Archbishop Claims Poland Suffering from “Rainbow Disease” of LGBTQ Advocacy

Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski

One of Poland’s top bishops has said the nation is suffering from a “rainbow disease” as he likened LGBTQ advocates to Communist leaders who oppressed Poland in the 20th century.

Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski of Krakow made his disparaging comments during Mass marking the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis. According to  The Irish Times,  Jedraszewski told the faithful in attendance:

“‘A red plague [a reference to Poland’s former Communist government] is not gripping our land anymore, which does not mean that there is not a new one that wants to control our souls, hearts and minds,’ he said. ‘Not red, but rainbow.’

“In his homily, Archbishop Jedraszewski recalled the heroism of Poland’s Home Army against Nazi occupation, and the country’s struggles under fascism and then decades of ‘Bolshevism’ rule as a Soviet satellite state.

“He said that ‘promoting LGBTI ideology denies human dignity’ because the ‘rainbow disease’ is ‘neo-Marxist’ in its absolutist ambition.”

Jedraszewski is not the first Polish church official to smear LGBTQ advocates as an oppressive force. Many of these advocates have accused Catholic leaders of contributing to anti-Pride violence that broke out in the city of Bialystok last month. The Catholic Register reported on one such official’s comments:

“Father Andrzej Debski, Bialystok archdiocesan spokesman, said July 30 the Equality March had ‘unleashed actions of evil’ on both sides, and rejected claims the church itself had “caused the aggression.”

“‘Other Equality Marches this year in Warsaw, Gdansk and Poznan, organized in the name of tolerance and anti-discrimination, have shown just the opposite: the enmity of LGBT circles towards Christianity,’ Father Debski said in a KAI statement.

“‘Are we not seeing double standards at work,’ he said, ‘when sacred symbols are profaned during these parades, alongside blasphemies against God?'”

Bialystok’s Archbishop Tadeusz Wojda did condemn the violence  that occurred during the city’s Equality March as “incompatible with the attitude of a Christian,” but he had previously described the March as “an initiative alien to our land and society” and “an act of discrimination against Catholics.”

In a nation where LGBTQ people face significant discrimination, church leaders’ claims about LGBTQ advocates oppressing and attacking Catholics are extremely dangerous and harmful (and deny the reality of the many LGBTQ Catholics in Poland, too). But Archbishop Jedraszewski’s link between advocates for LGBTQ equality, Nazis, and Poland’s repressive late 20th century Communist government is especially deplorable. Such extremist rhetoric is incompatible with Christian leadership. While church leaders in Poland may hold to their positions on marriage and sexuality, given the social context, they should equally, if not more so, defend LGBTQ people’s right to life and dignity. As I wrote just last week, when Poland’s bishops cannot speak respectfully, it is best they say nothing at all.

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, August 5, 2019

10 replies
  1. Anne Fry
    Anne Fry says:

    I am Catholic and I am so sick and tired and disillusioned by old men in bishopric roles who are misinformed and ignorant of modern science about human sexuality and who continue to insult LGBT people in the name of religion. One only has to look at the mismanagement of paedophile priests across the world and the terrible damage done to victims to understand that they don’t have a clue. God help us and help the Church.

  2. Thomas Ellison
    Thomas Ellison says:

    The bishop’s words are dangerous. His remarks are akin to lighting a fuse. Should someone act upon his these inflammatory remarks, he would likely decry the violence . But this is another example of scapegoating. Poles should be as upset by this as if the bishop’s target were Jews or immigrants or any human being. The Pope should rebuke him. This kind of speech is unacceptable anywhere and everywhere.

  3. Tom Bower
    Tom Bower says:

    So the Polish bishops have taken up spreading hate like President Trump. “Isn’t that special” as the comic Church Lady said years ago. They are honoring the opposition to homosexuals started by John Paul II in 1986 and continued by Benedict XVI. Of course Francis has done nothing to withdraw his support of one of the worst of the Church’s failings. The faithful remain loving, but the leaders remain blind.

  4. Kris
    Kris says:

    This man is disseminating, not the unconditional love of God, but the ruthlessness of misrepresentation and hatred of LGBT people. And to do it during Mass is a contradiction of God’s love so extreme it is actually and also a terrible lie and blasphemy, for it was done in God’s name, and before his sacred presence in the Eucharist.

    Anyone in that congregation who left the building with hatred in his heart that he believes to be righteous has been malformed in spirit by a cleric who will one day have to account for every soul lost through his destructive words.

    God help him.

  5. Anton
    Anton says:

    Seems to me that the archbishop’s words about “control” refer, rather, to the church rather than any other group. The “raising of Lazarus” comes to mind. Jesus said: “UNBIND him and set him free!” FREEDOM is what the GOSPEL is all about. God is the one who introduced the RAINBOW, promising “never again” to destroy humanity. It’ a symbol of freedom and divine LOVE and MERCY.

  6. John Hilgeman
    John Hilgeman says:

    Hmm. Nazism and Communism were two forms of totalitarian oppression of those they considered enemies. Seems to me that rightwing governments and churches are more like totalitarian systems than LGBTQ people advocating for freedom, human rights and equality.

    In a related matter. I do see a lot of anti-Catholic Church rhetoric on a couple LGBTQ blogs. But it is rhetoric reacting to the oppression and opposition to equal rights of church leaders. Religion has been used for centuries to oppress LGBTQ people. It is quite natural that some of those oppressed people should tie that oppression to the religious people doing the oppression, and should be quite angry. But I don’t see those same individuals calling for the denial of human rights to those religious groups. It is also rhetoric pointing out the fact that religious beliefs are in fact beliefs, whereas human rights are intrinsic to human persons. And there are times when those beliefs are used as excuses for discrimination and oppression.

    It is unfortunate that those of us who are LGBTQ have to depend on civil laws and governments to ensure our rights. It is unfortunate that some religious groups would take those rights away. And as we can all see, the protection of those rights – either by church or by state – is tenuous. A change of religious leaders or of government can sweep them all away.

  7. Duane S Sherry
    Duane S Sherry says:

    Neither fascism nor communism are known for being pro-LBGT+. In fact, both have historically been, and remain, anti-LBGT+.

  8. Don E Siegal
    Don E Siegal says:

    Ksiądz Arcybiskup Marek Jędraszewski
    ul. Franciszkańska 3, 31-004 Kraków

    Dear Arcybiskup Marek Jędraszewski:

    Subject: LGBTQ equality as a “rainbow disease.”

    “According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, [the Christian faithful] have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church…” (Code of Canon Law, 212)

    Your harsh words against the LGBT community in Poland recently on the occasion of the July 30 Equality March was a vicious homophobic screed against a persecuted minority. Accordingly, as a chaste gay Roman Catholic, I am calling you out for your abject disregard for Catholic Social and Economic Justice and the Catechism of the Catholic Church concerning the civil rights and protections for Poland’s queer folk and their straight allies. The CCC says in part:

    “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.” № 2358

    As a first measure, I call upon you to publicly apologize for the harm you have caused to an already discriminated marginalized community. Secondly, it would be constructive if you would take the time to inform yourself of current academic knowledge about LGBTQ matters by experts in the fields of psychology and sociology. As an archbishop, you have every right to interpret and uphold church teachings about marriage and sexuality; at the same time, you must treat LGBTQ people with the respect, compassion and sensitivity demanded by the Church. In response to the 2015 U. S. Supreme Court decision on marriage equality (Obergefel v. Hodges) Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory wrote in part:

    “The decision has made my ministry as a pastor more complex since it demands that I both continue to uphold the teachings of my Church regarding the Sacrament of Matrimony while also demanding that I insist upon respect for human dignity of both those who approve of the judg[e]ment as well as those who may disapprove.”


    Don E Siegal


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