WARSAW, Poland (CNS) — Poland’s bishops’ conference decried attacks on churches by demonstrators protesting a near-total ban on abortions by the country’s Constitutional Court and urged restraint from violence and dialogue.
Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki of Poznan, conference president, acknowledged that the court’s Oct. 22 decision “has caused unusually emotional reactions,” but said that “the vulgarities, abusive daubings, service disruptions and profanations seen in recent days are not a proper form of action in a democratic state, however much they may help certain people relieve their emotions.”
Demonstrators entered churches during Masses Oct. 26 in Warsaw, Krakow, Poznan and other cities to protest the Constitutional Court’s ruling that found a clause in Poland’s 1993 abortion law allowing pregnancy terminations in cases of “severe and irreparable fetal damage” was unconstitutional.
The Constitutional Court was established in 1982 to resolve disputes on the constitutionality of actions by state institutions. It is a separate body from the country’s Supreme Court.
All but 26 of the 1,100 abortions in Poland in 2019 involved unborn children diagnosed with severe disabilities, according to Health Ministry data.
Archbishop Gadecki said the church’s “unchanging and publicly known” position on the right to life had been set out in St. John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical “Evangelium Vitae” (“The Gospel of Life”) and reaffirmed in Pope Francis’ recent encyclical “Fratelli Tutti, on Fraternity and Social Friendship.”
He appealed for dialogue “on how to protect the right to life and women’s rights.”
“The church cannot stop defending life or give up proclaiming the need to protect every human being from conception to natural death. On this question, we can accept no compromise,” he said.
The archbishop also urged the public to “express their views in a socially acceptable way, respecting every person’s dignity,” and called on “politicians and journalists not to escalate the tensions and show responsibility for social peace.”
Protesters waved signs outside churches and offices of the governing Law and Justice party and spray-painted walls during the demonstrations.
A Law and Justice spokeswoman, Anita Czerwinska, accused opposition parties Oct. 23 of “playing with women’s emotions.” Michal Wos, Poland’s deputy justice minister, told the Catholic Information Agency, KAI, Oct. 25 the anti-church protests represented “criminality and barbarism,” and could be punished with fines and jail terms.
Meanwhile, Bishop Wieslaw Smigiel of Torun, who heads the Polish church’s Family Council, told the KAI agency Oct. 26 that the court’s judgment “presented church and state with an even greater task” of providing “concrete help for families with handicapped children.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Former spiritual adviser to Medjugorje visionaries excommunicated
NEXT: Pope warns Spanish prime minister of rise of nationalism, ideology
Share this story