OXFORD, England (CNS): Polish Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus of Warsaw resigned just two days after formally taking office, after admitting that he had acted as an informer for Poland’s former Communist secret police and that his co-operation harmed the Church.
Although the media officially learned of his resignation less than two hours before what was to have been Archbishop Wielgus’ installation Mass on January 7, the archbishop made the announcement to the congregation just after the start of the ceremony in Warsaw’s St John Cathedral.
The Mass was turned into a service of thanksgiving for the work of his predecessor, Cardinal Jozef Glemp.
In a short statement on January 7, the Vatican’s apostolic nunciature in Warsaw said Pope Benedict XVI had accepted the archbishop’s resignation under Canon 401, which states, “A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfil his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office”.
In Rome, the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said Archbishop Wielgus’ resignation was “appropriate” because his authority as bishop had been compromised.