After Pope Benedict appointed Bishop Stanislaus Wielgus of Plock, Poland, to become Archbishop of Warsaw to succeed Cardinal Jozef Glemp, Primate of Poland, a huge controversy broke out in that country. The media has been on fire with accusations that Wielgus was a spy for the Communists during the Iron Curtain days.
The Vatican today released a statement of the Polish bishops’ conference and its own statement in reply to those accusations:
Communique from the Polish Episcopal Conference:
“On the subject of the accusations launched by the Polish media against Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus, the presidency of the Polish Episcopal Conference draws attention to the public injury that has been inflicted against a specific person’s right to a good reputation.
“The situation that has been created provokes even greater unease because it is a clear example of ‘wildcat lustration’ (lustration being a technical term to refer to the procedure for attributing responsibility of collaborating with the security services of the communist regime). Such a situation is particularly offensive in the case of an ecclesiastic. In fact, the simple fact of a conversation taking place between a priest and members of the communist security services cannot of itself prove immoral collaboration; especially because, not infrequently, such conversations were of an administrative nature, or had to be undertaken for pastoral reasons or to study, and with the consent of the bishop.
“We thus request that respect be shown for the decision of the Holy Father Benedict XVI, who has expressed his faith in the person appointed, entrusting him with the office of metropolitan archbishop of Warsaw.
“Expressing our solidarity with Archbishop Wielgus, we entrust his person and the task he has been given to God.
“We trust that the media storm that has been created will not ruin the religious and family atmosphere that accompanies the Feast of Christmas.”
Communique from the Holy See Press Office:
“The Holy See, in choosing to appoint the new metropolitan archbishop of Warsaw, took into consideration all the circumstances of his life, including those regarding his past. This means that the Holy Father nourishes complete trust in Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus and, in full awareness, has entrusted him with the mission of pastor of the archdiocese of Warsaw.”
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