A Polish archbishop has compared the LGBT movement to the oppressive Communist regime that ruled Poland in the late 20th century, New Ways Ministry report. But Second World War veterans and international church reformers have called on the Polish hierarchy to comply with church teaching about respecting LGBT+ people and avoid condemnatory rhetoric.
Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski of Krakow published a pastoral letter in September that focused on Pope John Paul II's legacy in Poland. He wrote: The LGBT movement is "just like the totalitarianism of the 20th century" and is premised on a "radical rejection of God."
The letter continued: "As a consequence of this rejection, a completely new vision of man is proclaimed, which makes him a caricature of himself. As part of gender ideology, there are attempts to blur the natural differences between a woman and a man. Moreover, through the aggressive propaganda of LGBT ideology in the name of the so-called 'tolerance' and 'progress', that which is most sacred to us is mocked. At the same time, people, including believers, are being forced to promote LGBT ideology. Thus, by breaking the freedom of conscience, they are urged to depart from the principles of their Christian faith. This clearly reminds us of the totalitarian times of the Polish People's Republic, when social advancements were guaranteed only to members of the Communist Party, and believers were treated as second-class citizens."
In the summer, during a special Mass for the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, Archbishop Jedraszewski compared the LGBT movement to Poland's 20th century totalitarian regime describing it as a "rainbow disease" infecting the nation.
Some veterans who were being honoured at the Mass, condemned Jedraszewski's words.
Anna Przedpelska-Trzeciakowska, a 92-year-old who participated in the 1944 Uprising against the Nazi occupiers, organised a letter from several of the veterans objecting to the archbishop's remarks.
They wrote: "We do not know how many people there were - among our friends - whom the Creator gave the characteristics called LGBT. . .We only know that they were among us, who fought and died, and they deserve remembrance, respect and prayer. The message of the Archbishop, to which we are deeply opposed as Christians and fellow-insurgents, has nothing to do with the Uprising."
Earlier this summer, World War II-era veterans in Poland condemned right wing groups who attacked Pride marchers in the city of Bialystok. The Association of Former Warsaw Resistance Fighters and the Foundation for the Remembrance of the Heroes of the Warsaw Uprising published a statement saying the right wing groups should have not used symbols of the Polish resistance in their attacks. They said: "There can be no approval of the humiliation of sexual minorities in a country where homosexuals were killed by fascists for their 'differences'. . . There must be action before we repeat the mistakes of the Second World War, when the sick ideology of exclusion flooded the human mind."
But many church leaders have expressed support for Archbishop Jedraszewski's views. Bishop Wieslaw Mering of Włocławek said the archbishop was being persecuted like Jesus for refusing to "submit to political correctness."
Last month the International Catholic Reform Network, an international coalition of Catholic reform leaders held its annual meeting in Warsaw and issued a letter to Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki of Poznań, head of the Polish Bishops' Conference, calling on the nation's hierarchy to abide by church teaching on the treatment of LGBT people.
They wrote: "When we learned that Bishop Wieslaw Mering of Wloclawek defended Professor Aleksander Nalaskowski who called LGBT people 'Traveling Rapists,' we felt that he did not follow the Catechism of the Catholic Church's mandate to treat lesbian and gay people with 'respect, compassion, and sensitivity' (par. 2358).
"The Equality Marches in Warsaw, Gdansk, Bialystok, and Poznan this year were opportunities for the Catholic bishops of Poland to show pastoral sensitivity for LGBT people. Instead the Archbishop Tadeusz Wojda of Bialystok described the Equality March as 'an act of discrimination against Catholics.' Such rhetoric, we believe, fuelled, or perhaps instigated, the attacks of throwing rocks and firecrackers, along with degrading slurs, against the marchers in Bialystok.
"We would like to remind the Polish bishops of the 1986 statement of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which said, 'It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech and action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs' (Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons)."
"We ask you to call upon the Polish bishops to comply with the Vatican's instruction that 'The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, action and in law' and 'to support with the means at their disposal, the development of appropriate forms of pastoral care for homosexual persons' (Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons)."
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