ROME (JTA) — A leading Polish bishop clarified statements published on a conservative Catholic Web site suggesting that the Holocaust was a Jewish invention.
Tadeusz Pieronek called the episode sparked by his interview with pontifex.roma.it published last week "a complete misunderstanding."
He wrote to the Italian news agency ANSA and the Polish Catholic news agency KAI that he had actually said, as quoted, that "the Shoah was a Jewish invention." But Pieronek told ANSA, "I was referring to the fact that the Jews have created the term ‘Shoah’ to define the tragedy that didn’t have a precedent in history."
Pieronek, 75, said that "The journalist interpreted my words as if I had been saying that the Jews had invented the Shoah." He added, "How could I have said something so absurd? Everyone who knows me knows my position on the crimes of the Nazis and on the horror of what happened."
Pieronek, a former spokesman for the Polish Bishops’ Conference, also apologized to Bruno Volpe, the pontifex.roma journalist who conducted the interview with him, for having accused him of manipulating his words.
"I apologize to Mr. Volpe and everyone who felt offended by my unintentionally unfortunate statement," he told KAI. "I had no intention to falsify history or accuse anyone of ill will."
Pontifex.roma had threatened to take legal action if Pieronek had not issued an apology.