After Mass, the unborn children’s coffins were solemnly buried in a nearby cemetery. The coffins contained the bodies of children who had died following stillbirths, miscarriages and abortions. They were collected from different hospitals, mainly from Warsaw.
The ceremony was the initiative of Maria Bienkiewicz, of the New Nazareth Foundation, who has been organizing funerals for unborn children since 2005.
That year, the Holy Family Hospital in Warsaw began to put into practice new principles for the care of the bodies of children dying before birth, under the guidance of its then director, Professor Bogdan Chazan.
The principles were adopted by other hospitals, but some institutions reportedly still store the bodies indefinitely.
Abortion is once again the subject of a heated dispute in Poland after the country’s constitutional court declared Oct. 22 that a law permitting abortion for fetal abnormalities was unconstitutional.
Under a law introduced in 1993, abortion is only permitted in Poland in cases of rape or incest, risk to the mother’s life, or fetal abnormality.
Approximately 1,000 legal abortions take place in the country each year. The vast majority are carried out in cases of fetal abnormality. The ruling, which cannot be appealed, could lead to a significant reduction in the number of abortions in the country.
The ruling sparked nationwide protests, some of which targeted the Catholic Church. Protesters disrupted Masses while holding signs supporting abortion, left graffiti on Church property, vandalized statues of St. John Paul II, and chanted slogans at clergy.
The government responded by delaying publication of the Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling, which has no legal power until it appears in the Journal of Laws.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament passed a resolution last month condemning Poland’s “de facto ban on the right to abortion.”
Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, president of Poland’s bishops’ conference, criticized the resolution.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
He said: “The right to life is a fundamental human right. It always takes precedence over the right to choose, because no person can authoritatively allow the possibility of killing another.”
Following the burial of the unborn children in Gończyce, Bishop Gurda was invited to strike a bell blessed by Pope Francis in September, along with others present for the ceremony.
The Voice of the Unborn bell was commissioned by the Yes to Life Foundation (Fundacja Życiu Tak in Polish).
The bell is decorated with a cast of an ultrasound image of an unborn child and a quotation from Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko: “A child’s life begins under the mother’s heart.”
In addition, the bell features two tablets, symbolizing the Ten Commandments. On the first are the words of Jesus, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law” (Matthew 5:17), and on the second is the commandment, “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13).