At the crossroads – the Polish Catholic Church seeks a new role Cover Image

Útelágazás – új szerepet keres a lengyel katolikus egyház
At the crossroads – the Polish Catholic Church seeks a new role

Author(s): Éva Szécsi
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Globális Tudás Alapítvány

Summary/Abstract: Stanislaw Wielgus, bishop of the northern Polish town of Plock, was designated by Pope Benedict XVI as successor to the 77-year-old Józef Glemp as cardinal of Warsaw, the foremost Catholic position in Poland. However, almost immediately following the appointment, the Polish press published swaths of revelatory articles (containing both facts and innuendo) suggesting that Wielgus had worked as an informant for the Polish secret police. Nonetheless, the Holy See, and specifically Benedict XVI, assured the cardinal-designate – an internationally renowned theologian considered a hardliner and also known to be close to the frequently anti-Semitic Radio Maryja, which relentlessly castigates Poland’s communist past and politicians who were in some way involved in it – of his full confidence. The ordination ceremony was scheduled to take place on Sunday, 7th January, in Warsaw Cathedral. However, the ordination turned instead into a resignation, mea culpa and apology, and the festive event instead became a thanksgiving mass for Cardinal Glemp. At the joint request of the Vatican and the Polish episcopacy, Glemp remained in office. Though the open storm may have settled, the crisis and the dilemma remain, affecting not only the Polish Catholic Church, but the Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI personally as well. The Wielgus affair is considerably more than a simple informant scandal, and despite appearances raises problems that are not new. Indeed, the crisis has in fact much deeper roots, both in Poland and in the Vatican.

  • Issue Year: 2007
  • Issue No: 01
  • Page Range: 53-64
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: Hungarian