WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has surprisingly spoken in favor of the death penalty and admitted he doesn’t share the view of the Roman Catholic Church on the matter.

It seemed to be an isolated view among leaders within the 27-member European Union, which doesn’t have capital punishment. His words drew criticism from the opposition.

Morawiecki, a practicing Catholic, made the comments late Monday during a public question-and-answer session with Facebook users.

Asked by an apparent critic if the death penalty could stop his government from doing more harm to society, Morawiecki said it was a sharp question, but went on to answer it.

“In my opinion, the death penalty should be admissible for the heaviest crimes,” Morawiecki said, stressing that “I do not agree on the matter with the teaching of the church, because I am a supporter of the death penalty.”

He called its abolition a “premature invention.”

Some opposition lawmakers, including Monika Falej, noted that such views are characteristic of authoritarian rulers.

Poland abolished the death penalty in 1997, as it was shedding some communist-era regulations and preparing to join the EU. In 2013, Poland ratified a protocol of the European Convention of Human Rights that totally abolishes capital punishment.