30 July 2019, The Tablet

Polish Church warns of mounting attacks


The priest was reacting to a series of recent incidents which have included the stabbing of a priest in Wroclaw


Polish Church warns of mounting attacks

The court in Wroclaw arrested Zygmunt W. who attacked the Catholic priest in June with a knife
Photo: Krzysztof Kaniewski/Zuma Press/PA Images

Poland's Bishops Conference has warned of an "intolerable upsurge" in acts of profanation against Catholic sites around the country, while seeking to counter media claims the Church has incited violence against LGBT activists campaigning for greater rights. 
 
"In line with its Gospel summons, the Catholic Church respects the dignity of every person without exception - Catholics in Poland and around the world have a right to the same respect", said Fr Pawel Rytel-Andrianik, the Conference spokesman. "We cannot fail to react to vulgar derision and lack of basic respect towards the beliefs of faithful millions who are hurt by these activities. We have a constitutional right to see a person's dignity respected and symbols of our faith protected".
 
The priest was reacting to a series of recent incidents, which have included the stabbing of a priest in Wroclaw and parodying of images of the Virgin Mary and eucharistic symbols by LGBT demonstrators in Czestochowa, Krakow, Gdansk and other cities. On Monday, Poland's Szczecin-Kamien archdiocese said another parish rector had been savagely beaten inside his church of St John the Baptist by a drunken gang who said they wanted liturgical robes "to celebrate a Mass". 
 
Polish media commentators and gay rights organisations accused Archbishop Tadeusz Wojda of Bialystok last week of inciting violence against an "equality march" in the eastern city, during which police used stun grenades and pepper spray to hold back aggressive counter-protesters claiming to be protecting the Catholic cathedral. 
 
In an analysis last Friday, the Church's Catholic information agency, KAI, said Archbishop Wojda, who later condemned the violence, had told local Catholics earlier LGBT marches "scorned Christian values, profaned sacred symbols, uttered blasphemies against God and vulgarity against believers" and should not be accepted in his city. However, the agency added that parallel events organised by the Bialystok Church had been "free of any violence, including verbally", and said the use of rosaries and crosses by some violent anti-gay demonstrators had encountered "great distaste".
 
The Bishops Conference president, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, told Poland's Niedziela Catholic weekly the Church would fail in its duty to proclaim the truth if it stopped calling homosexuality a "deadly sin", but added that LBGT marchers were "not in the first place gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transexuals, but above all our brothers and sisters". 
 
The KAI agency said a parish priest in Swidnice, Fr Slawomir Marek, had been "urgently summoned for talks" by his bishop after attacking Gadecki's statement and telling his congregation LGBT activists were "not brothers and sisters, but enemies purveying an anti-culture". 

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