Polish Archbishop vows to ban priests who back anti-immigrant marches

Poland's top Catholic will ban priests who take part in right-wing anti-immigrant marches.

Archbishop Wojciech Polak, primate of Poland, said if clerics took a side in the polarising debate he would need to act.

WikipediaWojciech Polak is an Archbishop and also primate of Poland

'If I hear... of a protest against refugees where my priests participate, I will have a swift response: Each priest that joins in will be suspended,' he said in an interview with a Roman Catholic weekly magazine.

'There's no other path to take, as I am responsible for my diocese. In situations where (priests) explicitly support one side in a conflict, I need to act immediately.'

Immigration is a divisive topic in Poland and recent surveys show most Poles oppose allowing refugees to settle in their country.

The Archbishop's comments drew scorn from conservatives on social media but it falls in line with Pope Francis' call on Poland's government to accept more refugees.

The highly devout country, where 96 per cent of the population identify as Catholic has, alongside Hungary and the Czech Republic, refused to take part in the EU's resettlement of refugees and declined to accept any Muslim migrants.

The state's position has been criticised by church leaders and Polish bishops have called for some selected Syrian refugees to be taken in.

But the government's stance is largely popular and earlier this month tens of thousands took part in a controversial prayer event which was seen as endorsing the refusal to allow Muslim refugees in.

Held on the feast day marking a Christian victory over the Ottoman Turks in 1571, Catholics from more than 300 churches were bussed to 4,000 locations all along the border. The crowds stood in lines along the border, including on the beaches of the Baltic Sea, as well as in towns and fields.

Halina Katarska, 65, said she was praying for the survival of Christianity in Europe as well as giving thanks for the survival of her son in a car crash.

'Islam wants to destroy Europe,' she told the Associated Press. 'They want to turn us away from Christianity.'

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