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There is no Poland without the Church!


Polonius3 1,000 | 12,467    
12 Jul 2015  #1
It would be difficult for any decent, red-blooded Pole not to agree with the words uttered from the ramparts of Jansa Góra monastery by Jarosław Kaczyński:

"There is no Poland without the Church; Poland does not have moral teaching other than that which the Church proclaims," Kaczyński said during a religious pilgrimage on Sunday to Jasna Góra, a Polish religious destination. The PiS leader stressed the need for Poland to move "towards good change" - under the command of Our Lady Queen of Poland. Kaczyński assured those present that both President-elect Andrzej Duda, as well as PiS's candidate for prime minister, Beata Szydło "are not deaf to the voice of Poles" and "towards everything the Church teaches, as well as the foundation of [Polish] faith and the foundation of Polish identity".

thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/213450,Opposition-leader-There-is-no-Poland-without-Church
delphiandomine 85 | 17,658    
12 Jul 2015  #2
Well done Kaczyński, you're just reminding all those centrist voters that your politics are entirely based around the directives of the Church.

Works for me.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,467    
12 Jul 2015  #3
Works for me.

And it has worked for the Polish nation since AD 966. There must be something to it. You and jon must interact only with athies and libertines on the fringes of Polish society, giving you a skewed impression of what makes the real Poland tick.
Harry    
12 Jul 2015  #4
There is no Poland without the Church

So why do so few Poles bother doing the very minimum required by the Vatican?

But it is good to see him banging on about things that are guaranteed to drive away the middle ground voters PIS desperately needs. More of the same please, followed by some ranting about Smolensk.
jon357 64 | 14,382    
12 Jul 2015  #5
the Polish nation since AD 966.

Interesting about the time before that. So much of a mythology promoted that the adoption of that particular religion a. happened to the whole country overnight in that year and b. that there was nothing cohesive before.
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,100    
12 Jul 2015  #6
There is no Poland without the Church

There is Mr Kaczynski, there is and doing well ;)
Polsyr 6 | 771    
12 Jul 2015  #7
Poland does not have moral teaching other than that which the Church proclaims

What a slap in the face for every cultural, philosophical and legal achievement of Poles since the creation of Poland!
pweeg    
12 Jul 2015  #8
It begs the question, why do we need political parties like PiS?
RubasznyRumcajs 5 | 453    
12 Jul 2015  #9
And it has worked for the Polish nation since AD 966.

you are joking, aren't you?
maybe you should check out the Vatican's stance on Rozbiory and Powstania.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,467    
12 Jul 2015  #10
minimum required

Our court atheist, self-styled wannabe theologian and blowhard know-all has been harpng upon something he is obsessd with, but as usual he has no hard facts to back it up. Missing Sunday mass is a sin but so is stealing a KitKat from the corner shop. It is making a confession and receiving the Eucharist at least once a year that is the minumum required of every Catholic wishing to remain in good stead with the Church. JP2 reaffirmed that precept in his 1992 Catechism of hte Catholic Church.

By traditon this is usually done during the Lenten/Easter season, hence in English we speak of "doing one's Easter duty" or in Polish "odbycie spowiedzi wielkanocnej". But that is only a tradition - that requirement can be fulfilled at any time of year.

opiekun.kalisz.pl/index.php?dzial=artykuly&id=4359

Rather than Sunday mass attendance, which is not a minimum requirement, you may be interested to know that according to CBOS 70% of Poles make their Easter confession. A few more may fulfil the requirement at some other time -- the main thing is "at least once a year"..
Y12$    
13 Jul 2015  #11
Re: Catholic Church in Poland...
It might be worthwhile to point out that the Catholic Church in Poland played a very helpful role during the martial law (in the 1980's) against the communist regime. I was a kid back then, but I do remember ration cards and long queues to get even basic necessities. There were massive shortages of goods. There were also curfews. Anyway, people know about Solidarity. I do remember the Church in the city where I lived sometimes facilitated distribution of private donations of household necessities and food from the West. It also provided spiritual support to people during those hard times. During mass, some of the sermons also took a more political bend (I could only tell after my parents talked about it). I do know that in the decades after that, the Catholic Church did make mistakes, and depleted some goodwill it used to enjoy in 1980's and before.

