More facts about communist past of disgraced top church authority revealed

The latest publication of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), to be released soon, gives more light on the contacts of the communist Poland secret police with Henryk Gulbinowicz, a cardinal who has recently been forbidden from using the bishop's insignia as a result of accusations of sexual harassment.

The book entitled Dialogue Shall Be Continued...- SB Operational Talks with Henryk Gulbinowicz 1969-85 was written by historians, Rafał Łatka and Filip Musiał.

During the Polish People's Republic, Cardinal Gulbinowicz was commonly perceived as a clergyman who strongly opposed the communist government. However, the IPN publications show that he cooperated with the Security Service (SB).

According to the IPN publication, in the years 1970-1975, Henryk Gulbinowicz was classified by security officers as a candidate for secret collaborator, while later he was incidentally referred to as “an operational contact” and once as “a confidential contact”. Most often, however, contacts with him were described as operational.

“At the same time, it should be noted that in the operational records in the years 1970-1986, Henryk Gulbinowicz was officially registered as a candidate for secret collaborator" - the introduction to the new publication of the Institute of National Remembrance reads.

Conforming to the glossary of terms developed by the IPN, the operational contact (KO) was defined as a person who secretly provided information to the SB "expressing the will and capability to inform the SB about hostile and socially harmful facts and phenomena” against the communist regime.

The co-author of the book Rafał Łatka stated that one of the reasons why Henryk Gulbinowicz established relations with the Security Service was his fear of having his homosexual contacts with adolescents revealed.

Recent revelations concerning Cardinal Gulbinowicz have met with some firm reactions. Professor Michał Kleiber, a member of the White Eagle Order chapter, announced that he would be a strong supporter of taking the distinction from the disgraced cardinal, who received it in 2009, should the accusations be confirmed. The Chapter is to meet next week; the conversation is to concern, among other matters, cardinal affairs.

On Friday, Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz was barred from celebrating Holy Mass, taking part in public meetings and using the bishop's insignia as a result of accusations of sexual harassment. The former Metropolitan of Wrocław has been in hospital for a week, his condition is serious.