Catholic bishop resigns after sex party scandal with male prostitute
Bishop Grzegorz Kaszak has resigned following a sex scandal involving a priest and a male prostitute in his diocese.
The Pope has accepted the resignation of a Polish bishop caught in the middle of a sex party scandal involving a male prostitute.
Bishop Grzegorz Kaszak’s diocese in southwest Poland has been engulfed in scandal since reports emerged in September of an orgy at the home of a priest in the town of Dabrowa Gornicza.
According to Polish media reports, a male prostitute collapsed at the party after taking too many erectile dysfunction pills.
Reports also suggested that the priest allegedly tried to initially bar paramedics from entering the apartment.
The event has been widely described as a ‘gay orgy’, further harming the image of the church in the once-staunchly Roman Catholic homeland of St John Paul II.
According to prosecutors, the investigation focused on a ‘failure to provide assistance to a person in a situation that poses an immediate threat of loss of life or serious damage to health’.
A statement by the Vatican gave no reason for why Bishop Kaszak was resigning, only that the Pope had accepted his resignation.
The incident was not the first time members of Mr Kaszak’s diocese had made headlines due to gay sex scandals, suggesting the latest incident was the final straw for the Vatican.
Pope Francis moved with unusual speed to remove Mr Kaszak after the bishop said he had offered to resign on September 29.
In 2010, the then-acting rector of the Sosnowiec seminary allegedly got into a scuffle at a gay club, but was allowed to remain in his job for over a year even after the case was publicised by Polish media.
The Holy See finally intervened and dissolved the seminary altogether, according to the PAP news agency.
In March this year, the corpse of a 26-year-old deacon was found with injuries suggesting homicide. Local prosecutors said he had been killed by a 40-year-old priest who then committed suicide.
Prosecutors said the two had been in a turbulent relationship for some time and that the priest had sent the deacon threatening messages, PAP reported.
In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Kaszak said he had asked the Pope to let him resign in a letter on September 29. He thanked the priests and nuns of his diocese and asked ‘everyone to forgive my human limitations’.
He was appointed bishop in 2009 by then-Pope Benedict XVI, after serving briefly as the number two in the Vatican’s family office.
The diocese, which identified the priest involved in the incident as Fr Tomasz Z, has largely corroborated the media reports, saying an outside investigative commission concluded he committed ‘a very serious violation of moral norms’, as well as of his obligations as a priest.
It cited an ‘incident’ at the priest’s apartment involving him and at least two other gay people.
Mr Kaszak dismissed the priest from all functions on September 21 and initiated an in-house canonical trial, the outcome of which could result in defrocking, according to a statement on the diocesan website.
The priest has not been charged by Polish prosecutors. Polish media quoted a statement he issued soon after the scandal erupted, denying he had prevented paramedics from accessing his apartment and questioning the definition of ‘orgy’.
‘I perceive this as an obvious attack on the church, including the clergy and the faithful, in order to humiliate its position, tasks and mission,’ the priest was quoted in a statement he emailed to the Gazeta Wyborcza daily.
Polish tabloid Fakt published what it said was the audio recording of the call one of the participants made to police. In it, the person said he had been kicked out of the apartment and begged for paramedics to come, weeping at one point and saying his friend was foaming at the mouth after having ingested drugs.
The Associated Press could not immediately verify the authenticity of the recording.
The Polish Catholic Church has been rocked for several years by allegations of sexual abuse of minors involving the clergy, scandals that have led to the forced resignations of several bishops and tarnished the church’s reputation.
The Vatican embassy in Poland said a temporary administrator, Archbishop Adrian Galbas of Katowice, will run the diocese of Sosnowiec until a new bishop is named.
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