Sputnik Escalates the Cold War
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Glemp, Józef, Cardinal (1929–)

Polish Roman Catholic priest, bishop, and primate of Poland (1981–2006). Born on 18 December 1929 in Inowroclaw, Poland, Józef Glemp and his family worked during World War II as conscripted laborers on a farm operated by occupying German forces. After the war, he became interested in the priesthood, completed his theological studies at the seminary in Poznań, and was ordained a priest in May 1956. He then went to Rome, eventually earning doctorates in both civil and canon law from the Lateran University. He served as a secretary to Primate of Poland Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński during 1967–1979.

In March 1979, Glemp was named bishop of Warmia. After Cardinal Wyszyński's death in 1981, Pope John Paul II, himself a Pole, appointed Glemp to succeed Wyszyński. Glemp thus became the archbishop of Gniezno and of Warsaw and the primate of Poland. He assumed his offices on 7 July 1981. That November, he initiated a series of meetings with Polish Communist Party (PZPR) leader Wojciech Jaruzelski and Solidarity labor leader Lech Wałęsa. These conferences were designed to unite the government, the church, and the Solidarity movement in an effort to resolve Poland's ongoing economic and political problems.

On 12 December 1981, in an effort to crush Solidarity, Jaruzelski declared martial law. Archbishop Glemp, with the support of the pope, worked to defuse the crisis and reduce the possibility of violence. His moderation and accommodation led more activist Poles, including some clergy, to refer to him as "Comrade Glemp." The pope pressured Glemp to take a more antigovernment position, but the archbishop resisted, believing that a violently antigovernment movement would increase the chances of armed conflict and, ultimately, the ruination of Solidarity. More recent observers have noted that Glemp's moderation may indeed have helped the government refrain from using violence to extinguish the Solidarity movement. The Jaruzelski-Glemp-Wałęsa discussions eventually led to Poland's democratization in 1989.

Pope John Paul II elevated Glemp to cardinal in 1983. Glemp retired as president of the Polish Bishops' Conference in 2004 but retained the title of primate of Poland until December 2005.

John David Rausch Jr.


Further Reading
Szajkowski, Bogdan. Next to God…Poland: Politics and Religion in Contemporary Poland. New York: St. Martin's, 1983.
 

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