Primate of Poland calls for de-escalation of abortion protests
Primate of Poland Archbishop Wojciech Polak in a Tuesday letter to the faithful wrote that Christians have the duty to de-escalate conflicts instead of fueling them, as he referred to ongoing protests against a recent near-total abortion ban.
Last Thursday, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that abortion due to foetal defects was unconstitutional, a decision which sparked countrywide protests, causing outrage among women.
The protests of mostly young people have been ongoing across Poland since the announcement of the top court's ruling. The verdict disturbs an uneasy abortion compromise that has maintained a fragile balance between the opposing sides for nearly three decades, since 1993.
Protesters say the ruling party, the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) was behind the controversial changes as a number of the top court's judges, including its president, were nominated by the party.
Polak wrote that "one cannot expect the believers to deny one of the foundations of their faith, which is respect for every form of life, from conception to natural death."
"However, we cannot forget the commandment to love thy neighbour. It is the moral duty of a Christian to de-escalate conflicts, not fuel them," the primate wrote, urging people to denounce violence.
The head of the Polish Catholic Church criticised "the damaging of monuments and facades of churches, as well as interruptions of Holy Masses" and urged protesters to show respect for holy places.
On Sunday, the protesters targeted Sunday Masses at churches, accusing the Catholic Church of forming an informal alliance with PiS in order to push through the latest controversial changes, as well as other conservative policies.
The Church should be "an open place for every man, a space for reconciliation, agreement and mutual respect," the Polish Catholic Church leader concluded.