LGBT rights campaigners have protested against a homophobic Polish archbishop and called for his resignation.

– “We are not a ‘rainbow plague’. We are the citizens and we want to look him in the face”

Several dozen activists gathered in Warsaw March 1 to demonstrate against Krakow Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski.

Jędraszewski infamously said last year, during a sermon honouring the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, that Poland is no longer threatened by a ‘”red plague” – that is, communism – but instead by a LGBT “rainbow plague that wants to conquer our souls, hearts and minds” and is “born of the same spirit” as Bolshevism.

At the Warsaw church where Jędraszewski was celebrating Mass last Sunday – cordoned off by police in armoured vehicles – the protesters waved banners declaring “I do not tolerate intolerance”, “Rainbow plague welcomes you” and “Archbishop Jędraszewski should resign”.

“We are protesting against archbishop Jedraszewski”, filmmaker Bartosz Staszewski, 29, told Reuters.

“We are not a rainbow plague, as he has said. We are the citizens of this country and we want to look him in the face”.

– Catholics around the world “appalled” by “extremist” homophobia

The protest March 1 was hardly the first time the LGBT community in Poland has demonstrated against Jędraszewski.

Just a week after his “rainbow plague” remarks last August 1, hundreds of activists gathered outside the Vatican nunciature in Warsaw to demand Jędraszewski’s ouster, chanting with respect to the prelate’s homophobia “Shame!” and “Resign!” and waving LGBT+ rainbow flags.

The protesters at last year’s demonstration also held up banners with slogans such as “The Black Plague — pedophilia in the Church”.

Later that same month of August 2019, too, Jędraszewski and the other LGBT-phobic Polish prelates that came out in support of him also faced blowback from rank-and-file Catholic faithful, who accused them of pushing an “extremist” homophobic narrative – as well as “half-truths and lies” on LGBT people – as a way “of diverting attention from the Church’s internal problems”, such as clericalism or sex abuse.

Jędraszewski personally also received criticism from Warsaw Uprising veterans, who said the “rainbow plague” message of the archbishop, “to whom we are deeply opposed as Christians and fellow-insurgents, has nothing to do with the Uprising”.

After a late September 2019 meeting in Warsaw, the International Catholic Reform Network (ICRN) also blasted Jędraszewski and said it was “appalled” by the prelate’s “rainbow plague” remarks.

The ICRN said Jędraszewski’s sentiments not only “do not show respect for human beings who have been the object of discrimination and social intolerance”, but also do not comply with the Vatican instruction that “the intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, action and in law”.

– Hatred for LGBT people, hatred for women

Ultraconservative archbishop Jędraszewski seems to can’t help wanting to be in the centre of the media spotlight, judging by two other incidents last year that, rather than display his fear of the LGBT community, this showed his scant respect for women.

In September 2019, Jędraszewski fired from his Krakow diocesan headquarters three long-serving Catholic female employees simply because they were not married.

In December, the Krakow archbishop then turned his sights on young Swedish anti-climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg, likening her to everything but the antichrist.

“Everything is suddenly being questioned; in fact, our culture is being questioned; the whole world order is being reversed, starting from the fact that the existence of God, the creator, is being questioned; the role and dignity of every human is being questioned”, Jędraszewski complained on TV.

As part of this broader threat from “various new movements”, the archbishop singled out ecologism as a “very dangerous phenomenon… contrary to everything that is written in the Bible”, which tells man to “subdue the earth” for his own needs.

Jędraszewski pointed to “teenage activist” Thunberg as having become “the oracle” for all the new threatening “political and social forces”.

Next on Novena:

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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.