Priest may hold key to Polish elections

A priest who runs the controversial Catholic Radio Maryja may hold the key to Poland's forthcoming national election campaign.

The London Daily Telegraph reports that the station has been often accused of fostering xenophobia and anti-Semitism. It says the influence of the station is such, that its director Fr Tadusz Rydzyk has become the "king-maker" of the country's election campaign.

The coalition led by prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski fell apart last month and an election campaign has begun.

In Catholic Poland, the ability to mobilise the faithful in their pews and at the ballot box is critical.

Radio Marija is run from a fenced compound in the city of Torun, 90 kilometres north-west of Warsaw.

Radio Maryja has become a crucial political ally of the conservative Kaczynski, and his twin brother who is president.

An observer from the Institute of Public Affairs political think tank said the station has up to 1-2 million listeners. They are mostly old, and very disciplined voters. He said its political message is "xenophobic, notoriously anti-Semitic, anti-German, and homophobic."

Polish poll may hang on priest's message (Telegraph, 11/9/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Radio Maryja (Polish)
Radio Maryja (Wikipedia)

Vatican reins in Poland's clerical free spirits (CathNews, 12/1/06)

11 Sep 2007