Polish archbishop criticizes priest wishing Francis death

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s leading archbishop deplored on Sunday comments by a senior conservative priest who had wished Pope Francis a quick death if he does not open to “wisdom.”

Krakow Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski said he heard about the comments with “great pain and regret” and has discussed them face-to-face with Msgr. Edward Staniek, who made them in a Feb. 25 church speech in Krakow.

Krakow was the seat of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the late Pope St. John Paul II. Poland’s church remains attached to John Paul’s conservative stance, which largely differs from Francis’ inclusive message. A majority of Poland’s bishops see their mission as preserving the traditional Catholic values from the pressure of secularization.

In his speech, Staniek, who is a prominent theologian, said he was praying for wisdom for Francis and a “heart open to the Holy Spirit, and if he does not do that, for a quick passage to the House of the Father,” meaning death.

He said that Francis has departed from the teaching of Jesus and was wrongly interpreting mercy as opening up to Muslims and allowing communion for divorced Catholics, who, according to the church, live in mortal sin and are not allowed communion.

A former seminary rector, Staniek suggested Francis was an “alien body” in the Catholic Church and said his words were used by media that are hostile to the church.

His superior, Archbishop Jedraszewski, insisted in his statement that the full Krakow diocese was praying ardently every day with the best intentions for Francis.

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