WARSAW, Poland (ChurchMilitant.com) - An esteemed Polish theologian is receiving backlash for his homily last month in which he prayed for the Holy Father's "happy death" if he did not open his heart to "wisdom."
Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski of Kraków rebuked Msgr. Edward Staniek on Saturday, saying, "It is with great pain and regret that I learned of the recent remarks made by Fr. Edward Staniek about Pope Francis." Jędraszewski also discussed his concerns with Staniek in a face-to-face meeting.
"I assure you that the whole Church in Cracow is praying for Pope Francis daily and fervently," asking God "for the grace necessary for him in fulfilling the Office of Peter," insisted His Excellency.
Jędraszewski's comments came after Staniek remarked in a homily on February 25 that he was praying either for the Holy Spirit to aid the Holy Father's return to the Church or for his death.
"I pray for wisdom for the pope, for his heart to open up to the Holy Spirit, and if he does not do that, I pray for his quick departure to the House of the Father," commented Staniek. "I can always ask God for a happy death for him because a happy death is a great grace."
Staniek criticized Pope Francis for his "erroneous views," including an open door to Muslim refugees and migrants, and Holy Communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. He denounced false mercy with regard to followers of Islam:
As a religion, they are hostile to the Gospel and the Church. They murdered millions in religious wars. And we Poles, remembering the victory over their armies near Vienna, better than others understand that there is no way to talk about dialogue with them. We can show mercy to those Muslim believers who are dying of hunger or thirst. The doors of the diocese and the parish may be open only to believers in Jesus Christ.
He also condemned the false mercy concerning the sacrilegious reception of the Eucharist:
The second point of misunderstanding mercy is to open the door to the Eucharist, the food of the saint, to people who choose sin as their world. They may have access to the Eucharist as long as they repent of their sin. ... For the unholy, it is a deadly food because it is a sacrilege. Admitting the unholy people to holiness in the Church is a profanation of the sacraments.
Staniek lamented how the pope's words are "used in media devoted to the destruction of Jesus and His Church." He ended his homily urging the Holy Father to "listen to Jesus, just as His Father on Mount Tabor (the mountain where Christians believe Jesus transfigured) recommended us."
Critics of Pope Francis, including faithful of the Polish Church dedicated to defending traditional Catholic values from the threat of secularization, have expressed their reservations over the liberal interpretation of Pope Francis' exhortation Amoris Laetitia. The Holy Father's exhortation on marriage and the family has led dioceses around the world to open Holy Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried in certain situations.
As many as 54,000 Poles petitioned their bishops in January to defend the indissolubility of marriage and bar the divorced and civilly remarried from receiving the Eucharist.
Father Staniek was ordained in 1965 by Abp. Karol Wojtyła of Kraków (later Pope St. John Paul II). He was rector of the seminary in Kraków between 1993–2001. Staniek wrote several dozen books and was also a member of the Committee of Theological Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences.