Poland’s most influential cardinal has launched a broadside attack on a notorious radio station branded anti-Semitic and homophobic by its critics.
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Archbishop of Krakow, spelt out fears that the position of the church in Poland was increasingly being confused with those of Radio Maryja, run by Fr Tadeusz Rydzyk – a Redemptorist monk.
“Pastoral work is gradually slipping out of bishops’ control and into the hands of others,” he said.
“We cannot ignore what is happening and await what will come next.”
He warned that unless new management was found for the station, its mixture of prayer, politics and homophobia would continue to be understood as church teaching.
Few doubt the station will back the prime minister and his brother Lech Kaczynski in the upcoming elections, due in no small part to their attacks on homosexuality while in power.
During the last election, the station is credited with gaining them an extra million votes.
Their cooperation seems to have survived an infamous episode in which tapes were leaked of Mr Rydzyk saying Mr Kaczynski was in the pocket of “the Jewish lobby.”
Despite the tape, many Polish conservatives are fond of the station, which airs their views without shying away from appearing fundamentalist or offensive.
Justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro, a close ally of the Kaczynskis, said: “Fr Rydzyk and his media are doing a lot of good for the Polish people.”
The Polish episcopate is struggling to address many of the issues facing Polish society today and remains split across conservative and liberal lines.