Cleric warns Poles of evils that lurk in the EU 'paradise'


Europe Editor

The controversial head of Poland's Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Jozef Glemp, may have gone too far. In a speech last week to tens of thousands of pilgrims at the Jasna Gora monastery, Poland's holiest shrine, he warned Poles that joining the European Union could jeopardise their national identity and tempt them into immoral behaviour.

At one point, he compared the EU to a "paradise" containing dangerous fruits, and at another point he called it a "jungle of cut-throat competition and easy plunder". If Poles were not vigilant, they could easily find that EU membership turned them into "animals" obsessed with material things

Poland's left-wing coalition government regards admission into the EU and Nato as its two most important foreign-policy goals, and mainstream opposition political parties share these objectives. Opinion polls consistently show strong public support for EU membership, which the government would like to join as early as 2000.

It is not the first time that Cardinal Glemp, the Primate of the Polish Church since 1981, has made a blunt intervention into the political arena. However, by challenging a goal that Polish politicians and the general public view as vital to the nation's stability and prosperity, he may prompt fresh calls for the clergy to be kept once and for all out of politics.

"Entering the EU is a fine thing, but it involves more than just politics. The Church also perceives it as a moral issue, and warns against turning citizens into lay figures at the price of entering a club of rich proprietors," he told the Jasna Gora pilgrims.

"There are two ways for the poor to enter the group of the rich. The first way is for the poor to make an impression with their character, diligence and personality.

" The second way is to get rid of their character, their clothes and way of life, and change into compulsory full dress or jeans and imitate everything that makes a man rich."

"We are standing at the gate to paradise and we are begging: 'Take us, we will do anything to be like you.' But Poland has been part of civilised, Christian Europe for 1,000 years."

In language that suggested he even thought the EU was out to destroy Poland's independence, he said: "Today it is possible to dominate countries not only with weapons but with economic activities.

" I know cases where someone who wants to buy up an enterprise first ruins it and later buys it up for next to nothing."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living