Activists rally against Polish anti-gay bishop

Several hundred people demonstrated in Warsaw on Wednesday against the city's archbishop for calling LGBT+ activists "the rainbow plague", organisers said. In a rally in front of the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See in the Polish capital, the protesters called on Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski to resign. Brandishing the rainbow-coloured flags of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement, the demonstrators shouted "Shame!" and "Resign!". Organiser Aleks Polak said the hostility of high-ranking officials of the Catholic Church, as well as their reluctance to acknowledge the paedophile sex crimes committed by priests, meant that young gay men were no longer interested in joining the priesthood. "Last year, there wasn't a single candidate to join a seminary in the diocese of Warmia-Mazury," in the north of Poland, he said. In a sermon on August 1, Jedraszewski warned against the LBGT movement. "The red plague no longer runs on our land," the clergyman said, referring to communism. "But a new plague has emerged, neo-Marxist, that wants to seize our souls, hearts and spirits. A plague that is not red but rainbow," he said. The demonstrators on Wednesday held up banners with slogans such as "The Black Plague -- pedophilia in the Church". "It's time for the Polish Church to change," said Ignacy Dudkiewicz, chief editor of the left-wing Catholic internet newspaper, Kontakt. Lawyer and university lecturer Monika Platek said Jedraszewski's sermon had contravened a number of different paragraphs in the penal code. Poland is a staunchly Catholic country and conservative circles are increasingly campaigning against what they describe as LGBT or gender "ideology" which they see as a threat to traditional family values. LGBT+ rights have become a hot-button issue in Poland ahead of an October general election after Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the powerful leader of the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, dubbed them a "threat" and put the issue high on his party's campaign agenda.

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