Pope Francis has wasted no time in accepting the resignation of an archbishop in Poland mired in controversy, sidelining him on the day of his 75th birthday, when bishops are required by canon law to offer their retirement.
The Vatican announced August 13 that the pontiff had dismissed Archbishop of Gdansk Slawoj Leszek Glodz and entrusted the pastoral care of the northern Polish archdiocese to the Bishop of Elblag, Jacek Jezierski (70).
Born on August 13, 1945, Glodz had headed up the Gdansk archdiocese since 2008.
Before that appointment, the prelate obtained a doctorate in canon law and was ordained priest in 1970 before working for ten years in the Vatican from 1981 as the head of the section of the Churches of the Ukrainian and Ruthenian rites at the Congregation for Oriental Churches.
In 1991, Glodz was appointed bishop of the Polish Military Ordinariate before becoming in turn the ordinary of the Warszawa-Praga diocese from 2004.
Despite that distinguished ecclesiastical career, Glodz’s reputation began to sour in October last year when 16 priests of the Gdansk archdiocese complained on television and in a joint letter to the papal nuncio in Warsaw about the bishop’s leadership style.
The whistleblower priests accused Glodz of bullying, verbal humiliation and psychological and emotional abuse, but the-then Gdansk archbishop denied the allegations.
Glodz – who gained a certain notoriety for his lavish lifestyle and his love of luxury – was also accused of having kept silent about the alleged actions of several priests accused by the Polish prosecutor’s office of pedophilia.
The bishop was suspected of having covered up the crimes of clerics like former chaplain of the Solidarity movement Father Henryk Jankowski, who from 2004 was denounced on a number of occasions for supposed child sex abuse before he died in 2010.
Jankowski was never convicted.
At the beginning of March this year, a group of Gdansk Catholics also sent a letter to the Pope calling for Glodz’s ouster before the retirement age of 75, denouncing that the prelate had “lost the moral credibility necessary to exercise the ministry of diocesan bishop”.
According to canon law, bishops are required to offer the Pope their resignation from office when they reach the age of 75, but it is not a hard and fast rule that the pontiff must necessarily accept their retirement, with it being open to him to keep bishops in their posts for longer.