WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A Polish Roman Catholic priest on Monday rejected accusations that he and the radio station he operates were anti-Semitic, while his church superiors voiced their support for the embattled clergyman.
Wprost magazine had reported that the Rev. Tadeusz Rydzyk, during a lecture earlier this year at a journalism school, described Jews as greedy and criticized President Lech Kaczynski for donating land in Warsaw for a Jewish museum. The comments generated strong rebukes from liberal Roman Catholics in Poland and leading Jewish rights groups abroad.
On Monday, Rydzyk said he “didn’t intend to offend anyone.”
“I stress that I never speak against people, especially because of their religious affiliation, race, society,” he said in a statement published Monday in the Nasz Dziennik daily, which belongs to the priest’s media group along with the Radio Maryja religious station. “Moreover one cannot say that the actions of Radio Maryja, mine included, were or are anti-Semitic.”
The Rome-based Redemptorist order, to which Rydzyk belongs, voiced its support for him in a statement published alongside Rydzyk’s in Nasz Dziennik.
The order’s chief representative in Poland, the Rev. Zdzislaw Klafka, dismissed the allegations of anti-Semitism against Rydzyk. He also questioned the authenticity of alleged tapes of the comments published by “Wprost.” In the past, Rydzyk had also suggested the tapes were doctored.