Stephen Fry angers Poles with death camp claim

[quote=Catholic Herald]The Polish embassy has described as “utterly misleading” and “slanderous” remarks made by Stephen Fry in which he linked Polish “Right-wing Catholicism” to the Holocaust.

The actor made the comments on Channel 4 News in an interview about the Conservative Party’s links with the Polish Law and Justice Party, which has been accused of homophobia and anti-Semitism.

He said: “There has been a history, let’s face it, in Poland of a Right-wing Catholicism which has been deeply disturbing for those of us who know a little history, and remember which side of the border Auschwitz was on, and know the stories, and know much of the anti-Semitic, and homophobic and nationalistic elements in countries like Poland.”

Continued here.

God Bless.


Stephen Fry, along with atheist Christopher Hitchens is arguing against the motion, The Catholic Church is a force for good in the World, tomorrow.

October 19, 2009

The Catholic church is a force for good in the world
Autumn 2009 Series

Event Information:
The debate will take place at: Methodist Central Hall Westminster.

Doors open at 6:00 pm. The debate starts at 6:45 pm and finishes at 8:30 pm.
Speakers for the motion:
Archbishop John Onaiyekan Roman Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria.

Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe MP Conservative MP and Catholic convert.

Speakers against the motion:
Christopher Hitchens Writer, broadcaster and polemicist, author of the bestselling book “God is not Great”.

Stephen Fry Actor, author, comedian and television presenter.

Zeinab Badawi BBC World News anchor.
======================================== ========================

Be sure to vote in the poll:
“The Catholic church is a force for good in the world” (poll closes October 19th)…debate=EVT0195

The poll link above doesn’t seem to work. Let’s try this link:

I read the snippet in the OP right up to the point where it said, “The actor made the comments”, and then I said, “Oh, yeah, another one of those,” placed it in the ignore pile, and moved on.

He should have stuck with Wooster & Jeeves.

Agreed. The person apparently has no idea how Catholics (especially clergy) were treated by the Germans in Nazi occupied Poland.

Between 1939 and 1945 an estimated 3,000 members of the Catholic clergy in Poland were killed; of these, 1,992 died in concentration camps, 787 of them at Dachau, including bishop Michał Kozal.

No exception was made for Poland’s higher clergy. Bishop Michael Kozal of Wladislava died in Dachau; Bishop Nowowiejski of Płock and his suffragan Bishop Wetmanski both died in prison in Poland; Bishop Fulman of Lublin and his suffragan Bishop Goral were sent to a concentration camp in Germany.

In 1939, 80 percent of the Catholic clergy and five of the bishops of the Warthegau region had been deported to concentration camps. In Wrocław, 49.2 percent of the clergy were dead; in Chelmno, 47.8 percent; in Łódź, 36.8 percent; in Poznań, 31.1 percent. In the Warsaw diocese, 212 priests were killed; 92 were murdered in Wilno, 81 in Lwów, 30 in Kraków, 13 in Kielce. Seminarians who were not killed were shipped off to Germany as forced labor.

Stephen Fry today posted an apology for his remarks on his website.

After having read it, and reviewing numerous apologies posted on Twitter, I tend to believe that he is sincere.

I will be interested to see what he and others have to say in this evening’s debate “The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world.”

Are you going to the debate?

No, I’m not going. I am hoping that a podcast or transcript might be posted after the fact, though. I’d prefer to hear/read if for myself, rather than try to get bits and pieces through fans’ or detractors’ editorials. If anyone comes across a link, I’d appreciate it if they might share it here.

Apologies to Poland, not the Church.


FWIW, one Catholic newspaper blogger is declaring that the Intelligence Squared debate was a rout. The Catholic side was humiliated by Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry, in his view.

The problem (from the Catholic point of view) was that the speakers arguing for the Church as a force for good were hopelessly outclassed by two hugely popular, professional performers.


In the article it said it was ‘‘filmed for broadcast,’’ by who, and where will it be broadcast?

By the way, did anyone notice this on Intelligence Squared website:

Atheism is the new fundamentalism
Wellington Squared

Does God exist? Has atheism replaced religion as the new faith of the secular age? Are today’s atheists as blinkered and dogmatic as they claim religious believers to be?

£15 Tickets Available

Event Information:

Wellington Squared is a new partnership between Wellington College, one of the country’s most innovative schools, and Intelligence Squared, the world’s leading forum for debate. We’ll be bringing the greatest authorities to Wellington to battle it out over the crucial issues of the day and you’ll get the chance to cast your vote at the end of the evening.

For further information please contact David James at:

The debate will take place at: Wellington College, Crowthorne, Berkshire.

Doors open at 6:00 pm. The debate starts at 7:00 pm and finishes at 8:30 pm.

Speakers for the motion:

Richard Harries Former Bishop of Oxford.

Charles Moore Former editor of the Daily Telegraph and The Spectator.

Speakers against the motion:

Richard Dawkins Professor Emeritus at Oxford University and best-selling author of ‘The God Delusion’.

A C Grayling Professor of Philosophy at the University of London.


Dr Anthony Seldon Master of Wellington College.

Who were the type of people that attended this debate? Where they mainly atheists, or Catholic… or …?

By the way, does anyone find it kind of ironic how this debate took place at a Church. Not a Catholic Church, but a Methodist Church, Methodist Central Hall Westminster.

lemonbeam: I understand that BBC World will post the debate Nov 7/8.

Yet even with these provisos in place, the debate was still a resounding failure for Archbishop Onaiyekan and Ann Widdecombe. At the start of the debate, audiences were required to cast an anonymous vote on the motion and while 678 people supported the
motion and 346 were undecided, 1,102 argued against it. At the end of the debate, the same anonymous vote was cast and this time only 268 people voted in favour of the argument with 1,876 voting against it and 34 people being undecided.


When BBC World posts the debate, I hope others will let us know. :slight_smile:

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