Page 2, 23rd August 1985

23rd August 1985
Page 2
Page 2, 23rd August 1985 — Clemency for Polish priest
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Clemency for Polish priest

'AN APPEA1.S court has suspended the one-year jail 'sentence imposed on Fr Marek Labuda for protesting against the government-ordered removal of crucifixes from staterun schools. The court early last week placed Fr Labuda on three years' probation and fined him £500. Another priest, Er Andrzej Wilczynski, lost an appeal to drop his 10-month 'suspended sentence and £300 fine.

Both priests had received Isentences for resisting the law and refusing to leave school premises after they joined students in a two-week occupation of a vocational school in Wtoszczowa, near Jedrzejow, in December.

About 300 of the school's 700 students, aged 15 to 20, participated in the round-theclock occupation after authorities removed crucifixes that the students had placed in the classrooms. The two priests joined the protest almost immediately and stayed for its duration.

"There are duties which a priest must defend whatever the penalty," said Fr Labuda. Although the crosses have not been replaced, Fr Labuda said the priests had won a victory by raising the spiritual consciousness of the town.

"The students broke the barrier of fear," he said. "All kinds of pressure were used to stop them — even the threat of disbanding the school. They said that Zomo (the riot police) would invade it." The priest noted that many children have started wearing prominently displayed crosses to school.

The ban on the public display of crucifixes has been a source of conflict between the government and the Church since 1983, when the law was passed mandating their removal

The priests were supported by Bishop Stanislaw Szymecki of Kielce, who said in a pastoral letter last year that the "just request by youths and their parents that crucifixes be returned to the classrooms should be granted."

• A POLISH priest who has edited the Catholic newspaper in the industrial port city of Gdansk has been named auxiliary bishop of the Gdansk Archdiocese.

Mgr Zygmunt Pawlowicz was named by Pope John Pau! II to the position in the Baltic shipping centre.




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