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Wojciech Lemański
Wojciech Lemański

Wojciech Michał Lemański (born September 22, 1960) is a Roman Catholic Polish priest. He is in conflict with his superior Archbishop Henryk Hoser, who ordered him out of the parish for disobedience and failing to comply with some of the teachings of the Catholic Church.

First Mgr. Hoser banned Lemański from teaching religious studies in public schools. On July 7, 2013, he asked Lemański to leave the parish and move to a residence for retired priests, despite the fact he was only 52.[1] Another option was to be transferred to another parish, where he would serve as an auxiliary staff. Lemański did not agree with the decision and said that he would appeal against it.[2] In June 2014 he was made chaplain in an institution for mentally injured children, but two months later he was suspended from the priesthood.

Critique of the Church


Lemański, ordained in 1987, has repeatedly criticised the church. He has accused the church leadership of not doing enough to oppose anti-Semitic tendencies among Poland's Catholics. Lemański himself is among a few Catholic priests who each year commemorate massacres of Jews at the Treblinka camp, where Jews, along with Poles and others, were gassed. He also recovered gravestones from abandoned and destroyed Jewish cemeteries, incorporating two of them into the main altar of his church. Some conservative Catholics said he was turning it into a synagogue.[3]

Lemański has also criticized the establishment's lenient treatment of clerics accused of sexual abuse and its rejection of artificial insemination and contraceptives.

Suspension


In July 2013, Lemański was suspended by the archbishop of Warsaw-Praga Henryk Hoser. On July 14, 2013, when three envoys dispatched by Hoser showed up at Lemanski's church in the town of Jasienica near Warsaw, they got surrounded by an angry crowd. The three clerics finally retreated after they were jeered at and booed. They barely managed to get into their car when the crowd began pushing the vehicle in the direction of Warsaw.

Lemański, who originally did not want to budge, later decided to resign, although he still considered the bishops' decision to be unfair. "Today you are pushing a car, but tomorrow you will flip it over or possibly even hurt somebody," he told his parishioners. He then left the parsonage saying he will wait for a decision from the Vatican regarding his dispute with the church hierarchy.[4]

A few days later, front-page articles about the case appeared in the Polish edition of Newsweek[5] and in Gazeta Wyborcza. At the end of June 2014 archbishop Hoser changed his earlier decision and posted Lemański as a chaplain in an institution for mentally injured children. Lemański continued his activities, also took part in Przystanek Woodstock music festival. On August 22, 2014, he was suspended from being a priest altogether, the reason being a lack of regret over his deeds in the past and breaking the ban on talking to the media, imposed by the Vatican.[6]

Awards


In 2008, Lemański received Order of Polonia Restituta from the hands of former Polish president Lech Kaczyński for keeping the memory of Polish Jews alive.[7]

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