Tags: EU | Poland | Migrants

Poland's Catholics Ambiguous over Francis' Call on Refugees

Saturday, 12 September 2015 07:12 AM EDT

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Pope Francis has called on his followers to open their hearts and parishes to refugees seeking shelter in Europe, but predominantly Catholic Poles are struggling to heed that call amid widespread fears that Muslim arrivals will threaten their security and economic status.

"On the question of taking in immigrants Pope Francis is wrong," Jaroslaw Gowin, a prominent Catholic politician, said Friday.

"In no case should we take in Muslims," he said, adding that Poland should take only those who would be ready to accept the rules of life in Poland.

Such criticism of the pope may be surprising coming from a public figure in one of the most Catholic nations in Europe, but it seem to reflect the general mood in a country with very little ethnic diversity. Many people also argue that the ex-communist country, despite economic growth, is still far too poor to afford to take in refugees.

The issue is divisive, as shown by opposing rallies planned in Warsaw on Saturday: one — by radical right-wingers — against hosting the refugees, one in support.

"First we should take care of poor families in Poland and then, yes, then we can help the refugees," said Monika Kuta, a single mother.

A cartoon in the Super Express tabloid on Friday showed homeless men under a bridge saying, "We will gladly take immigrants. There is still a lot of room under our bridge."

The European Union wants Poland to accept 12,000 migrants. Warsaw has agreed to receive some 2,000 within two years and says it has capacity for more provided they are refugees, not economic migrants.

Lech Walesa, the leader of the Solidarity freedom movement in the 1980s, said he would be willing to host refugees under his own roof and would even cook for them —if his wife agrees.

"We have to share our last slice of bread with those in need. We are humans," Walesa said, but stressed that "we must do everything to prevent them from destabilizing our situation."

A county near the Baltic Sea coast, Gniewino, became the first place in Poland in recent days to declare it can host and offer jobs to three Syrian families, while parishioners at a church in Poznan, in the west, have collected over 24,000 zlotys (euros 5,700; $6,300) for housing refugees.

But there is also huge resistance.

Even the spokesman for Caritas, the Catholic charity, voiced resistance to taking in refugees. Pawel Keska told The Associated Press that "it is impossible to follow Francis' gesture in Poland now, because we have no Syrian refugees."

© Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Europe
Pope Francis has called on his followers to open their hearts and parishes to refugees seeking shelter in Europe, but predominantly Catholic Poles are struggling to heed that call amid widespread fears that Muslim arrivals will threaten their security and economic...
EU,Poland,Migrants
426
2015-12-12
Saturday, 12 September 2015 07:12 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Sign up for Newsmax’s Daily Newsletter

Receive breaking news and original analysis - sent right to your inbox.

(Optional for Local News)
Privacy: We never share your email address.
Join the Newsmax Community
Read and Post Comments
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
 
 
TOP

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved