In a note released at midday yesterday, the apostolic nunciature to Poland stated that: "Metropolitan Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus of Warsaw, Poland, on the day in which he was scheduled to enter the cathedral basilica to begin his pastoral ministry in the Church of Warsaw, has presented His Holiness Benedict XVI with his resignation from canonical office, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
"The Holy Father has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus and has appointed Cardinal Jozef Glemp, primate of Poland, as diocesan administrator of Warsaw, until further notice." The note bears the signature of Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk, apostolic nuncio to Poland.
For his part, Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. released the following declaration to journalists today:
"Archbishop Wielgus' conduct in the past years of the communist regime in Poland has seriously compromised his authority, even with the faithful. Therefore, despite his humble and touching request for forgiveness, his resignation from the see of Warsaw and its prompt acceptance on the part of the Holy Father seemed an appropriate way to address the disorientation that has been created in that country.
"It is a time of great suffering for a Church to which we all owe so much and which we love. A Church that has given us pastors of the stature of Cardinal Stefan Wyszybnski and, above all, of Pope John Paul II. The universal Church must feel spiritually united to the Church in Poland and support her with prayer and encouragement, so she may soon recover her serenity.
"At the same time, it must be remarked that the case of Archbishop Wielgus is not the first and will probably not be the last time that personalities of the Church are attacked on the basis of documentation from the security services of the former regime. There is an enormous amount of material and, in attempting to assess its value and draw reliable conclusions, it must not be forgotten that it was produced by officials of an oppressive and blackmailing regime.
"So many years after the end of the communist regime, with the loss of the great and unassailable figure of Pope John Paul II, the current wave of attacks against the Catholic Church in Poland, rather than a sincere search for transparency and truth, has many hallmarks of being a strange alliance between the persecutors of the past and their adversaries, a vendetta by those who used to persecute the Church and were defeated by the faith and the thirst for freedom of the Polish people.
"'The truth will make you free,' says Christ. The Church is not afraid of the truth and her members, to be faithful to their Lord, must be able to acknowledge their own faults. We hope that the Church in Poland will be able to live and surmount this difficult period courageously and clearly, so that she will be able to continue to offer her precious and extraordinary contribution of faith and evangelical energy to the Church in Europe and the world."