He's loved by his congregation but loathed by the archbishop. Rebellious priest Wojciech Lemanski is seen as the church's No. 1 enemy in Poland. His dismissal highlights the deep divide between church authorities and the faithful in this staunchly Catholic nation.
Lemanski, who was ordained in 1987, was never a compliant priest. He repeatedly used his pulpit and his blog to voice his criticism of the church. He has accused the church leadership of not doing enough to oppose anti-Semitic tendencies among Poland's Catholics. He has also critcized the establishment's lenient treatment of clerics accused of sexual abuse, and its fierce rejection of artificial insemination and contraceptives. His vocal criticism drove Henryk Hoser, the archbishop of Warsaw-Praga, to suspend Lemanski last week. But Lemanski wrote the archbishop a letter informing him that he wouldn't budge.
When, on Sunday, three envoys dispatched by Hoser showed up at Lemanski's church, they were quickly surrounded by an angry crowd. "This is our parish," they called out.
The controversy surrounding the fearless priest underscores just how distant the Catholic Church has become from its flock in Poland. Some 90 percent of Poles still identify themselves as faithful Catholics, but ever less are attending church services. For many, faith has become a totally private issue.
Bishops and priests seem to be preoccupied with internal church intrigues and are failing to supply answers to the people on everyday issues -- at least that's the image many have of the church.
See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.
Just as the Father is a universal father, his brotherhood of his children should also be a universal brotherhood, open to all and not restricted by any. Did you know that the definition of "catholic" is - UNIVERSAL?
Long ago, I decided to divorce my self from the (Capital "C") Catholic Church, and instead align myself with the universal, catholic congregation of believers. When I found The Urantia Book, and read this passage, I felt as if I had done the right thing:
195:10.11 Christianity is seriously confronted with the doom embodied in one of its own slogans: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” The non-Christian world will hardly capitulate to a sect-divided Christendom. The living Jesus is the only hope of a possible unification of Christianity. The true church—the Jesus brotherhood—is invisible, spiritual, and is characterized by unity, not necessarily by uniformity. Uniformity is the earmark of the physical world of mechanistic nature. Spiritual unity is the fruit of faith union with the living Jesus. The visible church should refuse longer to handicap the progress of the invisible and spiritual brotherhood of the kingdom of God. And this brotherhood is destined to become a living organism in contrast to an institutionalized social organization. It may well utilize such social organizations, but it must not be supplanted by them.
Perhaps in its original form, the Catholic Church aspired to this ideal, but even if it did not, there is a reason that it has a one of the highest membership in the world. It is a shining beacon for Jesus, but only the extent that the truth is allowed to live within it. The evidence of this resistance to living truth is clear in this artcle. The falling numbers of church attendees is another powerful witness to the fact that the Church is not feeding its congregation. It is instead, driving them away and leaving them to develop religion in and for themselves. This is not an entirely bad thing, as it will hopefully inspire change. As it is, those who wield the power seem almost like the Pharasees and the Scribes of Jesus' day - those who were so tradition-bound that their fears of change resulted in the death of the Son of God in their midst.
I do have great hope for the church, because it very well could be the "river bed," as in this passage from The Urantia Book:
100:5.1 The world is filled with lost souls, not lost in the theologic sense but lost in the directional meaning, wandering about in confusion among the isms and cults of a frustrated philosophic era. Too few have learned how to install a philosophy of living in the place of religious authority. (The symbols of socialized religion are not to be despised as channels of growth, albeit the river bed is not the river.)
...the river bed over which can freely flow the truly catholic, universal brotherhood ( and sisterhood) of mankind.