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Polish priest in stable condition after being stabbed before Mass

Father Ireneusz Bakalarczyk (Archdiocese of Wrocław)

Fr Ireneusz Bakalarczyk was stabbed in the chest and abdomen

On Monday morning, a priest in Wrocław, Poland was stabbed while on his way to celebrate Mass.

Fr Ireneusz Bakalarczyk was approached by a homeless man before 7 a.m. and stabbed in the chest and abdomen, as reported by Polish news channel TVP Info.

The 48-year-old priest was taken to the hospital, where he underwent surgery and is in recovery, according to a hospital spokesperson.

The incident, according to Polish outlets, occurred as Bakalarczyk was on his way to the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the Sand.

The attacker was immediately detained by witnesses and taken into police custody.

On Tuesday, the District Prosecutor of Wrocław is expected to charge the 57-year-old suspect, after receiving more information on the extent of Bakalarczyk’s injuries.

Fr Bakalarczyk serves as the head of the notary’s office for his archdiocese and as the chaplain for faithful Latin traditions.

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Wrocław told the Polish Press Agency that there is no reason to believe that Bakalarczyk was personally targeted, but that the suspect’s intent was to attack any “man in a cassock.”

The attack comes at a time when the Catholic Church in Poland is under great scrutiny due to recent revelations regarding the sexual abuse crisis.

In March, the Polish Episcopal Conference released findings that 625 people were sexually abused by 382 priests from 1990 to 2018. The study also discovered that over half of the victims were under the age of 15.