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November 9, 1997 No. 45 (472)

Voice - News

Muffled for the Good of the Fatherland

Father Henryk Jankowski, a prelate at Gdańsk's St. Bridget's Church, has been suspended from his pastoral duties. He has been connected with Solidarity circles for years and was Lech Wałęsa's long-standing confessor. For the second time in 28 months, he made anti-Semitic remarks in a sermon at his church.

On Oct. 26, Jankowski said in his sermon that "people must not tolerate the Jewish minority in our government." He named Freedom Union (UW) politicians Leszek Balcerowicz (now minister of finance) and Bronisław Geremek (minister of foreign affairs) as "characterized by arrogance" and "needing to have an eye kept on them."

Archbishop Tadeusz Gocłowski, metropolitan of Gdańsk and the priest's official superior, made the decision to send a replacement to St. Bridget's, Father Tomasz Czapiewski, a lecturer at Gdańsk's seminary.

In June 1995, in another sermon, Jankowski said, "The star of David is embedded in the symbol of the swastika and the hammer and sickle." Despite a barrage of criticism and outrage, church authorities declined to make an official condemnation of the comment.

"Whether Jankowski remains parish priest in this church depends on his future attitude," Gocłowski said on Nov. 3. Jankowski's only comment was that he intended to "continue working for the good of the fatherland."

Witold Żygulski

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