Polish Catholic radio defying Pope and Govt on EU referendum
Poland's powerful Catholic radio station Radio Maryja is strongly urging a No vote in the coming weekend's referendum on membership of the European Union.
As referendum weekend looms, it has upped its anti-EU tone, brushing aside a 19 May call from Pope John-Paul II to fellow Poles to vote Yes to joining the bloc on May 1, 2004.
"Europe needs Poland. The Church in Europe needs the Polish people's witness to the faith. Poland needs Europe," the Pope said.
The radio has called followers to gather on Sunday, the second day of the crucial vote, in Czestochowa, the spiritual centre of Polish Catholics, to pray for a No to EU entry at Our Lady's shrine.
Poles have traditionally called on the Madonna, counting on her to perform miracles, when their country is in danger.
"We, the real patriots, we must say No to this neo-pagan union which wants to impose abortion, euthanasia and homosexual marriages on us," one guest said on the radio's late-night chat show, in which callers discuss their EU phobias.
Created by its charismatic spiritual leader father Tadeusz Rydzyk 11 years ago, the radio wields considerable influence in this country of 38.3 million people in which more than 90% are Catholic.
Boasting an estimated six million listeners for its mix of discussions, prayers and hymns, it is the only station which can be heard in some remote rural areas.
Polish broadcaster wins showdown with Cardinal Glemp (31/10/02)
Poland's European Future (ABC Radio National 'The Europeans')
European Union Online
4 Jun 2003