“Poland has long been the target of financial and political powers waging a de-Christianization campaign in Europe and America,” Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller said in a recent interview, as quoted by Polish conservative website wpolityce.pl.
The drive includes a fight against the Roman Catholic Church and its priests as well as steps to promote abortion rights and homosexuality through demands of equal treatment and adoption privileges for same-sex couples, according to Müller.
The "de-Christianization campaign" has also seen churches damaged and the desecration of religious symbols as well as recent attempts to destroy the legacy of Polish-born Pope John Paul II, Müller told the Kath.net news website in an interview, according to wpolityce.pl.
The German cardinal also said that people in Poland still had vivid memories of World War II when some 6 million Polish citizens were murdered by the Germans and when Poles were treated as subhuman, wpolityce.pl reported.
“Will we Germans ever learn to treat our neighbors with respect and without the ubiquitous air of 'know-it-all-ness'?” he said in the interview, according to wpolityce.pl.
The Polish website described the cardinal, a former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as an influential figure among Christian conservatives in Western Europe.
It said his views about Poland are based on his own firsthand experience, including frequent visits to the country and a fair smattering of the Polish language.
The German cardinal was in 2018 quoted as saying that no country has the right to lecture to Poland on the principles of democracy because Poland has done the most for maintaining democracy in Europe.
Müller, who served as the Roman Catholic Church’s Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2012 to 2017, told a conference at the time that such “attacks” were being driven by “Marxist ideology," which "denies all those principles that lay at the foundation of Europe,” according to a report by Poland’s dziennik.pl online newspaper.
Christians from across Central and Eastern Europe in September 2018 debated the future of the Church, Poland and Europe at a conference in the central-western Polish city of Gniezno. The event was held under the motto “Europe – A Land of the Free. The Inspirational Power of Christianity.”
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told Catholic leaders from 45 countries at the time that Poland's tradition of solidarity was the country's gift to Europe.