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2020

May 2020: Collaboration between Church and State during coronavirus epidemic
Archbishop Stanislaw Budzik (President of the Committee on Faith Science of the Polish Bishops’ Conference) announced (...)

  • May 2020: Collaboration between Church and State during coronavirus epidemic

Archbishop Stanislaw Budzik (President of the Committee on Faith Science of the Polish Bishops’ Conference) announced a statement on 31st March. It says that, ‘restrictions on freedom of movement and assembly are particularly painful for the faithful, deprived of direct access to the Eucharist and the sacraments of the Church. But we can connect spiritually with Christ the Eucharist through television, radio and Internet transmissions. We can use this difficult time to renew the practice of home and family prayer, for concrete works of mercy, especially towards the elderly and the lonely, especially at risk of epidemics. Daily prayer of the rosary can become for us a school of deep faith combined with sacrificial service to our neighbour, following the example of Mary, help of the faithful.’

Health situation in Poland is less worrying that in other countries (about 21,236 cases identified and 995 people having died of the Coronavirus on May 22nd), which is in relation to the early measures taken by the government. Once again, it seems that Polish-style secularism corresponds to an amicable collaboration between Church and State. In fact, there was no question of prohibiting any celebration in the presence of the faithful. In addition, several masses and services are broadcast every day, particularly on public television, without counting the Internet broadcasts organised by parishes. On March 13, the Polish government declared a state of epidemiological threat. It limited the number of people who could attend religious celebrations to 50 (excluding celebrants). The episcopate then recommended that diocesan bishops widely granted an exemption from participation to mass, especially to the elderly, the sick, the children and their parents, etc. Between March 24 and April 11, only five people were allowed to attend each service. After returning to a 50-person limit between April 12 and 20, services can now be celebrated in the presence of one person per 15 m², and 1 person per 10 m² since May 18th, while, of course, continuing to respect the rules in force in public places, namely wearing a mask (available in pharmacies), social distancing, barrier gestures, etc.

See more: Covid-19: In Poland, (sacramental) life continues.

Michał Zawiślak
  • Mars 2020: Coronavirus: new restrictions on public worship

In relation to the increase in the number of coronavirus infections in Poland, on 24 March 2020 the Minister of Health amended the regulation issued four days before in which the state of epidemic on the territory of the Republic of Poland was announced. The amendments consisted in introducing new emergency coronavirus measures, which are to be in force until 11 April 2020.

The new restrictions refer, among other things, to public worship. From 25 March, the number of the participants in a religious ceremony cannot exceed 5 people (excluding persons leading the worship). On the basis of the ministerial regulation of 24 March, the organization of any other gatherings or meetings is not allowed either (except for meetings of closest family members or necessary work-related gatherings). Moreover, any non-essential movement has been banned (the permissible exceptions concern performing work-related activities, fulfilling basic daily needs, fighting the effects of coronavirus as well as performing and participating in worship). Before 24 March, the restrictions established in the regulations of the Minister of Health of 13 and 20 March were in force (introducing, respectively, the state of epidemic emergency and the state of epidemic). On the basis of these regulations, the number of participants of religious ceremonies (and any other gatherings) was limited to maximum 50 people.

In the communiqué published on 24 March 2020, the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, as he did it before, asked Polish people to respect the restrictions introduced by the authorities regarding public worship. At the same time, he encouraged the faithful to pray at home, especially while listening to or watching the Holy Mass broadcast by mass media. Several days earlier (on 21 March) the Presidency of the Polish Bishops’ Conference published instructions on “performing liturgical activities in the following weeks”, addressed at the diocesan bishops. In this document, the bishops were requested to issue detailed decisions and instructions referring to the documents of the Holy See published on 19 and 20 March: the decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (on Easter celebrations), the decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary (on granting special indulgences to the faithful) and the note of the Apostolic Penitentiary (on the sacrament of reconciliation). At the same time, the bishops were reminded “not to use general absolution in an unlawful way” (however, it was also clearly stated that general absolution can be used when there is imminent danger of death and individual confession is not possible). It was also pointed out that “confession via electronic media (e.g., telephones or instant messaging) is not possible”. Moreover, the bishops were clearly asked to ensure that the number of the faithful participating in religious gatherings complies with the current recommendations issued by public authorities. They were also reminded to prolong the dispensations from the obligation to participate in the Sunday Mass (the dispensations granted previously concerned the period until 29 March).

Piotr Stanisz
  • Mars 2020: Coronavirus restrictions and public worship

Due to the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, the Minister of Health declared the state of epidemic emergency on the entire territory of the Republic of Poland. The relevant regulation was issued on 13 March 2020 and entered into force on the same day. The scope of permissible restrictions during the state of emergency is regulated by the Act of 5 December 2008 on preventing and fighting human infections and infectious diseases. According to its Article 46, under the state of epidemic emergency it is possible, among other things, to prohibit the organization of assemblies of any kind. Among the solutions introduced pursuant to the Minister’s regulation of 13 March 2020, there are restrictions concerning public worship, including religious services held in churches and other places of worship. They consist in limiting the number of participants of liturgy to maximum 50 people, which corresponds to the prohibition to organize any gatherings of more than 50 people and the limitations on the functioning of restaurants and large shopping centres. Schools and universities had already been closed several days earlier.

The restrictions on public worship have been met with understanding on the part of representatives of churches and other religious organizations. As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, on 12 March 2020 the Permanent Council of the Polish Bishops’ Conference issued a document recommending that diocesan bishops grant broad dispensations from the obligation to participate in the Sunday Mass until 29 March. In his address delivered on 14 March, the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, explicitly encouraged the faithful to take advantage of the dispensations granted and remain at home, as well as to watch or listen to liturgies broadcast over the mass media. Nevertheless, churches have been left open, and Holy Masses have generally been celebrated according to the regular schedule, although with little or no participation of the faithful.

Only individual diocesan bishops have decided to introduce further restrictions (e.g., the bishop of the Gliwice diocese has cancelled all liturgies involving participation of the faithful).
In the survey conducted by IBRiS – Market and Social Research Institute for the Rzeczpospolita journal, 63.4% of respondents regarded the decisions taken by the Church authorities as adequate for the situation, while 16.9% of those surveyed considered them an insufficient way of protecting the faithful from the epidemic (19.7% of respondents did not have a clear opinion on this question).

