Vatican intervenes over Polish bishop in molestation scandal
PR dla Zagranicy
The papal nuncio in Warsaw has intervened after indications that a Polish bishop once accused of molesting seminarians was due to take part in events marking the 1050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland.
Archbishop Julisz Paetz. Photo: wikimedia commons/stiopa
In a statement released by the Polish Episcopate on Wednesday, the Church confirmed that the Vatican opposes Archbishop Juliusz Paetz playing any role in this week's events.
“Once again, the papal nuncio personally reminded Archbishop Juliusz Paetz today of the instructions he received three years ago that he should refrain from participating in public celebrations,” the statement clarifies.
“It is hard to imagine that this would not be maintained during celebrations attended by the papal legate, not to mention the visit of the Holy Father in Poland on the occasion of World Youth Day [in July].”
Celebrations marking the Baptism of Poland are due to be held on Friday in Poznań, western Poland. Paetz was Archbishop of Poznań before being compelled to stand down in March 2002, although he retains the role of senior bishop in the city.
Yesterday, Archbishop Paetz indicated that he would be taking part in the celebrations when asked by a Polish journalist whether this was the case.
“And why not?” the bishop said.
“I am on home ground [here in Poznań].”
Archbishop Paetz never admitted to being guilty of the allegations that he had molested young seminarians and priests.
He said at the time that he had fallen victim to the misinterpretation of his “kindness and spontaneity.”
Poland's Rzeczpospolita newspaper had published material in February 2002 in which numerous unidentified clerics accused the archbishop of sexual harassment.
The Vatican launched an inquiry, leading to the archbishop's resignation. The then Polish pontiff John Paul II described the situation as “a grave scandal.” In a March 2002 homily, the pope called for prayers “to our brothers who did not meet their commitments that came with priestly ordination.” (nh/pk)