DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     August 27, 1998     vol. 9, no. 168

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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POLISH BISHOPS CALL FOR END TO DEATH CAMP CROSS CONTROVERSY

          CZESTOCHOWA, Poland (CWNews.com) - Poland's bishops, meeting in Czestochowa on Tuesday, formally asked grassroots Catholics groups to stop planting crosses in a field near the former Auschwitz Nazi death camp, although they did say they support keeping the papal cross planted at the spot where Pope John Paul II prayed in 1979.

          "The bishops's stance is that the Pope's cross must remain while other crosses will be moved to another location," Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy, in whose diocese includes Auschwitz, told reporters. Catholic worker groups have placed dozens of crosses in the field in memory of Poles killed by the Nazis, but Jewish groups have complained that the religious symbols are an affront to the memory of the more than 1 million Jews killed at the site.

          Bishop Rakoczy said the diocese would arrange for the removal of the sea of crosses. "When the situation becomes clear, we will take actions so as not to hurt feelings of the faithful," he said. Although the Polish government supported the removal of the crosses, they were hesitant to provoke the ire of the country's Catholic majority, leaving the issue up to the bishops.

          The groups planting the crosses said they will resist any attempt to remove them. "I will set myself ablaze if they try to remove the crosses by force," Kazimierz Switon, the leader of the cross-planters, said recently.


Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

August 27, 1998       volume 9, no. 168
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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