Poland thought it had started confronting the problem of clerical abuse and its cover-up by church authorities. Then a bombshell came: A documentary with victim testimony so harrowing it has forced an unprecedented reckoning with pedophile priests in one of Europe’s most deeply Catholic societies.

Poland’s bishops acknowledged this week they face a crisis and admitted they have failed to protect the young. It’s also a crisis for Poland’s conservative government, which is closely aligned with the Catholic Church, putting the ruling Law and Justice Party on the defensive before Sunday’s European Parliament vote.

Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski had earlier described discussions about clerical abuse as a “brutal attack” on the church but the revelations in the documentary “Tell No One ” have pushed the party to face up to the cleric abuse crisis.

In this photo taken on May 15, 2019, Barbara Borowiecka and and Michał Wojciechowicz, both alleged survivors of abuse as minors by a prominent Solidarity-era priest talk, during an interview with The Associated Press. A documentary film with testimony by victims of clerical abuse in Poland is so harrowing that it has forced an unprecedented reckoning with the problem in one of Europe’s most deeply Catholic societies. In December, Borowiecka, 62, told Polish media about being abused when she was 11 by Henryk Jankowski, a prominent prelate in Lech Walesa’s anti-communist Solidarity movement in Gdansk, where a monument of him stood. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
In this photo taken on May 15, 2019, Barbara Borowiecka and and Michał Wojciechowicz, both alleged survivors of abuse as minors by a prominent Solidarity-era priest talk, during an interview with The Associated Press. A documentary film with testimony by victims of clerical abuse in Poland is so harrowing that it has forced an unprecedented reckoning with the problem in one of Europe’s most deeply Catholic societies. In December, Borowiecka, 62, told Polish media about being abused when she was 11 by Henryk Jankowski, a prominent prelate in Lech Walesa’s anti-communist Solidarity movement in Gdansk, where a monument of him stood. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
FILE  - In this Thursday Feb. 21, 2019 file photo, activists in Poland pull down a statue of a prominent deceased priest, Father Henryk Jankowski, who allegedly abused minors sexually, in Gdansk, Poland. A documentary film with testimony by victims of clerical abuse in Poland is so harrowing that it has forced an unprecedented reckoning with the problem in one of Europe’s most deeply Catholic societies. (Bartek Sabela/Gazeta Wyborcza, via AP, File)
FILE – In this Thursday Feb. 21, 2019 file photo, activists in Poland pull down a statue of a prominent deceased priest, Father Henryk Jankowski, who allegedly abused minors sexually, in Gdansk, Poland. A documentary film with testimony by victims of clerical abuse in Poland is so harrowing that it has forced an unprecedented reckoning with the problem in one of Europe’s most deeply Catholic societies. (Bartek Sabela/Gazeta Wyborcza, via AP, File)
In this photo taken May 1, 2019, from left, activists, Konrad Korzeniowski, Michał Wojcieszczuk, abuse survivor Barbara Borowiecka, and activist Rafał Suszek, pose for a photo. A documentary film with testimony by victims of clerical abuse in Poland is so harrowing that it has forced an unprecedented reckoning with the problem in one of Europe’s most deeply Catholic societies. (AP Photo/Marta A. Hallay-Suszek)
In this photo taken May 1, 2019, from left, activists, Konrad Korzeniowski, Michał Wojcieszczuk, abuse survivor Barbara Borowiecka, and activist Rafał Suszek, pose for a photo. A documentary film with testimony by victims of clerical abuse in Poland is so harrowing that it has forced an unprecedented reckoning with the problem in one of Europe’s most deeply Catholic societies. (AP Photo/Marta A. Hallay-Suszek)
In this photo was taken April 6, 2019, activists Rafał Suszek, left, Michał Wojcieszczuk, center, and Konrad Korzeniowski, who toppled a statue of an alleged pedophile priest pose for a picture on the sidelines of an anti-fascist rally in Warsaw, Poland. A documentary film with testimony by victims of clerical abuse in Poland is so harrowing that it has forced an unprecedented reckoning with the problem in one of Europe’s most deeply Catholic societies.  (AP Photo/Grzegorz Lach)
In this photo was taken April 6, 2019, activists Rafał Suszek, left, Michał Wojcieszczuk, center, and Konrad Korzeniowski, who toppled a statue of an alleged pedophile priest pose for a picture on the sidelines of an anti-fascist rally in Warsaw, Poland. A documentary film with testimony by victims of clerical abuse in Poland is so harrowing that it has forced an unprecedented reckoning with the problem in one of Europe’s most deeply Catholic societies. (AP Photo/Grzegorz Lach)

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