Henryk Roman Gulbinowicz
|Cardinal, Archbishop Emeritus of Wroc?aw|
|Appointed||3 January 1976|
|Term ended||3 April 2004|
|Other posts||Cardinal-Priest of Immacolata Concezione di Maria a Grottarossa|
|Ordination||18 June 1950|
by Romualdo Jalbrzykowski
|Consecration||8 February 1970|
by Stefan Wyszy?ski
|Created cardinal||25 May 1985|
|Born||17 October 1923|
Wilno, Second Polish Republic
|Motto||patientia et caritas|
|Coat of arms|
|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
Henryk Roman Gulbinowicz was born on 17 October 1923 in Wilno, Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania). He grew up in Szukiszki (?uki?k?s). He entered the archdiocesan seminary where he completed his secondary studies and was then transferred to Bia?ystok.
He was ordained a priest by Archbishop Romuald Jalbrzykowski on 18 June 1950, and was an associate pastor at Szudzialowo. After a year of parish experience, he was sent to Lublin to continue his preparation in theology at the Catholic University of Lublin. He earned a doctorate in moral theology in 1955. From 1956 to 1959 he was university chaplain in Bia?ystok. He then taught in the seminary at Warmia, while also working in the diocesan Curia of Olsztyn.
On 12 January 1970, Pope Paul VI appointed him titular Bishop of Acci and made him apostolic administrator of the Polish section of the Archdiocese of Vilnius (Bia?ystok). The following 8 February he received his episcopal consecration from Cardinal Stefan Wyszy?ski. In charge of the church community, he was responsible for the reorganization of the diaconate and he also promoted the construction of new parishes. Beginning in 1944, despite wartime conditions, he furthered the growth of religious life in his area by creating in Bia?ystok the Parish Catechetics Center and reviving the trimestral publication "Wiadomo?ci Ko?cielne Archidiecezij w Bia?ystoku" (Church news of the archdiocese of Bia?ystok).
On 3 January 1976 he became Archbishop of Wroc?aw. While guiding this local church during these years, he created many pastoral centers in this large region. In addition, he founded the biweekly "Nowe ?ycie" (New Life) and crowned the statue of the Virgin as protector of the famous shrine of Wambierzyce in Lower Silesia, which is a pilgrimage center.
A few days before martial law was imposed in 1981, the local Solidarity union branch withdrew from its bank account 80 million Polish zlotys, the equivalent of today's USD 100 million, and deposited the cash with Gulbinowicz, who hid it from the communist regime during Solidarity's delegalisation.
He was recognized as a voice of the moderate wing of the church in Poland. Where Cardinal Glemp of Warsaw warned priests against involvement with Solidaity, Gulbinowicz intervened with the Communist government on behalf of striking railway repair yard workers. In 1985 he identified the Church closely with Lech Walesa's leadership and told crowds of union-supporting pilgrims "Hang in there, as we are hanging in". A year later he told a similar crowd: "Only the right to organize independent organizations will enable Poland to overcome the severe political and economic crises troubling this country." At a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland, he counselled patience with the post-Soviet government's attempts to rebuild Poland's economy and political institutions. He said "every thinking person in Poland understands that the good toward which the nation is moving must be paid for at the beginning with sacrifices.... Some laughed at our ideals, and even at the people who were faithful to those ideals" and said that Solidarity had proved faithful to its principles. He also avoids Glemp's "nationalist tones". When he welcomed the pope to Wroclaw, formerly the German city of Breslau, he spoke of tolerance and said the city was the work of various nationalities and religions over the centuries.
Pope John Paul accepted his resignation as Archbishop of Wroc?aw on 3 April 2004, when he was thought to be 75 years old, the age at which bishops are required to submit their resignations. It then transpired that in 1942, as a young man, Gulbinowicz had falsified his birth records to escape being sent to a labor camp in Germany, listing the year of his birth as 1928 instead of 1923. Though the falsification suggested he was ordained a priest at a very young age, his correct age only became public in 2004 when an Italian newspaper noted that John Paul had accepted his resignation as Bishop of Wroc?aw at the age of 80, not 75. A year later, the change of date appeared more significant and was published more widely. In 2005, with the end of Pope John Paul's life approaching, it appeared that Gulbinowicz, if born in 1928, would have been eligible to participate in a conclave to select John Paul's successor. With the correction, he was past his 80th birthday and ineligible. Gulbinowicz told the Catholic Information Agency (Poland) that many of his peers employed this strategy and that after the war no one thought it necessary to restore his true birthdate to his documents. He said that his superiors had known the truth from the time he entered the seminary and that John Paul had known from before he became pope. The correct birth date was printed in the Pontifical Yearbook presented to John Paul on 31 January 2005.[a]
He is the author of a number of works in the new area of moral and doctrinal theology and on the formation of the clergy.
Metropolitan Archbishop of Wroclaw Card. Henryk Gulbinowicz is retiring. On October 17 the cardinal reaches the age of 75 years and in accordance with church law should leave his position.