Vatican City, Oct 17, 2020 / 05:46 am (CNA).- Pope Francis accepted Saturday the resignation of the Bishop of Kalisz in central Poland, Edward Janiak, who is under investigation for his handling of an abuse case.
Since June, Janiak’s diocese has been administered by Archbishop Grzegorz Ryś of Łódź.
Pope Francis named Ryś apostolic administrator “sede plena” of the Diocese of Kalisz June 25. “Sede plena” is a term used to signify that a see is still occupied by a bishop.
Instead, Oct. 17 the pope appointed Ryś apostolic administrator “sede vacante,” to signify that the see is now vacant and awaiting a new bishop following the resignation of the 68-year-old bishop.
Janiak’s resignation follows the May release of a documentary film accusing him of failing to take action against a priest accused of abuse.
Janiak was the subject of the documentary Hide and Seek by Marek and Tomasz Sekielski. The filmmaker brothers provoked a nationwide discussion last year when they released a different documentary, Tell No One, addressing clerical abuse in Poland. The film has been viewed almost 24 million times on YouTube.
On May 16, the day Hide and Seek was released, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, the Primate of Poland, reported the case to the Vatican.
On June 2, the Archdiocese of Poznań announced that the Vatican Congregation for the Bishops had authorized Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, Janiak’s metropolitan archbishop, to conduct a preliminary investigation of the accusations under Vos estis lux mundi, a 2019 motu proprio issued by Pope Francis concerning episcopal accountability.
On June 15, the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza published a leaked letter from Janiak to fellow Polish bishops criticizing Polak for reporting him to the Vatican.
Gazeta Wyborcza reported June 23 that Janiak was hospitalized in Kalisz in early June with a large amount of alcohol in his system. It said that he was taken home by friends after being given an IV.
The diocese did not comment directly on the report, but said that the bishop had been diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and often required medical care.
Reacting to the report, a spokesman for the Polish bishops’ conference said: “In response to the questions concerning today’s reports about Bishop Edward Janiak, I firmly declare that — if the information provided in the media is confirmed — the described situation should never happen.”
“It is understandable that every such information arouses numerous social reactions and evokes emotions among the faithful. Currently, we are waiting for a reliable explanation of the media reports on this event, which — once again — should never take place, especially among the people of the Church.”
Janiak was appointed Bishop of Kalisz by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. He had previously served as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Wrocław.