Vatican sanctions retired Polish archbishop after ‘Vos estis’ cover-up inquiry

Archbishop emeritus Marian Gołębiewski of Wrocław, Poland. Archbishop emeritus Marian Gołębiewski of Wrocław, Poland/ Bartosz Senderek via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.5

The Vatican has imposed penalties on another Catholic bishop in Poland after he was found to have mishandled cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests in his diocese.

Retired archbishop Marian Gołębiewski was sanctioned following an investigation carried out under the norms of Pope Francis’ motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi, according to an Aug. 21 press release from the Archdiocese of Wrocław.

Gołębiewski, 83, retired as archbishop of Wrocław in 2013 after nine years at the helm. He was also the leader of the Diocese of Koszalin-Kołobrzeg from 1996 to 2004.

The Vatican has ordered Gołębiewski “to live a life in a spirit of penance and prayer” and he is banned from participating “in any public ceremonies, both church and secular.”

“By way of penance,” the retired archbishop must also give “an appropriate amount” from his personal funds to the Polish bishops’ St. Joseph Foundation, which works to prevent abuse and assists victims of abuse.

The Holy See disciplined Gołębiewski for “omissions” in handling cases of sexual abuse of minors by some priests in the two dioceses he led prior to his retirement, according to the Wrocław press release.

Gołębiewski is a native of Trzebuchów, a village in west-central Poland. He has degrees in Sacred Scripture and a doctorate in theology.

He is one of several Catholic bishops in Poland to have been investigated under Vos estis lux mundi for the cover up of clerical sexual abuse.

In May, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of 72-year-old Bishop Jan Tyrawa, who had submitted his letter of resignation to the pope at the end of a Vatican-led investigation into accusations he mishandled cases of clerical sexual abuse of minors.

The Vatican also imposed penalties on retired Polish Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy in May after an investigation into his handling of sexual abuse cases.

In March, sanctions were also applied to Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź and Bishop Edward Janiak for negligence in handling sexual abuse of minors by clergy in their dioceses.

Vos estis lux mundi, which took effect in June 2019, is now in the last year of a three-year trial period.

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