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Polish Church launches English-language Twitter account amid growing international scrutiny

Polish priests carry a statue of the Virgin Mary (Getty Images)

Poland’s bishops’ conference has launched an English-language Twitter account, as international interest in the country and the Catholic Church there continues to grow.

“We are observing a lot of internet interest about the Church in Poland from people living abroad, which is why we want to enable them to access the content of our Twitter posts in the English language,” said spokesman Fr Paweł Ryteł-Andrianik.

The @ChurchinPoland account will post information about events in the country’s Catholic Church, comments from the bishop’s conference, and tweets concerning significant Church and society anniversaries.

“The person of Saint John Paul II makes the life of the Church in Poland an interesting topic not only for the foreign media but also for users of the internet. The World Youth Days in Krakow have also contributed to the growth of interest,” Fr Ryteł-Andrianik said.

In October, hundreds of thousands of Poles gathered along the country’s 2,000-mile border to pray the rosary to commemorate the centenary of the Fatima apparitions, as well as pray for protection for the country.

The secular media in Western Europe and North America reported the event in mainly political terms, seeing it as a statement against immigration and Islamic extremism. The BBC even described it as “controversial” and said there were “concerns it could be seen as endorsing the state’s refusal to let in Muslim migrants”.

International media is also turning its attention to the relationship between faith and politics in the country.

Since coming to power in 2015, the governing Law and Justice party has proposed several conservative policies, including refusing to take refugees and migrants from the rest of the EU, phasing out Sunday shopping, and restricting abortion.

Poland’s new prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki also said his dream is to “re-Christianise the EU” in an interview with a Catholic channel last week, and dismissed threats from the European Parliament to cut funding to the country.

“I do remember one former president [François Hollande] telling us earlier this year ‘you have values, we have funds.’ Well, I would love to help the West with proper values,” Morawiecki said.

Additional reporting from J Lopuszynski