Poland divided over film about abuse in the Church

The controversial film Kler premiered in Polish cinemas on the weekend. It portrays child abuse in the Catholic Church and the entanglement between the Church and politics. According to reports in the media some towns want to ban the film from being shown in their cinemas and the ruling PiS has harshly criticised it. What has provoked the outcry, and is it justified?

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Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Symbiosis between Church and politics

Gazeta Wyborcza believes that pure fear is driving the PiS to lambaste the film:

“No other party is in such close symbiosis with the Church as the PiS, and the film Kler shows this symbiosis for what it is. That's why the PiS is worried. Even the Church has reacted more calmly. Many bishops, first and foremost Archbishop Wojciech Polak, the Primate of Poland, started to clean up the Church several years ago, introducing harsh punishments for priests suspected of paedophilia. However, the bishops who publicly declared their solidarity with the PiS have always been the fiercest opponents of the Church's settling of accounts with the sin of paedophilia. And they have attacked the media that brought the issue to the public's attention.”

Wpolityce.pl (PL) /

Reminiscent of Nazi propaganda

Not only the fear of a loss of political clout but also concern for the Church is prompting the ruling party to criticise the film, counters Michał Karnowski, publisher of the pro-PiS website wPolityce.pl:

“If the Polish right is worried about the consequences of the film Kler, it's not because of the political losses but because it sees the Church as a huge social asset. This latest attack on the priests - which reminds many observers of the Nazi propaganda against the Jews because it resembles the denigration of an entire section of the population - makes one sad more than anything else. It is proof of the brutalisation of part of the cultural milieu and of the barbaric hatred felt by a section of the media establishment.”