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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » April 23, 2008
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Row Over New Gdańsk Archbishop
April 23, 2008   
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Pope Benedict XVI April 17 controversially appointed Sławoj Leszek GłódĽ-a churchman who has been accused by critics of being too close to the ultra-Catholic Radio Maryja radio station and of politicizing the Church-as archbishop of the northern city of Gdańsk. The Polish episcopate issued a special statement asking the media to respect the Vatican's decision and "not to undermine its authority."

Among critics of GłódĽ's appointment was former Polish president and ex-Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa, a staunch Catholic. Local clergy in Gdańsk also reportedly opposed the appointment.

GłódĽ takes over as archbishop of Gdańsk from Tadeusz Gocłowski, 77, who has retired. According to unconfirmed reports, Gocłowski wrote a letter to the Vatican arguing that the Gdańsk archdiocese needed an archbishop with different views to those of GłódĽ. Opponents have criticized GłódĽ claiming he is a Euroskeptic and a supporter of the nationalist Radio Maryja radio station headed by Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, which has frequently come under attack for airing Anti-Semitic comments.

GłódĽ, who has been head of the Church's Praga diocese in Warsaw up to now, denied the accusations leveled against him. He said he had never been a Euroskeptic. "I have spent 16 years outside Poland. I know how great Europe is, but I also know how small it is... I was always in favor of Poland's entry into the European Union," he said.

GłódĽ's official installation ceremony will be held at the cathedral in Gdańsk's Oliwa district April 26. "I accept the decision of the Holy Father Benedict XVI in the spirit of obedience. I did not seek this diocese or this decision-just the contrary," GłódĽ said after his appointment was announced, adding that he had expected to continue working in his Warsaw diocese. He promised to continue the work of his predecessor in Gdańsk.
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