Vatican City, Jul 17, 2020 / 06:00 am
Pope Francis offered his condolences after Polish Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski died early Friday at the age of 80.
The cardinal had worked closely with popes St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI as the former prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. The Polish bishops’ conference announced the cardinal’s death July 17.
“I remember with gratitude the honorable work carried out by him as a valued professor of canon law in the Pontifical Gregorian and Lateran Universities, also as an author of many academic publications,” Pope Francis wrote in the telegram sent to the cardinal’s brother Friday.
The pope said that Grocholewski’s service and work in the Vatican had provided a “witness of priestly zeal, loyalty to the Gospel, and to building up the Church.”
Grocholewski was born on October 11, 1939 in Bródki, Poland. He was ordained in the Archdiocese of Poznań on May 27, 1963, and served for three years at Christ the Redeemer Parish before earning a doctorate in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.
He worked at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura as notary, chancellor, secretary and prefect from 1972 to 1999. During this time he was one of the seven members of the commission that studied the draft of the 1983 Code of Canon Law with John Paul II, and he taught canon law at the Gregorian and Lateran Universities and the Studio Rotale.
John Paul II appointed Grocholewski as a titular bishop in 1982. He was later made an archbishop in 1991 and a cardinal in 2001.
He was the postulator for the canonization cause of St. Edmund Bojanowski, canonized by St. John Paul II in Warsaw in 1999, and of Blessed Sancja Janina Szymkowiak.