Democratic problems Poland was once Europe's Jewish heartland, before Nazi Germany's genocide wiped out 90% of the country's 3.3 million Jews.

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Lemanski's calling into question of church doctrine was not the only factor in the row.

"Father Lemanski also exposed himself to criticism from his superiors by actively taking part in Jewish-Catholic dialogue," Szostkiewicz told AFP.

Records of births, marriages, and deaths are called vital records because events in a person’s life are recorded in them.

Church records, called parish records or church books, are vital records made by church officials, pastors, or priests.

He said Lemanski was symbolic of the Church under the new pope: one more attentive to the everyday concerns of its flock and less of a hierarchical, authoritarian institution with little or no tolerance for dissent."Father Lemanski spoke out against language used by the Polish Church that is hurtful to people who think differently, notably on the subject of in-vitro fertilisation, abortion, or homosexuality - a language of hate," he said.

Adam Szostkiewicz, a commentator on Church affairs at the leftwing Polityka weekly, stressed that "Father Lemanski is not calling into question Church doctrine itself". He just spoke according to his conscience, against statements that stigmatise people and whose dignity has been violated." Exceptional achievements Lemanski recently defended 26-year-old Agnieszka Ziolkowska, Poland's first test-tube baby, who decided to leave the Catholic Church.A collection of images of church books containing baptisms, births, marriages, burials, and deaths for Evangelical congregations around Poland can be found on For these later records, see Poland Civil Registration- Vital Records In general, church records in Poland have been kept since the mid-1600s, although a few parishes have records dating from about 1548.The efficient recording of baptisms, marriages, and deaths developed slowly.They include records of births and christenings, marriages, and deaths and burials.In addition, church records may include account books, confirmations, and lists of members. They are often the only source of family information.He apologised to parishioners - who had thrown their full support behind him - and asked them to obey the church hierarchy.