Poland several times has played a pivotal, spoiler role in overcoming some of the greatest threats to Western civilization. In 1683, a Polish army led by John III Sobieski repelled an Ottoman army besieging the city of Vienna that threatened the survival of all of Christendom. In 1920, at the Miracle of the Vistula, a Polish army repulsed an invading Bolshevik army that aimed to incite an atheistic communist revolution across Europe. And in 1989 Polish voters defeated the communists at the polls and ushered in a new democratic government.

Yet what almost fifty years of communist rule could not achieve—namely, provoking widespread popular animus against a Catholic Church that has been instrumental in all of Poland’s most glorious achievements—has been accomplished in 25 years of EU-driven liberal influence. Following an October 22 decision by Poland’s highest court that rule abortions due to fetal defects to be unconstitutional, more than 100,000 pro-choice protestors hit the streets of Warsaw. Many thousands more protested in the nation’s other urban areas.

Yet this hasn’t been only a reaction against the ruling populist, socially-conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS). There has also been a strong anti-Catholic tenor to protests. Demonstrators, some wearing costumes meant to mimic the dystopian novel and television series The Handmaid’s Tale, have interrupted Masses. A woman in Warsaw stood directly in front of the priest at the altar and held a sign saying, “Let us pray for the right to abortion.” In Krakow, protesters gathered at the “Pope’s window” of the archbishop’s palace where St. John Paul II had appeared to bless adoring crowds… except these crowds now chanted “f— the clergy.” Many churches, meanwhile, have been defaced.

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