Made public today was a Letter from Benedict XVI to Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus, emeritus of Warsaw, Poland. The text bears the date of February 12.
The Holy Father thanks the archbishop "for the trust with which you opened your soul before me, showing the anguished suffering of you heart throughout your life as a priest and bishop, until the moment of your resignation from the office of archbishop of Warsaw.
"In recent times I have participated in you sufferings and wish to assure you of my spiritual closeness and fraternal understanding.
"As for the past, I am fully aware of the exceptional circumstances in which you had to undertake your service, when the communist regime in Poland used all possible means to suffocate the freedom of citizens, and particularly of the clergy.
"As rector of the University of Lublin and as bishop of Plock you gave proof of your great piety, and of your profound love for Jesus Christ and for the Church.
"When, one month ago, you presented your resignation in the awareness that the situation that had arisen made it impossible for you to begin your episcopal service with the indispensable degree of authority, I clearly saw in this act a profound sensitivity for the good of the Church of Warsaw and of Poland, as well as your own humility and detachment from office.
"I would like, first of all, to encourage you to maintain faith and serenity of heart. I express the desire that you may resume your activity at the service of Christ, in whatever way proves possible, so that your vast and profound knowledge and priestly piety may be used for the good of the beloved Church in Poland.
"The episcopal mission, today as in the past, is marked by suffering. May Our Lord never cease to support you with His grace. Help will also come from the friendship of brother bishops and of the people who have known and respected you."