The Vatican has sanctioned a retired Polish bishop for covering up the sexual abuse of children by clergymen, according to the Krakow archdiocese.

The Vatican "conducted proceedings concerning the reported negligence of Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy in cases of sexual abuse committed by some clergy against minors," it said in a statement.

The case is the latest to hit the senior ranks of the Polish Catholic Church in recent months.

Rakoczy will no longer be allowed to take part in any public events including religious ceremonies and cannot attend future meetings of Polish bishops.

He must lead "a life in the spirit of penitence and prayer" and donate money to a special foundation for assisting abuse victims, the statement said.

In May, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of a bishop for covering up abuses and, in March, Polish prosecutors were handed similar claims against a close associate of late pope John Paul II, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, and three other bishops.

The Vatican last year sanctioned 97-year-old Polish cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz, who has since died.

Also last year, the Vatican announced the resignation of bishop Edward Janiak for cover-ups.

Slawoj Leszek Glodz, the archbishop of Gdansk known for his high-flying lifestyle and love of luxury, resigned last year following accusations that he had harassed priests and been silent on abuse claims.

Polish bishops have been summoned to the Vatican later this year for an urgent meeting which could include abuse cases, Polish media have reported.

The Conference of Polish Bishops has said it is only a regular visit after a similar one in 2014.

Pope orders probe of German diocese over child sex abuse

Meanwhile, Pope Francis has ordered an apostolic visitation of the archdiocese of Cologne, which has been rocked by a damning report on child sex abuse.

The Pope has appointed two "apostolic visitors" charged with establishing a "comprehensive picture of the complex pastoral situation in the archdiocese", the diocese said in a statement.

They will also examine "possible mistakes made" by Cologne's Archbishop Rainer Maria Woelki.

Cardinal Anders Arborelius of Stockholm and Bishop Johannes van den Hende of Rotterdam will carry out their investigations over the first two weeks of June.

The probe comes as Woelki faces a wave of criticism, including allegations that he helped cover up abuse by two priests in Duesseldorf, one of whom has since died.

The cardinal has faced angry protests this week over plans for him to carry out a confirmation service for 17 young people in the city.

Arch-conservative Woelki refused last year to allow the publication of a study on abuse committed by priests in Germany's top diocese.

He had justified his decision citing a right to privacy for those accused in the report, carried out by a Munich law firm, and what he called a lack of independence on the part of some researchers.

He then commissioned a second report, published in March, which revealed that 314 minors, mostly boys under the age of 14, were sexually abused between 1975 and 2018 in the diocese, mostly by clergy.

However, the investigation cleared Woelki of breach of duty over the abuse.
Most of the allegations cover the tenure of Woelki's predecessor, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, who died in 2017.

An apostolic visitation is normally launched when the Pope judges that a diocese is no longer able to resolve its difficulties internally.

Canon law expert Thomas Schuellertold the Rheinische Post newspaper such a visit was "extremely unusual for a cardinal" and the Vatican must be "very worried that there is something serious and substantial in the allegations".

"In 99% of cases, a visitation is the beginning of the end," he said.