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Krakow’s Archbishop Jędraszewski under fire for remarks about “rainbow plague”

Throughout this summer, Poland has descended into a culture war over the organization of gay pride events.

People in Warsaw, Poland, gather outside the apostolic nunciature Aug. 7, 2019, to demand the resignation of Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski of Krakow. The protesters were upset that the archbishop had likened the LGBTQ community and the rainbow flag to a "communist plague." The placard reads "Love of a neighbor? What's this?" (CNS photo/Dawid Zuchowicz, Agencja Gazeta via Reuters)

When Marek Jędraszewski was nominated by Pope Francis to be the new archbishop of Krakow, I wrote that he was a strong culture warrior unafraid of proclaiming the Church’s teaching in an uncompromising way. In the two and a half years since, this has exactly been his leadership style in the former see of Saints Stanislaus of Szczepanów and John Paul II. In recent weeks, Archbishop Jędraszewski has become a lightning rod for controversy due to his explicit criticism of the LGBT ideology, being reviled by some Poles and defended by many others.

In the 1980s, Polish society was overwhelmingly united in its nonviolent struggle against the communist regime. Solidarity claimed ten million members, a third of Poland’s working-age population, and the moral affinity of all Poles save for a handful of communist apparatchiks. After the transition to democracy and the free market in 1989, however, Poland has been in a constant fratricidal cold war.

Questions of morality (especially abortion), the place of the Church in public and social life, the concordat between Poland and the Holy See, the reinstitution of religious education in public schools, and the inclusion of articles defending Christian values in Poland’s 1997 constitution were the topic of heated debate throughout the 1990s.

In recent years, axiological debates have resurfaced. The LGBT ideology in particular has proved to be very polarizing. An annual gay pride parade has been held in Warsaw since 2005, but only in the past couple years have similar events been organized in smaller cities, often meeting with strong backlash. In July, such a parade was held for the first time in Bialystok. Eight hundred LGBT activists (many driven in from other parts of Poland) were confronted by a larger group of counter-protesters, many of whom were nationalists and soccer hooligans who threw insults and firecrackers at parade participants.

Before the parade, Archbishop Tadeusz Wojda of Bialystok criticized it in a letter to his faithful, correctly noting that during previous such events LGBT activists vulgarly insulted and mocked Christians and what is sacred to them. After the attacks on marchers, however, Wojda condemned the violence in another letter. “Acts of violence and derision cannot be reconciled with the attitude of the Christian, an imitator of Christ,” he wrote. Still, LGBT activists accused Wojda of provoking the attacks, unfair criticism given that while he had previously disagreed with the holding of a gay pride march in his city, he did not suggest aggression as a response, implicitly or otherwise.

Throughout this summer, Poland has descended into a culture war over the organization of gay pride events. They have without exception met with strong protests from Catholics. Most, however, have not responded with violence but with prayer. For example, the image of a fifteen-year-old boy in Plock holding up a crucifix and rosary in front of LGBT activists has gone viral. In Bialystok, meanwhile, in addition to the young ruffians who attacked marchers, 1,000 to 3,000 locals participated in Eucharistic adoration in the cathedral to pray for moral renewal.

Poland has become most polarized, however, since August 1, when during a Mass commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of the outbreak of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising Archbishop Jędraszewski said in his homily: “The red [communist] plague no longer walks on our earth, but a new neo-Marxist one that wants to conquer our souls, hearts, and minds has appeared. It is not a red, but a rainbow plague.”

Those strong words divided Poland. Robert Biedroń, an LGBT activist who has tried to build a left-liberal political party with little success, called Jędraszewski “the devil personified” (an interesting statement given that, as an avowed atheist, Biedroń presumably does not believe the devil exists). Some in the Church, such as Father Paweł Gużyński, OP, have also criticized Jędraszewski, accusing him of stirring up violence against homosexuals (since then, however, Gużyński has been disciplined by his Dominican provincial for criticizing the archbishop). By contrast, Polish President Andrzej Duda, a devout Catholic, has defended Jędraszewski, claiming that he has great respect for all people.

