Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $37,094 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on

Cardinal Glemp, Poland’s primate for nearly 3 decades, dead at 83

Catholic World News - January 24, 2013

Cardinal Józef Glemp, who served as Archbishop of Warsaw from 1981 to 2006 and Primate of Poland until 2009, has died at the age of lung cancer at the age of 83.

Born in 1929 in Inowroclaw, now a city of 78,000 in north-central Poland, Cardinal Glemp was a slave-laborer to the Nazis during World War II. Ordained to the priesthood in 1956, he was appointed Bishop of Warmia (Ermland) by Blessed John Paul II in 1979. Two years later, the Pontiff named the canon lawyer Archbishop of Gniezno and Warsaw, succeeding the famed Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, who had served as Primate since 1948.

In Witness to Hope, his biography of Blessed John Paul II, George Weigel wrote that “the new archbishop of Gniezno and Warsaw was a dedicated churchman and a Polish patriot. But his selection as Primate would not be a success--for himself, for the Church in Poland, or for the man who made the appointment.” Seeking to be a force for moderation during the struggle in the 1980s between the Solidarity trade union and the Communist regime, Cardinal Glemp, wrote Weigel, clashed with the young Father Jerzy Popieluszko, a priest murdered by the regime who was beatified as a martyr in 2010. He also faced charges of anti-Semitism during a dispute over the presence of Carmelite nuns at the Nazi death camp in Auschwitz.

However, Pope Benedict XVI strongly defended the late Polish prelate in a message of condolence, sent to his successor in Warsaw, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz. “Personally, I always appreciated his sincere goodness, his simplicity, his openness, and his cordial dedication to the cause of the Church in Poland and in the world,” the Pope said. He praised Cardinal Glemp as “an apostle of unity against division, of harmony in the face of confrontation, of the building of a happy future based on the past joyous and sorrowful experiences of the Church and the nation.”

Recognizing the criticism that Cardinal Glemp had faced, especially after his retirement, the Pope wrote: "The last stage of his life was tried by suffering, which he endured with a serenity of spirit. Even in this test he remained a witness to trusting in the goodness and love of omnipotent God."

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($125,623 to go):
$150,000.00 $24,377.05
84% 16%
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Pope is not the problem 12 hours ago
Do not confuse sacramental discipline and Catholic doctrine. 13 hours ago
Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal October 22
Has the Vatican finally discovered how to avoid inaccurate English translations? October 22
The Synod: It's a Wrap! October 21

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6