Statement by Cardinal Glemp Given Wide Coverage in Poland

A statement made last month by Cardinal Jozef Glemp of Poland, expressing regret over his “misunderstandings” with Jews, has been widely disseminated in Poland, according to information from the Polish Episcopate made public by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Glemp’s statement was published by the Polish press agency PAP, three daily newspapers, Polish television and all Catholic weekly magazines, according to Hubert Romanowski, Poland’s consul general in Chicago.

Romanowski notified Rabbi A. James Rudin, national director of interreligious affairs at the American Jewish Committee, of the Polish Foreign Ministry’s information.

Glemp made his statement in an Aug. 12 letter to Archbishop Arthur Maida of Detroit, in which he “restated” that “anti-Semitism is evil and contrary to the spirit of the Gospel.”

In that letter, he also said that he understood that “the seven members of the Jewish community who disturbed the peace of the Carmelite sisters” in July 1989 “did not intend to kill the sisters or destroy the convent.”

He was referring to a demonstration at the Carmelite convent at Auschwitz, led by Rabbi Avi Weiss of New York.

In a homily Glemp made a month later, on Aug. 26, 1989, he charged that the demonstrators had intended to kill the nuns and destroy the convent.

Glemp also said, in that homily, that Jews were “getting peasants drunk,” “spreading communism,” and acting “from a position of a people raised above all others,” statements which he did not refer to in his letter to Maida.

JEWS URGED NOT TO MEET WITH GLEMP

It is for that reason that Kalman Sultanik, president of the Federation of Polish Jews and vice president of the World Jewish Congress, has urged American Jewish leaders and representatives of American Jewish organizations not to meet with Glemp when he arrives in the United States.

“The statement of Cardinal Glemp is reminiscent of the notorious anti-Jewish publication ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ ” Sultanik charged.

“A meeting between Jewish leaders and the Cardinal should take place only after Cardinal Glemp clearly and unequivocally repudiates his anti-Semitic remarks of two years ago,” Sultanik said Sept. 4.

He said he would urge representatives of the American Section of the World Jewish Congress not to meet with Glemp.

But no representatives of the World Jewish Congress have been invited to meet with Glemp, said Dr. Eugene Fisher, director of Catholic-Jewish relations for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Invitations have been extended to those Jewish leaders who are “our traditional dialogue partners in the United States,” Fisher said, not organizations like the World Jewish Congress, which deal primarily in the international arena.

The conference will be hosting a meeting between Glemp and about a dozen representatives of American Jewish organizations on the morning of Sept. 20 at its offices in Washington.

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