Sixteen priests have sent a letter to the Pope’s representative in Poland accusing the Archbishop of Gdansk of bullying, verbal humiliation and emotional abuse.
Driving the news
The priests’ accusations against Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź were first aired last week in an investigative report broadcast on the TVN24 channel.
On that program, a dozen anonymous priests accused the bishop of regularly bullying subordinates and of offering Church positions for financial gain, which the bishop used to fund a “lavish lifestyle”.
Public humiliations, vulgar and abusive language and a culture of fear were characteristic of the environment in the archdiocese, the priests denounced.
One priest even accused Głódź of harassing him about his weight.
“If you put on another kilogram, I’ll f…ing get rid of you in a year”, that priest said the archbishop told him.
Though the accusations against Głódź that were aired on TVN24 were anonymous, sixteen priests have now signed their names to them in a letter released to Polish news agency PAP and sent to the papal nuncio in Poland, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio.
The letter – which also includes allegations of blackmail and intimidation – was signed by the Warsaw philosophy professor and priest Adam Swiezynski, among others.
TVN24 also said that the last two nuncios in Poland have been aware of the accusations against Głódź but have refused to take any action.
But well-known Catholic journalist and commentator Tomasz Terlikowski yesterday called the archbishop’s behaviour “scandalous”, and called for his dismissal.
Terlikowski said Głódź may be forced to step down anyway in coming months, as he reaches the mandatory retirement age for bishops of 75 in August 2020, at which point he will be required to offer his resignation to Pope Francis.
For the record
For its part, the Archdiocese of Gdansk furiously denied the accusations against its archbishop.
In a statement signed by Głódź’s auxiliary bishops, cathedral chapter and senior priests, the archdiocese expressed its “indignation” and “rejection” of the allegations, “which do not correspond to reality”.
The archdiocese added that the initial anonymous accusations on TVN24 had distorted the image of the archbishop, and said the reports were not just a “plot against the pastor of the archdiocese”, but a “systematic attack on the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese of Gdansk”.
Polish Primate Archbishop Wojciech Polak, meanwhile, told TVN24 that nobody had told him about the complaints against Głódź.
Polak explained that, in any case, the Vatican Embassy in Warsaw is responsible for handling the complaints against the archbishop.