Thousands of people yesterday joined a procession in Warsaw to show penitence for the sin of abortion and to pray for peace in Poland and Ukraine.
“The Rosary Procession is an unprecedented event, which aims, first of all, to make amends for sins against life,” said the main organiser, Paweł Ozdoba. “Today, in Poland and around the world, abortion is promoted and called a ‘standard procedure’.”
“In this situation, we as Catholics want to pray for an end to this ‘pandemic of abortion’,” added Ozdoba, who is president of the Centre for Life and Family. Among the other organisers were groups including Rosary Crusade for the Homeland, Mary’s Warriors, the Soldiers of Christ, and the National Guard.
Takiej religijnej manifestacji Warszawa dawno nie widziała. pic.twitter.com/Zg6Afd1Mjh
— Paweł Ozdoba (@PawelOzdoba) May 15, 2022
The procession began at 3 p.m. on Sunday, following a holy mass. At its head, a cross several metres high was carried along with relics of Saint Andrew Bobola, a Polish missionary killed during the 17th-century Khmelnytsky Uprising that led to the creation of a Cossack Hetmanate in what is now Ukraine.
During the march, the thousands of participants prayed the rosary and chaplet of divine mercy and sang religious songs, reports Onet. Similar smaller processions took place in other towns and cities, including Kraków, Gdańsk and Olsztyn.
“As lay faithful of the Catholic church, we would like our actions to result in an impulse in the Polish nation for prayer, penance and moral renewal, to appease God for our sins, to save Poland from deserved punishment and from the threat of war,” said the organisers.
Conservative group Ordo Iuris has been “auditing” hospitals to ascertain whether they are providing abortions to refugees from Ukraine and, if so, whether they are taking the required steps to “verify if the woman is telling the truth that she was raped” https://t.co/hfH3BBGUtQ
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) May 16, 2022
“Soldiers fight with weapons, and ours is the rosary,” Janusz Paczkowski, the provincial superior of the Order of the Knights of John Paul II, told Radio Maryja. “As we remember from history, Warsaw was saved in 1920 because there were penitential processions in the capital and then the Mother of God reacted.”
“She intervened on the battlefield to change not only the fate of Poland, but also of Europe,” he continued. “We want to repeat another ‘Miracle on the Vistula’ because there is a threat again. Military operations are taking place beyond the eastern borders of our homeland.”
Paczkowski was referring to the 1920 Battle of Warsaw – often called the Miracle on the Vistula – during which Poland defeated and turned back the invading Bolshevik army.
Norman Davies: the Battle of Warsaw, one hundred years on
Abortion has become a hotly contested issue in Poland in recent years. At the start of 2021, the country’s abortion law – already one of the strictest in Europe – was tightened further with the introduction of a near-total ban resulting from a ruling by the constitutional court, a body widely seen as under the influence of the conservative ruling party.
That decision prompted the largest protests in Poland’s post-communist history, as hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets.
Opinion polls show that a large majority of the Polish public oppose the current near-total ban, with the largest proportion wanting to return to the law that existed before the constitutional court ruling and a significant proportion hoping to go even further by allowing abortion on demand up to the 12th week of pregnancy.
Three quarters of Poles want abortion law softened amid protests over pregnant woman’s death
Main image credit: Jakub Wlodek / Agencja Wyborcza.pl
Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign Policy, POLITICO Europe, EUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.