Jewish Organizations Denounce Vatican’s Sainthood Candidate for History of Anti-Semitism

May 29, 2018
REUTERS/Tony Gentile/File Photo

Jewish organizations are urging the Vatican to not give sainthood to a cardinal due to his history of anti-Semitism.

The candidate, Cardinal August Hlond, was Poland’s leading church official from 1926-1948 and is seen as a protector of the church in the face of Nazism and communism. However, he called for boycotts against Jewish business and rebuffed a meeting with survivors of the post-Holocaust pogroms against Jews, according to Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).

“Jews do not usually speak out about a candidate for Sainthood, but such a move by Pope Francis to elevate a lifelong anti-Semite to Sainthood would be shameful,” Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal said in a press release.

Hier and Cooper highlighted a 1946 report from the State Department stating, “Catholic leaders from Cardinal Hlond on down, preached anti-Semitism and an economic boycott of the Jews.”

They added, “We urge Pope Francis to put a halt to the campaign to bestow Sainthood upon a man who was anything but when it came to three and a half million Polish Jews before the Nazi Holocaust and the 80,000 survivors who desperately tried to reconstitute a Jewish presence in post-War Poland.”

Similarly, the American Jewish Committee (AJC)’s Rabbi David Rosen, who initially brought up the issue, wrote in a letter to the Vatican that giving Hlond sainthood would be seen “as an expression of approval of Cardinal Hlond’s extremely negative approach towards the Jewish community.”

A person can become a candidate for sainthood five years after their death or if the Pope issues a waiver. An investigation can then begin to determine if the candidate met the proper standards of holiness and virtue. If a candidate meets that threshold, there has to be miracles attributed to that candidate in order to reach the status of sainthood.

In the case of Hlond, the Pope has already determined that he meets the virtue and holiness and threshold; it has not yet been determined if any miracles can be attributed to him.

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