Action Alert!

Catholic World News News Feature

Polish prelate who resigned in 2002 meets with Pope Benedict February 02, 2007

Archbishop Julius Paetz, the Polish prelate who resigned in March 2002 amid sexual-abuse allegations, met quietly with Pope Benedict XVI after the Pope’s weekly audience on January 31, observers report.

Archbishop Paetz relinquished his leadership of the Poznan archdiocese after he was accused of making sexual overtures toward seminarians. After insisting that the charges were false, Archbishop Paetz submitted a letter of resignation to Pope John Paul II on March 28, 2002. The Pope immediately accepted the resignation, thereby fueling speculation that Archbishop Paetz had stepped down on orders from the Vatican.

Accusations against the archbishop had reportedly surfaced as early as 1999, and the rector of the archdiocesan seminary instituted a policy requiring supervision of the prelate during all visits. Yet Catholics in Poznan complained that the Vatican had failed to take action until the scandal burst into public view.

Shortly after the archbishop’s resignation, several priests and laymen from Poznan said that they had delivered a warning to the Vatican in 1999, to no avail. At that time, the Poznan Catholics did not identify the Vatican officials with whom they had conferred. But in January of this year, during the unrest that followed the forced resignation of Warsaw’s Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus, the Polish newspaper Glos Wielkopolski reported that the warning had been delivered to Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz-- who was then the personal secretary to Pope John Paul II, and is now Archbishop of Krakow. According to the Glos Wielkopolski, Msgr. Dziwisz did not pass the information along to Pope John Paul.