Jozef Wesolowski is pictured during a 2011 ceremony in Santo Domingo when he was still an archbishop and was serving as nuncio to the Dominican Republic. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found the archbishop guilty of sexual abuse of minors and has ordered that he be laicized.

Pope Francis orders accused envoy Jozef Wesolowski put under house arrest

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis had ordered the arrest of a former Polish archbishop accused of child sex abuse in the Dominican Republic because the case was “so serious,” the Vatican said Tuesday (Sept. 23).

Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, former nuncio to the Dominican Republic, is pictured during a 2011 ceremony in Santo Domingo. The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found the archbishop guilty of sexual abuse of minors and has ordered that he be laicized.

Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, former nuncio to the Dominican Republic, is pictured during a 2011 ceremony in Santo Domingo. The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found the archbishop guilty of sexual abuse of minors and has ordered that he be laicized.

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Jozef Wesolowski, who was defrocked by a Vatican tribunal earlier this year, is under house arrest inside Vatican City due to the “express desire” of Pope Francis, the Vatican said in a statement.

“The seriousness of the allegations has prompted the official investigation to impose a restrictive measure that … consists of house arrest, with its related limitations, in a location within the Vatican City State,” the Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said.

Wesolowski was removed from his position in the Dominican Republic and recalled to the Vatican in August 2013 amid claims that he had abused boys in Santo Domingo.

The former archbishop is awaiting trial on criminal charges at the Vatican and could eventually face charges in the Dominican Republic and in his native Poland.

The 66-year-old envoy is the highest-ranking Vatican official to be investigated for sex abuse. He was found guilty after an inquiry conducted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees all clergy sex abuse cases in the Roman Catholic Church.

A bishop from the Dominican Republic was recently reported saying he was shocked to see Wesolowski walking freely on the streets of central Rome.

“The initiative taken by the judicial departments of Vatican City State is a result of the express desire of the Pope, so that a case so serious and delicate would be addressed without delay, with just and necessary rigor, and with full assumption of responsibility on the part of the institutions that are governed by the Holy See,” Lombardi said in the statement.

Lombardi later said Wesolowski faces six to seven years in jail, and was put under house arrest to keep him from fleeing.

David Clohessy, director of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he was concerned that it had taken the Vatican so long to enforce this move but more needed to be done.

“We are grateful that this action has finally been taken, feel it should have happened months ago, and believe it's better if secular authorities are able to jail and prosecute Wesolowski,” Clohessy said in a statement.

Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic recently said they had convincing evidence that the prelate molested young men there, and he has also been accused of abuse in Poland.

The Vatican rejected a request from the Warsaw Prosecutor’s Office for Wesolowski’s extradition on the grounds he was “a citizen of the Vatican.”

He was ordained as a priest and bishop by the late Polish-born pope, St. John Paul II, and served as an envoy to the Dominican Republic for five years.



  1. I smell a rat! The Vatican refused extradition to Poland, where this monster would undoubtedly rot in some prison for the rest of his miserable life. Now he’s munching cookies and cream after dinner in a comfortable, nicely-furnished room.
    As I’ve often said elsewhere in these posts, a mom and dad would statistically be much better off having their child babysat by a gay or lesbian than by a priest or minister. What is with these guys and little boys?? Time to do away with celibacy, huh?

  2. @Jack, Celibacy has nothing to do with this. It was little boys that he abused.

  3. Serial child predator, Jozef Wesolowsk, has been placed under ‘Vatican’ house arrest? And because he claims health concerns, this prevents him from a more restrictive type of detention?
    It’s way past time for the Vatican church officials to stop protecting their child predator clerics. He needs to be punished just like any other criminal. He needs to be jailed immediately so that no other children will be harmed.

    This must be a slap in the face to Wesolowsk’s brave victims in the Dominican Republic who are to be commended for their courage in speaking up and taking action about being sexually abused him.
    Child predators need to be kept far away from kids forever, so let’s hope that any others who may have knowledge or may also have been harmed by Wesolowski, will find the courage to speak up and contact local law enforcement no matter how long ago it happened. Your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.
    Judy Jones, SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests , [email protected]

  4. Imponderable – How any moral person can willingly support or want to be part of this criminal organization?

  5. TJ,

    Celibacy as a lifestyle choice may have nothing to do with it, but the reclusive, lonely, doctrine infused, often “all one type” mindset within a limiting expression of voice, compounded with a secret elitism and paranoidal tendencies have much to do with it. Desiring the innocence of children mixed with a need to control and fire or release these confused and embattled emotions, desires, fears … explodes into what you see. The RCC formula as it currently stands is a recipe for the continuation of ills. It’s evil working its way into whatever it can destroy, and when you have this type of contained environment with such dogmatic expression, there is no voice of CONSCIENCE admitted into these rooms. The hierarchy is a negligent parent!