Nevertheless, although I have more secular outlook now (i.e. I am not afraid to criticize some religious dogma, and I can relate to agnostics and atheists on some level; I'm fine with LGBT people too), I would definitely still give the Catholic Church a lot of credit in Poland. Although the historical Poland used to be home to more ethnic groups, I do think Catholicism is part of the core Polish culture and heritage, because of the role the Catholic Church took during difficult times in Polish history (and I know it was not always perfect). So maybe I don't agree with the exact words Kaczynski used, but I do agree with the general spirit in his message.
DominicB - | 2,645    
13 Jul 2015  #12
I do think Catholicism is part of the core Polish culture and heritage

You'd find very few young Poles outside of nationalistic fringe groups that would agree with that. Poles under thirty have largely abandoned the church, especially educated, urban Poles. In all my years of mentoring high school and university students, I encountered only one who was an active Catholic. All the rest had rejected Catholicism, and organized religion in general. Catholicism is strongly associated with fascistic nationalism among young people. The church is going to lose a lot of influence (and cash) over the coming years as the older generations die off and are replaced by the non-religious younger generation. And no, there is no sign that young people will "return to the church" once they get married and have children. Religiosity is now continuing to drop at every stage of life in every age group.
Y12$    
13 Jul 2015  #13
DominicB
I don't think you really understood what I was trying to say. You see the Catholic Church purely in religious terms. I do not see it like that. I see also cultural aspect to the Church. To me, there can more than one type of Catholic (I know some Catholics will disagree with that).

I agree with you that people are leaving traditional religious institutions, but can you really say they are becoming less spiritual. I don't think you can. Religion is just changing in the way it's practiced, that's all -- it's not just Catholicism by the way. I don't think it's as black and white as you claim.
DominicB - | 2,645    
13 Jul 2015  #14
can you really say they are becoming less spiritual.

Some of the young people I mentored became atheists or agnostics. Probably most. Others were "spiritual, but not religious", but with a greater affinity to Buddhism or Taoism, if anything, rather than Christianity, for which few young people harbor any sentimental attachment. Few, if any, remained "Christians", practicing or otherwise. Younger people generally reject the concept of "cultural Catholicism". Catholicism plays very little role in their lives, least of all as an element of their culture (other than a few culinary traditions during Christmas and Easter).

So yes, some young people remain "spiritual", but not in a Christian, or Catholic, context. The exception being adherents of neofascist nationalist movements who basically scare everyone else away and skunk the brand of Catholicism.

One potentially misleading statistic is the popularity of pilgrimages in August, which are seen as a cheap form of vacation than as anything related to spirituality.

It's only a matter of time before Poland goes the way of Spain and Ireland. And, like in those countries, the transition to a post-Catholic mentality will almost certainly occur rapidly, almost overnight.
Y12$    
13 Jul 2015  #15
DominicB
I am not going to challenge you on your personal experience, but you are making a awful lot of sweeping generalizations (in some respects I am too, but at the were least I'm not implying I know everything). Your personal experiences in one region of Poland do not mean it is universal across the whole country. I also sense an underlying hostility in your comments; therefore, I don't find your rationale as compelling as you might think. You would be more convincing to me if you sounded more impartial.

Definition of culture (from DK's Smithsonian Institution's "Human" book)
"Culture includes what people believe, how they behave, how they shape the environment, and what they understand about the world. Most elements of culture are passed on by the family or community.... Every culture is based on three elements: ideas, customs, and objects...."

There is a much larger chapter on this in the book discussing aspects of culture from religion, group identity, transmission of knowledge, art, science, etc. In any case, to claim that Catholicism did not influence Polish art, customs, or history is just plain false. I realize that maybe the source of our disagreement is in the very definition of culture.

The "young people" you are referring to, have parents, and parents and local community usually pass on most elements of culture (e.g.. customs to mark life stages such as entering the world, maturity, marriage, and death -- these often include religion). In addition, you cannot claim that people at one stage of their life necessarily maintain the same worldview.
jon357 64 | 14,382    
13 Jul 2015  #16
Probably most. Others were "spiritual, but not religious"

This is very true.

I'd add that there has always been antipathy among the educated and apathy among hoi polloi and this is increasing. Much of that increase is due to:

concept of "cultural Catholicism"

which has been overplayed in recent years to the point of becoming off-putting.

customs to mark life stages such as entering the world, maturity, marriage, and death

These are just rites of passage. An average bride cares more about her dress than the underlying philosophy behind the priest, shaman, minister, imam, houngan or pastor who performs the ceremony.
Y12$    
13 Jul 2015  #17
jon357 and DominicB

I'm curious, do both of you speak Polish fluently? Can you read in Polish? I take it both of you are in Poland.

