Wiesenthal Centre to Vatican :"It is High Time Father Rydzyk and his Radio Marya be Excommunicated"

Brussels, 28 June 2011

In a letter to Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, recalled their recent meeting and arrangement to bring concerns in Catholic-Jewish relations to his direct attention.

The letter noted that "Father Rydzyk has been condemned by several Polish bishops for his continual incitement to antisemitism through Radio Marya,which he founded and has managed for twenty years", adding that "in 2007, the BBC reported that he had described the then President, the late Lech Kacynski, on the air waves, as under the influence of the Jews."

Samuels pointed to Rydzyk's invitation by Polish MEP's, last week,"to the European Parliament, where he reportedly stated that Poland "has not been ruled by Poles since 1939" - interpreted in Warsaw as a code charging that the country has been run by Jews."

The Centre highlighted 1 July as the date of Warsaw's assumption of the EU Presidency, thus expressing, "gratification that the Foreign Minister and the European Parliament President, Jerzy Buzek, have condemned Rydzyk for harming Poland and, for the first time, have complained to the Holy See."

Samuels queried the response of Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, who claimed that "Rydzyk speaks in his own name and his statement does not involve the Holy See".The Centre emphasized that "his Redemptionist Order is presented as under the supreme authority of the Vatican."

The letter continued "despite Pope Benedict XVI's welcome reprimand of Rydzyk's antisemitic broadcasts, he has defiantly persisted and is, consequently, an embarrassment to the Holy Father."

"In view of Rydzyk's recidivist hatemongering, our membership - including Catholics and Jews in Poland and around the world - feel that it is high time that Rydzyk and Radio Marya be excommunicated, to deligitimize a clerical status that he has consistently defiled," concluded Samuels.

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).