Will Hołownia get rid of the cross from the Sejm? “We don’t need such demonstrations”

Will Hołownia get rid of the cross from the Sejm?  "We don't need such demonstrations"

Will the cross disappear from the Sejm debating chamber? – I don’t think we need this type of demonstration now – says Szymon Hołownia.

The issue of the cross came up many times in the Sejm Meeting Hall. The symbol has its opponents and supporters. Szymon Hołownia, the speaker of the lower house of the Polish parliament, who long before his political career spent some time in the novitiate of the Dominican Order, was asked about this emotive matter.

The politician openly admitted in an interview with Onet that he would not hang the cross there. – However, it is one thing not to hang the cross, and it is another thing to take it down after it has already been hung and for many people it is an important sign. I don’t think we need this type of demonstration now, says Szymon Hołownia.

The Marshal of the Sejm admitted that the cross also hangs in his office and he has no intention of removing it permanently, although he may do it temporarily at the request of guests. — We need less demonstrations and more real, organic work. Because we will scream to death and the job will still not be done – he emphasizes and argues that politicians should rather focus on issues such as: Church Fund and settlement of pedophilia among priests.

How did the cross end up in the Sejm?

The cross was hung in the parliament building on the night of October 19-20, 1997, after the AWS club meeting. Tomasz Wójcik, with the help of MP Piotr Krutul, arbitrarily hung it on the wall of the Sejm Meeting Hall. The spokesman for the Democratic Left Alliance then filed a formal protest against “the ostentatious actions of the Solidarity Electoral Action MPs intended to start a political row.”

The case came back in 2011 in connection with an application submitted by MPs of the Palikot Movement to issue an order ordering the removal of the cross. The Chancellery of the Sejm then ordered expert opinions. In one of them we read that “the Sejm cross has a double meaning – as a religious sign and a symbol of values ​​unrelated to religious beliefs, but co-creating national axiology due to historical contexts. Other religious signs are not characterized by such ambiguity.

Ryszard Piotrowski, PhD in law, associate professor at the University of Warsaw, writes in the BAS opinion that placing other religious signs in the Sejm hall would be a manifestation of the proclamation of religious beliefs, difficult to reconcile with the principle of impartiality of public authorities in matters of religious beliefs.

Should the cross hang in the Sejm? This opinion makes you think

“The cross currently located in the Sejm session hall is not only a religious sign. It is not an object of religious worship, but rather belongs to the sphere of customarily regulated parliamentary decorum as one of the manifestations of ceremonial confession.” – stated in the opinion.

As Professor Piotrowski writes further in, only in the sense related to the axiological and patriotic message that Polish history ascribes to the cross, its presence in the Sejm hall is compatible with the impartiality of public authorities in matters of religious beliefs, just as the awarding of cross-shaped decorations by the president is not violates this principle. However, this may be difficult to accept if anti-religious beliefs obscure the non-religious meaning of the cross and its connections with Polish national identity,” he explains.

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