More precise explanations are due not only to those who remember the former Gulbinowicz. If he was indeed the source of such a scandal, as those who enjoy his punishment say as a good precedent for the future, perhaps we should know the extent of his evil deeds. Not the names of the victims, but the mechanisms. Even as a warning.
Dr. Rafał Łatka from the Institute of National Remembrance, documenting the games of a church dignitary with the communist Security Service. At the same time, there are questions about the justification of Church decisions. A concise communiqué in “L’Osservatore Romano” speaks of pedophilia, “homosexual acts” and cooperation with the SB. Is that enough?
That it is not enough, believes Władysław Frasyniuk, the legendary leader of the Lower Silesian “Solidarity”, and for years an anti-clerical politician who was associated with the hierarchy of martial law and the 1980s. He defended the archbishop all the time. Now she calls him a “monumental figure”. – He left punished without justification – insists Frasyniuk. – I hope that the city authorities will request the disclosure of the nunciature’s investigation report – appeals the former politician.
There are attacks and even invectives on himself in social media. His speeches violate the division into ideological bubbles. After all, critics of the Church and PiS should assume a priori the guilt of every clergyman.
The behavior of the teenage Frank Broda, the nephew of Prime Minister Morawiecki, contrasts with Frasyniuk’s appeals. He was brought up in the environment of the Wrocław opposition, where Gulbinowicz was liked, valued and bestowed with gratitude. But maybe Beard is too young for that to affect him.
When Frasyniuk publishes his appeals, he burns candles in the streets of Wrocław for the alleged victims of Gulbinowicz. It’s a bit of a strange manifestation, considering that no one is accusing the hierarch of causing someone’s death. But very much in the poetics of the present cultural war, where the Church is portrayed as the torturer and the wrongdoer. Let us admit that its individual representatives give a reason, or perhaps a pretext for such generalizations.
Why should you justify?
However, the matter of justifications is important. Also for me, who is closer to Frasyniuk from generation to generation. I know about the authority of Gulbinowicz not only from the film by Waldemar Krzystek “80 million”, in which one of the main characters, playing on the nose of the secret police, helps “Solidarity” hide union money. I remember this cardinal as one of the most principled clergymen towards the People’s Republic of Poland. Contrasting with the much more cautious Primate Józef Glemp and the majority of the Episcopate. His voice strengthened the resistance in Wrocław. And he reached Warsaw as well. Can you blow his reputation away with a few formulas?
But waiting for more precise explanations belongs not only to those who remember the former Gulbinowicz. He was punished with the harshest punishment that befell the Polish hierarch. If he was indeed the source of such a scandal, as those who enjoy his punishment say as a good precedent for the future, perhaps we should know the extent of his evil deeds. Not the names of the victims, but the mechanisms. Even as a warning.
I hear that the nunciature entrusted the explanation of this matter to the Archbishop of Warsaw, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, who a few years ago was accused of sheltering a clergyman involved in pedophilia in the diocese of Koszalin. I’m not saying that this prevents him from judging others. Those allegations were not about his own sins. Maybe he was just unpredictable. But if he is behind the Vatican communiqué, he has not done it quite reliably. This is not how the Church should be cleansed.
So far, we know one charge against the cardinal. It was formulated in 2019 by Przemysław Kowalczyk initially under the pseudonym “Karol Chum”. The hierarchy was supposed to choose him 30 years ago, when he was 15 and a student of the minor seminary. This is a classic word against word situation. Actually, the “word” itself, because the cardinal did not have the opportunity to answer. The case was referred to the prosecutor’s office, but no verification took place. Maybe it’s too late for her.
Please do not take my comments as a statement that nothing can be done in this situation. It is possible that an ecclesiastical dignitary should be so beyond suspicion that the accusation alone is enough. Although this is obviously a very tricky reasoning, because it is conducive to slander.
However, I hear that there are a number of other clues about the cardinal’s sexual relations. With adults, but possibly forced ones, because the hierarchy prevails in the Church. Cardinal McCarrick kept telling his victims: “Nothing will happen, because I am the Archbishop.” If Gulbinowicz acted like McCarrick, we deserve this knowledge. Was it just one or a few moments of confusion, or was it a cynical practice that had been practiced over the years? To what extent did it affect adults, how many children?
The cardinal is burdened with the story of his guarantee for a priest who was transferred from Wrocław because he was a pedophile, recorded in the film by the Sekielski brothers. However, similar practices unfortunately burden many hierarchs. The severity of the punishment indicates more than that.
He spoke to the secret police
Finally, there is a third charge: collaboration with the communist secret police. The author of the book recreating the hierarchy’s contacts with the Security Service, Dr. Łatka, denies that the hero of his publication is an agent. He accuses him of talking to this institution, apart from Cardinal Wyszyński. Thanks to this, he was to become the metropolitan of Wrocław. Then, in his archdiocese, to stand extremely strongly on the side of “Solidarity”.
How to judge it years later? The hierarchs talked to the SB. Prof. Krzysztof Kawalec, an excellent historian from Wrocław, asked Dr. Latka on Facebook if Archbishop Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, had not spoken to the Argentinean secret police during the military dictatorship there. Let me remind you that many Polish hierarchs were simply registered as secret collaborators during the Polish People’s Republic. When the war over lustration was underway, they were defended by liberal circles. The same that today, with exceptions like Frasyniuk, are ready to knock down the symbolic monuments of Cardinal Gulbinowicz.
I am not a supporter of the attitude: “I do not believe this is a man of too merit.” Maybe someone should have started settlements. Although I have doubts whether the accusation of talks with the SB cancels Gulbinowicz’s merits for “Solidarity” and for simply free Poland. And there have already been demands to deprive him of the Order of the White Eagle. The Wrocław Council has just stripped him of the title of honorary citizen of this city.
Sometimes there is good in man next to evil. The question is, to what extent evil cancels all merit. In the case of Cardinal Gulbinowicz, this applies especially to alleged sexual excesses. How much did he hurt others? The assessment of the scale of this guilt determines the answer to the question of whether and to what extent it should be erased from Polish history. These questions will probably come back in the case of others, because there is a fashion to expose the clergy. But that does not mean that evil should not be called evil? Just give us the tools to do it.