Piotr Stanisz

D 26 May 2020    AMichał Zawiślak APiotr Stanisz

2019

The Catholic Church and victims of clerical sexual offenses
A report from the Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church, based on the answers to a questionnaire received from all the 41 (...)

  • The Catholic Church and victims of clerical sexual offenses

A report from the Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church, based on the answers to a questionnaire received from all the 41 dioceses in Poland as well as religious congregations, has been issued this year. The report covers the period from January 1, 1990 to June 30, 2018. During the 28 years covered, "there were 382 total reported cases of sexual abuse of minors (up to the age of 18) in all dioceses and convents". 625 minors (including 345 under 15 years of age) have been the victims of clerical sexual offences, although the authors of the report stipulate that some of this number are yet unconfirmed cases.
This report comes at the same time as the broadcasting of a shocking film about paedophilia in the Polish Church. The documentary film "Do not tell anyone" by Tomasz and Marek Sekielski, presenting cases of paedophiles in the Polish Church, was published on the Internet on May 11. Millions of Poles have already seen it.

D 18 November 2019   

2018

June 2018: The constitutional crisis in Poland (2015-2018)
In October 2015, the Law and Justice Party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość better known by its Polish acronym PiS) gained the majority of seats (...)

  • June 2018: The constitutional crisis in Poland (2015-2018)

In October 2015, the Law and Justice Party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość better known by its Polish acronym PiS) gained the majority of seats in Sejm (the Lower Chamber of Poland’s parliament). It rapidly undertook a series of changes to many of the country’s democratic institutions, namely to the constitutional court.
This started a crisis which still lasts. This constitutional crisis prevents the action of the Constitutional Tribunal, which cannot play its constitutional role as the guardian of democracy, the rule of law and human rights.
As long as this situation remains unsettled, and as long as the Constitutional Tribunal cannot carry out its work in an efficient manner, the rule of law, but also democracy and human rights, are in danger.

See the complete article as a pdf document.

  • June 2018: Refusing a service for LGBT organization. The case of an employee of a printing house

The employee of a printing house in Łódź – Adam J. who refused to print promotional material for LGBT Business Forum Foundation, was finally sentenced. The District Court in Łódź upheld the verdict of the court of the first instance (Regional Court in Łódź) who found the employee of the printing house guilty, based on the argument that “everyone has the right to equal treatment regardless of sexual orientation”. The final judgement was announced by the Supreme Court on 14 June 2018.

Circumstances of the case (see the chronology of the case)

The LGBT Business Forum Foundation sent to the printing house an email with a demand to print promotional material. The LGBT Business Forum Foundation received an email in response to this project sent by the employee of the printing house: „ I refuse to print a roll-up banner with the graphics I received. We are not contributing to the promotion of LGBT movement by our work."

In June 2016, the Regional Court in Łódź decided that the employee of the printing house had committed an offense in view of the art. 138 Ustawa z dnia 20 maja 1971 r. Kodeks wykroczeń [Code of Misdemeanour] „Anyone who professionally provides services, demands and charges for a payment higher than the law, or intentionally without a justified reason refuses the service to which he is obliged, is subject to a fine.” The employee was sentenced to a fine of 200 Polish Zloty (PLN) for refusing to provide printing service for the LGBT organization.

The case went to the District Court, which (Judgment of Sąd Okręgowy w Łodzi z 26 maja 2017 r., sygn. akt V Ka 557/17) again found the employee of the printing house guilty. In justification of the verdict, the district court clearly expressed that the motivation of the employee of the printing house was grounded on "negative perception of LGBT persons". The Court also pointed out that “the employee beliefs are no legal reason for refusing a service to organizations such as LGBT Foundation”. The judgment was final at this stage. The Minister of Justice joined the proceedings and filed a cassation appeal against the judgment of the District Court to the Supreme Court. The case is final (judgment of the Supreme Court of 14 June 2018).

The legal and sociological background of the case

The Polish legal system is founded, among others, on equal treatment. According to art. 32 para. 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland "no one shall be discriminated against in political, social or economic life for any reason". This means that it is unlawful to discriminate access to goods and services according to personal qualities. The provisions of ustawa z dnia 3 grudnia 2010 r. o wdrożeniu niektórych przepisów Unii Europejskiej w zakresie równego traktowania [The "Equal Treatment Act"] lists personal characteristics such as gender, age, disability, religion, worldview, race, nationality, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. A refusal to provide a service because of suchcharacteristics of the customer is a deliberate offense, without a valid reason,. The service provider has no right to categorize or select customers on the basis of their personal characteristics, which has no effect on commercial relations.

The Office of the Ombudsman is affected by many complaints regarding the violation of the principle of equal treatment in access to services: the owner of a shoe store in Tarnobrzeg, who refused to serve a client in a wheelchair (Judgment of Sądu Rejonowego w Tarnobrzegu z 8 marca 2013 r., sygn. akt II W 13/13); the owner of a clothing store that forbade people with prams to enter (Judgment of Sądu Rejonowego dla Warszawy-Woli w Warszawie z 5 grudnia 2016 r., sygn. akt V W 4937/16); the owner of z club who refused entrance to a concert to a person in ae wheelchair (Judgment of Sądu Rejonowego Warszawa Śródmieście w Warszawie z 26 lutego 2018 r., sygn. akt XI W 5001/17). In two cases, the court resigned from imposing a penalty, in other cases it imposed fines from 20 to 500 zlotys.

Courts pointed out that the employee did not have the right to represent the printing house (he was not its owner). Therefore, the principle of freedom of contract did not allow him to interfere in the content of the legal contract which was concluded between the printing house and an LGBT volunteer - this was done through the website of the printing house, which includes the words "order now, free delivery". During the case, an employee of the printing house explained: "I am a Catholic, I respect all people, also homosexual people, but my conscience does not allow me to promote such behawior". Neither of the courts recognized that printing the advertisement would have violated the rules of any religion or worldview. The Supreme court also stressed that the service provider is obliged to provide services because he offers them to the public.

The District court pointed out that “religious order must be separated from legal order and law guarantees everyone the right to equal treatment”. In the opinion of the defender of the printing house employee, his refusal is directly protected by the religious freedom cited in article 53 para. 1 of the Constitution.

The employee of the printing house was strongly supported by the lawyers of the Ordo Iuris Institut. The defender of the employee highlighted that this case has a significant role for the whole legal system in Poland, and that the Supreme court must finally dealt with.

