Poland's Solidarity chaplain Jankowski dies at 74

WARSAW Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:00pm IST

Related Topics

WARSAW (Reuters) - Father Henryk Jankowski, "the chaplain of Solidarity" who later caused deep embarrassment to the Catholic Church because of his anti-Semitism and high living, has died aged 74 in Gdansk, the city mayor said.

Jankowski was at the forefront of Lech Walesa's Solidarity trade union, which played a key role in toppling communism in 1989, but his high profile and outspoken comments led to him falling out with the Church hierarchy.

"It is with regret that I need to inform you that today at 8:05 pm Father Henryk Jankowski died...We will not forget the role he played in the history of our country and our city," Gdansk mayor Pawel Adamowicz wrote on social networking site Facebook late on Monday.

Jankowski actively supported the pro-democracy underground opposition in the 1970s and 1980s. He was the first chaplain to say mass for workers at the Gdansk shipyard, the cradle of the Solidarity movement, as they went on strike to get concessions from the Communist government.

"Without his attitude, our fight would not have ended in success," Walesa told Polsat News TV broadcaster.

However, in post-Communist Poland Jankowski became a controversial figure known for anti-Semitism and criticism of the European Union. He was banned from preaching after he said Poles should not tolerate a Jewish minority in the government. He was subsequently dismissed from being the rector of Gdansk's St.Bridget Church.

Walesa said that after the fall of Communism the opinions expressed by the priest meant a distance grew between the pair.

"He had different views on many issues than I did and this separated us."

Jankowski, who was known for highlighting the role of Jews in the death of Jesus Christ, had a penchant for luxury cars and expensive clothes, which also drew criticism, as did some of his business enterprises. One scheme involved a wine called 'Monsignore' which had his image on the bottle label.

(Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Matthew Jones)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Korean Boat Tragedy

Family members of a missing passenger onboard the South Korean ferry Sewol which capsized on Wednesday, look at the sea as they wait for news from a rescue team, at a port in Jindo April 19, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Sunken Korea ferry relatives give DNA swabs to help identify dead

Relatives of some of the more than 200 children missing in a sunken South Korean ferry offered DNA swabs on Saturday to help identify the dead as a rescue turned into a mission to recover the vessel and the bodies of those on board.  Full Article 

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Everest Tragedy

Everest Tragedy

Death toll climbs in worst tragedy on Everest  Full Article 

Missing Plane

Missing Plane

Current underwater search for Malaysia plane could end within a week  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Putin welcomes new NATO head, says better ties with West possible  Full Article 

Japan Military

Japan Military

Japan expands army footprint for first time in 40 years, risks angering China  Full Article 

Journalists Released

Journalists Released

Kidnapped French journalists found on Turkey's Syrian border   Full Article 

Papal Message

Papal Message

Pope Good Friday service underscores plight of the suffering.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage