In Poland, it is not usually those who stop going to church that loose their true faith in God, the Gospel, and the fundamental principles of a righteous Christian life. In Poland, the faith loose those who still go to church and even start clearly dominating in their Christian communities. These are the ones who have gotten their values confused and lost touch with the true Christianity. They befoul the faith with their hostility and hatered towards their neighbors. They turn faith into a tool for yet another political and ideological crusade, disregarding the harm it brings to people as a result. Their attitude evokes public umbrage and forces the true Christians out of the church walls.
The article by a Dominican friar, Father Ludwik Wiśniewski, entitled I Accuse (Pl. Oskarżam) published recently in Tygodnik Powszechny, an influential Polish socio-cultural Catholic weekly, is a must-read. The author – a renowned Polish figure who significantly contributed to the actions of the anti-Communist opposition, strengthening of Catholic faith and humanistic values – makes an extremely harsh, yet very clear diagnosis of the current situation in the Church in Poland.
According to him, despite the fact that the Church still constitutes a significant power in the country (with a strong group of its supporters, an even larger group of people who declare being its members, a power that still holds immense political influence and enjoys a strong financial position), the Christianity in Poland is slowly dying. And it is dying for different reasons than it is happening in the constantly secularizing states in Western Europe. Here, its demise will be dictated not by the people who remain on the ouside, but instead, by the death of the Christian spirit in the believers who belong to the Catholic Church with all their ardency.
Father Wiśniewski identifies a number of symptoms of this fatal disease – the refusal to welcome refugees, hostility towards the people with a different skin color, faith or nationality, hatered towards the Poles with a different political convictions, desecration of religious symbols and church service by entangling them in the political spectacle of the so-called “mensiversaries” of the Smolensk crash, preaching false witness against their neighbors by accusing them of crimes not committed, of silence when someone’s safety is being endangered, and on top of that the Church’s overt acceptance of blatant hatred and hostile nationalism exhibited by the so-called “soccer yobs”, even when they recently “pilgrimized” to the famous Jasna Góra monastery.
These, already at first glance, are clearly sins against the first, third, fourth, sixth, and eighth Commandments, but most of all against the two Commandments of Love. Comitting a sin is not a tragedy in itself. The man is flawed by nature, a sinner whose task it is to atone for his sins. The real tragedy is being obstinately steadfast in pursueing a life of sin. And the reality of Polish Catholic Church shows that this life of sin has become one of the characteristic features of the most pious, dogmatic, devout Catholics – a way of life that enjoys the support of a number of bishops as well.
This is preicesly why Christianity in Poland is withering away – the fault lies in the people who remain at the heart of the Church. The Polish Catholic Church seems to be interested in evolving into a post-Christian, or maybe even an anti-Christian Church…
We often hear that in Western European countries, religion has lost its position because of “liberals”. Liberalism offered an alternative to the religious model of values and a way of life, which after 1968 turned out to be so attractive that it has gradually pulled the people out of churches. Of course, this theory is a bit of a stretch because liberalism is responsible only for giving people a choice between various models of life (without the ecclesiastical coercion). It does not promote one specific version of it. Therefore, the question of who is to “blame” requires a far more nuanced answer. In the meantime, Western-European Church hierarchs have started analyzing their own mistakes and considering how their own actions had contributed to the phenomenon of secularization.
Meanwhile, the situation in Poland is completely different. Over 90% of Poles still declare belonging to the Catholic faith, yet, less than 40% go to church. In Poland, it is not usually those who stop going to church that loose their true faith in God, the Gospel, and the fundamental principles of a righteous Christian life. In Poland, the faith loose those who still go to church and even start clearly dominating in their Christian communities. These are the ones who have gotten their values confused and lost touch with the true Christianity. They befoul the faith with their hostility and hatered towards their neighbors. They turn faith into a tool for yet another political and ideological crusade, disregarding the harm it brings to people as a result. Their attitude evokes public umbrage and forces the true Christians out of the church walls during the Sunday mass. Unfortunately, priests and bishops constitute a significant part of this group.
The consequences may be similar as in the Western Europe or even much worse. However, in contrast to these countries, churches in Poland are not likely to be as desolate – yet, instead of the people most faithful to the teachings of Jesus, only the degenerate pols will remain. That would be the price Polish Curch will have to pay for the alliance with the Law and Justice party and the far right.
The article was originally published in Polish at: http://beniuszys.liberte.pl/dziwna-smierc-kosciola-w-polsce/