Voice of America News, September 5, 2007

The late Pope John Paul II's private secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, is urging fellow Roman Catholic church leaders to take immediate action against a popular priest accused of spreading anti-Semitism and nationalist politics by Catholic radio. In remarks published by newspapers Tuesday, the cardinal said the church cannot ignore what is happening. He said the church is on the verge of what he calls a "dangerous crisis," where someone else is trying to set the direction of Polish Catholicism.

Father Tadusz Rydzyk heads Church-run Radio Maryja. Polish human rights groups and Jewish leaders have accused him of making anti-semitic and ultra-nationalist remarks on braodcasts. The station has a large audience among elderly and poor Poles. The priest denies he is anti-Semitic and has apologized if his broadcasts offended anyone.

Cardinal Dziwisz has called on church leaders to name a new board of governors for Radio Maryja.

Poland's Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the former top aide to the late Pope John Pual II, has called for new governing bodies to take over a Catholic radio and television station run by controversial priest and media baron, Father Tadeusz Rydzyk. Dziwisz made the recommendations for Poland's Roman Catholic Radio Maryja and Telewizja Trwam in a letter to Polish Bishops, extracts of which were published in the Krakow-based Catholic weekly Tygodnik Powszechny on Tuesday. Radio Maryja has long been criticized for broadcasts with xenophobic and anti-Semitic content and rallying the support of its audience for right-wing political parties.

Rydzyk came under fire again recently for anti-Semitic comments and having slandered leading political figures, but state prosecutors declined to press charges. "The time has come, in the name of responsibility before the Holy Father and Church and to those who will follow us - to take a final decision in a fundamental manner, provoked by Radio Maryja," Dziwisz told bishops, Tygodnik Powszechny reported. "It is not just about the person who is the director (Rydzyk), but about our responsibility for pastoral work, which, degree by degree, is falling out of control of bishops into other hands," the cardinal observed. "That is why it seems absolutely necessary to create a new governing board for Radio Maryja and Telewizja Trwam, that will serve the Church in Poland under the guidance of bishops united with Holy Father Benedict XVI, the spiritual heir of Pope John Paul II," he said.

Polish bishops meeting last month were divided over whether to take action against Rydzyk and his media empire, which has considerable influence among its primary audience of the elderly rural poor.



Abigail Fryman, The Tablet, September 7, 2007

Pope John Paul II's former private secretary has called for the sacking of the priest heading a controversial Catholic radio station who has been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks, writes Abigail Frymann.

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Archbishop of Krakow, said Poland's bishops should exercise close supervisioon over Radio Maryja, founded and run by Fr. Tadeusz Rydzyk, adding that the station threatened the unity of Polish Catholicism and was part of a worrying trend in which the work of the Catholic Church was "gradually slipping out of the bishops' control." The cardinal said that Fr. Rydzyk, a Redemptorist priest, should be replaced by someone more in line with the wishes of the Polish Catholic hierarchy.

Dardinal Dziwisz made his remarks at a meeting of the Polish hierarchy late last month, according to a report in the Polish Catholic weekly, Tygodnik Powszechny. Poland's bishops are divided over the cardinal's comments, with the country's primate, Cardinal Jozef Glemp, among those who back the cardinal while Archbishop Leszek Slawoj Glodz of Warsaw-Prague leads a number of bishops in voicing support for the current leadership of the radio station.