The Vatican has issued a disciplinary document for Polish clergy after reports that some priests were becoming involved in business ventures or other controversial public activities that threatened the unity of the Church.
The document, issued by Vatican nuncio Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk, reminds priests that they must obey Church law and states that all priests’ public activity outside the Church must, from now on, require written permission of the bishops or their superiors.
A spokesman of the Polish Episcopate, Fr. Jozef Kloch, told Polskie Radio that the document touches upon some worrying developments in the Catholic Church in Poland.
During a recent visit to the Vatican, Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek pointed out that the Polish bishops have no say over the Catholic broadcasters Radio Maryja and TV Trwam. As well, he gave the example of a controversial priest, Fr. Henryk Jankowski, who used to market wine bearing his name and now is opening an institute again bearing his name, without clearing it with any of his superiors. In addition, a group of priests recently obtained about a $128-million credit from a bank.
The Vatican document will be sent to bishops in dioceses and superiors of religious orders. It is also to be discussed at a plenary meeting of Polish bishops at the end of January.