Polish priests speak out against "political abuse" of Church

Dozens of priests have put their names to a letter published in a magazine stating their opposition to what they call "abuse by politicians and the sins of the Church.

The names of the 97 clergymen appeared below the letter, which appeared in Wiez (Bond), a religious magazine.

The priests submitted the letter owing to the protests across Poland over a Constitutional Tribunal ruling almost completely banning abortions.

"We're writing this letter as priests working every day among normal people, the elderly and children, students, scientists, creators, doctors, the sick..." the priests wrote. "We are not creating any formal structure. We want to express our position to a few matters that arouse anger and rebellion in You, the protesters. We also say NO to abuse by politicians and the sins of the Church - our sins."

The letter continues: "in the name of the gospel we should immediately: stop using religion for political aims and abandon the belief that legal decisions can bring about a permanent change in the sensitivity of consciences. What we want, proclaiming the Gospel, is to oppose the radically unequal treatment of men and women, and to stop supporting chauvinistic and xenophobic forces that deny the universalism of Christianity."

The priests went on to say discrimination was unacceptable "on the grounds of orientation or race, as has recently appeared in statements of representatives of the Church." The authors also appealed for a cessation to the devastation of the planet "while there is still a chance to save it for future generations."

The letter ended with an invitation to dialogue and "personal, open talks."

"In difficult time of crisis we can together rebuild our community," the priests wrote.