WARSAW, Poland — The head of Poland’s influential Catholic Church Episcopate has appealed for an end to a political conflict that has divided the nation and strained foreign ties.
Poles are divided over the deep changes that the conservative Law and Justice party has been introducing since it won presidential and parliamentary elections last year. Some of those moves, such as new legislation regulating a Constitutional tribunal and more government control of state media, have drawn massive street protests and international censure.
The European Union has urged Poland to find a solution soon, and a senior EU leader, Frans Timmermans, pledged all necessary support during his visit to Warsaw Tuesday.
To date, however, no real steps have been taken to end the conflict, with the government and the opposition sticking to their positions. In opinion polls, Law and Justice is well ahead of any opposition party.
Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki of Poznan said Thursday that the “state of tension” in Poland calls for a “national reconciliation.” His remarks, made during Thursday’s Corpus Christi procession in the western city of Poznan, were posted on the Polish episcopate’s website on Friday.
“More often than not, social peace calls for mutual concessions, that are sometimes difficult and even painful,” Gadecki said. “But the alternative is a senseless life in constant conflict that paralyzes social and public life.”
The Church’s opinion matters to the ruling party that promotes Catholic values and considers the Church a moral authority. The party largely owes its electoral victory to the Church, which more or less directly supported its candidates across the nation.
Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Krakow, Poland, for the Church’s international “World Youth Day” celebration, which — despite its name — is actually a week-long festival set to run from July 25-31, 2016.