The lawyer of the LGBT Foundation stated that the verdict of the District court (which deemed guilty the employee of the printing house) is correct. The principle of equality is protected by the law and this verdict will help shape social respect for this principle. In the opinion of the lawyer of the LGBT Foundation, this case will provoke better protection for all minority groups.

The entire proceedings were monitored by representatives of number of non-governmental organizations: The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, The Polish Society for Antidiscrimination Law and Court Watch Polska, Campaign Against Homophobia.

The constitutionality of the art. 138 of the Code of misdemeanour

On the basis of this case, at the end of 2017, the Minster of Justice submitted an application to the Constitutional tribunal to examine incompatibility of art. 138 of Code of Misdemeanour with the constitutional principles of a democratic state of law (art. 2), freedom of conscience and religion (art. 53), as well as freedom of economic activity (art. 22). The basic function of art. 138 of the Code of misdemeanour is to protect against discrimination in the area of access to services.

The ombudsman, who joined the proceedings in this case, requested that the Constitutional tribunal should declare that art. 138 of the Code of misdemeanour is consistent with the Constitution. He also stated that the principle of freedom of conscience and religion is not the right model of control in this matter. The ombudsman argued that freedom of conscience and religion does not justify the refusal to provide a service because of the client’s personal qualities. It may sometimes justify the refusal to provide a service - but only if it directly expresses a particular religion or worldview. This could happen in situations in which a confession or belief would establish a moral obligation to refuse a service, and this would have to be a widely accepted form of practicing religion. For example, it would be reasonable to consider the refusal of a Seventh-day Adventist to provide a service on a Saturday.

  • May 2018: New rules on the protection of personal data in the Catholic Church

After the recognitio (official approval of the Holy See), on 30 of April 2018, the Dekret ogólny w sprawie ochrony osób fizycznych w związku z przetwarzaniem danych osobowych w Kościele katolickim [General Decree on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data in the Catholic Church], which the Polish Bishops’ Conference adopted on 13 of March 2018, during the 378th Plenary Assembly, was legally promulgated.

Until now, the rules on the protection of personal data in the Catholic Church were included in many different documents (instrukcja Konferencji Episkopatu Polski z 1947 r. o prowadzeniu ksiąg parafialnych ochrzczonych, bierzmowanych, małżeństw i zmarłych oraz księgi stanu dusz; „Zasady postępowania w sprawie formalnego aktu wystąpienia z Kościoła”, amended by „Dekret Ogólny Konferencji Episkopatu Polski w sprawie wystąpień z Kościoła oraz powrotu do wspólnoty Kościoła”, came into force from 19 February 2016).

The Code of Canon Law of 1983 also highlighted the general standard of the protection of personal data “Canon 220. No one is permitted to harm illegitimately the good reputation which a person possesses nor to injure the right of any person to protect his or her own privacy”.

The General Decree on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data in the Catholic Church [hereafter The General Decree] aims to adapt the existing rules in the Church on the protection of individuals in connection with the processing of their personal data to the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data and the repeal of Directive 95/46 / EC, which will be applied from 25 May 2018.

The art. 91 of the General Data Protection Regulation EU provides that:

1. Where in a Member State, churches and religious associations or communities apply, at the time of entry into force of this Regulation, comprehensive rules relating to the protection of natural persons with regard to processing, such rules may continue to apply, provided that they are brought into line with this Regulation.

The next paragraph points out that churches and religious associations that apply specific rules adapted to the General Data Protection Regulation (Chapter VI of this Regulation) may be subject to the supervision of a separate, independent supervisory body. The General Decree established the Church Data Protection Supervisor as an independent inspection body. On 2 May of 2018 Rev. Prof. Piotr Kroczek was elected to the duties of the Church Personal Data Inspector.

The General Decree of the Polish Bishops’ Conference was prepared by the team of experts appointed by the bishops. One of the experts of the Polish Bishops’ Conference clearly expressed that: “this General Decree creates autonomous personal data protection system used by the Catholic Church. This system in my opinion seems to be in line with art. 91 General Data Protection Regulation, as well as the provisions of the Code of Canon Law and the Code of Canons of Eastern Churches”.

The provisions of the General Decree set up general rules and standards on protection of processing personal data in the Catholic Church: obligation to inform about processing of data, right to request the correction of data or to annotate, complete, as well as to limit the processing.

Generally, the Catholic Church keeps a wide range of personal data of the members and non-members. The specific role of this General Decree is to protect the right to be forgotten. This right will be limited according to whether the information is about the sacraments, or if the data refers to the canonical status of the person. However, it will be possible to be in line with the right to be forgotten, which will oblige the Catholic Church not to use such data without the consent of the bishop or another higher religious organ.

  • March 2018: Mass protests in Poland against new abortion law

Thousands of people have joined protests in Warsaw and other Polish cities against the latest attempt of the government to restrict access to abortion.

So far, the procedure is allowed only if the life of the foetus is at risk, if there is a grave threat to the health of the mother, or if the pregnancy was the result of a rape or an incest (article 4a ustawa z dnia 7 stycznia 1993 r. o planowaniu rodziny, ochronie płodu ludzkiego i warunkach dopuszczalności przerywania ciąży [Law on family planning, protection of the human foetus and conditions of acceptability of termination of pregnancy].

In 2016, anti-abortion activists, led mainly by a group called Stop Aborcji [Stop Abortion] with indirect support of the Catholic Church and the ruling party Law and Justice, attempted to impose a total ban on abortion. The new law, which threatened to imprison women seeking the procedure as well as doctors who would perform it, faced a mass protest. Around 55 000 people attended protests in Warsaw. The protesters, dressed in black (the march was called Black Friday), marched through the capital to the headquarters of the ruling party and parliament. Over 200 nongovernmental organizations signed a public petition to reject the new law.

In 2016, the activists of pro-choice decided to counter with their own proposal for a new law Ratujmy Kobiety [Save Women], which would liberalise the current abortion law. At the same time, anti-abortion groups announced that they were going to try to introduce a total ban. On 23 September 2016, both proposals were presented in a parliamentary debate that was widely covered by the media. The parliament dropped the bill of pro-choice Ratujmy Kobiety [Save Women] and decided to send the anti-abortion bill to the parliament commission. In response to this fact, activists proposed a national strike by using the social media to call for women to either skip work on Monday 3 October 2016, or to wear black if they could not. The protest would become known internationally as Black Monday. The voting process showed that only deputies of the ruling party are against the liberalization of law (free access for abortion).

