A CATHOLIC PRIEST has been left in a serious condition in hospital after he was stabbed on the steps of his own church in Poland.
The incident occurred outside the Church of Our Lady on the Sand in the city of Wrocław at around 7am (5am GMT) on Monday morning.
According to local news outlet TVP.info, a knife-wielding homeless man approached the clergyman as he was on his way inside the church to prepare the altar before mass.
The man suddenly stabbed the priest in the chest after talking to him about the clerical sex abuse scandal which has engulfed the Catholic Church both in Poland and the world at large in recent years.
The assailant, a 57-year-old vagrant, attempted to flee but was chased by witnesses and arrested by police.
The priest remains in a serious but stable condition after undergoing surgery for chest wounds at Wrocław University Hospital, doctors said.
Police spokesman Krzysztof Zaporowski told Polish news agency PAP that the attacker was in custody for questioning by detectives.
His motive remains unclear, but the attack comes as the overwhelmingly Catholic country continues to come to terms with allegations of sex abuse made against dozens of priests and senior Church officials.
Last month, the release of Tell No One – a documentary about paedophilia in the Church – forced an emergency meeting of Polish bishops after sparking outrage among the public.