- October 3, 2012
Inciting hatred enters church
Recently, the European Foundation of Human Rights was pretty happy about the information that a priest defends the rights of the Polish minority in Kanas (more: http://kurierwilenski.lt/2012/09/21/ksiadz-litwin-broni-polakow-na-kowienszczyznie/). This is a commendable attitude. Everyone can and should defend human rights, especially the Church and priests representing it.
Sadly, a priest Vaidas Vaišvilas has recently chased Polish tourists out of the Temple of Divine Mercy. Additionally, the Foundation has reached the information that discrimination against national minorities is not alien to him (more: http://2012metunuotaka.blogspot.com/2011/12/pirmas-irasas-apie-vestuves-deja.html). Rev. Vaidas Vaišvilas refused to administer the sacrament of marriage in Polish to a couple because he simply “does not want to do it”. Although everyday there are masses in Polish in the Temple of Divine Mercy and even other priest comes to celebrate it, Rev. Vaišvilas has not changed his mind.
The fiancés were stunned by the cynical behaviour of the priest, especially since there were no formal obstacles for the couple to enter into the marriage. They have already done a course for fiancés and there will be no problem to get the permission to marry in another parish. What is more, the couple attended masses in that particular church, that is why they wanted to get married there. Unfortunately, as Rev. Vaidas Vaišvilas is the rector of that Temple, “it is his right” to refuse to administer the sacrament of marriage to people from outside the parish. The couple still cannot understand the behavior of the priest and they wonder why such incidents appear in the House of God.
The Foundation is deeply concerned with the priest’s behaviour which is discrimination against national minorities. According to the Foundation, such activity, especially in the circle of priests, encourages to ethnic attacks and inciting ethnic hatred.
We remind you that the Foundation has already taken legal action related to the behaviour of that priest (more: http://www.efhr.eu/2012/09/25/efhr-podejmuje-dzialania-prawne-w-sprawie-wypedzenia-z-kosciola-polskich-turystow/). Every person, regardless of his or her status in society, should take responsibility for their actions. The Foundation directs complaints to law enforcement authorities about any unlawful activity against national minorities. The Foundation also makes efforts to force those authorities began to see the danger of the situation.
Moreover, the state cannot remain a neutral observer of the increasing degree of hatred. Statistics show the flow of hatred and they also point out that the attitude of politicians and media towards national minorities shapes a negative feelings in the society about minorities.
The Foundation makes an appeal to all who have suffered discrimination in similar cases for getting in touch with us. All of you will be provided with free legal aid.
The European Foundation of Human Rights
Tłumaczenie Marta Dubiel w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Marta Dubiel the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.