The Catholic Church is hugely popular in Poland, especially among older Poles, from the generation that protested against Communism in the 1980s and supported the Solidarity Movement.
The leader of that movement was union leader Lech Walesa, who also happens to be a staunch Catholic.
He later served as president of Poland for five years, and he remains a popular icon of Polish democracy.
But Walesa’s reputation as a fighter for democratic values has taken a hit in the past few days.
He set off a storm last week, saying in a TV interview that gays didn’t belong in parliament.
“This has been debated every day on the news channels, the radio stations, the TV and the newspapers since Walesa made these comments,” says the BBC’s Warsaw correspondent, Adam Easton.
On Tuesday, Poland’s only openly gay Member of Parliament and a transgender colleague occupied the front benches of the Polish parliament in protest.
Easton says the debate reflects broader divides in Polish society between the conservative older generation, and a more liberal younger generation.