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Pope Expresses 'Understanding' for Polish Cleric Accused of Collaboration


Pope Benedict XVI has expressed understanding for a former Warsaw archbishop who resigned last month after admitting that he agreed to cooperate with Poland's communist-era security police.

In a letter to Stanislaw Wielgus published Tuesday, the pontiff said he is fully conscious of the exceptional circumstances under which Polish priests performed their duties while under Soviet domination.

The letter contained what Benedict called a "special apostolic blessing" to the cleric. It also encouraged him to resume his religious duties.

Wielgus resigned his post on January 7, after a church commission said it found numerous documents confirming the cleric had collaborated with communist security organizations for years.

Last week, lawyers for the former archbishop said they were moving to clear their client's name of spy charges, claiming that he never actually collaborated.

Vatican authorities said in January there is no clear proof that Wielgus' actions harmed anyone.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.