Priest Condemns Anti-semitism Espoused by Censured Colleague

A Polish Jesuit priest has condemned the anti-Semitic statements of a fellow Polish priest — and what he sees as the inadequate official reaction to them.

In a sermon on Oct. 26, Gdansk priest Henryk Jankowski said that “one shouldn’t tolerate the Jewish minority in the Polish government” and that Jews should not be allowed in Poland’s recently elected government.

Stanislaw Musial wrote that statements made by Jankowski were “an anti-Semitic utterance in the worst, Nazi form.

“If one shouldn’t tolerate someone in the government why should one tolerate him as a teacher, a doctor or even a shoe cleaner?” he wrote. “That Nazi anti- Semitism led to the murder of 6 million Jews.”

Musial’s article was published in a leading Polish Catholic intellectual monthly and reprinted last week in the Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s largest daily newspaper.

The comments by Jankowski were only the latest in a series of questionable remarks he has made.

In a 1995 sermon, he said, “We can no longer tolerate being governed by people who have not declared whether they come from Moscow or Israel” and that the Star of David is “implicated in the swastika as well as the hammer and sickle.”

Jankowksi was suspended from priestly duties after the latest incident.

Musial also criticized the reactions of Polish officials and others to Jankowski’s statement.

“If in a Western country a Catholic priest of similar stature as Jankowski expressed comparable anti-Semitic opinions then, I guess, many people of good will would protest in the streets. This is not possible here at the moment,” he wrote.

“It is not surprising that anti-Semitism is not seen as a threatening evil,” when “opinion-shaping bodies and moral authorities” have failed to denounce Jankowski’s anti-Semitism.

Musial urged the Polish church to write a document teaching about “the sin of anti-Semitism.”

Stanislaw Krajewski, the American Jewish Committee’s Polish consultant, lauded Musial’s article.

“Musial expressed everything that Jews hoped be expressed,” he said. “It is great that a Catholic priest has said all that. He represents the face of Poland in which we recognize ourselves.”

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