The ruling party, after the mass protests in Poland of March 2016, has dropped the new anti-abortion law. However, the pressure of religious groups pushed the ruling party to defend the reproductive rights. The new law (which came into effect in July 2017) introduced an obligatory prescription for emergency contraceptives (day-after pill).

On March 2018, the parliament commission had issued a positive opinion of the bill of anti-abortion law. The proposal of law made by the Stop Abortion group is now ready to take the next steps of the parliamentary process. In 23 March 2018, thousands of Poles took to the streets in protest to the introduction of the new restricted law.

  • February 2018: "The registration of same-sex marriage is unacceptable"

Naczelny Sąd Administracyjny (The Supreme Administrative Court, February 28, 2018) has accepted the position of the National Public Prosecutor’s Office, and dismissed the cassation complaint of two women who married abroad and wanted to have their same-sex marriage recognized under Polish law.

In this case, the Director of the Civil Registry Office refused to register their marital status by way of transcription of the foreign marriage certificate of the two women. The Pomeranian voivode upheld the decision of the Director of the Civil Registry Office.

The women appealed to the Provincial Administrative Court in Gdańsk (Wojewódzki Sąd Administracyjny w Gdańsku) against the refusal of the Pomeranian voivode to enter into the civil registry the marital status of a same-sex marriage certificate drawn up abroad. The Court decided that the decision issued by the voivode is in line with Polish law.

While the case was pending in the Supreme Administrative Court, as a result of a cassation complaint filed by the women, the General Prosecutor issued recommendations in which he reminded all prosecutors that “enter in the Polish civil registry documents a marriage certificate drawn up abroad, and concluded by persons of the same sex, is unacceptable.”

According to the position presented by the National Prosecutor’s Office, the Supreme Administrative Court dismissed the cassation appeal of the women (judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court of 28 February 2018, II OSK 1112/16).

The Supreme Administrative Court unambiguously confirmed the position of the National Public Prosecutor’s Office that registering a "marriage" concluded by persons of the same sex is unacceptable in Poland, although the marriage of same-sex couples is allowed by law in more than a dozen European countries. In consequence, the Supreme Administrative Court dismissed the cassation complaint of two women, who had married outside the country and wanted their same-sex marriage recognised under Polish law. The main argument used by the Court at the ruling was that the Constitution of the Republic of Poland clearly defined "marriage as a union of man and woman" (art. 18).

See also "The legal and sociological situation of same-sex marriage in Poland".

D 28 June 2018    AMichał Zawiślak

2016

October 2016: Black Monday strike against ban on abortion
A new draft law was proposing an absolute ban on abortion, carrying jail time up to five years for both women and their doctors, no (...)

  • October 2016: Black Monday strike against ban on abortion

A new draft law was proposing an absolute ban on abortion, carrying jail time up to five years for both women and their doctors, no matter under what the circumstances of the abortion may have been.
In response to the proposal, Polish women went on strike Monday 3 October, boycotting work and school in Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw and across the country, in what was called the ’Black Monday’ Strike. In consequence, the draft law was rejected by the ruling party.

  • July 2016: Visit of Pope Francis to Poland

Poland is actively preparing the visit of the Pope, expected next July, during the celebration of the 1050th anniversary of the baptism of Mieszko I, first king of Poland.
The Act of 18 March 2016 on the special solutions adopted for the organization of the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis in the Republic of Poland and the World Youth Days (see the Act in polish) - Kraków 2016 introduces among others, special tasks of public administration for ensuring security, public order, safety, and medical transportation during these events. It provides the principles of cooperation between the public administration and the Archdiocese of Krakow (organizer of World Youth Day).

The Catholic international gathering of youth, World Youth Day, will take place in 2016 in Krakow, 25th-31st July. During the World Youth Day in Poland, Pope Francis will be visiting Krakow, Jasna Góra (Częstochowa), and Auschwitz (see the program).

In the presence of the President of the Republic of Poland and the highest authorities of the country, Pope Francis will concelebrate the Mass on the occasion of the 1050th anniversary of the baptism of Poland, an event of national importance.
From December 2015 to June 2016, seven meetings were organised in the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki. Special guests invited from Poland and abroad presented the topics of mercy and works of mercy. The series of meetings and spiritual conferences entitled “For us and for the whole world” are broadcast online.

  • May 2016: A controversial issue in vitro fertilization (IVF)

Under social pressure, the former coalition government of Poland (2007-2015) has unsuccessfully tried to pass a legislation concerning in vitro fertilization (IVF). In June 2015, the Polish parliament finally passed a law on the treatment of IVF. The law (which came into force from 1st November 2015) provides the right to use the in vitro procedure for marriages and those in partnership relations. IVF method will be available after other treatments, conducted for at least 12 months, have been exhausted. The Bureau of the Polish Bishops’ Conference clearly expressed its opinion in the debate, notably announcing that from a “moral point of view, in vitro fertilization cannot be accepted, as it turns man into a product of human activity, and is subjected to technical, not ethical, rationality”. The former Minister of Health, prof. Marian Zembala, stressed that IVF does not exceed ethics boundaries. He also presented to the public a new state budget plan including financing for IVF proceedings, for the years 2015-2019. His official statement caused massive protests coming from PiS (Law and Justice) party, in October 2015, at the time of the elections (see Polska Newsweek and TVP info). The new financing support for treatment of infertility involves over 304 million PLN. It is the first time in the history of Polish medical treatment that IVF is financed by the state. The official data presented by the Ministry of Health show that already 3000 children are born as a result of this method.

The ruling conservative Law and Justice party won parliamentary elections last year. The current government is trying to restore a significant role of the Catholic Church in the Polish society. Because it is heavily supported by the Catholic Church, some of the actions of the ruling party have very strong ties to Christian values. The recent protests highlighted diverging tendencies among many Poles. (See Natemat or Polska Newsweek).

According to the new regulation on the financing of health programs (Official Journal of Minister of Health of 11 March 2010. No. 4. pos. 32, in particular § 9), the Minister of Health has approved the distribution of public funds allocated in 2016 for the implementation of special purpose treatment of infertility IVF method, only until 30 June 2016. After that date, public financing for IVF will cease completely.

