Poland’s government has asked the Vatican to censure a radical and influential Polish priest after he described Poland as uncivilised and governed by a “totalitarian” regime during a meeting at the European Parliament.
The comments made by Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, the controller of a radio station infamous for its anti-Semitic and xenophobic content, caused consternation in Poland after he was invited to speak in Brussels by Polish politicians belonging to the European and Conservative Reformists Group (ECR), the same parliamentary club of the Conservative Party.
Poland’s ambassador to the Vatican delivered a message to the Holy See urging it “to take action to stop Father Rydzyk harming Poland’s reputation abroad and damaging the Church in Poland”.
The priest made comments about Poland being governed by Poles who are not true Poles, which have been interpreted as a veiled reference to Jews.
Radek Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, also spoke with senior Vatican officials about the priest, who has faced frequent accusations of propagating anti-Semitism and xenophobia through his media empire that comprises both radio and television stations and a national newspaper.
Earlier, Mr Sikorski had warned the priest that “the Polish state would react” to the comments, made after a seminar on renewable energy organised under the auspice of the ECR.
Father Rydzyk’s presence and the ensuing row have come as an acute embarrassment to the Conservatives, who share an at-times uneasy alliance with Law and Justice, the Polish party that organised the priest’s visit to Brussels.
MEP Timothy Kirkhope, the ECR’s deputy chairman, issued a statement distancing the Tories from the seminar, saying the European parliament was no place for people promoting anti-Semitic and homophobic views.
Julie Girling, another Conservative MEP, who was billed to appear alongside Father Rydzyk dropped out at the last minute owing to “toothache”.
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