Archive/File: vatican-on-jankowski (C) Reuters, June 21, 1995 Vatican upbraids Polish priest for anti-Semitic remarks NEW YORK, June 21 (Reuter) - A Vatican official said a Polish priest close to President Lech Walesa "strayed in his preaching" by making apparent anti-Semitic remarks at a mass attended earlier this month by Poland's president. Father Remi Hoechman, the secretary of the Vatican Commission for Relations with the Jews, said in a letter released in New York on Wednesday that the Vatican immediately contacted Polish church officials after Father Henryk Jankowski equated the Jewish star of David with the Nazi swastika and the Communist hammer and sickle. Hoechman, in a letter to Leon Feldman of the World Jewish Congress's Interfaith Commission, said that Jankowski "strayed in his preaching from the proper representation of Jews and Judaism in the proclamation of the word of God." Jankowski also had urged Poles to keep people who secretly owe allegiance to Israel or Russia out of their governments. Hoechman said the Vatican approved of the swift action that Polish Catholic officials took in distancing themselves from the priest's remarks and quoted approvingly of one Catholic writer's comment that, "for a Catholic priest so to use the pulpit of a Catholic parish during mass is an abuse and an outrage." He made no comment in the letter of the criticism that Walesa has received for staying silent about the remarks. Walesa initially declined to comment, then appeared to defend the controversial priest, once his close ally in the Solidarity movement's battle against Communist rule during the 1980s. Spokesmen for Poland's several thousand Jews expressed concern when Walesa did not quickly distance himself from the remarks. But in a statement on Tuesday, Walesa said the sermon had aroused public unease over Polish-Jewish relations and added that anti-Semitism was despicable and he would never tolerate it.
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