New Episcopate President Succeeds Cardinal Glemp

WARSAW, Poland, MARCH 19, 2004 ( Archbishop Jozef Michalik, 62, of Przemysl was elected president of the Polish episcopal conference, replacing Cardinal Jozef Glemp, who held the post for 23 years.

As president of the episcopal conference and pastor of the primate see of Warsaw, Cardinal Glemp became a bridge in the 1980s between the Communist regime and the Solidarity trade unionists who played a decisive role in the advent of democracy in the country.

According to Marcin Przeciszewsk, writer of the Polish Catholic press agency KAI, “With his dramatic calls for peace in the days following the proclamation of martial law, on Dec. 13, 1981,” Cardinal Glemp prevented the coup from becoming “bloody.”

According to Przeciszewsk, during Cardinal Glemp’s years as conference president, the Church in Poland has succeeded in obtaining “the introduction of the teaching of religion in schools, legal recognition of religious marriages and, above all, the prohibition of abortion.”