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Church sues former priest for libel

The Lodz diocese in Poland is suing a former priest for libel after he accused church officials of diverting the proceeds of charity to fund 'episcopal extravagances'.

The Tablet reports that the defendant, Roman Kotlinski, says he will defend his claims.

Mr Kotlinski left the priesthood a few months after his ordination in 1993, and has since written a best-selling book, I was a Priest, describing his experiences.

In a newspaper article published in March last year, he alleged that the Lodz diocese built up "a diocesan investment under cover of selling flowers". His article also claimed that the diocese had acted illegally by using profits from the venture to fund "every episcopal extravaganza, including new luxury cars and exotic trips abroad". Speaking last week at Lodz's district court, Andrzej Kern, a lawyer acting for the Church, rejected Kotlinski's claims. He said that the diocese was demanding an apology and a $A4919 payment to the Catholic charity Caritas.