Polish Bishops Crisis

Nuncio announces new procedures for selection of bishops in Poland

Arch. Jozef Kowalczyk, Apostolic Nuncio to Poland
Arch. Jozef Kowalczyk, Apostolic Nuncio to Poland

.- In the wake of the resignation of Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus of Warsaw, the Apostolic Nuncio to Poland, Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk announced a revamping of the procedures for selecting bishops in the country.

In an interview with the Polish Catholic news agency KAI, Archbishop Kowalczyk announced that in the future, to avoid the kind of problem that occurred with Archbishop Wielgus, “the police and Communist secret service records related to the candidates for bishop should be studied before the nominations are determined.”

Archbishop Wielgus stepped down after admitting he collaborated with the Communist secret service, although he emphasized that his actions never affected or jeopardized the integrity of any Catholic, whether of the clergy or the laity.

“I must say that neither while at the Catholic University of Lublin, where Wielgus was rector for ten years, nor while he was in the Diocese of Plock, where he was bishop for eight years, were we ever informed of anything, not even the existence of the slightest suspicions,” the Nuncio said.

Archbishop Kowalczyk underscored that any Catholic who knows of a reason why a particular priest should not be named bishop or receive a promotion in the Church’s hierarchy should notify the Holy See either directly or through the nunciature.

“And the same goes for the roles of ambassador, minister or journalist, because what matters is following your conscience as a Catholic.  Everyone had this duty in Poland, but nobody visited us to notify us nor did anyone call us on the phone,” he said.

Polish Bishops launch investigation

In addition, the Bishops Conference of Poland announced over the weekend that "The bishops have confirmed the will to carry out a full verification of the truth about ourselves and about the people of the church," said Archbishop Josef Michalik of Przemysl, head of Poland’s conference of Catholic Bishops.

According to Polish media, the Vatican welcomed a decision by the Church in Poland Church to investigate claims of Communist collaboration on the part of clergy.

Polish Radio reports that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of the Holy See, praised the efforts of the Polish Catholic hierarchy and said he hopes, "Polish politicians and state officials will do likewise.”

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