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Archibishop resigns in Poland

Ex_Archibishop.jpgThe other day I read about the resignation of the newly appointed Archibishop of Warsaw , Stanislaw Wielgus, who had quit his new appointment as Archibishop on the very day of his appointment. He resigned, after personal reflection, because he had been outed as a former collaborator of the Communists as a young priest. His unexpected resignation during the appointment ceremony caused many in the audience to cheer his decision, but even more people to boo it and ask him to reconsider.

What I found unsurprising but disturbing in the NY Times report, and the reason I bring this story to our site, is the description of the scuffle that took place outside the cathedral right after this resignation. A scuffle had broken out among the disappointed supporters of Wielgus and those who felt justified in supporting his resignation. Who was blamed?

Who was blamed?

Who was blamed in a country that has a population of less than 30,000 Jews among 39,000,000 non-Jews (Jews used to be 10% of the population of Poland before the Nazis invaded in 1939)?

The Times comes to your aid, dear reader:

Outside the cathedral, scuffles erupted between supporters and detractors of the bishop among the hundreds of Catholics gathered beneath umbrellas in the rain. Some of his supporters shouted that “Jews” were trying to destroy the church.

Hmmm, now for those of us who are really, truly, unbelievably stupid, could you tell us why this is so, dear Newspaper of Record?

Anti-Semitism, long present in Poland, is a particular problem within some conservative branches of the Polish Catholic church.

No kidding?

(photo source)

14 Comments

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  2. Tom Morrissey

    1/10/2007 at 10:54 am

    This whole unedifying spectacle has numerous ironies, including the one Middle mentions– and one would have thought that Cardinal Glemp, and the pope, too, for that matter, are about as ‘conservative’ as you get in the Catholic Church.

    At least the bad guys were on the side of the disgraced, one-time informer.

  3. Tom Morrissey

    1/10/2007 at 12:42 pm

    One of the other ironies here is that the drive to publish information about collaboration comes from a forthcoming book by a Polish priest. (Perhaps the many Jews of Poland are infiltrating the priesthood!) The Church there could learn from the US experience– best disclose all as quickly as possible, because the truth will out eventually. I’m glad there are at least a few courageous churchmen who understand this.

  4. themiddle

    1/10/2007 at 12:54 pm

    This seems like it will cause a great deal of grief for many devout Catholics in Poland (maybe elsewhere as well?), but I would suspect the real impact will be on the level of faith and commitment to the Church over time.

    As for conservative, although we’ve had the discussion about whether the Pope is reactionary or not, I always assumed that people such as Mel Gibson and his dad are “more” conservative because they reject Vatican II. Am I mistaken?

  5. Ephraim

    1/10/2007 at 2:32 pm

    At the risk of treading on Tom’s theological toes, it is my understanding that one of the dogmas of Catholicism is Papal Infallibility. Therefore, since Vatican II was instituted under the Pope’s authority, it must be correct and inerrant. Therefore, rejecting Vatican II means rejecting the doctrine of Papal Infallibility and the authority of the Pope, putting one in schism with the Church.

    Therefore, it seems to me that from the point of view of Catholic doctrine, Gibson must be considered a schismatic and a heretic, not a “traditional” Catholic.

    If I am wrong, I assume (and hope) that the estimable Mr. Morrisey will correct me.

  6. Tom Morrissey

    1/11/2007 at 10:32 am

    Little did we know that Ephraim’s a Catholic theologian under deep cover. You’re absolutely correct. The Gibson/Gibson pere view is that the Church went off the rails in Vatican II, and that its supporters and architects aren’t true Catholics. The excommunicated French Archbishop Lefebvre is another proponent of this view.

    Ephraim’s a bit wide of the mark on Vatican II, which does not fall under the rubric of papal infalliability. (That doctrine has been invoked only once, by good ol’ Pius XII in the 1950s). It’s simply a matter of Gibson’s categorical rejection of, for example, JPII’s legitimacy as pope.

    (Rev. Joseph Ratzinger, btw, was a central draftsman of the Vatican II documents, though he became more conservative and more skeptical of VII later in his career.)

  7. Tom Morrissey

    1/11/2007 at 2:25 pm

    Ephraim, who knew you were a Catholic theologian under deep cover? Yes, Mad Mel and his (even madder) dad reject Vatican II, including its teachings regarding Jews, as illegitimate, as well as all church leaders (e.g. JPII) who embrace council teachings. (btw, Rev. Joseph Ratzinger was a key council draftsman in his salad days.)

    It’s not quite correct, though, to say that VatII falls under the rubric of papal infallibility. The latter has to be specifically invoked; that’s only happened once (in 1954) since the doctrine was formulated in 1870. Gibson simply rejects categorically all post-VatII papal leadership.

    Other examples of papal genius not deemed ‘infalliable’ include celibate/all-male priesthood and the ban on contraception.

  8. themiddle

    1/11/2007 at 3:07 pm

    Somehow it’s difficult to imagine Ratzinger having “salad days.”

  9. Tom Morrissey

    1/11/2007 at 3:31 pm

    blood sausage days?

  10. Ephraim

    1/11/2007 at 8:59 pm

    Thanks, Tom. Although I was wrong regarding the relationship of Vatican II and Papal Infallability, I take your remarks to mean that I was at least correct about Mad Mel’s standing vis-a-vis the Church.

    They excommunicated Lefebvre? Didn’t know that. He has his own version of the Church just like Mad Mel, where they continue to do everything in Latin, right?

    “Blood sausage days”. Good one.

    If rather disgusting.

    Oh, yeah: what’s your take on Lustiger, the “I May Be Catholic But I’m Still A Jew” guy? I gotta admit, it seems way strange to me.

  11. Tom Morrissey

    1/12/2007 at 10:57 am

    Sorry for the multiple replies, Ephraim. I try to be repetitive only in person.

    Yeah, I think JPII excommunicated Lefebvre, but Papa Ratzi wants to make up to him. Mel and the ex-archbishop are two peas in a pod theologically. Unless the irascible Lefebvre’s prepared to sell out, this may mean the return of the Latin Mass.

    Lustiger’s certainly got an interesting resume, and it may be a sign of progress, of a kind anyway, that his Jewishness is a non-issue for Catholics (excepting, maybe, those Polish dickheads referred to above). Lustiger was papabile for a while, actually– he’s a bit too old now.

  12. Ephraim

    1/12/2007 at 5:57 pm

    Papa Ratzi?

    That’s frikkin’ brilliant!

  13. Tom Morrissey

    1/13/2007 at 12:46 pm

    ….Not a bad substitute (given the job change) for panzerkardinal….

  14. yoseph crack

    1/15/2007 at 4:32 pm

    Whoever jews want hate hate, they call Jesus, and whoever chrostians want to blame, they call Jews. that’s just how our languages work.

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