  • April 2016: New project of anti-abortion law

The provisions of the current law on abortion (the Act of 7 January 1993 on family planning, protection of the human foetus and conditions of permissibility of abortion) permit abortion only when the woman’s life or health is threatened, when the pregnancy results from a crime, including rape or incest, or when the foetus is irreparably damaged. The current provisions of law have been systematically criticized by believers and by the politicians of right-side wing parties as a wrongful fruit of the unmoral compromise made in 1993 between the Catholic Church and the liberal circles.
A new debate was open after the parliamentary election in 2015, because the power is currently held by a conservative government whose members mostly stress that they are Catholics and follow the bishops’ teaching.
In 2016, the Catholic church is celebrating the anniversary of the 1050 years of Poland’s baptism. The Bureau of the Polish bishops’ conference clearly expressed its opinion in the debate, "In this jubilee year of Poland’s baptism, we urge all people of goodwill, believers and nonbelievers, to take action to ensure full legal protection of unborn lives." In the opinion of the polish sociologist Zbigniew Mikolejko, the call of polish bishops to tighten the anti-abortion law is the price for the support of the Catholic Church to the ruling party PiS (Law and Justice).
After April 3, 2016, when the Polish bishops’ message against abortion was read out in the churches, pro-abortion groups held protests in many cities. (See Wiadomości and Polska Newsweek.) The leader of the PO (Civic Platform) Grzegorz Schetyna supports the pro-abortion groups, and announced that new street protests and referendum initiatives to save the current liberal provisions on abortion are coming soon. Many pro-abortion groups support the actions against the project of new law. (See Plotek) Many famous people also took part in a protest against anti-abortion law on Facebook, #wspieramdziewuchy.
The government has reacted with caution. Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said that the government is not preparing any legislation on abortion. She argued that such a sensitive and important issue has become an element of political struggle.
The pro-life group „Stop Abortion” is now collecting the votes to support the new project of law on abortion. The new provisions establish prison sentences of up to five years for doctors, other health workers, and the woman, involved in an abortion process. The project of law is available here (in Polish).

D 24 November 2016    AMichał Zawiślak

2014

December 2014: Ban on ritual slaughter inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic of Poland
The Constitutional Tribunal, following the motion of the Union of Jewish Religious (...)

  • December 2014: Ban on ritual slaughter inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic of Poland

The Constitutional Tribunal, following the motion of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities, resolved the issue of the questioned consistency of the ritual slaughter of animals with the Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 2nd April 1997. In the judgment of 10th December 2014, the Tribunal stated that Art. 34 para. 1 of the Act of 21th August 1997, on the protection of animals, insofar as it does not allow the subjecting of animals to slaughter in accordance with special methods prescribed by religious rites, as well as Art. 35 para. 1 and 4 of this Act, insofar as it provides criminal liability for subjecting animals to this kind of slaughter, are inconsistent with Art. 53 para. 1, 2 and 5 of the Constitution in connection with Art. 9 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
The judgment of the Tribunal confirms that the freedom of religion, and especially the right to manifest religion, encompasses the right of religious organizations to practice ritual slaughter. The absolute prohibition of this kind of practices constitutes, in the Tribunal’s view, an unfounded (in the light of the Art. 53 para. 5 of the Constitution and Art. 9 para. 2 of the Convention) restriction of the freedom of religion.
The judgment was delivered by the full bench of the Tribunal, but five judges submitted dissenting opinions. The verdict was met with approval by Jewish and Muslim religious circles, and was received with loud opposition from animal rights activists.
Since the day the judgment was delivered (12th December 2014), the contested provisions of the Act on the protection of animals have no longer been in force insofar as they prohibited ritual slaughter. This means that the issue of ritual slaughter in Poland is today regulated by the Council Regulation (EC) No. 1099/2009 of 24th September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing. Art. 4 para. 4 states that in the case of animals subject to particular methods of slaughter prescribed by religious rites, the requirements for stunning animals before killing shall not apply, provided that the slaughter takes place in a slaughterhouse.

  • May 2014: Registration proceedings of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster are judged devoid of purpose

The Registration Authority stated that the applicants asking for registration of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster did not represent a religious community as referred to in article 2 of the Act of 17 May 1989 on the guarantees of freedom of conscience and religion. The registration process has thus become devoid of purpose. The Authority considered that this community had not been founded to profess and to spread a religious faith, but for a different purpose. Therefore they were not in a situation to open the procedure of registration.

  • March 2014: New regulations of the religious education in public kindergartens and schools

On 25 March 2014, the Ordinance amending the previous ordinance on the conditions and means of the organization of religious education in public kindergartens and schools was signed. The provisions of the new Ordinance (Official Journal 2014, poz. 478) were changed as a consequence of the implementation by the Republic of Poland of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights based on case Grzelak v. Poland (7710/02). The changes are designed to provide the lessons of ethics or religion for any student (even if there is only one in the class) interested in participating in the activities for this course. Revised provisions entered into force on 1 September 2014. Other rules have not changed, however, from September 1, 2014, students must express their wish to participate in the lessons of the ethics/religion in the form of a written statement.

D 29 December 2014    AKatarzyna Starzecka AMichał Zawiślak

2013

November 2013 : Ban on religious slaughter
Since the end of December 2012, the religious slaughter is not permitted any more in Poland. The Constitutional Court ruled that the Ordinance of 9 (...)

  • November 2013 : Ban on religious slaughter

Since the end of December 2012, the religious slaughter is not permitted any more in Poland. The Constitutional Court ruled that the Ordinance of 9 September 2004 by the Minister of the Agriculture and Rural Development concerning the conditions of religious slaughter is inconsistent with the Law on the Protection of animals. According to the judgment of the Polish constitutional tribunal (27 November 2012), this ministerial ordinance is no more in force from 1st January 2013. Therefore, the government proposed a draft amendment to the Law on the Protection of Animals that would have allowed the ritual slaughter to be performed in accordance with the religious needs. This draft was rejected by the Parliament on 12 July 2013. The Jewish community has voiced strong reaction and has requested the Polish constitutional tribunal to examine of the Law on the Protection of Animals in the light of the Constitution (art. 53) and the ECHR (art. 9). Representatives of the community were informed late November that the Constitutional Tribunal will consider the appeal they filed. The date for the tribunal session has not yet been set.

