Vatican imposes disciplinary measures on 97-year-old Polish cardinal

Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz, left. Credit: Piotr Drabik via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

The apostolic nunciature in Poland announced Friday disciplinary measures against a 97-year-old cardinal.

In a statement today, posted on the apostolic nunciature’s website, said that Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz would be subject to strict restrictions as the result of an investigation.

The nunciature did not specify why it had taken the step. It said only that the Holy See had imposed the measures “as a result of the investigation of the accusations against Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz and after analyzing other accusations concerning the past of the cardinal.”

The nunciature explained that the churchman, who served as archbishop of Wrocław, in southwest Poland, from 1976 to 2004, was prohibited from attending any celebrations or public meetings. He was also forbidden to use bishops’ insignia.

In addition, he was forbidden to have a funeral service at the city’s Cathedral of St. John the Baptist or to be buried in the cathedral.

Finally, the cardinal was required to donate an “appropriate” sum of money to the St. Joseph Foundation, established by the Polish bishops in October 2019 to support abuse victims and promote safeguarding. 

Gulbinowicz was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 17 October 1923, when the city was known as Wilno and belonged to Poland. He was ordained a bishop in 1970 by Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński. He was appointed a cardinal in 1985 by Pope John Paul II. 

He was a notable supporter of the trade union Solidarity, which played a critical role in the collapse of communism in Poland.

John Paul II accepted his resignation as archbishop of Wrocław on 3 April 2004, when Gulbinowicz was aged 80.

The announcement comes a day after the apostolic nunciature said that the diocesan phase of an investigation into an archbishop accused of negligence had ended.

A 4 November statement, posted on the Twitter account of the office of the Polish bishops’ delegate for child protection, said that the inquiry concerning Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź was taking place according to the procedures set out in Pope Francis’ 2019 motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi.

In 2019, the Polish bishops’ conference issued a report which concluded that 382 clergy sexually abused a total of 624 victims between 1990 and 2018.

In June this year, the Archdiocese of Poznań announced that the Vatican Congregation for the Bishops had authorized Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki to conduct a preliminary investigation of accusations against Bishop Edward Janiak of Kalisz under Vos estis

Pope Francis accepted Janiak’s resignation last month.

On Oct. 9, the archdiocese of Kraków announced a Vos estis investigation into another Polish bishop. The archdiocese said that the pope had authorized Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski of Kraków to conduct an inquiry into negligence claims against Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy, concerning abuse cases involving two priests in Bielsko-Żywiec diocese.

Rakoczy, 82, served as bishop of Bielsko–Żywiec from 1992 until his retirement in 2013.

Source: CNA