Theologians from outside Poznan’s Adam Mickiewicz University will analyze the writings of an influential Roman Catholic priest and Mickiewicz faculty member who left the church without explanation last month.
The weekly Catholic newspaper Tygodnik Powszechny broke the story of Father Tomasz Weclawski’s departure. He declined to discuss his reasons with the newspaper, but noted that it could find an explanation in his writings.
The newspaper found ideas in his writings that could be considered radical.
For that reason, theologians will examine his work to make sure it is consistent with church doctrine, according to Pawel Bortkiewicz, dean of theology at Adam Mickiewicz University.
Professor Bortkiewicz emphasized that the decision to analyze the writings is neither a witch hunt nor censorship.
“It is just about checking if the ideas attributed to Weclawski in the article are real or not, nothing more,” Bortkiewicz added.
If the analysis reveals that Weclawski’s writings contradict church teaching, the university will stop recommending them to students, he said. “Of course we are not going to burn them on a pile or move them out of the library,” he said.
Tygodnik Powszechny said Weclawski’s writings depicted Christ as a religious reformer and founder of a radical movement who had failed as a faith leader.
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Poznan, Archbishop Curie, criticized the article, saying it contained many misstatements.
He also contended that the magazine’s interpretations of Weclawski’s work were flawed, not reflecting what the priest really said.
The theologians who analyze Weclawski’s writings will try to determine if the magazine’s interpretations were correct.
Weclawski was born in 1952 in Poznan. In 1973, after two years of studying at a technical university, he began studying at Archbishop Seminary in Poznan.
He became a priest in 1979 and obtained a master’s degree in theology a few years later.
He was one of a handful of priests who defended Archbishop Juliusz Paetz against accusations that Paetz had sexually abused young priests.
The church’s handling of the Paetz matter may have been one of the reasons Weclawski decided to leave the church on Dec. 21, 2007.
Weclaski’s decision jolted many Polish Catholics, who had seen Weclawski as a moral and spiritual authority.