Women walk out of church in Poland following Catholic bishops call for a total ban

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Poland already has the most restrictive laws on abortion in the EU, allowing abortion only at the earliest stages, and if the woman’s life or health is endangered, if the pregnancy resulted from a criminal act, or if the fetus is seriously malformed. This new total ban would carry a five year jail sentence for seeking an abortion, and would make unintentionally causing a miscarriage punishable with imprisonment, under the assumption that the woman brought on the miscarriage herself.

Thousands are protesting at government buildings, following the Prime Minister’s endorsement of a total ban requested by the Catholic Church. The video below, posted on Facebook, depicts women (and a few men) walking out of church as the Priest reads a letter calling for a total ban.

The Guardian has covered the story in detail on their site, noting that the ban has support of the conservative majority party in office now. While most Poles see abortion as immoral, support for the current laws was once widespread, and it seems surprising that anyone could support arresting a woman who has unintentionally miscarried.

Do you think the ban will succeed? What do you think this controversy will mean for the Roman Catholic church, in Poland and elsewhere? What will it mean for faithful women who are afraid of the overreach proposed?

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Robert Hicker
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Robert Hicker

During the communist era, the Church was the only free institution allowed to function in Poland. It stood for freedom. The Church avoided discussion on social issues and focused on survival and working for a free Poland. Just going to Mass was an act of defiance against the government. The Church enjoyed a fierce loyalty of intellectuals, workers, Catholics and non Catholics. Today with communism gone, the Church no longer enjoys this blind loyalty. Polish Church officials need to enter meaningful dialog with rank and file Polish Catholics to create a Church that is spiritually and socially meaningful in post-communist Poland.

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Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD
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Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD

Then stop saying you are Anglo-Catholic and stop using the Nicene Creed, it's Roman Catholic. The trouble with the Episcopal Church is it stands for nothing. I am an Episcopalian, but I am very traditional in my beliefs. I am not going to be run out of my church by progressives. The church is bleeding members and this is the primary cause.

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David Allen
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David Allen

It isn't Roman Catholic. The Nicene Creed is of the undivided universal church. The origins of the Nicene Creed date to the 1st Council of Nicaea in 325 CE. Seven centuries before the divided Church, which is why it is also found among the creeds & liturgies of the Orthodox churches.

Identifying as Anglo-Catholic has nothing to do with following popes or other Roman Catholic figures. You may be traditional, but you are quite mistaken about much of what you post here of late. Have you thought of getting a blog of your own? Then you may post until your heart is content.

PS - your four posts for the day in this thread have been used up.

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Dr. William A Flint, MDiv, PhD
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Dr. William A Flint, MDiv, PhD

So much for free expression in the Liberal and Progressive Episcopal Community. Let's face it we come from two very different times in history and what the Church means to us is very different. I will not be on this site again. However, I thank you for helping me understand those who left the TEC to form the ANCA. Abortion is a tough issue and justification for it is incompatible with Christian teaching, but that comes from one whose mother gave her life for him to be born. Have a nice day.

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Dt. William A. Flint MDiv, PhD
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Dt. William A. Flint MDiv, PhD

David, I do not count miscarriages as abortions. I consider a miscarriage a very serious occasion in which two people have lost a child they never had a opportunity to get to know. If the Polish Church doesn't make a distinction it is their sin. Thank you for pointing that out to me.

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Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD
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Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD

The position I am concerned about with abortion is God's gift of life to us (created in God's Image). The Church has been consistent on abortion.

"Give us the grace - When the sacredness of
life before birth is attacked, to stand up and proclaim that no one ever has the authority to destroy unborn life."
Pope John Paul II

“Never tire of firmly speaking out in defense of life from its conception and do not be deterred from the commitment to defend the dignity of every human person with courageous determination. Christ
is with you: be not afraid!”
Pope John Paul II

"As believers, how can we fail to see that abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide are a terrible rejection of God's gift of life and love? And as believers, how can we fail to feel the duty to
surround the sick and those in distress with the
warmth of our affection and the support that will help them always to embrace life?"
Pope John Paul II

"You are called to stand up for life! To respect and defend the mystery of life always and everywhere, including the lives of unborn babies, giving real help and encouragement to mothers in
difficult situations. You are called to work and pray
against abortion."
Pope John Paul II

"The promotion of the culture of life should be the highest priority in our societies...If the right to life is not defended decisively as a condition for all other
rights of the person, all other references to human rights remain deceitful and illusory."
Pope John Paul II

"That is the dignity of America, the reason she exists, the condition of her survival, yes, the ultimate test of her greatness: to respect every human person, especially the weak and most
defenseless ones, those as yet unborn."
Pope John Paul II

"It is a poverty that a "child must die", So that you may live as you wish...”
Mother Teresa

"There are two victims in every abortion: a dead baby and a dead conscience."
Mother Teresa

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Joie Weiher
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Joie Weiher

Why are you quoting RC authorities? This is the Episcopal Church. Are you an Episcopal priest or a RC one? I'm an Episcopal priest, a woman, and a mother. Roman Catholic doctrine about abortion has no authority here.

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John Chilton
Editor
John Chilton

(Conscious, I'm the 2nd commenter and we're both male.)

I believe abortion should be treated as any other medical procedure. To give just one of many reasons, abortions should be safe and done by medical professionals. Women die from unsafe abortions.

In parallel, consider that if you miscarry you are likely to keep it a secret even if there are complications and you need medical attention, including treatment for grief. (Yikes - to add to your grief they are going to inspect your womb for evidence?)

Taking this back one more step, if you are pregnant the incentives under the proposal are to keep it a secret as long as you don't show. That means the child you are carrying won't receive medical during this crucial period.

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Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD
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Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD

I do not believe in abortion on demand and consider it to be murder. I think there is a narrow path to follow, but in the world we live it is a dangerous one.

Both Hebrew and Christian scripture stands on the side of life. I do not believe the scriptures are supportive of abortion in any case. Maybe that is why the Church is taking the stance it has taken.

This struggle will continue to be an issue that will cause many to struggle with their faith for many years to come and will not be resolved without much pain on both sides.

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Member

I respect your beliefs although I disagree with them. I draw the line, and my respect diminishes, when you imply that your personal beliefs should be imposed upon others. Particularly when abortion has no impact and effect upon your life.

I also take exception to this peculiar notion that a "struggle" over abortion continues and must be resolved. It parallels words recently spoken by Trump, and in fact words that have been heard even in these pages before Trump emerged upon the scene. Except the word used primarily is "disagreement", and that the abortion issue must be "settled".

Although not always, but predominately, those words are seemingly spoken by pasty faced, older white men. Those who believe they are part of some new "silent majority", even though they are neither silent, and surely not a majority.

In fact, there is no struggle. There is nothing to resolve, and there is nothing to be decided. It is a lie to imply that there is a need for resolution. As it pertains to this country, that resolution occurred almost half a century ago. And if you think it's going to revert back any time soon, then you are delusional. Not with the majority of Americans supporting it. And certainly not with the current generation of pasty faced white men and Fox news devotees being replaced by angry young people who are sick and tired of being told what is, and is not, appropriate when it comes to their health and their bodies.

What is happening in Poland is both scandalous and Draconian. I believe the Polish people will stand up and turn this around. Let's hope they turn it around before any women die.

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