WARSAW, Poland (ChurchMilitant.com) - Poland's Catholics are witnessing a sharp increase in hate crimes in the wake of LGBTI+ marches, with incidents of violence, desecration, destruction of Church property, workplace harassment and violence against clergy being reported all over the country.
"Almost every day we learn about attacks on the Church and believers. Catholics are being harassed with impunity. The number of obscene profanations in public has never been seen before. They write to us from all over Poland," attorney Jerzy Kwaśniewski, president of Ordo Iuris, said in the legal institute's latest newsletter.
"There is no week in which we do not receive reports of another desecration, destruction of Church property or harassment against someone in the workplace for confessing their faith. Many complaints come to us after the next 'Equality Parades,'" Kwaśniewski stated.
"Only in the last week have we taken action on five new cases regarding attacks against believers," he added, noting that Ordo Iuris had also notified the prosecutor's office regarding the case of Dominika K. from Wrocław, for selling obscene figurines combining the image of Our Lady with the "six-color LGBT logotype and female genital organs."
The Ordo Iuris newsletter cites the July 28 attack on 68-year-old Fr. Aleksander Ziejewski by three men who entered the sacristy of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Szczecin demanding liturgical vestments to celebrate Mass.
TVP News claimed that the perpetrators wanted to perform a "homosexual marriage." Father Ziejewski later denied the reports. However, he said that one of the men started blaspheming, pushed a sacristan and a security guard and assaulted him using a Rosary as brass knuckles.
In a pastoral letter to Fr. Ziejewski, president of the Polish bishops' conference, Abp. Stanisław Gądecki, wrote, "Increasingly frequent acts of hatred against believers, including priests, and acts of profanation of sacred objects, places and objects of worship, so important for the Catholics in Poland, arouse my highest concern."
Earlier on June 10 in another incident, Fr. Ireneusz Bakalarczyk was on his way to celebrate Mass at the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the Sand, in Wrocław city center, when a 57-year-old man started a conversation about the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church before pulling out a knife and stabbing the priest in the chest and abdomen.
Later in July, St. Maximilian's Church, Konin, in the Włocławek diocese, was desecrated and the monument next to the church was destroyed. In a parallel incident, a blasphemous inscription was painted on the wall of another church in Brzeźno near Konin.
On July 26, four people attacked the parish priest of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Turek. The three women and a man wanted to file an "act of apostasy" — declaring their separation from the Church.
After explaining that only a parish priest could accept and sign the document in accordance with the law, Fr. Vicente Remigiusz Zacharek was attacked by a man who grabbed a cross from a bookshelf and threw the priest from the chair to the floor. The assailants were also blaspheming against the priest and the Church.
"These shameful acts are more and more frequent. It seems that their goal is to push frightened Catholics into the catacombs," said Mirosław Milewski, auxiliary bishop of Płock, in his homily on the silver jubilee of the chapel of Our Lady of Częstochowa in Garlin.
We need to make clear our disagreement with such anti-Christian acts and actions. We can never accept that the barbarians taunt our sacred ordinances and objects. Let us pray for repentance for those who have been strangled by evil, but also, as far as we can, let us protest against acts of profanation.
A dozen Catholic churches have been desecrated in the last two months across the country, according to the Krakow-based Polonia Christiana association.
Responding to allegations of rightwing violence against homosexuals at the Bialystok "Pride Parade" on July 21, Bialystok archdiocesan spokesman Fr. Andrzej Dębski said the march had "unleashed actions of evil" on both sides. He rejected claims the Church itself had "caused the aggression."
"Other Equality Marches this year in Warsaw, Gdańsk and Poznań, organized in the name of tolerance and anti-discrimination, have shown just the opposite: the enmity of LGBT circles towards Christianity," Dębski said in a statement released by Poland's Catholic Information Agency, KAI.
"Are we not seeing double standards at work when sacred symbols are profaned during these parades, alongside blasphemies against God?" he asked.
Meanwhile, in breaking news, LGBTI+ activist Fr. Paweł Gużyński has called for the resignation of Marek Jędraszewski, metropolitan archbishop of Kraków.
On his Facebook page, the Dominican priest has called upon Catholics to protest against the archbishop for describing LGBTI+ activism as a "rainbow plague."
In a sermon given to mark the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising by Polish resistance fighters against Nazi occupation, Jędraszewski said Poland was no longer affected by the red plague of Marxists or Bolsheviks, but warned the LGBTI+ rainbow flag was born of the same spirit.