In violation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a German court has convicted a Polish priest and his German publisher of “inciting hatred” by writing/publishing a scholarly paper exposing a dangerous homosexual lobby in the Catholic Church that is causing great harm to minors and seminarians. The court issued a sentence of 4,800 Euros ($5,700) or, alternatively, 120 days in jail. Ominously, the German court convicted both men in absentia and issued a prescriptive sentence (i.e., a sentence based solely on the accusations). Since Father Oko has protested the court’s decision, he is going to have an in-person trial, where he is facing a 1 to 5 year prison sentence if found guilty.
In the January/February 2021 edition of the German periodical Theologisches, Polish priest Dariusz Oko, Chair of the Department of Cognitive Philosophy at the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow, Poland, wrote a scholarly article, “On the Need to Limit Homosexual Cliques in the Church”. It documents the presence of a dangerous ‘lavender mafia’ in the Catholic Church whose actions have led–among other things–to the abuse of minors and seminarians. In particular, the article details the process through which the defrocked American Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was able to rise to the highest levels of the Church hierarchy despite his known sexual abuse of minors and seminarians. Father Oko said that he wrote the article to protect boys, seminarians, and priests who are “threatened, molested, and even raped by members of the ‘lavender mafia.’”
To support his case, Father Oko cites Church leaders, including Pope Francis, who have acknowledged the presence of such a harmful cabal in the Church. For example, Oko quotes Cardinal Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tugucigalpa, Honduras, who responded to the question “Is there a gay association in the Vatican?” by stating: “Not only that, but the Holy Father himself said that such a ‘lobby’ exists in this sense. The Holy Father is slowly trying to clear up this situation.” He also cites Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who said that “In various seminaries, homosexual cliques arose, which operated more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in the seminaries.” And finally, Oko quotes Pope Francis himself, who stated that “I had a bishop who told me with scandal that at some point he realized that in his diocese—very large indeed—there were many homosexual priests…This is a reality that we cannot deny…The Church recommends that people with an entrenched homosexual tendency should not be accepted for priestly ministry or religious congregations. The priestly ministry and the consecrated life are not for them.”
Despite the well-researched nature of the article, radical LGBT Catholic priest Wolfgang Rothe of Munich demanded that the courts in Germany prosecute Oko and the publisher of the article for inciting hatred. Rothe is a known dissident priest who advocates for same-sex marriage in the Church and blesses gay couples in violation of Church doctrine. Taking its cue from Rothe, a German court in Cologne, Germany, “tried” Oko and the periodical publisher in absentia and issued its punishment.
Reaction to the judgment was swift by the Polish government. Polish Deputy Minister of Justice Marcin Romanowski declared:
“We are dealing with a situation where a recognized scholar—priest professor Oko—together with a German theologian with enormous academic achievements, publish a scholarly article exposing the activity of a group of homosexual rapists inside the Church, and this was recognized by the German court as incitement to hatred. The court not only tramples on academic freedom, but also shows that it values the abusers more than the victims…This shows…above all, the madness of left-wing gender ideology.”
Ordo Iuris (https://en.ordoiuris.pl), the leading Polish organization dedicated to promoting a legal culture based on respect for human dignity and rights, likewise criticized the decision. “We perceive the sentence received by the author of the academic article as restrictions of the right to research, the free expression of views, and freedom of the press,” it stated. “Not everyone has to agree with the content of the publication of Father Professor Oko. However, debate is considered the correct way to respond, rather than resorting to the criminal law.”
Indeed, the court decision is a clear violation of the rights provided in the German constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As Article 5, Section 1 of the German constitution states: “Everyone has the right to freely express and disseminate his views in word, writing, and pictures…Censorship is not applied.” Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human provides: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU declares: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This includes the freedom to hold views and to receive and impart information and ideas without inference by public authorities and across borders.” Finally, Article 19, Section 2, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression; this right includes the freedom to seek, receive and disseminate any information and views irrespective of national borders….”
Ordo Iuris has launched an online petition to defend Father Oko, which can be found in English at www.defendreverendOko.org. (The petition can also be found in Polish and German at https://bronmyksiedzaoko.pl.) In addition to the court which issued the judgment, the petition is also addressed to German Chancellor Angele Merkel, who is asked to introduce “effective guarantees of the freedoms of speech, religion, and academic thought.”
With freedom of expression and freedom of the press in jeopardy, it is imperative that the judgment of the German court be overturned. Should this judgment stand, it would encourage other courts around the world with radical LGBT views to start a witch-hunt of conservatives, including against ones who do not even live in the countries where the courts are located. This is a battle not just for Father Oko and his publisher, but for everyone concerned about the erosion of our freedoms.