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Polish archbishop, suspended in 2002, restored to episcopal ministry

June 18, 2010

Archbishop Julius Paetz of Poznan stepped down in 2002 after he was accused of making sexual overtures toward seminarians. Archbishop Paetz insisted that the charges were part of a “broadly conceived and systematically conducted” campaign to smear his reputation. But other Polish Church officials pressed for his removal, and he was eventually suspended from episcopal ministry.

Now the Congregation for Bishops has lifted that suspension. The Poznan archdiocese confirmed that Archbishop Paetz has been restored to active ministry. He remains in retirement, and at the age of 75 he is unlikely to receive another diocesan assignment. But he may perform ordinations and confirmations. “The archbishop has strived for the ban to be lifted for several years and now wants the Vatican’s decision to be announced in all Poznan churches,” the archdiocese announced.

The Vatican move came despite the reported objections of Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, the current head of the Poznan archdiocese. Early media reports in Poland said that Archbishop Gadecki had resigned in protest. The Vatican quickly denied those reports.

[The Polskie Radio report suggests that the “recent retirement of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re as Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops” might have been a factor in the lifting of the suspension. That is inaccurate. Although Cardinal Re submitted his resignation, as required by canon law, when he reached his 75th birthday, the Pope has not yet accepted it, and the Italian cardinal remains at the head of the Congregation for Bishops.]

Update (6/21): The Vatican has denied the report that Archbishop Paetz was restored to ministry. See the June 21 CWN headline story.)


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  • Posted by: wsw33410 - Jun. 21, 2010 6:57 AM ET USA

    The story must be corrected - I live in Poland and must clarify (in short) that specifically liberal Polish media misrepresented the Archbishop-Senior Paetz's attempt to regain some privileges - mainly allowing to preside the public liturgies (this was repeated by Western media without verifying it with Vatican). However, the current Archbishop of Poznan - Stanislaw Gadecki - stopped it immediately, and Vatican backed off. More on that was said by Fr. Lombardi past Saturda

  • Posted by: - Jun. 19, 2010 1:13 PM ET USA

    This, hopefully, illustrates that the scandal can also be used in an illegitimate way to settle personal scores without regard to truth. If the Bishop is innocent, he should not be persecuted based upon lies.

  • Posted by: opraem - Jun. 18, 2010 7:20 PM ET USA

    seems the pope's tough policy doesn't apply to bishops, unfortunately. until the hierarchy is zero tolerant for abusers and those who cover up for them, the media and other critics will have credible claims that the church is a nest of pederasts.