The president of the Polish bishops’ conference condemned attacks on clergy and places of worship in the traditionally Catholic country as the Church countered media accusations of inciting violence against LGBTQ groups.
Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki of Poznan said that “ever more frequent attacks of hatred against believing people and priests” were a growing concern for Church officials.
“So does the profanation of sacral buildings, places and objects of faith so important to Catholics,” the archbishop said. “Although differences of worldview are evident in any pluralist society, they cannot justify such inhuman conduct.”
His comments followed an assault on July 28 on Fr Aleksander Ziejewski in the sacristy of the Basilica of St John the Baptist in the northern city of Szczecin during an attempted robbery.
Three men have been arrested in connection with the incident. Authorities said the attack occurred after the men broke into the basilica before evening Mass and demanded vestments to hold a same-sex wedding.
The incident was the latest in a wave of events that included the stabbing of priest at a church in Wroclaw and the parodying of Catholic rites and images of Mary by LGBTQ campaigners in Czestochowa, Gdansk, Krakow and other cities.
In a July 30 letter to Fr Ziejewski, Archbishop Gadecki said “symbolic and physical violence” was escalating against Polish Catholics and called on “perpetrators to show restraint”.
A dozen Catholic churches have been desecrated in the last two months across the country, according to the Krakow-based Polonia Christiana association.
In a July 29 statement the bishops’ conference spokesman said the upsurge of attacks on Catholic sites was becoming “intolerable.”