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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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