Jewish group questions sainthood for WWII-era cardinal

Source: Associated Press

By NICOLE WINFIELD

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A leading Jewish organization has criticized the Vatican’s decision to move World War II-era Cardinal August Hlond along the path to possible sainthood, saying the Polish primate was “extremely” hostile to Jews and failed to condemn a 1946 pogrom.

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In a letter to top Vatican officials released Wednesday, the American Jewish Committee said it was “profoundly” concerned that Pope Francis approved a decree recognizing Hlond’s “heroic virtues,” the first main step in the sainthood process.

AJC’s director of interreligious affairs, Rabbi David Rosen, cited a 1936 pastoral letter Hlond wrote in which he urged Poles to stay away from the “harmful moral influence of Jews” and to boycott Jewish media.

“It is a fact that the Jews are fighting against the Catholic Church, persisting in free thinking, and are the vanguard of godlessness, Bolshevism and subversion,” Hlond wrote in the letter, which frequently has been cited as evidence of the Catholic Church’s institutional anti-Semitism prior to the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

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