A woman was thrown out of a Polish Catholic church after unfurling a banner which quoted the former Pope St John Paul II as saying ‘racism is a sin’.
Gabriela Lazarek was protesting at a Mass in Warsaw attended by Catholics who were participating in a Polish Independence Day march. An estimated 60,000 demonstrators took part in the annual event, marking Poland regaining independence in 1918, the Catholic Herald reported.
According to the Polish newspaper Ośrodek Kontroli Obywatelskiej, the Mass was celebrated by Fr Roman Kneblewski, who is known for ‘nationalist’ views, and many of those attending wore political insignia.
Lazarek said that initially, she had not intended to unfurl the banner inside the church, but that during the sermon Fr Kneblewski invoked the teaching of John Paul II, and she was so shocked that she stood up and displayed the sign.
Lazarek claims that at this point several of her fellow congregants ejected her from the church, shouting, ‘Get out! Get out of here!’
The full message on Lazarek’s banner read: ‘Racism is a sin that constitutes a serious offence against God’ – a quotation from a 2001 Angelus address by John Paul II.
Although the march was not officially led by the far right, extreme slogans were displayed on some banners, such as ‘Pure Poland, white Poland!’