A Polish court has dismissed the prosecution of demonstrators who stormed into a cathedral in Poznań and disrupted Holy Mass by chanting, hurling insults and throwing trash.
The demonstration took place in October 2020 during the protests against the constitutional court’s decision to make abortions on eugenic grounds effectively illegal. The demonstrators stormed into Poznań Cathedral during mass. A total of 32 individuals were charged with disrupting people’s right to worship and public disorder. The judge hearing the case dismissed it on the grounds of the demonstrators having behaved “in a respectful and suitable manner.”
The demonstrators stood in front of the altar with billboards demanding the legalization of abortion. The mass had to be stopped as the demonstrators began chanting, using abusive language toward the church, throwing leaflets and clapping.
Video footage tweeted by the activists gave an insight into what actually happened.
The priest conducting the mass requested the demonstrators cease disrupting Holy Mass. In response, the demonstrators chanted that the Church is “Godless and barbaric.” After a few minutes, the priest was forced to state that in order to stop the profanity and also the breaching of sanitary rules legally in force during the pandemic, he was suspending proceedings and asked the faithful to leave the church.
Judge Joanna Knobel, adjudicating in a court in Poznań, dismissed the case arguing that protests were taking place across the country following the constitutional court’s decision on abortion. She stated the prosecution had failed to establish that the action was carried out with “malice” and that the protesters had acted with respect and dignity by choosing to disrupt the sermon rather than prayers. She also opined that the slogans on display were not expressing hate and were not mocking religion.