  • 15 March 2013 : The Register of Churches and other Religious Organisations : Refusal to register the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

On 15 March 2013, the Minister of Administration and Digitization, who maintains the Register of churches and other religious organizations, refused to register the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The motion to register the church was submitted on 27 July 2012, after which it was corrected by the petitioners on 4 and 6 September 2012. It was stated in the motion that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was established in the US in 2005 and is inspired by “the revelation of the prophet Bobbie Henderson”.
In the course of the registration proceedings, the Minister asked the Institute of Religion of the Jagiellonian University to prepare an expert opinion which would answer the following question : “can the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, in light of the documents submitted, be considered a religious community referred to in art. 2 para. 1 of the act of 17 May 1989 on the guarantees of freedom of conscience and religion” ? The authors of the expert opinion stated that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster should be counted among joke religions, and its doctrine “definitely shows the signs of a parody of already-existing doctrines”. “It can thus be assumed that the group does not so much intend to create its own doctrine and gather a circle of followers around it in order to set up a new religious community as to ridicule the principles of another religion (in this case, the Christian religion).”
Justifying his decision, the Minister emphasized that the Register may only contain religious communities that are set up in order to profess and promote their religious faith. He shared the experts’ view that, in fact, we are dealing “with a kind of anti-religion.” On those grounds, he stated that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster did not meet the criteria set out in art. 2 para. 1 of the act of 17 May 1989 on the guarantees of freedom of conscience and religion.
The petitioners have already said that they will submit a written request to have their case reviewed by the Minister. According to the current regulations, they may also complain to administrative court.
It is worth mentioning that in the past, the refusal to include a particular group in the Register of churches and other religious organizations has sometimes been justified on the grounds that the group at issue did not have a religious character. The same argumentation was used by the Supreme Administrative Court in the judgment of 22 January 1999, who confirmed the legitimacy of the decision issued by the Minister of the Interior and Administration (responsible for the Register of churches and other religious organizations at the time) in which the Minister refused to register the Polish Raëlian Movement. The doctrine of the movement was based on Claude Vorilhon’s views expressed in his book entitled “Raël. The message given to me by extra-terrestrials. They took me to their planet.”

D 2 December 2013    APiotr Stanisz

2012

November 2012: Religion as a subject for matriculation exam
The Catholic Education Commission expressed concern about the delay of a decision on the possibility of adding religion as a new (...)

  • November 2012: Religion as a subject for matriculation exam

The Catholic Education Commission expressed concern about the delay of a decision on the possibility of adding religion as a new subject for the matriculation exam. The Catholic Education Commission declared that all the necessary formal requirements needed to establish religion as an additional subject had been fulfilled. This makes the lack of a positive decision from the Ministry of Education all the more incomprehensible.
On 6th November 2012 in Warsaw, a meeting took place between the representatives of the Catholic Education Commission of the Polish Episcopal Conference and the Ministry of Education. This meeting was held in the framework of the planned series of discussions on amendments to the Ordinance of the Ministry of Education of 7 February 2012, which raised concerns about religious education in public schools. Representatives of the Catholic Education Commission stated that previous provisions of Ordinance of 2002 were sufficiently clear and did not raise any doubts. Both parties declared to be prepared to attend another meeting early December.

  • August 2012: The joint message of Patriarch Kirill I and Archbishop Józef Michalik to the nations of Poland and Russia

On 17 August 2012, the “Joint Message to the Nations of Poland and Russia” was signed in the Royal Castle in Warsaw by the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill I and the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference Archbishop Józef Michalik. The work on this document took more than 2 years. It basically calls for reconciliation and appeals for a joint contribution to the protection of Christian values in the modern world.

The document also reminds about the Christian cultural heritage of Poland and Russia, which unites both fraternal nations. While calling for mutual forgiveness of the harm caused, it stresses that forgiveness does not mean oblivion, but renunciation of revenge and hatred. It also appeals for efforts to foster dialogue and promote all that makes it possible to rebuild mutual trust and create a peaceful future for Poland and Russia, free from violence and wars. It indicates that lasting reconciliation is the basis for a peaceful future and it can only be built if it rests on the truth of the common past. It is said that after World War II and after the experience of atheism imposed on both nations, it is time for spiritual and physical renewal, which will last only if human renewal is achieved.

Patriarch Kirill and Archbishop Michalik stressed that “under the pretext of preserving the principles of secularism or defending freedom, people question the basic moral principles of the Decalogue. Abortion and euthanasia are being promoted, along with same-sex unions purportedly presented as one of the forms of marriage, while a consumptionist lifestyle is being propagated, traditional values rejected and religious symbols removed from the public sphere.” It was pointed out that “falsely understood secularism takes the form of fundamentalism and in reality it is one of the forms of atheism”. The two leaders said that not only terrorism and armed conflicts, but also abortion and euthanasia are mortal sins in modern civilization.

The document expresses respect for the institution of the family, which, as a bond between a man and a woman, is the foundation of every society. It was indicated that the family is “the cradle of life” and “a wholesome place of development”. It also guarantees social stability and is a sign of hope for the whole society.

  • June 2012: Work on the changes in the system of funding the Catholic Church and other religious denominations

On 15th March 2012, during a meeting of the Common Committee of the Representatives of the Government and the Polish Episcopal Conference, as well as the following day during a meeting with representatives of non-Catholic religious denominations, Michał Boni (Minister of Administration and Digitization) presented a proposal aiming at changing the system of the financing of churches and other religious denominations. According to this proposal, the Church Fund (set up in 1950 as a consequence of the nationalization of the majority of secular property belonging to the Catholic Church and other religious denominations) was to be abolished. This abolition was to be accompanied by a solution according to which payers of personal income tax could grant 0,3% of their tax to the Catholic Church or another religious denomination. In search of a compromise, special work groups were created in accordance with the demands of the representatives of the Catholic Church to respect art. 22 para. 2 of the Concordat of 1993.

