Activists in Poland have launched a new campaign shining a light on the church’s treatment of LGBT individuals. The group includes Poland’s Campaign Against Homophobia and Faith and a Rainbow. The campaign, “Let’s Exchange a Sign of Peace,” has plans to hold meetings throughout Poland with activists and Catholics to remind the faithful that Christian teachings are rooted in the “respect, openness and willing dialogue with all people, including homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals,” according to the National Catholic Reporter (NCR).
On September 8, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz published a statement in the Polish Catholic information agency, KAI, declaring that the activists are “falsifying the church’s unchangeable teachings.” This was soon followed by a statement from the entire bishops’ conference “rejecting the claims that the Polish church was homophobic,” maintaining that the church is “the only institution which, for two thousand years, has untiringly proclaimed the dignity of all without exception,” according to the National Catholic Reporter.
Dominika Kozlowska, editor of Znak, a Catholic monthly, believes this reaction from the bishops is “a first step—what matters is that they’ve now felt it necessary to take up a position on LGBT issues,” she told NCR. Surveys show that Polish Catholics are starting to move away from these teachings of the bishops, suggesting that “the institutional church must start offering adequate pastoral support for this part of our society, rather than just treating these issues ideologically,” said Kozlowska.