    “So serious” … and “express desire” of the pope is the same old bull. One, just one child, molested is serious!!!

    “What think you? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them should go astray: doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the mountains, and go to seek that which is gone astray?”

    Why would the shepherd leave ninety-nine in the mountains and go for one? What is up in the mountains, TJ? I can tell you what is not up there is man ego, and his desire for SELF-SERVING PRACTICES.


  6. The hierarchy is so in love with itself it can’t see its own face in the mirror. It’s an illness which has infected billions, and is desperately trying to continue its long held belief that IT IS GOD—that it is GOD’s MOUTHPIECE. It pretends to be humble, or cooperative, when it is deceptive and irresponsible. Many of these men do not even know what they feed on, fuel and foster … they are so ingrained with title—what they believe, which they don’t FORCE anymore because they will loose political footing, and this is: outside THEIR doctrinal church their is NO salvation.

    Really now? Bring it on!

  7. One correction to the evaluation attributed to Pope Francis, the behavior of Jozef Wesolowski was much more than the ecclesiastical description of “so serious.” It was outrageous crime like every other instance of sex abuse. The church continues to try to hide as much as they can of the sex scandal of its celibate and supposedly chaste clergy and religious.

    Church leaders dare to preach morals to anyone when they have spent centuries trying to hide the crimes of their clergy and religious, all based on the criminal position that it is wrong to expose the scandals of “Holy Mother Church.” With a mother like that, who needs a parent?

    The cover-up of the sex abuse continues unabated. Church officials only attend to what public information prevents them from hiding or ignoring.

    Consider all the hullabaloo properly raised about the domestic violence of sport figures in this country. Compare that to the sex scandal of the Catholic Church.

    The public says, “Oh my,” about the domestic abuse and goes right back to supporting the sports players and billionaire team owners.

    The people in the pews say, “Oh my,” about the clergy sex scandal and bishops’ cover-up and go right back to warming those pews, watching the clergy perform, listening to their preaching, and filling the baskets with their hard-earned money so the bishops can use it to pay for the monstrous legal costs and court awards involved in the relatively few cases that are ever adjudicated.

    Unless, of course, a bishop is clever like Cardinal Tim Dolan of New York when he was archbishop of Milwaukee, WI. He took the advice of sleazy Catholic lawyers and sleazy Catholic accountants and transferred diocesan funds to diocesan cemetery endowments so the diocese would be broke and could not afford to pay court awards, but declare bankruptcy instead.

  8. “Be on the watch for false prophets who come to you in sheep’s covering but inside they are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will recognize them…A good tree cannot produce worthless fruit nor can a rotten tree produce fine fruit.

    Every tree not producing fine fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Really then, by their fruits, you will recognize these men.” — Jesus (Matthew 7:15,16;18-20.

    It is very obvious what kind of “fruitage” this religious organization that claims to represent God produces.

  9. When you think about Polish values concerning sex with adolescents, don’t forget about Roman Polansky. Much of Europe has always found the American attitude toward under 18 sex to be strange and quite hard to understand. This archbishop’s partner just took a plea deal before a Polish court to do seven years and pay $42,000 in restitution to victims – and that’s a far cry from rotting in prison for the rest of his life, as you suggest, and which might be the result in many parts of the US. The Vatican is likely to be harsher on him than the Poles! He embarrassed the hell out of the Church. Not the right time to do that in relation to this issue He may be doing time in an Italian Prison. Not my idea of a fun time. This solution, too, avoids some really difficult issues about diplomatic immunity. Nuncios rank as ambassadors, as a matter of fact, under the Treaty of Vienna, they always take precedence among all of the others in any particular capital. This is the best outcome

  10. There’s nothing sleezy about Dolan, he’s a class act. Look, I got parents and two sets of grandparents buried in Milwaukee cemeteries. And a ton of aunts, uncles, two great-grandfathers and one great grandmother. We paid for “perpetual care” for those graves. From that fund, the archdiocese borrowed for administration of the archdiocese. When the lawsuits started coming, the archdiocese paid off the loan – so that the money Catholic Cemeteries took from us in trust for the care of graves, would be safe in their hands and so that we’d have some defense from the inner city Ghetto thug punk vandals who come in frequently to smash every stone think of beauty. None of us or our ancestors abused anybody. But you’d take perpetual care and let the place run wild because some 15 year old kid got a blowjob from a priest. You think he should get money to compensate him for getting blown. Whereas, if he got blown by a classmate, you’d praise him for sexual liberation. You folks are nuts.

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