Saturday, June 07, 2008

Controversial priest closes down institute

Father Henryk Jankowski, a controversial priest from Gdansk, is to close down his institute.

According to Dziennik, the decision was made after pressure from the new metropolitan bishop of Gdansk, Slawoj Leszek Glodz, who forced Jankowski to do so after scandals connected to the institution.

Head of the Father Henryk Jankowski Institute, Ryszard Walczak, confirmed that Father Jankowski has decided to withdraw his patronage from the institution, which is to be closed down by August.

According to the daily, the Metropolitan Bishop Glodz became fed up with the ‘immoral conduct’ of the young employees of the institute. The allegations are connected to the previous head of the institution, the 26-year-old Mariusz Olchowik.

After some initial success with launching the Jankowski brand of mineral water, Olchowik became entangled in economic failures and scandals. Media reported that some employees of the institute allegedly frequented expensive brothels.

Father Henryk Jankowski was one of the leading priests supporting the Solidarity movement and fighting against communism in the 80s. Afterwards he became infamous for his frequent anti-Semitic remarks, critiques of the European Union and scandals involving alleged sexual molestation of young altar boys, although no proof of harassment was found during the investigation.

Jankowski has been involved in many financial initiatives, including launching brands of mineral water and other products the jankowski name prominent on the label. He also launched a wine with his image on the label and had plans for a vodka brand. A chain of cafes was also in the planning.

Although criticized by a large part of the Polish society, father jankowski still has numerous loyal supporters.