There is a clear but fine line in Church teaching between opposing homosexual acts while also affirming the dignity of every person. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. (par 2358)

Later, however, Archbishop Jędraszewski clarified that in his homily he was not referring to homosexuals as people, but to the LGBT ideology and its postulates, as the Catechism teaches. Since then, Cardinals Dominik Duka, archbishop of Prague and head of the Czech bishops’ conference, and Zenon Grocholewski, former prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, have issued public statements of support of Jędraszewski, as have the episcopal conferences of Slovakia and Hungary, yet another indication that the Church in East-Central Europe remains faithful to Church teaching and tradition.

While liberal media and political elites in big cities such as Warsaw may hate Archbishop Jędraszewski, the Polish masses are largely on his side. Since the now-infamous homily, two protests have been held against Jędraszewski, one in front of the curia in Krakow and one at the apostolic nunciature in Warsaw. They attracted 100 and 200 participants, respectively. Last Saturday, however, 3,000 people – ten times the number that participated in both anti-Jędraszewski protests – attended a prayer vigil and rally in support of the archbishop.

This should be unsurprising to any close observers of Polish society, which, like in most other post-communist states, is conservative on LGBT matters. According to a recent poll in the conservative Rzeczpospolita daily, Poles are split on the question of introducing domestic partnerships for homosexual couples, with 44 percent in favor and 46 percent against. Homosexual “marriage” is opposed by a larger margin of Poles (56 percent opposed, 32 percent in support), while the adoption of children by LGBT couples enjoys very little support in Polish society (12 percent support versus 76 percent opposition).

Yet LGBT activists aren’t backing down, and Archbishop Jędraszewski in particular is a symbol of Poland’s culture wars. During a recent “Mr. Gay” event in Poznan, a drag queen simulated the murder of the archbishop, whose likeness was glued to a blowup doll.

Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, such a blatant example of hate speech is unsettling. Equally disturbing, though, is the fact that in Bialystok some young conservatives and Catholics resorted to brutal, non-Christian aggression. Even if insulting the Catholic faith is not foreign to LGBT activists, such zealots should remember that Jesus prayed for His persecutors (Luke 23: 34).

Now is the time to pray for Archbishop Jędraszewski, that he may remain vocally faithful to the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family while affirming the dignity of all. As well as prayers for the conversion of those who preach tolerance yet spread hatred against the archbishop and other Catholics, and for those who claim to be defenders of Christian values yet fight against anthropologically flawed ideologies in ways that contradict the Gospels.


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About Filip Mazurczak 42 Articles
Filip Mazurczak is a journalist, translator, and historian. His writing has appeared in the National Catholic Register, First Things, Tygodnik Powszechny, and other publications.

16 Comments

  1. The archbishop is quite right: the homosexualist agenda is a plague. It’s a shame and a disgrace, and an attack on civilization; and it is evil.

  2. The LGBT tribes in Eastern Europe might consider the fictional associations of the rainbow flag. The FIRST FICTION, from the West, is the now-desecrated music from the 1940 Wizard of Oz: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (music by Harold Arlsen and lyrics by Yip Harburg).

    The SECOND FICTION, from the East and acted out with tens of millions of short-term walk-on parts, was scripted by the executioner Joseph Stalin. For the “workers’ paradise” he first replaced the seven-day calendar with a five-day calendar—such that families were divided into five work brigades. Family gatherings and especially religious events were impossible. When a numbers system didn’t take, each brigade was then assigned a color—something like the not-so-imaginative rainbow flag of today?

    But, the assembly-line anthill society suffered slowdowns, and adjustments were made. Including “re-education”—-not unlike the mind-bending of the masses today, e.g., the victimhood slogan mills, the stale/predictable scapegoating, and the barking in the streets.

    Then, in the East with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, many in the West at first embraced the THIRD FICTION, that young members of the new societies would not fall for the secularist and anti-religious moral corruptions of the West…yet another illusion.

  3. Once again the left demanding what they are unwilling to give; tolerance of differing opinions. They thrive on adversity and look for it everywhere. They will eat their own when they run out of conservatives to attack. It is a plague, the mass mind bending tactics of the left. I am waiting for my ticket for the re-education or else bus. However, they are ignoring one group of conservatives because they fear them as no other and while the left practices eugenics this group thrives on reproduction. And when all is said and done, it will be the left who will be re-educated or else.

