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Pope replaces Polish archbishop on 75th birthday

World News | Published:

Gdansk Archbishop Slawoj Leszek Glodz had featured in a recent documentary about priestly sex abuse and cover-up.

Archbishop Slawoj Leszek Glodz

Pope Francis has continued his clear-out in Poland after revelations of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up.

This has included replacing Gdansk Archbishop Slawoj Leszek Glodz on his 75th birthday.

While all Catholic bishops must offer to retire when they turn 75, it is highly unusual for the Pope to accept such a resignation on their actual birthday.

Vatican Pope
Pope Francis has acted to end the culture of concealment in Poland (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Doing so suggests Francis is keen to send a signal showing his seriousness about ending the culture of concealment within the Polish church hierarchy.

The Pope named a temporary administrator to run the Gdansk archdiocese after accepting Mr Glodz’s resignation.

He had featured in one of the devastating recent documentaries about priestly sex abuse and cover-up in Poland.

In the 2019 film Tell No One, Mr Glodz is shown eulogising a known paedophile priest, the Reverend Franciszek Cybula, the personal chaplain to Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, at his funeral despite knowing of his abuse.

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Abuse survivors also included Mr Glodz in a report identifying two dozen current and retired Polish bishops accused of protecting predator priests.

The report was delivered to Francis on the eve of his 2019 global abuse prevention summit at the Vatican.

Vatican Poland Sex Abuse
Survivor Barbara Borowiecka shared her joy at the news (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)

The archbishop had been criticised by prominent Polish survivor Barbara Borowiecka, a victim of one of the country’s most famous Solidarity-era priests, the late Reverend Henryk Jankowski.

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A statue of Mr Jankowski in Gdansk was toppled and eventually removed last year following her revelations.

Ms Borowiecka, whose decision to go public with her story helped kick-start reform in Poland, was euphoric when she learned of Mr Glodz’s replacement.

“I am so, so happy and shocked,” she said.

“I never expected this news, never in a million years.”

The action by Francis was the second time in two months he has replaced a Polish bishop on the same day they turned 75.

It follows another decision by the Pope to sideline a third Polish bishop pending a Vatican investigation into allegations he covered up for predators.

The Polish bishops’ conference announced the news of Mr Glodz’s resignation in a statement, stressing he had turned 75 and “thus he has reached retirement age and is retiring”.

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