Warsaw's new archbishop resigned Sunday over his involvement with the communist-era secret police, deeply shaking the Roman Catholic homeland of the late Pope John Paul II.
Stanislaw Wielgus announced his decision at the capital's St. John's Cathedral, packed with worshippers gathered for a Mass that was to have marked his formal installation. The congregation included President Lech Kaczynski.
The behavior of Stanislaw Wielgus "in past years during the communist regime in Poland gravely compromised his authority," the Vatican's spokesman Reverend Federico Lombardi said in a statement to Vatican Radio. Lombardi added that Wielgus was right to resign on Sunday, "despite his humble and moving request for forgiveness."
"It is right to note that the case of Monsignor Wielgus is not the first, and probably won't be the last attack against a church official based on documentation from the (secret) services of the past regime," Lombardi added. "It is an endless amount of material ... and we must not forget that it was produced by officials of an oppressive and blackmailing regime."
The church said the pope has asked the outgoing archbishop, Cardinal Jozef Glemp, to administer the archdiocese until a replacement is found.