Recently, the European Foundation of Human Rights was positively surprised with the information that a priest defends the rights of the Polish minority in Kaunas (read more: http://kurierwilenski.lt/2012/09/21/ksiadz-litwin-broni-polakow-na-kowienszczyznie/). This is a commendable attitude. Everyone can and must act in defence of human rights, especially the Church and the clergy who represent it.
Unfortunately, the priest Vaidas Vaišvilas cast out Polish tourists from the Divine Mercy Sanctuary. Moreover, the Foundation received information that it’s not the first time when the priest showed discrimination against minority (read more: http://2012metunuotaka.blogspot.com/2011/12/pirmas-irasas-apie-vestuves-deja.html). Vaidas Vaišvilas refused to administer the sacrament of marriage in the Polish language because “he doesn’t want to”. And, even though in the Divine Mercy Sanctuary the masses are held also in Polish and another priest comes to celebrate them everyday, it didn’t affect Vaišvilas’ decision. Bride and groom were shocked with priest decision, especially since there was no formal obstacle for the marriage. They attended special courses and they could get a permission to marry in another parish, but they wanted to get married in this church where they attended Polish masses. Unfortunately, as Father Vaidas Vaišvilas is currently the president of the Temple, “it is his right” to refuse the sacrament of marriage to people from outside the parish. Bride and groom still don’t understand the priest’s behaviour and wonder how such cases could take place in God’s house.
The Foundation is deeply concerned about the priest’s behaviour of clearly discriminatory nature. According to the Foundation, such actions, especially among priests, encourage people to incite hatred on the grounds of nationality and race.
We would like to remind you that the Foundation has already taken legal actions against the behaviour of the priest (read more: http://www.efhr.eu/2012/09/25/efhr-takes-legal-action-on-throwing-polish-tourists-out-of-church/?lang=en). Every person, despite their legal status in society, should bear responsibility for their actions. The EFHR directs complaints to law enforcement authorities for any unlawful activities violating rights of national minorities and actively tries to make legal authorities take notice of the danger of the situation. Similarly, the state cannot remain an indifferent observer of the increasing degree of hatred. Statistical data show the flow of hatred and clearly point out that the attitude of the media and politicians towards ethnic minorities influences a negative attitude of society against national minorities (see more: http://www.efhr.eu/2012/01/06/efhr-took-notice-seriously-of-the-survey-published-in-the-issue-of-iq-on-january/?lang=en).
The Foundation appeals to everybody who suffered discrimination in similar cases to contact us. We provide free legal assistance.
The European Foundation of Human Rights