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Poland: Bishops’ statement following celebration of country’s Baptism. “Evangelical welcome” to refugees

“Where there is Baptism, there is hope”: this is the title of the statement released at the end of the 372nd Plenary Assembly of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, as well as the motto of the 150th anniversary of Poland’s Baptism, which was commemorated in Gniezno and Poznan from 14 to 16 April. The Bishops expressed “their gratitude” to Pope Francis for his “spiritual closeness to those attending the events” and to the Papal legate Card. Pietro Parolin for presiding over the celebrations. “Looking to the future, the Bishops stressed the need to revitalize the Christian initiation (catechumenate) and to reach out to people in line with the Pontiff’s words”, the document reads. Pope Francis was also thanked for “announcing a special collection for the people of Ukraine”. As for the migration crisis, the Bishops recalled that the refugees “should be treated in a spirit of evangelical welcome, solidarity, responsibility, and respect for their human dignity”. As for the ongoing debate about the total ban on abortion in Poland, the Bishops stressed that human life is a “fundamental and inviolable value” which must be protected “by all, regardless of opinions”, and stated their disagreement with “the penalization of women who had had an abortion” as they should rather be “receiving caring support and assistance”.

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