Thursday, January 12, 2006

Reining in the Poles

Apparently, some Polish priests needed reminding of the boundary lines....
The Vatican has issued a document imposing discipline upon the clergy in Poland. Their public activity, outside the church but engaging its authority, now requires a written permission of the bishops.

The Vatican brings the clergy to order. The Holy See admonishes the church in Poland. Such are some of the comments in the Polish media today, after the Vatican nuncio, archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk issued a harshly worded statement imposing discipline on Polish clergy. It reminds them that they must obey the church laws and that their public activity needs a written approval of their superiors. A spokesman of the Polish Episcopate, father Jozef Kloch says the document touches upon some worrying developments in the catholic church in Poland and aims at introducing discipline.

'This does not mean some kind of a military discipline – it is about internal unity of the church. This text is an instrument designed to help diocese and religious order superiors.'

Examples of threats to the unity of the church were presented by Polish bishops during their recent visit to the Vatican. Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek, professor of canon law, mentions the activities of two Catholic broadcasters: Radio Maryja and TV Trwam, on which the Polish Episcopate has no say or the controversial priest, Father Henryk Jankowski, who used to market wine bearing his name and now is opening an institute – again bearing his name, without asking what his superiors think about it.
Catholic broadcasters over which the Episcopate has no say.... Hmmmm.... For some reason, that sticks out.

More.... Including analysis from The Tablet's Eastern Europe correspondent.
While controversy continues over the the ultra-Catholic station Radio Maryja, it’s been revealed that its cable TV channel Trwam may be operating illegally. Both Radio Maryja and Trwam TV are owned by the controversial cleric Tadeusz Rydzyk. They have millions of faithful listeners and viewers, but at the same time have frequently been criticized for dabbling in politics or voicing anti-Semitic contents....

Trwam TV is owned by a foundation set up by three priests. They never received a written consent to do that, neither do the foundation’s annual financial records mention the existence of a tv station. Prominent catholic commentator Halina bortnowska is happy the Vatican has issued the document imposing discipline on the clergy as the activities of some priests, including the two broadcasters, may threaten the unity of the church in Poland....

Jonathan Luxmore, too, admits that, despite Radio Maryja’s and Trwam TV’s importance to millions of Poles who listen to their broadcasts regularly, circles gathered around them have seriously jeopardized the unity of the Catholic church in Poland.