Polish bishops have condemned a new wave of anti-Semitism in the country amid tension over a government-backed law on responsibility for the Holocaust.
Archbishop Wojciech Polak of Gniezno, Poland’s primate, called anti-Semitism “a moral evil and a sin”, saying that attempts to divide people or pit them against each other “in a nationalistic context should be totally censured”.
“Any political activity which causes divisions, prejudices or tribal thinking is dangerous,” he said after the Polish bishops’ conference discussed the matter during its plenary meeting, which ended last week.
Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki of Poznan, president of the bishops’ conference, said hostility belonged “neither to Christian nature nor to the nature of Judaism”. He urged prayers to ensure “the great good achieved by common efforts of Poles and Jews” was not squandered.
“We hear of an increase in aggressive attitudes among both Poles and Jews, who’ve begun to fear for their presence in Poland and speak very harshly about Poles,” Archbishop Gądecki told Poland’s Catholic Information Agency, KAI.
A new law imposes up to three years in jail for anyone who “publicly and against the facts attributes to the Polish nation or Polish state responsibility or co-responsibility for Nazi crimes” or “flagrantly reduces in any way the responsibility of the real perpetrators”.
The law was condemned as “baseless” both by Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Jerusalem-based Yad Vashem Memorial Institute, which said that it would impede Holocaust research and debate.
Priest rebuked for wishing that Pope Francis has ‘a good death’
A prominent Polish theologian has been rebuked after a homily last month in which he wished Pope Francis either “wisdom” or “a good death”.
Fr Edward Staniek, former rector of the Higher Theological Seminary of the Archdiocese of Kraków, prayed for “wisdom for the Pope, for his heart to open to the Holy Spirit, and if he does not, I pray for his quick passage to the Father’s House”.
“I can always ask God for a happy death for him, because a happy death is a great grace,” Fr Staniek added.
Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski of Kraków said the comments caused him “great pain and regret” and that he had spoken to Fr Staniek.
The priest accused Pope Francis of misinterpreting the idea of Christian mercy, especially regarding the ongoing migrant and refugee crisis.
“In the name of mercy, he calls parishes and dioceses to open the door for the followers of Islam,: he said. “As a religion, they are hostile to the Gospel and the Church.”
He also said that the Pope’s teaching regarding Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics was too vague and was being misconstrued by a hostile media.
Talk to populists, says EU archbishop
The new head of a commission representing Europe’s Catholic bishops has said that “dialogue” is the answer to populism.
Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, head of Comece, which represents bishops’ conferences at EU institutions, said it was necessary to “combat” a “growing populism” by “engaging in a true dialogue of depth and friendship, where everything can be said”.