‘Hard times’ ahead for Church in Poland after cardinal sanctioned by Vatican


November 7, 2020

By Paulina Guzik

Krakow, Poland – In an unprecedented move for the Polish Church, the Vatican banned a retired cardinal from public ministry, public appearances, and the use of the bishop’s insignia.

Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz of Wrocław also cannot be buried in the archdiocesan cathedral after his death.

The disciplinary measures are a historic and symbolic moment for the Church in Poland.


The abuse crisis in Poland exploded after the release of a documentary on YouTube in May 2019 called Tell No One, by the filmmakers known as the Sekielski Brothers. The film documented a history of abuse and cover-up in the country and was viewed by more than 2.5 million people in less than 24 hours.

Soon after its release, an alleged victim using the pseudonym Karol Chum posted on Facebook that he was abused by Gulbinowicz, but never reported it to the Church authorities. However, after the archdiocesan offices were made aware of the post, they contacted the alleged victim, and he eventually filed an official canonical complaint against the cardinal.

He was allegedly abused by Gulbinowicz when he was a 15-year-old student at the Franciscan Minor Seminary.

His case was turned down by the state prosecutor in 2019, due to the statute of limitations. The Church proceeded with its own investigation, which ended with the disciplinary measures announced on Friday.

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