Monday, January 08, 2007

Re: Ratzi Didn't Know

...about Wielgus, that is; the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops talks in today's Corriere:
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, who heads the Congregation for Bishops, the powerful department which decides the future careers of aspiring churchmen, said that the Vatican did not know the truth about Wielgus.

"When Monsignor Wielgus was nominated, we did not know anything about his collaboration with the secret services," Battista Re was quoted as saying...

Italy's La Repubblica newspaper, without naming sources, said the Pope only received an 80-page fax about Wielgus' spying on Saturday evening. The fax was sent by the Polish government and translated into Benedict's native language, German.

The scandal has been a major embarrassment for the Pontiff, who last year visited Poland, paying tribute to his Polish-born predecessor John Paul II -- widely credited with helping hasten the fall of the communist regime there.

The Vatican on Sunday accused the Polish Church's opponents of vindictively dragging up Wielgus's past. Spokesman Federico Lombardi blamed a "strange alliance between the persecutors of the past and their adversaries" for a "wave of attacks."

The NYTimes reports that, outside the cathedral yesterday, "some of [Wielgus'] supporters shouted that 'Jews' were trying to destroy the church."

...and everything old (and reprehensible) is new (and still reprehensible). Again.

Speaking of developments that'd have Wojtyla spinning in his tomb, The Times of London contributes this surreal nugget (emphasis mine):
On Saturday night crisis talks were held between the Vatican, the Polish Church leadership and the Government. The lights burnt late in the Warsaw residence of Josef Kowalczyk, the Papal Nuncio. According to a Church source, there was also a long conversation between the Pope and Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Metropolitan Archbishop of Krakow and one of the closest advisers to Pope John Paul II.

One of the key questions for Polish public opinion has been whether the tarnished Archbishop — who was recruited formally by the police in 1973 — spied on the Polish Pope. So far the files suggest not, but many documents have been destroyed and the uncertainty about his past lingers.

Also this morning, an undaunted B16 gave his annual New Year address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. Customarily delivered in French, it's come to be known in Vatican circles as the Pope's "state of the world" speech.