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Church shut after parishioners defend progressive priest

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 16.04.2014 14:11
A Polish archbishop has closed a parish church near Warsaw just days before Easter after some parishioners rebelled against a ban on a liberal priest being allowed to say mass.

Parishioners outside the closed church in Jasienica on Tuesday evening. Photo: PAP/Pawel Supernak

In a letter written to parishioners, Archbishop Henryk Hoser stated that the decision was taken “so as to ensure proper respect for the house of worship, and above all to shield the faithful from the sin of profaning the sacraments and the church.”

Progressive priest Father Wojciech Lemanski had been dismissed as vicar of the Jasienica parish in 2013 after calling on the Church hierarchy to soften its rhetoric against IVF treatment.

Archbisop Hoser had claimed that Lemanski showed “a lack of respect and obedience to the bishops, as well as to the teaching of diocesan bishops in Poland on bioethics issues.”

Technically, Lemanski was still entitled to say mass once a week at 8am on Sundays in Jasienica, but last week, Archbishop Hoser withdrew this right too.

Father Wojciech Lemanski appeared in the church on Palm Sunday regardless, prompting cheers from some members of the congregation.

According to the Curia, Lemanski's supporters were aggressive and another priest shut himself in the sacristy, claiming that a parishioner had wanted to spit on him.

Father Lemanski initially claimed last year that Archbishop Hoser resented his engagement in Jewish matters, and that during a meeting in January 2010, his superior asked if he was circumcised.

Lemanski has been a consistent advocate of Polish-Jewish reconciliation, but the Curia has denied that his dismissal was directly related to this, instead stressing the priest's comments on IVF. (nh)

Source: PAP/Dziennik Polski

tags: Church, religion
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