CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 18 November 2017

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Oppose immigration and you are out

GNIEZNO (SE): “If I hear that there is any kind of demonstration against refugees at Gnieznoand (West Poland) that my priests are thinking of taking part in, I will only have one very brief response. Any priest who joins will be suspended,” the primate of Poland, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, said in a message intended for all the priests of his diocese after a controversial rosary crusade.
 
In what La Croix described as reacting with unprecedented firmness in an interview published on October 18 in the weekly magazine, Tygodnik Powszechny, Archbishop Polak’s reaction to what has been described as a great mistrust of migrants by the Polish people, 92 per cent of whom are Catholic, is a somewhat unexpected one.
 
On October 7, around one million people formed a human chain along the Polish borders, reciting the rosary and praying to God to “save Poland and the world.”
 
Although the Border Rosary was billed as a spiritual response to what is called the Islamisation of Europe, it was held on the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, in which Muslim armies were pushed out of Europe in 1571.
 
The refugee issue forms the core of a longstanding dispute between Brussels and Warsaw, which has refused to accept migrants within the European framework for sharing asylum seekers adopted in 2015.
 
The Polish bishops, although traditionally conservative, have distanced themselves from the government on the issue. “The majority of bishops are still conservative,” the assistant editor of Tygodnik Powszechny, Marcin Zyla, said, “However, (the number of) those who are more revealing themselves to be more open is growing.”
 
Zyla said he believes that holding the World Youth Day in Krakow in 2016 contributed a lot to the rescue of Polish Church.
 
Before an audience of two million young people from around the world, Pope Francis had invited Poland and the Church to conquer the kind of fear that leads to a closed off mentality.

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