Polish priest’s dismissal exposes rift over Catholic dialogue with Jews

August 6, 2013

(Polish priest Wojciech Lemanski takes part in celebrations for the March of Remembrance commemorating the 71st anniversary of the beginning of the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto, in Warsaw July 21, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel )

When the outspoken Polish priest Wojciech Lemanski returned with his parishioners to his church near Warsaw after holding a prayer vigil at the Treblinka Nazi death camp in early July, a dismissal notice awaited him.

The Warsaw diocese of the Roman Catholic Church sacked Lemanski as parish priest in the small village of Jasienica for what it said was his insubordination after numerous clashes on issues such as in-vitro fertilization, abortion and his engagement with the Jewish community.

Lemanski sealed his fate when in a radio interview he accused Archbishop Henryk Hoser, who oversees his parish, of asking whether he was a Jew and circumcised – a charge the diocese has denied.

The episode exposed a rift within the church, as it struggles to retain a central role in Polish life, between conservatives and those who want more openness in dealing with social issues and some of the darker episodes in Poland’s past.

“At a time when Pope Francis is calling for open-mindedness, the church in Poland is crawling into its shell,” said Iwona Jakubowska-Branicka, a sociologist at Warsaw University.

“As with many moral issues, the question of relations with Jews has been swept under the carpet,” she said.

Read the full story by Dagmara Leszkowicz here.

Follow RTRFaithWorld via Twitter Follow all posts on Twitter @ RTRFaithWorld

rss button Follow all posts via RSS


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

dear pope: can we please clean house. get rid of the stupid church leaders in poland.

Posted by peter80111 | Report as abusive

It sounds like Father Lemanski would do well to emigrate to America and take a pastoral position with the Episcopal Church. His behavior seems to be in line with the social values of that branch of the apostolic faith.

Posted by WWKMD | Report as abusive