    • There is no requirement to tolerate intolerance. This article downplays heavily what is going on there. LGTBQ are being openly assaulted on the streets. They were viciously attacked at the gay pride parade. Why do you hate the people that God created so much?

      • We hate the evil that they do. If we hated them we would be perfectly delighted that they were behaving in a way that leads to damnation.

        Your pinch-mouthed “There is no requirement to tolerate intolerance” is hypocrisy. What you mean is, “I don’t have to tolerate anything with which I don’t agree, but everybody has to tolerate anything with which I do agree.”

      • Is not their actions – the consummation of the homosexual act – a choice and anathema to both Testaments?

        Is not the homosexual lobby’s political efforts, all the way down to K-12 schools, a clear indoctrination supported by the courts…a very successful effort in spreading the sin of scandal?

  4. ‘It would be like in days of Noah ‘ , our Lord had warned ..and Noah was told, after the flood , how dread fear of him would come over all animals , who were in the midst of the death spirits …and with that dread fear can come the hatreds as well , towards those who are seen as persons who desire, in loving responsibility , to be of true help , in sending back the death spirits to where they came from ..
    Those spirits that enter in , through related choices , whether from the fear that one cannot have enough joy and gratitude to God for life , to thus do away with making carnality an idol , whether in marriages or outside , yet the yearning to be set free , to see the rainbow of a promise , in the covenantal relationship with The Father , even when one has chosen to make the father below the true father ..
    May be it is like the prodigal coming home to The Father , with an army of ‘friends
    before the pig pen days ..demanding a nonexistent inheritance and an abusive controlling relationship ..
    Hope they would discern that the ArchBishop is hopefully trying to set them free from the plague of the death spirits , to help them see the true rainbow , of the rays of His mercy , in the Blood and Water , to bring the new life of gratitude for gift of own lives and that of others , to thus drown out the flood waters of the dragon , in the power given by The Spirit , to also renounce the death spirits .
    St.Faustina and the Immaculate Conception , St.John Paul 11 , pray for us all .

  5. There is nothing the LGBT groups can say, do or act in that can make them acceptable to a life loving society. I pray for these poor souls that with God’s grace they will find their true humanity. Their actions and their live style IS intrinsically disordered and cannot survive. Obviously it is one based solely on their own personal gratification. There is no life in the sexual activities they engage in. Theirs is a terrible burden to bear but God WILL help them if they ask. They are, however like us all children of God and deserve our respect but NOT our acceptance. We as good Catholics should pray for all peoples with afflictions including the LGBT. They, on the other hand should not criticize prelates who affirm the beliefs of the Church in condemning the sin that these poor souls are trying to propagate. These poor people are afflicted with a terrible sickness and should be due our help NOT our approval.

  6. Im jealous of the Catholics of Krakow. In the U.S. we have Cardinals like Cupich and Tobin that openly support sodomy, the destruction of the family and the murder horror of abortion. They blessed the politicians who support these horros and scorn faithful Catholic who try to defend life and truth.

    • Amen, amen and amen. Maybe we can arrange a swap, orthodox American Catholics to whom this seems a breath of fresh air can move to Poland and the secularists in Poland can come here. Heck, there are even already custom ordered parishes here ready to comfort them on their broad and easy path.

  7. these poor souls are demonically possessed, and nothing short of a miracle will save them. Let us pray for such a miracle and also pray for St. Michael the archangel to protect all who oppose this evil.

  8. This archbishop is following the word of God: Romans 1: 24-32 states “Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. 26
    Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper. 29 They are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite. They are gossips 30 and scandalmongers and they hate God. They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness, and rebellious toward their parents. 31 They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.32
    Although, they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”
    A book called, “After The Warning To 2038”, and web site have prophecies from credible, Catholic sources that predict more events coming.

  9. And this in the face of the Marxist infiltration in the Church and the Roman gay mafia. God is still making heroic martyrs thank heaven.

  10. Let’s keep in mind the undeniable fact that these clowns play the victim card – all the time, because that’s what they do.
    The Archbishop said something that offended them, and – as always – they proclaimed their offense to the world.
    IMO there are 2 proper responses to them:
    1) Get over it.
    2) Ignore it.

    That was easy.

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