Vatican City, Oct 21, 2020 / 10:00 am (CNA).- A Polish bishop died from COVID-19 Tuesday at the age of 83.
Bishop Bogdan Wojtuś died at noon local time Oct. 20, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Gniezno.
Wojtuś, a retired auxiliary bishop of Gniezno archdiocese, was admitted to hospital on Saturday after testing positive for the coronavirus.
His funeral will take place in Gniezno cathedral Oct. 24. Afterwards, he will be laid to rest in a crypt alongside other auxiliary bishops in the church at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Gniezno, central-western Poland.
Wojtuś was named an auxiliary bishop by Pope John Paul II in 1993, serving until 2012, when he reached the retirement age of 75.
A number of Polish bishops have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent weeks amid a surge in cases in Poland. They include Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, president of the Polish bishops’ conference.
Gądecki paid tribute to Wojtuś Oct. 21, describing him as “a man of great spirit, unwavering faith and deep love for the Church.”
A spokesman for the Polish bishops’ conference has denied claims that bishops contracted COVID-19 as a result of their plenary meeting in Łódź on Oct. 5-6. He pointed out that not all the infected bishops attended the meeting.
At least 13 other Catholic bishops have died from the coronavirus worldwide. They include Archbishop Oscar Cruz, former president of the Philippines bishops’ conference, Brazilian Bishop Henrique Soares da Costa, and English Bishop Vincent Malone.
Italian Bishop Giovanni D’Alise of Caserta, in southern Italy, died Oct. 4, a few days after being admitted to hospital after contracting the coronavirus.
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May Bogus and all who have perished due to Covid-19 rest in peace. Bishops are no more worthy of a special mention than ordinary lay citizens to be sure. This notwithstanding, the Polish episcopate’s shocking support for the incumbent PiS government and the latter’s breathtaking mismanagement of the pandemic and virus denial makes such news unsurprising. Indeed, the bishops gathering in Lodz earlier this month, when community transmission around the country was rampant, was totally irresponsible and foolish. Add to this some Polish dioceses organising youth rallies, retreats, conferences etc, and you not only have thoughtless conduct but perhaps also reprehensible and illegal behaviour. Ignorance and stupidity, episcopal or otherwise, are not virtues!
Respectful farewell to Bishop Bogdan Wojtuś. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let your perpetual light shine upon the departed soul.