By now it is certain that the bishops? current war on gender in Poland takes place with the full approval of Pope Francis. In an interview given by Priest Professor Piotr Mazurkiewicz of the Pontifical Council for Family to the Catholic Information Agency (KAI), Mazurkiewicz, the former secretary general of Commission of the Bishops? Conferences of the European Unity who considers himself ?well-familiar with the mechanisms of the European Union? explains that ?in the fight for ?gay marriage,? it is not the rights of gay individuals that are at stake.? The purpose of gay marriage is, he claims, ?to weaken the traditional family, the natural custodian of conservative values.? The lengthy interview presents the Vatican and Poland as the two sole remaining vestiges of reason in Europe, which has been flooded by gay marriage, an insanity implemented by leftist governments to destroy Europe?s social fabric. Poland?s charge, says Mazurkiewicz, is to ward it off at all costs.
Mazurkiewicz gave this interview in support of the February 2nd protest in Warsaw to block the ?Lunacek Report? (?The EU Roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity? (2013/2183). The European Parliament voted in favor of this report on February 4, 2014.
On Friday January 31, four days previous, the major conservative daily ?Rzeczpospolita? ran a headline saying ?Homosexuality is contagious,? as determined by ?the report of an American researcher, Mark Regnerus, from the University of Texas in Austin.? The paper advocated against same-sex parenthood, its claim finding support in Regnerus?s findings that ?one third of children raised in gay families turn out gay.?
With highly strategic timing, the article linked to a Polish translation of Regnerus?s report, as well as a scientific commentary by a Polish scholar. The commentary further legitimizes Regnerus?s work, repeatedly referring to it as a study of ?children of homosexual parents? without mentioning that only two of Regnerus’s respondents grew up in same-sex families. http://www.stowarzyszeniefidesetratio.pl/Presentations0/14-07Margasinski.pdf in fall of 2013
Regnerus?s report was used in a similar manner in Ukraine by a regime newspaper. The data was, according to Regnerus, mistranslated. Nevertheless, it is essential that the Regnerus fallout in Poland file be updated.
In the first weeks of February, the center for conservative thought, Fronda, announced their plan to create ?Guards Against Gender.? A militia-type organization with the aim of tracing the occurrence of gender in schools, it plans first to set up a map of gender occurrences around Poland, ?to help municipalities better defend themselves.? Apart from endowing young men of uncertain background with a high level of moral responsibility, this project weighs on municipalities which, so far, have received millions of euros for the gender mainstreaming program (paradoxically, with the approval of the previous ultra-conservative government), and may be forced to return the funds to the EU if used improperly.
While the paramilitary troops of the ONR Guardians continue their rigorous training in the Polish mountains, Polish religious culture witnesses the increasing presence of a phenomenon previously unknown at least in our lifetime?the exorcists. A novelty only a decade ago, Gdańsk diocese now features four exorcists. Catholic psychologists and priests are increasingly likely to recommend a consultation with an exorcist to people in need of guidance, particularly if they are gay and lesbian.
Concurrently, the charismatic healer from Uganda, John Boshobora is due in Poland for a round of praying sessions at stadiums, this time in the Pomerania region, in towns such as Szczecin and Słupsk this weekend. Boshobora?s presence is expected to draw thousands of people in search of healing, including Polish and international clergy, and exorcists exhausted by their task of fighting both the UN and EU. Polish stadiums, colossal investments, originally built for the European Soccer Championships in 2012, are places where modern patriarchy and its medieval counterpart presently meet. Festivities over, their maintenance costs cities millions of euros yearly. Cult healing and exorcism sessions help offset the costs of maintenance.
Exorcisms seem to have one well-defined purpose; they free the doer of any moral obligations, shifting the responsibility for any harm committed onto an external source, their usefulness proven in the context of pogroms. And yet the renunciation of responsibility seems to exactly constitute the course. Recently displeased by the UN recommendation related to the disclosure of data regarding the spread of homophobia in Catholic Churches around the world, the Polish episcopate and church-supporting politicians voice opposition, presenting the UN recommendation as an attempt to curb religious freedom.
The culture of exorcism removes responsibility from the doer and blames the victim. The church, frustrated by the UN most recent demand, continues to equate ?gender ideology? with ?homosexuality? and the manifestation of ?evil.? Pedophilia in the Polish Catholic church is blamed on feminists; in the words of Polish renown Archbishop Michalik, children from single-parent families ?cling to priests.? No wonder the exorcists appear to have their hands full.
Meanwhile, the counterculture of political satire abounds. On Facebook, the ?fake ONR? page, a parody of an actual protofascist organization banned from Facebook and reinvented as a gay-and-diversity-loving camaraderie, has surpassed its previous incarnation in popularity after a mere two weeks.
?We are being ridiculed a lot,? Archbishop Głódź complained during the Polish bishops? recent visit to the Vatican. As the Polish proverb goes, it only matters who is going to have the last laugh.
Julia Massaro and Anita Marecka