WARSAW, Poland — A prominent Polish cardinal who was recently sanctioned by the Vatican over sex scandal cases has been hospitalized since last week and remains unconscious, Polish media said Tuesday.
Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz was sanctioned by the Vatican last week after the 97-year-old was accused of sexually abusing a seminarian and of covering up abuse in another case.
The Vatican’s embassy in Poland said Friday that Gulbinowicz, the former archbishop of Wroclaw, has been forbidden from using his bishop’s insignia and participating in any religious celebrations or public events.
The once well-respected cardinal, who supported Poland’s pro-democracy Solidarity movement in the 1980s, has also been denied the right to have a cathedral burial service or to be buried in a cathedral.
Gulbinowicz was also ordered to pay a “certain amount of money” to a Polish church charity that supports victims of sexual abuse.
The embassy’s statement said the sanctioning decisions were taken as a “result of an investigation into accusations made against Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz and after an analysis of other allegations” concerning the cardinal.
Professor Wojciech Witkiewicz, head of the hospital in Wroclaw, told Radio Wroclaw Tuesday that Gulbinowicz is in a very serious condition and unconscious.
Local daily Gazeta Wroclawska said Gulbinowicz was hospitalized Wednesday. A few days earlier, Vatican envoys had informed him about the sanctions.
Last year, prosecutors in Wroclaw opened an investigation into allegations against Gulbinowicz concerning sexual abuse of a seminarian in the 1980s, but they dropped the case because too much time had passed.
Gulbinowicz was also cited in a recent video documentary in Poland, called “Tell No One,” about predator priests and coverup efforts. It alleged that Gulbinowicz saved a priest suspected of abuse of minors from arrest by vouching for him.
Recently, allegations were also made that Gulbinowicz was an informer for the communist-era secret security.
Gulbinowicz is the latest Polish prelate to be sanctioned after a Vatican-mandated investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.
The reckoning has rocked the Catholic hierarchy in predominantly Catholic Poland, where the clergy have long been held in high esteem and St. John Paul II, the Polish pope, remains a figure of national pride.