Józef Glemp
Glemp Józef
Church positions
See Warsaw (Emeritus)
Title Archbishop emeritus of Warsaw
Period in office 7 July 1981 – 6 December 2006
Successor Stanisław Wielgus
Previous post Bishop of Warmia
Created cardinal 2 February 1983
Date of birth 18 December 1929 (1929-12-18) (age 87)
Place of birth Inowrocław, Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland

Józef Glemp (born 18 December 1929) is a Polish Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He was Archbishop of Warsaw from 1981 to 2006, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1983.


Early life and ordination

Józef Glemp was born in Inowrocław to a family of German ancestry, Kazimierz Glemp and Salomea z Kośmickich, and was baptized the same day. His father had participated in the insurrection of Greater Poland from 1918 to 1919. Józef studied at the seminaries of Gniezno and Poznań, but his education was interrupted by the World War II; he and his siblings were slave laborers during the Nazi occupation of Poland. Glemp was ordained to the priesthood on 25 May 1956 by Bishop Franciszek Jedwabski.

Canon law

After two years of pastoral service in Poznań, he was sent to Rome in 1958 to study canon law at the Pontifical Lateran University, earning his doctorate in utroque iure in 1964, with a thesis on: De evolutione conceptus fictionis iuris. After his practicum he was given the title of Advocate of the Roman Rota. He attended a course in stylistic Latin at the Pontifical Gregorian University and also finished his studies in ecclesial administration.


In 1964, he finished all his studies in Rome and returned to Gniezno in Poland. He became chaplain of the Dominican and Franciscan Sisters and teacher of religion in the house for delinquent minors. He worked as Secretary of the Seminary of Gniezno and as notary for the Curia and the metropolitan tribunal and also as defender of the bond.

Secretariat of the Primate

In December 1967, he worked in the Secretariat of the Primate, and for 15 years was one of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński's close collaborators. As the personal chaplain of the Cardinal, he accompanied him on his journeys within Poland and to Rome. He exercised varied responsibilities in the Commissions of the Polish Episcopate and taught Canon Law at the Academy of the Catholic Theology in Warsaw. He participated in several congresses on this topic in Poland and abroad. In 1972 he was named a Chaplain of His Holiness, and in March 1976 be became Canon of the Metropolitan Chapter at Gniezno.


On 4 March 1979, John Paul II named him Bishop of Warmia, in the northeast part of Poland and was consecrated on the feast of St. Adalberto, on 21 April, in Gniezno.

Styles of
Józef Glemp
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Warsaw(emeritus)

After the death of Cardinal Wyszyński on 18 May 1981, he was named Archbishop of Gniezno on 7 July 1981, in union "pro hac vice, ad personam" with the Archdiocese of Warsaw. As Bishop of Gniezno he became also the Primate of Poland. (The title of Primate of Poland was conferred on the Archbishop of Gniezno by Pope Martin V in 1418 and confirmed by Leo X in 1515, every Primate of Poland to the time of his election, even if he is not a cardinal, has the right to wear the red "zucchetto" of a cardinal, a privilege already accorded in 1600 and confirmed by Benedict XIV in 1749.)


Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the Consistory of 2 February 1983. Titular Church of St. Mary in Trastevere. On 25 March 1992, with the restructuring of the Church dioceses in Poland, John Paul II dissolved the union "ad personam" of Gniezno-Warsaw, naming as Metropolitan Archbishop of Gniezno Bishop Henryk Muszynski. The Holy Father decided that the title of Primate of Poland should remain linked to the historical heritage of S. Adalberto in the Archdiocese of Gniezno and confirmed that Cardinal Józef Glemp, Archbishop of Warsaw, who had custody of the relics of S. Adalberto, which were venerated in the Cathedral of Gniezno, should continue to bear the title of Primate of Poland. Later, Pope Benedict XVI stipulated that Cardinal Glemp, despite his retirement, would remain primate until 18 December 2009, his 80th birthday.

Episcopal conference

Cardinal Glemp acted as President of the Episcopal Conference of Poland for 23 years, from 1981 until March 2004.

He was president delegate to the 1st Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops (1991).

Glemp was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.

Apostolic administrator

On 7 January 2007, it was announced that Cardinal Glemp would be acting as the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Warsaw due to the resignation of Stanisław Wielgus.[1]

On 3 March 2007, Kazimierz Nycz was appointed to the Warsaw see.

Curial membership


Radio Maryja

The Primate of Poland, archbishop Jozef Glemp, said in 2005 that the Catholic Radio Maryja was causing a rift in the Church. [2]

Wielgus affair

During the controversy surrounding the alleged collaboration of bishop Stanislaw Wielgus with the communist secret services, Cardinal Glemp said that the prelate was a true servant of God and that media accusations against him were unfounded or exaggerated. [3]

Controversial statements on Jews

Glemp's controversial remarks about Jews have caused some Jewish leaders to call him an antisemite[4], including Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, for statements he has made, including that Jews were "plying [Polish] peasants with alcohol" and "spreading communism" and that they "control the mass-media in many countries." [5] According to Derhsowitz, Glemp "was forced to apologize" as the result of Dershowitz's lawsuit against him. [6] Professor Joanna B. Michlic makes reference to Glemp, among others, "utter[ing] many overt and covert references to Jews as the harmful other in Poland." [7]

Adam Michnik and David Ost assert that:

By 1984, when Primate Glemp wrote and signed a new edition of Roman Dmowski’s 1927 pamphlet, Church, Nation, and State, once could not longer have any doubts regardiong Glemp’s political sympatjies: they lay with Dmowski’s Endecja political tendency, the major nationalist party in the interwar period known for its illiberal and authoritarian policits, support for a strong leader, advocacy of Catholicism as a state religion, and violent anti-Semitism. [8]

Historian Robert S. Wistrich also discusses Glemp's relationship to Dmowski and attitudes towards Jews.

[Glemp]... warned Jews not to 'talk to us from the position of a people raised above all'. The Cardinal, Poland's leading Churchman, seemed to be presenting anti-Semitism as a legitimate self-defence against Jewish 'anti-polonism'. Deploring the attacks of 'world Jewry' on the poor nuns at Auschwitz, he admonished Jewish leaders in terms that seemed to echo the words of the pre-war national Democratic leader Roman Dmowski (one of Glemp's heroes): 'Your power lies in the mass media that are easily at your disposal in many countries. Let them not serve to spread anti-Polish feeling'. [9]

Glemp has "said he recognized that his widely publicized homily might have caused pain among Jews, and he expressed regret." [4]


Preceded by
Józef Drzazga
Bishop of Warmia
1979 – 1981
Succeeded by
Jan Władysław Obłąk
Preceded by
Stefan Wyszyński
Archbishop of Gniezno
1981 – 1992
Succeeded by
Henryk Muszyński
Preceded by
Stefan Wyszyński
Archbishop of Warsaw
1981 – 2006
Succeeded by
Stanisław Wielgus
Preceded by
Archbishop of Warsaw (apostolic administrator)
7 January 2007 - 3 March 2007
Succeeded by
Kazimierz Nycz
Preceded by
Stefan Wyszyński
Primate of Poland
1981 – 2009
Succeeded by
Henryk Muszyński
Preceded by
Great Prior Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Poland
1995 – ---
Succeeded by
cs:Józef Glempla:Iosephus Glempno:Józef Glemppt:Józef Glemp

ru:Глемп, Юзеф sl:Józef Glemp fi:Józef Glemp sv:Józef Glemp

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