Polish Catholic Archbishop Sanctioned by Vatican Defends Election as Mayor

The apostolic nunciature in Poland announced on March 29 that the Vatican had sanctioned Archbishop Głódź after a probe under the norms of Pope Francis’ 2019 motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi.

Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź.
Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź. (photo: Joanna Adamik (public domain). / Joanna Adamik (public domain).)

VATICAN CITY — A Polish Catholic archbishop sanctioned by the Vatican has defended his election as a village mayor.

Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź told Radio Zet on June 29 that his role as mayor of Piaski, in northeastern Poland, did not conflict with canon law. 

Canon 285 of the Code of Canon Law says that “clerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power.”

But Archbishop Głódź, who holds a doctorate in Eastern Catholic canon law, insisted that the canon did not apply to his new role.

“This is not a government function,” he said.

Archbishop Głódź served the archdiocese of Gdańsk from 2008 to Aug. 13, 2020, when the pope accepted his resignation on his 75th birthday.

The apostolic nunciature in Poland announced on March 29 that the Vatican had sanctioned Archbishop Głódź after a probe under the norms of Pope Francis’ 2019 motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi.

The nunciature said that the Vatican had ordered Głódź to live outside of Gdańsk archdiocese and forbidden him to take part in public religious celebrations or meetings in the archdiocese.

It also instructed him to make a donation from his personal funds to the St. Joseph Foundation, established by the Polish bishops in October 2019 to support abuse victims and promote safeguarding.

The 75-year-old archbishop was elected on June 16 as mayor of Piaski, which is part of Bobrówka, the village where Archbishop Głódź was born in 1945.

Archbishop Głódź’s election comes at a challenging time for the Polish Catholic Church. Since November 2020, the Vatican has disciplined a series of mainly retired Polish bishops after Vos estis investigations.

On June 28, Bishop Zbigniew Kiernikowski resigned as bishop of Legnica, southwestern Poland, days before his 75th birthday after an inquiry into his handling of clerical abuse cases.

Days earlier, the Vatican took action against two other Polish bishops.

Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, a former aide to St. John Paul II, is facing a Vatican investigation into claims that he mishandled abuse cases while serving as archbishop of Kraków from 2005 to 2016.

The Catholic Church in Poland announced on Monday that it had received 368 allegations of clerical abuse in the past two and a half years.

The claims relate to abuse reportedly committed by 292 priests and religious between 1958 and 2020.

A report released June 28 by the Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church said that the allegations were made between July 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2020.

Archbishop Wojciech Polak, the Primate of Poland, stressed last year that the Polish bishops had taken a series of significant steps in response to the abuse crisis. 

“I am convinced that only by standing in truth and taking responsibility for clarifying all crimes and omissions, we will rebuild our credibility and trust in the Church in Poland,” he said.

Dr. John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America, discusses religious freedom at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 16, 2013.

Catholic University’s John Garvey (Sept. 25)

Catholic University of America’s president has announced he is stepping down at the end of the school year. John Garvey’s time at the university has widely been recognized as a period of strengthening Catholic identity and shoring up the academic offerings in the Catholic intellectual and cultural tradition. His work has paid off: student retention has increased and fundraising goals have been topped at record levels. President John Garvey joins us today to tell his story about not only about building up a university but about falling in love with Catholic U.