Police arrested a 51-year-old woman for profaning Poland’s most revered Catholic icon, the Madonna of Częstochowa, by painting an LGBT rainbow halo around her head and that of the baby Jesus.
On Monday, Płock police detained Elżbieta Podleśna over the alleged offence after investigators found several dozen posters of the Virgin Mary with the rainbow-colored halo in the woman’s home. The woman was later released.
Joachim Brudziński, Poland’s interior minister, said on Twitter Monday that a person had been arrested for “carrying out a profanation of the Virgin Mary of Częstochowa.”
“Telling stories about freedom and ‘tolerance’ doesn’t give anyone the right to offend the feelings of believers,” said Brudziński, who has described the posters as “cultural barbarism.”
Offending religious sentiment is a crime under the Polish penal code and authorities are accusing the woman of “profanation” of a revered religious image. The “Black Madonna of Częstochowa” is a Byzantine icon venerated throughout Poland. The icon hangs in the monastery of Jasna Góra, a UN world heritage site and Poland’s most sacred Catholic shrine.
This is not the first time police have dealt with attempted desecration of the sacred image, to which miracles have been attributed.
In 2012, guards overpowered a 58-year-old man who was trying to deface the painting by throwing vials of black paint at it. No damage was done to the image, which was covered by a protective pane of glass.
Tensions have run high in Poland lately over perceived attempts to import Western values regarding gender and sexuality foreign to the nation’s culture and religious tradition.
“We are dealing with a direct attack on the family and children – the sexualization of children, that entire LBGT movement, gender,” said Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS).
“This is imported, but they today actually threaten our identity, our nation, its continuation and therefore the Polish state,” he said.
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