Catholic please be aware that the private press agencies are many times very unreliable regarding press that has to do with the Catholic Church.

Therefore, given that the official Vatican webpage has declared that no discussion of extradition has been made with Polish officials believe we as good Catholics should give them the benefit of the doubt.

Nonetheless, if you have any doubts about the CC desire to do the right thing in this matter please be aware that the Vatican has already stated they will send Wesolowski to the Dominican Republic if the Dominican authorities request it in spite of the fact that the DR and the Vatican have no extradition treaty.

I think you’re splitting hairs here, because there is no contradiction between Lombardi’s statement and what Polish media reported. Lombardi said that Poland inquired about Archbishop’s legal status and that there was no extradition request. Polish media quotes district prosecutor in Warsaw who also said that there was no extradition request. Instead, Poland asked if Archbishop could be extradited (if they requested) – and Vatican said no. It logically follows that there will never be a formal extradition request, because it makes no sense for Poland to file one.

Yes, four months ago, and Archbishop is still in Vatican.

Besides, you need to carefully read Vatican’s response to Poland. It does not say that they won’t extradite – it says that Vatican law does not permit extradition.

It is starting to look like: “Um, yeah, we will ask Archbishop to get on the next plane to Poland/DR, but if he refuses, there is nothing we can do legally. Sorry guys.”

My advice from one Catholic to another is quit believing the secular press when it comes to the Catholic Church. They consistently have distorted facts and omitted important information.

For example, in this particular case the press reported that the Vatican would not extradite, which is a bald face lie given their new policy of extradition even where there is no extradition treaty.

Furthermore, regarding the extradition to the DR, I am quite well aware of the status of this case since I live Santiago, Dominican Republic and can tell you that Dominguez Brito has not asked Rome to extradite the ex nuncio and I have no doubt that the Vatican would keep their PUBLIC promise to extradite Wesolowski if the Dominican DA made the request.

Again, I don’t see how Lombardi’s dementi contradicts what the Polish media reported.

Lombardi said that there was no extradition request – Polish sources agree that there was no extradition request, merely a query whether such extradition would be legally possible. It’s this query which was answered in the negative. This is indirectly supported by Lombardi himself – from your link:

Essendo anche cittadino vaticano in quanto membro del servizio diplomatico – ha concluso padre Lombardi - la competenza penale sul suo caso appartiene anche agli Organi giudiziari dello Stato della Città del Vaticano, che stanno compiendo l’iter documentario e testimoniale necessario per il giudizio di loro competenza

“Jurisdiction in his case is with jurisdicial organs of the Vatican City State”. This is completely in line with (alleged) “we don’t extradite citizens, we judge them here”.

Also, Pope Francis’ reform of the criminal code does not mean that extradition requests must be honored. The law actually reads:

The extradition is denied if there are substantial grounds to believe that:
a) the extradition request has been made for the purpose of prosecuting, punishing or
harming a person on account of that person’s race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin
or political opinion;
b) the person requested would be in danger of being subjected to torture or to the death
penalty in the requesting State;
c) it is contrary to the fundamental interests the State or of the Holy See.

It is obvious that extradition of an ex-nuncio could be judged as “contrary to the fundamental interests of the Holy See”.

You completely ignore the fact that the Vatican says they would send the ex nuncio to the DR if they requested it with no extradition treaty in place. This is the truth, whether you find it inconvenient or not. Therefore, whether Poland has an extradition treaty with the Vatican is superfluous to the discussion.

The truth will set you free.

Neither Poland nor DR (nor any other state for that matter) has an extradition treaty with the Vatican.

Poland was (allegedly) told that a Vatican citizen cannot be extradited. Archbishop is a Vatican citizen. Therefore, he cannot be extradited anywhere, treaty or not.

If this is true, then the promise made to DR was legally void.

That is to say, Vatican State would violate its own law by extraditing him to DR.

On the other hand, the Holy See (which is independent from the Vatican State, at least on paper) may ask the Archbishop to “voluntarily” get on the plane to DR.

That is not what the article that I referenced said, not that it is important to you.

The problem here is that we have two contradictory reports: (1) Vatican says to DR that they will extradite him (2) Vatican (allegedly) says to Poland that he is a citizen and cannot be extradited. Both cannot be true at the same time. Either a Vatican citizen can be extradited, or he can’t. Destination does not matter.

Which leaves us with two possibilities: (1) the promise made to DR is legally void (although he may still go to DR “voluntarily”), (2) the report from Poland is untrue.

Your 1rst assumption is based on conjecture only and has nothing to do with the reality. We as Catholics should always seek to know the truth of the matter as opposed to making questionable assumptions.

Yep. A sad day. :mad:

Why do you assume the Vatican is being irresponsible? They have already publicly declared they would extradite Wesolowski to the DR if requested in spite of the fact that they have no extradition requirement. Promoting anything else is just hearsay.

If there is no extradition agreement between the Dominican Republic and the Vatican state, they can’t just make one up for this case. It sounds like this was an inquiry as to whether there was such an agreement and the answer was “no”. Would you prefer that the Vatican official lie and say there is an agreement when there isn’t one?

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