Poland: Local Catholic church apologizes for neo-Fascist mass in cathedral
Last week a big discussion was prompted in Poland by the fact that a local Catholic church had made it possible for a right-wing radical organization to celebrate mass in a cathedral in the east of the country. The ultra-nationalist group, which is calling for the country to leave the EU, celebrated its 82nd anniversary in the cathedral in Bialystok.
The Associated Press reported that some who attended the mass complained about the radical nature of the sermon and the church then apologized to the faithful. The National-Radical Camp (ONR) carries on the tradition of a banned movement of the same name that was established in 1934 on ideas based in Italian Fascism and has long advocated a radical, right-wing, xenophobic ideology.
During a march in Bialystok on 16 April, members of the organization dressed mostly in black shouted slogans such as "End the European Union!" or "Great Catholic Poland!". Hundreds attended the criticized mass, which was held by the famous radical cleric Jacek Miedlar, whom the church has forbidden to comment on the matter.
Poland's The Times newspaper reported that some who attended the mass said Miedlar had preached that it is no longer possible to tolerate the fact that "Poland and the Poles have been afflicted by a malignant tumor" and that the necessary chemotherapy against it was "uncompromising national-Catholic radicalism". The ONR has long expressed its objections to minorities and refugees and wants to prevent them from entering Poland.
The leadership of the local Catholic church has issued an apology to the faithful over the behavior of the organization's members in the cathedral. "[The Bialystok] Curia reassures you that the church in this region is nonpartisan and that nationalism is foreign to it," church representatives said in their statement.
Apparently a particular cleric decided to lend the cathedral to the organization for a private mass without informing his superiors of his intentions. The entire event is also being reviewed by the local prosecutor to discover whether the neo-Fascists broke the law.
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