“We are grateful to the archbishop and his diocese for taking this principled and very important step to recognize that there are just some people in the world that you want to try and avoid.”
A Catholic nun prays in front of a picture of Pope John Paul II in the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem’s Old City
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In an unusual decision, the Catholic archdiocese of Edmonton in Canada has denounced a Polish priest who was blamed for airing antisemitic ideas on his Radio Maryja radio station in Poland, according to the Edmonton Journal, a Canadian local newspaper.
Father Tadeusz Rydzyk was barred from visiting or speaking at the Archdiocese of Edmonton, located in Canadian province Alberta, and any affiliated parishes.
The decision was made after B’nai Brith in Alberta approached the Edmonton archdiocese and explained the situation. Following a 45 minute-long conversation between B’nai Brith Alberta spokesperson Abe Silverman with Archbishop Richard Smith, the diocese announced that it would make sure Rydzyk would not speak in Alberta.
“We are grateful to the archbishop and his diocese for taking this principled and very important step to recognize that there are just some people in the world that you want to try and avoid because they’re divisive and racist,” said Silverman.
Rydzyk’s Radio Maryja has made headlines before for airing antisemitic content. According to the Edmonton Journal, in 2016, the station claimed that US senators were critical of the Polish government because of the senators’ Jewish heritage.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has marked Rydzyk’s radio station as antisemitic, stating on its website that it has a 25-year history of airing antisemitic content.
Rydzyk’s ban by a well-known Canadian parish becomes relevant when considering the fact that he has spoken in Alberta before, and has often visited Canada to fund-raise for various projects he is involved with in Poland.
Thomas Lukaszuk, a Polish-born Canadian politician, raised a red flag in 2018, when Rydzyk was scheduled to speak in Calgary.
“I commend Archbishop Smith for his leadership in opposing xenophobia and barring Father Rydzyk, and I hope that all other Canadian archdioceses will follow this example,” Lukaszuk said in a press release issued by B’nai Brith.
Andrew Erhkamp, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Edmonton, said that any suggestion to bring Rydzyk to the archdiocese will be denied.
“If a request was made, it would be denied given Father Rydzyk’s history of making controversial comments that at times have caused distress and division,” Erkhamp told the Edmonton Journal.