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February 3, 2022 12:04 pm

Polish Priest Who Faced Disciplinary Action After Denouncing Antisemitic Blood Libel Is Acquitted

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avatar by Ben Cohen

Fr. Alfred Wierzbicki has clashed with the authorities attacking the Catholic University of Lublin for his outspoken condemnations of antisemitism and homophobia. Photo: Screenshot.

A Polish Catholic priest and professor of theology has been acquitted by his university from disciplinary proceedings launched against him after he criticized a colleague who promoted the infamous antisemitic “blood libel.”

Fr. Alfred Wierzbicki was exonerated on Thursday by the disciplinary committee of the Catholic University of Lublin, where he teaches philosophy and theology. The disciplinary proceedings against Wierzbicki were announced last November, when he was accused of having “violated the duties of a teacher in the church faculty of a Catholic university” by vociferously condemning antisemitism, homophobia and racism in a series of interviews with the Polish media.

One of the six charges brought against Wierzbicki concerned his trenchant criticisms of his colleague Fr. Tadeusz Guz, a professor of philosophy who endorsed the antisemitic “blood libel” in a 2018 public lecture. Guz is also known for comparing mass vaccination programs to counter the COVID-19 pandemic with the Nazi regime’s crimes against humanity.

Commenting on the Catholic University’s decision not to pursue disciplinary action against Guz for his antisemitic incitement, Wierzbicki declared it “scandalous” that the calumny underlying the medieval “blood libel” — that Jews use the blood of Christian victims in their religious rituals — had been deemed worthy of “scientific discussion.”

Wierzbicki then charged that the university’s disciplinary committee had similarly promoted “outrageous antisemitic slurs, as if its members really believed that ritual murders had taken place at one time.”

Other charges against Wierzbicki concerned his attack on the Polish Catholic Church’s hostile stance towards the LGBTQ community. “Instead of constantly repeating that homosexuality is a sin, the Church should be more careful and treat what science says on this subject more seriously,” he said in a Sept. 2020 interview. In the same interview, he provoked the ire of the far-right Life and Family Foundation, whom Wierzbicki described as “the dangerous knights of the civilization of death.”

Speaking after his acquittal, Wierzbicki declared himself “satisfied” with the committee’s decision. However, he added: “My bitterness that such disciplinary proceedings took place at all remains. The commission followed legal and academic standards, which is highly praised. On the other hand, the mere referral of the case to the disciplinary commission and the manner of presenting the charges by the ombudsman offend all the standards of academic culture.”

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