Polish bishops concerned over EU Constitution
Ruling party wants to legalise gay unions
October 23, 2003
WARSAW, Poland — Bishops from Poland's powerful Roman Catholic church criticized
Tuesday the draft proposal for the European Union's constitution as
not only lacking a reference to God, but discriminating against the
The bishops, who gathered in Warsaw for a regular, two-day
plenary session, also condemned plans by the ruling ex-communist
party to liberalize the nation's strict abortion law and grant gay
couples partnership rights similar to those for married couples.
"With great concern we notice a lack of reference not only to
God," in the preamble of the future European Constitution, but also
"any reference to conscience as a basic criterion of moral
evaluation," the bishops said in a statement.
They said the proposal lacks respect for religious beliefs and
is a "discrimination of the faithful, who constitute a decisive
majority of European population."
Overwhelmingly Catholic Poland, which is to join the European
Union in May, has been campaigning for the inclusion of a reference
to Europe's Christian roots in the new EU constitution.
In another statement, the bishops repeated their criticism of a
plan by some members of the ruling Democratic Left Alliance party
of Prime Minister Leszek Miller to liberalize the nation's strict
anti-abortion law as well as legalize homosexual unions.
Both bills are expected to be presented to parliament this fall.
Polish gay rights advocates estimate the number of homosexuals
in Poland at 2 million, and complain they are the nation's largest
minority, but do not enjoy any rights.
The bishops said such proposals "should not be supported by any
Catholic" and warned that "an attempt to create a social order
coupled with disregard for human dignity leads to an inhuman
Poland had a liberal abortion policy under communism, but laws
passed in 1993 allow pregnancy to be terminated only if the woman's
health is threatened, the fetus is irreparably damaged, or if the
pregnancy results from rape or incest. –Sapa-AP
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