Former Wrocław Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz has been in the hospital for several days. The clergyman was hospitalized before the information about sanctions imposed on him by the Vatican was made public. The condition of the 97-year-old priest is described as “very heavy but stable”.
– Cardinal Gulbinowicz has been in the hospital for a week. His condition is very difficult, but stable – Fr. Rafał Kowalski, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Wrocław.
The Vatican has decided
Last Friday, the Apostolic Nunciature in Poland published a communiqué on Cardinal Gulbinowicz. “As a result of the investigation into the accusations made against Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz and after analyzing other allegations concerning the cardinal, the Holy See decided to prohibit him from participating in any public celebrations or meetings and to prohibit the use of bishop’s insignia” – it was written in the document.
The hierarch was also “deprived of the right to a funeral service in the cathedral and a burial in the cathedral.” He was ordered to pay “a certain amount of money as a donation for the activities of the Saint Joseph Foundation established by the Polish Bishops’ Conference to support the Church’s activities for victims of sexual abuse, psychological assistance, and prevention and education of persons responsible for the protection of minors.”
“Some people have been badly hurt in the past”
The Archdiocese of Wrocław apologized to those injured by Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz. “The severity of the sanctions applied to the cardinal indicates that the investigation confirmed the truthfulness of the charges against the cardinal in the public space. The fact that the matter was taken up, clarified and completed confirms that the Church does not have any concessions for this type of crime and that there will be no consent to tolerate them “- wrote the spokesman of the Archdiocese of Wrocław in a statement. He pointed out that the announcement of the Apostolic Nunciature regarding Cardinal Gulbinowicz is painful for the Church in Wrocław. “It shows that in the past some people were seriously harmed by the clergyman who led our diocese. These people deserve the word: + sorry + and they deserved this sentence. We express our respect for them and declare readiness to support and help” – stated Fr. Kowalski.
They want their titles
After the publication of the announcement of the Apostolic Nunciature, there were voices calling for the clergy to be stripped of the various titles and decorations that had been awarded to him for years.
“In the light of the findings of the Holy See and the communiqué issued by the Nunciature, Henryk Gulbinowicz should lose the title of Civitate Wratislaviensi Donatus,” wrote the Mayor of Wrocław, Jacek Sutryk, and declared that he would support the motion to withdraw the title of Honorary Citizen of Wrocław from the Cardinal. A clergyman may also be deprived of the honorary citizenship of Białystok and the Order of the Smile, i.e. a decoration awarded for activities for children.
Charges of Harassment
In May 2019, a notification was sent to the District Prosecutor’s Office in Wrocław about the suspicion of committing a crime by Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz. It was about the sexual harassment case. However, after a few months, the prosecutor’s office refused to initiate the investigation.
The figure of Cardinal Gulbinowicz also appeared in the film “Just do not tell anyone” by Tomasz Sekielski, in which cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy were presented. It indicated that after the detention of the former priest Paweł K. in 2005, he was vouched by the Archbishop of Wrocław, Archbishop Marian Gołębiewski. However, he quickly withdrew this guarantee. Then, according to Sekielski’s document, the surety was given by Cardinal Gulbinowicz, a retired bishop of the Archdiocese of Wrocław. Thanks to this surety, K. was supposed to avoid being arrested on remand, the document shows. K. was convicted of being active in pedophilia.
Main photo source: PAP / Maciej Kulczyński