Open Letter to the Bishops of Poland from the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC): PROTECT YOUR LAMBS
“We would hope that as our shepherds and pastors you would use every means available to you to protect the dignity and human rights of every person entrusted to your care, including those who are LGBTIQ and their families.”
It is with great concern that GNRC see a pattern emerging from the actions and statements by the Bishops of Poland against our much cherished LGBTIQ family, and especially the Trans members of our family.
To our Brothers, the Bishops of Poland,
We are writing to you as leaders of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics. GNRC brings together organizations and individuals who work for pastoral care, justice, inclusion, dignity, and equality for LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer) people and their families in the Roman Catholic Church and society.
We write out of deep concern for our sisters, brothers, and kin in Poland who are very fearful about their safety, especially now following the re-election of President Duda for another term. LGBTIQ people across Poland, justifiably, fear their health, freedom from violence, economic security, and ability to be contributing members of society. Some also feel alienated, or even further marginalized, by priests and other church officials who denounce them simply because of their identities.
We write to reiterate our belief, following from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1931: “Respect for the human person proceeds by way of respect for the principle that ‘everyone should look upon his neighbour (without any exception) as “another self,” above all bearing in mind his life and the means necessary for living it with dignity.’” We would hope that as our shepherds and pastors you would use every means available to you to protect the dignity and human rights of every person entrusted to your care, including those who are LGBTIQ and their families. Indeed, given the threats and vulnerability they are experiencing, this community is in need of special attention, support, and advocacy from the leaders of our church.
The civil situation in your country means the Polish LGBTIQ people are among the most vulnerable in the world. Human rights advocates and people of good will across the globe will be watching what develops in Poland in the months and years ahead. We urge you now to make protection of the human rights, and appropriate pastoral care of LGBTIQ people and families, a priority for the Bishops Conference of Poland. With some of our Member Groups and friends in Poland, we would like to offer you our support and collaboration in providing this care or in helping to address the safety needs of individuals or families.
We pray for justice, peace, and the opportunity for every individual to live their individuality in a way that reflects Divine love in this world. We pray for your ministry, your service, and your leadership, and for the ways you work to bring the reign of God to fulfilment.
Ruby Almeida Christopher Vella
Note: This Open Letter was sent on August 23, 2020, individually to each Bishop of Poland’s public email address. During the same week, the Polish Bishops Conference delivered a very damaging and harsh document (Polish version only) calling on LGBTIQ Catholics to undergo so-called “conversion therapy,” and for the institutions of the state to support this harmful and medically discredited approach. In response, we must now extend our original message with a brief addendum: “So it is a great source of sadness to now learn about the recent Polish Bishops Conference report, which has caused great worry and anxiety in our communities. We support our LGBTIQ communities in Poland and in Europe who are now working together to challenge and respond to this very damaging new document, which is contrary to the Church teachings on treating all people, especially LGBTIQ people, with respect, dignity and compassion.”