During the meetings of the work groups both parties declared ready to engage in a dialogue and hoped to be able to reach a common stance leading to the formal adoption of bilateral arrangements by the Council of Ministers and the Polish Episcopal Conference. In accordance with the procedure defined in art. 27 of the Concordat, the Polish Episcopal Conference was entitled by the Holy See. The work conducted thus (as well as the dialogue held in parallel by the Government and representatives of non-Catholic religious denominations) primarily concentrated on the part of tax to be granted by taxpayers (0,3%). The second important issue concerned the length of the interim period (two years), during which the state would be obliged to supplement the amount gained by religious denominations in accordance with the new solutions, in order to keep it at the same level as the amount previously obtained from the Church Fund. The proposals put forward by the Government regarding both issues were considered inadequate by the representatives of the Church. It was especially highlighted that the part of the tax which was to be granted by taxpayers did not correspond to the obligations following from the acreage of arable land confiscated by the state in 1950, and still belonging to the state, nor to the social role of the Church. The proposal concerning 0,3% was also deemed inconsistent with the solutions adopted in other states (Hungary – 1%, Italy – 0,8%, Spain – 0,7%) and the Polish legislation regarding public benefit organizations, which can receive 1% of personal income tax. As far as the two-year interim period is concerned, the representatives of the Church regarded it as decidedly too short.

However, the Government did not appear ready to accept the Church’s arguments. During the meeting of the work groups on 12-13th June 2012, Minister Boni told the representatives of the religious denominations that the Council of Ministers had entitled him only to negotiate the length of the interim period, which could be extended to four years. In reply to that, the representatives of the Church repeatedly argued for the increase in the part of tax to be assigned to churches and other religious denominations. It was agreed that the joint work conducted by experts of the Government and the Catholic Church would not be interrupted. However, in view of the disparity between the positions of both parties it does not seem likely that changes in the system of financing the Catholic Church and other religious denominations will be introduced in the near future.

D 10 December 2012    ADiana Łasocha AMichał Zawiślak

2009

Financing the religious schools from the state budget
Judgement of 14th December 2009 Polish Constitutional Tribunal (K 55/07)
Financing the religious schools from the state budget
Legal (...)

  • Financing the religious schools from the state budget

Judgement of 14th December 2009 Polish Constitutional Tribunal (K 55/07)

Financing the religious schools from the state budget

Legal provisions of the review:

1) Act of 5 April 2006 on the financing of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Warsaw from the state budget
2) Act of 5 April 2006 on the financing of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Wroclaw from the state budget
3) Act of 5 April 2006 on the financing of the Higher School of Philosophy and Education “Ignatianum” in Krakow from the state budget

Basis of review:

Constitution of the Republic of Poland (Article 25 para. 1-3, Article 32)
Concordat between the Holy See and the Republic of Poland , signed at Warsaw on 28 July 1993
(Article 22 para. 2, Article 27 in conjunction with Article 15 para. 3)

Complaints of the applicants:

According to the applicants, f inancing the religious schools from the state budget is inconsistent to the constitutional principle of equality of religious denominations. Only the religious schools of the Catholic Church are financed on the same conditions as public schools and the State does not create any possibilities of financing from the state budget the seminaries for the other churches and religious denominations. In accordance with the principle of equality of religious denominations, state budget should provide financial support on the same principles to all religious denominations. Applicants proposed to not provide financial support to any of them. The second approach is in line with the principle of impartiality of the public authorities in religious matters, and the principle of mutual independence of the State and religious denominations, each in its own sphere. The regulations of the acts are incompatible with the principle of equality before the law and the principle of non-discrimination whatsoever. The State has provided financial support to selected religious schools (universities) not on the legal ground, but probably under religious pressure. The acts were adopted in manner inconsistent with the provisions of the Concordat.

Ruling:

1) Act of 5 April 2006 on the financing of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Warsaw from the state budget
2) Act of 5 April 2006 on the financing of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Wroclaw from the state budget
3) Act of 5 April 2006 on the financing of the Higher School of Philosophy and Education “Ignatianum” in Krakow from the state budget

are consistent

with the Constitution (Art. 25 para. 1-3, Art. 32)
as well with the Concordat ( Art. 22 para. 2, Art. 27 in conjunction with Art. 15 para. 3)

Principal reasons for the ruling:

Religious schools (universities) provide education not only for the clergy, but also for lay people. Those schools received state subsidies for educational tasks, on the same basis as public schools. The Constitutional Tribunal emphasized that the principle of impartiality guaranteed free access to state subsidies to all churches and religious denominations, the only condition being to fulfill objective criteria (the same for all religious denominations) established by the Act. The Constitutional Tribunal concluded that subsidies for religious schools do not restrict the autonomy and independence of the Catholic Church on his range. Financing the religious schools is one of the possible forms of execution by the State public tasks in the field of education, and implements the constitutional right of access to education for all citizens.

  • Religion in public schools

Judgement of 2nd December 2009 Polish Constitutional Tribunal (U 10/07)

Counting of grades from compulsory lessons of religion or ethics to the final average of the school certificate

Legal provisions of the review:

An ordinance of the Minister of National Education of 13 th July 2007, amending the regulations on conditions and methods for assessing and promoting students and learners, and conducting tests and examinations in public schools. Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 13 July 2007 states that grades from compulsory lessons derived from the classification of the annual assessment shall be included in the classification derived from religion or ethics, for which the student attended during the school year. In addition, the student final results in a primary school, secondary school, upper secondary education or the existing secondary school in the final classification, includes an assessment of the classification of religion or ethics, if a student attended classes during the study at the school.

Basis of review:

Constitution of the Republic of Poland (Article 25 para. 2, Article 32 para. 1 and 2, Article 53 para. 3 in conjunction with Article 48 para. 1)
Act of 17 th May 1989 on guarantees of freedom of conscience and religion (Article 6 para. 2, Article 10 para. 1, Article 20 para. 2 and 3)

Complaints of the applicants:

According to the applicants, the regulation violates three principles: separation of church and state, equality before the law, and the right to freedom of parents raising a child according to their own conscience. According to the applicants, the regulation is inconsistent with the constitutional principle of government impartiality in matters of religious beliefs and outlooks on life. According to this principle, impartiality of the public authorities should be interpreted as neutrality in these matters. Public authorities should not promote any religious doctrine. However, among the objectives of the regulation of the Ordinance of 13 July 2007 set out in the explanatory memorandum, one finds motivating the student to additional effort and celebrating the work resulting from participation in activities such as religion or ethics. To provide positive evaluation of religion and ethics is to encourage students to choose these lessons. Regulation is contrary to the constitutional principle of equality before the law. Indeed, the regulation introduces different ways of calculating the average assessments for students attending the ethics or religion, and students not involved in these activities.

