Polish Archbishop Resigns in Wake of Allegations

But Juliusz Paetz of Poznan Says He Is Innocent

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 28, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II accepted the resignation of Archbishop Juliusz Paetz of Poznan, Poland, following a Vatican investigation and newspaper allegations that the prelate had sexually harassed priests and seminarians.

The Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita published anonymous testimonies of individuals who accused Archbishop Paetz, 67, of sexual harassment. The Vatican announced Feb. 23 that investigations were under way.

“The Holy See has been informed of these circumstance and I can affirm that it is also following the subject with great attention and responsibility, in order to safeguard the rights of all,” Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said.

Archbishop Paetz has repeatedly stated his innocence.

In announcing his retirement, at the end of the Chrism Mass today in the Cathedral of Poznan, the archbishop told the faithful: “My generosity and spontaneity have been abused. My words, gestures and acts have been distorted.”

The archbishop said the Holy See has not presented him with an “accusation.” He added: “There has been no specific accusation, no interrogation.”

The Pope appointed Auxiliary Bishop Stanislaw Gadecki, 52, of the Archdiocese of Gniezno, as the archbishop´s successor.

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