Vatican bans abuser archbishop from World Youth Day

A Polish archbishop who molested seminarians has been warned by the Vatican to stay away from public church celebrations, including World Youth Day.

Media reports had stated Archbishop Juliusz Paetz, formerly of Poznan, saw no reason he could not participate in commemorations of the foundation of Christianity in Poland.

The commemorations, from April 14-16, will be attended by Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

The Vatican wrote to Archbishop Paetz warning him off the celebrations.

“The Holy Father decisively reiterates his invitation for you to live a life of privacy in repentance and prayer,” stated Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican’s Warsaw-based nuncio.

“Media news about your participation in official celebrations of the anniversary of Poland’s baptism has created a new situation of unnecessary and harmful commotion for the church in Poland and the Holy See. It blatantly contradicts the instructions given you.”

The Polish bishops’ conference press office said the archbishop had been warned by the Vatican in 2013 to “refrain from participating in public celebrations”.

The office added that it was “hard to imagine” he would again ignore the order during Pope Francis’s July 27-31 visit to Poland for World Youth Day in Krakow.

St John Paul II accepted Paetz’s resignation in 2002 after the archbishop was accused of repeatedly abusing seminarians.

However, the archbishop continued living at the Poznan curia and participating in Church events, including the consecration of bishops, as well as attending papal audiences in Rome.

In 2006, he was shown on Polish TV greeting Pope Benedict XVI during the now-retired pope’s visit.

In 2009, a telegram from the Pope was published at Paetz’s request in a Catholic weekly, congratulating him on his “fruitful service” and “saving work for the good of the church”.

Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, confirmed in 2010 that the archbishop’s “rehabilitation was without foundation”.

Fr Lombardi said that removing a 2002 ban on administering sacraments in his former diocese would depend on Poznan’s current archbishop, Stanislaw Gadecki, who is also president of the Polish bishops’ conference.


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