This is not your typical Catholic Mass.
Dozens of women and a few men walked out of a church service in Gdansk, Poland, on Sunday in protest of the Catholic Church’s call for a ban on abortion.
In the video above, people can be seen filing out as the priest reads a letter from the Conference of the Polish Episcopate, the central organ of the Polish Catholic Church. The letter, which was made public last Wednesday, backs a controversial anti-abortion bill that the country’s politicians recently expressed interest in passing.
The letter also called on politicians to set up “programs to ensure concrete help” for parents of children with disabilities and those conceived through rape, according to U.K.-based magazine the Catholic Herald. Priests around the country were instructed to read the document out loud at their Sunday services, according to Vatican Radio.
The video, named “Exit from St. Mary’s Basilica,” was taken toward the end of Sunday Mass, Kamila Chomicz, an artist who shot the footage, told The WorldPost via email.
The walk-out was pre-planned by members of the Facebook group Dziewuchy Dziewuchom – Trójmiasto, or “Girls For Girls – Tri-City,” which was created to organize protests against the abortion ban in the neighboring cities of Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot. The group consists of atheists as well as those closely affiliated with the Catholic Church who decided to act after the anti-abortion pronouncement, Karolina Pochwatka, the founder of the Facebook group, told The WorldPost.
It was unclear whether the people who walked out usually attend Sunday services or went solely to carry out the demonstration, Pochwatka added.
Some 250 miles away, in Warsaw, women and men also stormed out of a church service at St. Anne’s Church as the priest read out the same letter. In a video released by Polish daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, one protester stayed behind to protest from her seat, before other churchgoers seized her arm and Mass continued.
While the two events took place at the same time, the protests in St. Anne’s and St. Mary’s were planned independently, said Lidka Makowska, one of the leaders of the Gdansk walk-out.
Also on Sunday, thousands of people gathered around the country in prominent spots including a central square in Sopot, Krakow’s Main Square and outside the parliament building in Warsaw to protest against the shift toward anti-abortion laws, chanting slogans like, “My body, my business” and waving around coat hangers, a gruesome symbol of illegal abortions.
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SOURCE: Alexandra Ma
The Huffington Post