Rome - Italian press reports said Saturday that there was embarrassment and irritation at the Vatican over the controversial new archbishop of Warsaw, Stanislaw Wielgus, who has been accused of working for the Polish secret service.
Some members of the Roman Curia, the administrative body that runs the Vatican, expressed the concern that Pope Benedict XVI's reputation could be damaged by the affair, La Repubblica reported.
Especially now that Wielgus has admitted working for the secret service, Benedict risked 'cutting a poor figure,' the newspaper said.
Nobody wanted to express it openly in the Vatican, 'but the irritation is great,' the report said.
Polish members of the Curia have demanded that Wielgus step down. 'Archbishop of Warsaw and such a start to his term in office is terrible,' said Adam Boniecki, director of the Polish edition of the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.
Officially the Vatican announced a few days ago that 'they had investigated all the circumstances of his life, including those which related to his past' in their decision to appoint Wielgus archbishop.
The Vatican added more explicitly, 'That means that the Holy Father has the utmost trust in Stansilaw Wielgus.'
The official ceremony installing Wielgus as archbishop is scheduled to take place on Sunday.
On Friday, Wielgus publicly expressed his regret for his error: he had cooperated with the secret service in order to be able to continue travelling abroad, but he never reported anyone to the service, nor had his contacts with the service caused anyone any harm, Wielgus said.
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
I've been thinking about this off and on over the last few days. I have not read all that there is to read on this, so don't hold me to it it.
1. The archbishop-elect has stated that he only did it so he could travel abroad and that he never informed on anyone. If this is in fact the case, then I have a problem with his election and installation.
2. If all these reports out there of three or four code-aliases and deeper ties with the SB than the archbishop-elect is letting on are true, then whether or not he actually told the SB anything sensitive is important. After all, if he reported back to his superiors that that crazy Archbishop of Krakow was saying certain things, well, nothing sensitive there. On the other hand, if he was actually conscientiously informing...
Having never lived in a totalitarian country, I can't say how I would feel. Forgiveness is a great thing, but there is nothing worse than being a quisling.