Monday, May 26, 2008

August Cardinal Hlond

He lived from 1881 to 1948. He became Archbishop of Poznan and Gniezno and primate in Poland in 1926. He was made Cardinal in 1927 and Archbishop of Gniezno and Warsaw in 1946.

Hlond is a somewhat controversial figure due to an ambiguous pastoral letter from 1936 in which he warned against hating the Jews but also allowed for boycotting Jewish business.

It must be noted, however that Hlond clearly and frequently condemned the Nazi persecution of the Jews and all actions that would hurt Jews materially and physically.

When the war came to Poland, the Catholic Church was almost completely annihilated: Priests were shot and deported to concentration camps, bishops were deposed, sacraments were forbidden, monasteries were suppressed, cathedrals were closed or devastated. The Primate's palace in Poznan was completely ruined: The liturgical objects of devotion were destroyed; decorations were torn down; furniture was broken; textiles, wine and paintings were carried off; records and books were burned. Hlond went into exile from 1941 to 1944, was arrested by the Germans in France but freed by the allies. When he came back to Poland, the country and his diocese were in rubbles.

The Cardinal was criticized for forcing German officeholders to resign their church posts in 1945 in favor of Poles. It's easy to point the finger and say Hlond should have behaved more Christian. But this man must have been in shock after the War. So - considering all the atrocities committed by the Germans in Poland - I only blame him half.

1 comment:

Piotr said...

one te first foto on te left ist te future cardinal mons Filipiak, form Roman Rote.