“LGBT ideology” is similar to communism and Nazism and must be resisted, says the Archbishop of Kraków, Marek Jędraszewski. He also warns that the problem of paedophilia in the Catholic Church should not be exaggerated.
Asked in an interview with broadcaster TV Republika if Polish society is threatened by a “rainbow plague”, a term he has used before, Jędraszewski agreed, saying that LGBT is “extremely dangerous”, just “like other ideologies: red [communist], Bolshevik or Hitlerite [Nazi]”.
The bishop notes that Poles have previously “resisted both Bolshevik and Hitlerite ideology”: “we did not compromise, we [remained] rooted in the Christian, Catholic faith, which was the strength of the nation”.
He is therefore “convinced that, because this strength endures, we will be victorious” once again against the threat Poland is currently facing.
This threat, he makes clear, is “LGBT ideology”, which is “a negation of the vision of God”, who “in creating humankind as woman and man had a very specific plan [about] who each of us is, including biologically”.
But now there are efforts underway to “redefine who we are as people”, to “adopt a purely materialistic vision” in which man is seen as a “a creature that lives exclusively through its sexuality”, warns Jędraszewski.
He also condemns attempts to use the term “marriage” for same-sex relationships. This is “a perfidious operation”, using the type of “manipulation known from Bolshevik times” to make language subconsciously change the way people think.
Archbishop Jędraszewski has been a prominent figure in an effort this year by the church, the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, and conservative media to portray the LGBT movement as an external threat that is seeking to undermine traditional Polish faith, culture and values.
In August, at a mass in honour of the Warsaw Uprising, Jędraszewski first used the term “rainbow plague”, which he likened to the “red plague” of Bolshevism. He has subsequently employed similar language on a number of occasions – although the latest remarks are the first time he has compared “LGBT ideology” to Nazism.
YouTube has issued Father Rydzyk's @RadioMaryja with a formal warning for 'spreading hate' after it posted a video of a recent homily by the Archbishop of Kraków describing LGBT groups as a 'rainbow plague' similar to communism.@YouTube deleted the video https://t.co/RmjhLWQGJV
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) August 6, 2019
During this year’s European and parliamentary elections, PiS made anti-LGBT rhetoric a central plank of its campaigning. The party’s leader, Jarosław Kaczyński, warned that the “LGBT movement imported [into Poland] threatens our identity, our nation, its continued existence, and therefore the Polish state”.
PiS local officials have passed resolutions in a number of areas declaring them to be “free from LGBT ideology”
Map showing (in red) provinces, districts and municipalities whose local governments have declared themselves 'free from LGBT ideology'.
Green = where such resolutions have been rejected
Yellow = where they're bring prepared
— Daniel Tilles (@danieltilles1) July 21, 2019
These efforts have been supported by media linked to the ruling party. The state TV channel, a government mouthpiece, reported in a news bulletin that the opposition’s support for LGBT rights is an “attack on children and families” through “indoctrination” and “deprivation”.
The Gazeta Polska newspaper aroused international controversy earlier this year when it distributed stickers that could be used to mark places as “LGBT-free zones”.
Conservative newspaper Gazeta Polska is distributing stickers allowing people to mark somewhere as an 'LGBT-free zone'.
The stunt has been criticised by, among others, the deputy mayor of Warsaw, the US ambassador to Poland and even one far-right leader https://t.co/bcfCIANCnV
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) July 18, 2019
In his latest interview, Archbishop Jędraszewski also addressed the issue of paedophilia in Poland’s Catholic Church. This has been a highly discussed topic this year following the release of a documentary highlighting cases of sexual abuse by priests, as well as alleged efforts by the church to cover them up.
The head of Poland’s Catholic Episcopate, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, subsequently “apologised to all those harmed” by members of the clergy. The church has established a new Child Protection Office to deal with the issue.
Speaking to TV Republika, Jędraszewski admits “there was such a problem” in the past, and “maybe still is to some extent”. But he argues that, if one “looks at what percentage of these terrible things happen in the church compared to other professions, it turns out that…the scale is a very small number of clergy guilty of paedophilia”.
Looking “objectively”, this is “a much broader social problem”, he says.
A poll taken in the wake of a new documentary about clerical sex abuse finds:
– 54% of Poles say they don't trust the church; 33% do
– 57% who saw film say it damaged their regard for the church
– 80% say the church isn't doing enough to protect children https://t.co/NtG6yrOwGU
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) May 20, 2019
Main image credit: Joanna Adamik/Archidiecezja Krakowska/Flickr (under public domain)
Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland and assistant professor of history at the Pedagogical University of Krakow. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign Policy, POLITICO Europe, The Independent and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.