A day after Warsaw's new archbishop stunned the faithful by resigning minutes before his formal installation ceremony, the Rev. Janusz Bielanski resigned as rector of Krakow's prestigious Wawel Cathedral, burial place to Polish kings and queens, Krakow church spokesman Robert Necek said.
Bielanski's resignation was "in connection with repeated allegations about his cooperation with the secret services" of the communist era, Necek said. He added that Krakow's archbishop, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, accepted the resignation.
The allegations against Bielanski first surfaced last February, but the timing of his resignation deepens the sense of crisis around the church over the issue of priests who were compromised by the secret police.
According to sociologist Lena Kolarska-Bobinska, the Wielgus affair exploded because church leaders have simply refused to "face the reality" about uncomfortable chapters in its history and address them openly.
"Now they suddenly have to face a democratic environment _ with the press and the like," said Kolarska-Bobinska, director of the Institute for Public Affairs, a Warsaw-based think tank. "The church in the United States has responded to the democratic challenges, but here the church was trying to close its eyes, hoping that would never happen."
The New York Times:
The archbishop’s resignation has divided the church between those, like Cardinal Jozef Glemp, who were angered that public pressure had scuttled the appointment and the 60 percent who wanted him to step down, according to a recent survey.
The cardinal, who held the archbishop’s post before the appointment of Bishop Wielgus and was reappointed to the job temporarily after the resignation, publicly defended Bishop Wielgus on Sunday.
Poland’s conservative Dziennik daily newspaper called Cardinal Glemp’s defense a “huge mistake,” writing that “he didn’t even mention that the archbishop lied to the last minute. That he lied to the pope, bishops and faithful.”
The turmoil in Poland reverberated back to the Vatican, amid deepening questions of why officials gave such strong support to Bishop Wielgus’s contentious appointment in a place of such importance to the Catholic Church.
Funny how the NYT piece doesn't even name Father Bielanski.