Polish Catholic archbishop sanctioned by Vatican defends election as mayor

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff

Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź. / Joanna Adamik (public domain).

Warsaw, Poland, Jul 1, 2021 / 05:05 am (CNA).

A Polish Catholic archbishop sanctioned by the Vatican has defended his election as a village mayor.

Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź told Radio Zet on June 29 that his role as mayor of Piaski, in northeastern Poland, did not conflict with canon law.

Canon 285 of the Code of Canon Law says that “clerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power.”

But Głódź, who holds a doctorate in Eastern Catholic canon law, insisted that the canon did not apply to his new role.

“This is not a government function,” he said.

Głódź served as archbishop of Gdańsk from 2008 to Aug. 13, 2020, when the pope accepted his resignation on his 75th birthday.

The apostolic nunciature in Poland announced on March 29 that the Vatican had sanctioned Głódź after a probe under the norms of Pope Francis’ 2019 motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi.

The nunciature said that the Vatican had ordered Głódź to live outside of Gdańsk archdiocese and forbidden him to take part in public religious celebrations or meetings in the archdiocese.

It also instructed him to make a donation from his personal funds to the St. Joseph Foundation, established by the Polish bishops in October 2019 to support abuse victims and promote safeguarding.

The 75-year-old archbishop was elected on June 16 as mayor of Piaski, which is part of Bobrówka, the village where Głódź was born in 1945.

Głódź’s election comes at a challenging time for the Polish Catholic Church. Since November 2020, the Vatican has disciplined a series of mainly retired Polish bishops after Vos estis investigations.

On June 28, Bishop Zbigniew Kiernikowski resigned as bishop of Legnica, southwestern Poland, days before his 75th birthday after an inquiry into his handling of clerical abuse cases.

Days earlier, the Vatican took action against two other Polish bishops.

Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, a former aide to St. John Paul II, is facing a Vatican investigation into claims that he mishandled abuse cases while serving as archbishop of Kraków from 2005 to 2016.

The Catholic Church in Poland announced on Monday that it had received 368 allegations of clerical abuse in the past two and a half years.

The claims relate to abuse reportedly committed by 292 priests and religious between 1958 and 2020.

A report released June 28 by the Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church said that the allegations were made between July 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2020.

Archbishop Wojciech Polak, the Primate of Poland, stressed last year that the Polish bishops had taken a series of significant steps in response to the abuse crisis.

“I am convinced that only by standing in truth and taking responsibility for clarifying all crimes and omissions, we will rebuild our credibility and trust in the Church in Poland,” he said.

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