Polish archbishop-elect resigns before installation

Polish archbishop-elect resigns before installation

Polish archbishop resigns before installation

Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus of Warsaw resigned on January 7, shortly before he was scheduled to be installed as head of the Polish archdiocese.

The installation had become the focus of a tense controversy in Poland after a Church panel confirmed reports that Archbishop Wielgus had been an informer for Poland’s secret police during the Communist era.

The installation Mass that had been scheduled for January 7 became instead a Mass of Thanksgiving for the 25 years of service in Warsaw by Cardinal Jozef Glemp. As the cardinal presided at the Sunday ceremony, the archbishop’s chair, or cathedra, remained conspicuously empty.

I’d blogged about Wielgus last week and the story developed quickly over the weekend. The response of many in the Polish hierarchy and in Rome rapidly changed from “they’re trying to frame him him” to “he didn’t tell us everything.” What a disappointment for Poland.

Wielgus continues to maintain that he never informed on the Church. Meanwhile Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re of the Congregation for Bishops says that the Vatican didn’t know about the “secret police” connection when Wielgus was named and other sources say they only got the full story on Saturday when the Polish government turned over 80 pages of documents.

Update: The backlash begins. The Vatican and the Polish bishops says that documents taken out of context and originally produced by a regime know both for its lies and its hatred of the Church are being used against the Church.

Going by the criticisms made by Cardinal Glemp, the references made by Fr Lombardi in the rest of his statement become clearer: “Many years after the end of the communist regime, now that the great and unassailable figure of John Paul II has gone, the wave of attacks against the Catholic Church in Poland, rather than a sincere quest for transparency and truth, has many aspects of a strange alliance between the persecutors of the past and its other adversaries and a vendetta on the part of those who had persecuted it in the past and were defeated by faith and the desire for freedom of the Polish people.”

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