Ruling:

The Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the regulation of the Ordinance of the Minister of National Education of 13 July 2007 amending the regulation on conditions and methods for assessing and promoting students and learners, and conducting tests and examinations in public schools is consistent with Constitution

is not inconsistent with the Act of 17 th May 1989 on guarantees of freedom of conscience and religion

Principal reasons for the ruling:

1. Teaching religion is one of the manifestations of religious freedom in the light of the contemporary standards of a pluralistic democratic society. It is not the role of the State to impose religious education program and to bring the program to teach religion.
2. The Constitutional Tribunal emphasized that the counting grades of religion or ethics to the final average is a consequence of attachment of religion or ethics of the school certificates. Once they were on the certificate, they should be treated in the same way as grades of other subjects.
3. The Constitutional Tribunal held that the regulation of the Ordinance was not a manifestation of favoritism of any religious ideology, because parents and children can choose between lessons of religion or ethics. In practice, the decision of choice of religion may be carried out under social pressure, because the majority of Polish citizens are Roman Catholics. However, such circumstances only express the low social tolerance, which is not a matter the Constitutional Tribunal can deal with.

  • Exposition of the cross in public space

Resolution of 3rd December 2009 of the Polish Sejm (Low Chamber of the Polish Parliament) concerning protection of freedom of conscience and promotion of values based on the common heritage of European nations:

- “recognizing that a symbol of the cross is not only a religious symbol and a symbol of God’s love for people, but also in the public sphere reiterates readiness to sacrifice for the other man takes the value of fostering respect for the dignity of every human being and his rights
- declaring the sensitivity to respect freedom of thought, conscience and religion
- referring to the libertarian traditions of the Republic of the Both Nations, which was Europe’s model of religious and ethnic tolerance
- showing the elementary and positive contribution of Christianity to the development rights the human being, the culture of the Europe and unity of our continent
- declaring that both the individual and the community have right to express their own religious and cultural identity which is not confined to the private sphere
- remembering that in the past especially during in the Nazi and Soviet domination, acts of hostility toward religion were connected by mass violations human rights and lead to discrimination - keeping in mind the words spoken by the Pope John Paul II in the historical expose in the Polish Parliament in June 1999 that "democracy without values easily turns into open or tingly disguised totalitarism"
- expressing concern at the decisions in order to reconcile the freedom of religion, ignoring the rights and feelings of believers and the storm social peace and evaluate critically verdict of the European Court of Human Rights (case Lautsi v. Italy) challenging the legal aspects of crucifixes in classrooms in Italy. Polish Sejm is able to take the challenge with the others European parliaments (members of the Council of Europe) to create a joint reflection concerning the ways to protect freedom of religion by the spirit of promoting the values of the common heritage of European nations".

In the legislative process, 357 deputies voted for the resolution and 40 deputies were against. Resolution of 4th February 2010 of the Polish Senate has similar content.

  • "Force of habits"

Rev. Marek Gancarczyk, the chief editor of Sunday Guest, in his article "Force of habit" wrote, inter alia, as follows: "A man can get used to everything. If a man gets used to good, then praise God. The problem arises when he becomes accustomed to evil. Three months ago, the museum of Auschwitz was granted unusual photos from the private album of Karl Hoecker, a member of the SS in Auschwitz. They show what the Nazis ’working’ in the camp did ’after hours’ (in the words of the author of the documentary). They took their rest breaks in Międzybrodzie Bialskie. We can see the famous doctor Mengele in the company of Hoess and other officers. They are relaxed, laughing. They got accustomed to the murders committed behind the walls of the camp. And how about today? It is different, but equally terrible. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has just rejected the appeal of the Polish government in the already famous case of Alicja Tysiąc vs. Poland. In consequence, Ms. Tysiąc will receive the compensation of 25,000 euros, as well as the costs, for not having been able to kill her own child. In other words, we live in a world in which a mother receives a reward for her strong intention to kill her child, while not being permitted to do so. This compensation will come from the state budget, so it will be paid from our taxes."
Alicja Tysiąc felt offended by the content of the article, which led to compare her to Nazi criminals. In effect, she took the action for the protection of her personal rights on the basis of art. 23 of the Civil Code against the publisher of Sunday Guest – the Archdiocese of Katowice.

The District Court in Katowice held that the magazine editors wrongly compared Alicja Tysiąc to Nazi criminals. The court also decided that the Gość Niedzielny wrongly quoted a sentence of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (case no. 5410/03), thus misleading their readers. The Court sentence provides a clear statement: "criticism can not be based of false assumptions, and such was in Alicja Tysiąc because the magazine wrote that European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg paid a reward for her strong intention to kill her child, while not being permitted to do so". The court held that series of publications of Gość Niedzielny concerning Alicja Tysiąc was offensive and aggressive for her. The court also found that Catholics could express their opposition to abortion in all kinds of public forms, but criticism of abortion in relation to a particular person is a violation of personal interests (especially if it is offensive and aggressive in its contents).
The Court noted that, in every case of violation of personal interests in the press release, there is a conflict between two goods protected by law. The first is freedom of the press, which is one of the cornerstones of a democratic state. Its protection stand among others ordinary courts. At the same time, however are also entitled to legal protections of individual personal interests such as honor, dignity, good name affected by a particular press release. The District Court in Katowice committed editor of the magazine Gość Niedzielny, which is the Archdiocese of Katowice, to pay Alicja Tysiąc thirty thousand Polish Zlotys of compensation and to publish an apology in the next edition of the magazine.
The judgment of the District Court in Katowice was upheld by the judgment of Court of Appeal in Katowice. Archdiocese of Katowice was required to published the statement which reads as follows: "Archdiocese of Katowice as an editor and Marek Gancarczyk as a chief editor of weekly magazine Gość Niedzielny apologize for having unlawfulyl compared Ms. Alicja Tysiąc to Nazi criminals responsible for the extermination of Jews in the Oświęcim-Birkenau camp and the martyrdom of Jews in the ghettos. Archdiocese of Katowice as an editor and Marek Gancarczyk as a chief editor of weekly magazine Gość Niedzielny regret that by the unlawful infringement of personal interests and using hate speech they caused hurt and pain to Ms. Alicja Tysiąc".

The case is finally completed.

D 29 December 2009    AMichał Zawiślak

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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