The reason I ask is that you sound awfully sure of yourselves. I'm just wandering if you are looking through an "English language filter" (i.e. you interact with people who can speak English in Poland or you only read English language media; if you do, then you are probably not as exposed to a wide range of people or "how Catholic" they really are).

You actually haven't provided anything but anecdotal evidence (i.e no statistics or actual newspaper reports) -- well, actually neither have I. I know there is a general trend overall in the Western world towards less religiosity -- this would be happen in Poland too, but I question the intensity of which you claim. I would still maintain that Catholicism has influenced the Polish culture and has a place in Polish culture, whether you like or not.
DominicB - | 2,645    
13 Jul 2015  #18
but you are making a awful lot of sweeping generalizations

Of course, I am generalizing, but on a much greater basis than merely the few Polish young people I know. The rise and fall of the Catholic church has long been an interest of mine, and I am well read in the field, including events in Poland.

Your personal experiences in one region of Poland do not mean it is universal across the whole country.

While rural and eastern areas may lag some years behind the richer western Polish urban centers in this respect, there are no regions in Poland that are not experiencing a major loss of religiosity among young people.

In any case, to claim that Catholicism did not influence Polish art, customs, or history is just plain false.

I never claimed anything of the sort. I claimed that that influence has declined substantially in recent years, especially among young people, who no longer interpret cultural events in terms of the Catholic faith. For example, patently and overtly religious artworks such as Mozart's requiem are approached as secular works of art, and events in Polish history are extremely likely to be interpreted as expressions of the "Christ of Nations" mythology. Few young people look to the church to help them determine the significance of events in their lives or public events in general. Contrast that with the moherowy berety generation, who interpret practically every event from sour milk to cancer in terms of a Catholic cosmology, especially divine retribution.

The "young people" you are referring to, have parents, and parents and local community usually pass on most elements of culture (e.g.. customs to mark life stages such as entering the world, maturity, marriage, and death -- these often include religion).

The transmission of religious beliefs and practices has also markedly decreased.

In addition, you cannot claim that people at one stage of their life necessarily maintain the same worldview.

True, but there is no evidence that today's young people will return to religious practice as they get older. Quite the opposite. Evidence from more advanced countries indicates that religiosity will continue to decrease during the lifespan of those currently under thirty years old.

I also sense an underlying hostility in your comments

While I have little sympathy for the Catholic church, I do bemoan the loss of the cultural knowledge base that makes interpretation of older works of art possible. "Biblical literacy" (in the cultural, not religious, sense) is shockingly low among younger people. Fewer and fewer of them are familiar with themes such as Joseph and his coat of many colors, Jonah and the whale, or even references to things like thirty pieces of silver or the cock crowing thrice. For example, I watched the Russian film "The Return" with a group of college students. The film is jam packed with references to events and symbols in the Bible, and they are not subtly presented. Quite the opposite. Most escaped the attention of the students, though, including a whole sequence of events that was essentially a retelling of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. I found it funny that they said they "appreciated" the film even though practically all of it sailed way over their heads.

I don't think we disagree, unless you are somehow maintaining that the situation in Poland is unique and essentially different from that of the Western countries that preceded it in the process of dechristianization. I see the same series of events occurring that occurred decades earlier in the West. Or rather, a variation of a well-known them with results that are largely predictable and unsurprising. I'm also guessing that you underestimate the vast inter-generational divide regarding matters of religiosity. It's much more stark than in the US, for example.

both of you speak Polish fluently? Can you read in Polish? I take it both of you are in Poland.

Yes, I speak Polish fluently, and have read more books in Polish than most educated Poles. I lived in Poland for twelve years.

if you do, then you are probably not as exposed to a wide range of people or "how Catholic" they really are).

Also, I was an avid reader of the Polish religious press for years: everything from Tygodnik Powszechny to Nasz Dziennik.
Y12$    
13 Jul 2015  #19
Thank you for your thorough response, DominicB. I'm glad we agree, at least, on a few points.
DominicB - | 2,645    
13 Jul 2015  #20
I was actually surprised that you thought we disagreed, at least on the general scheme of things.

You asked for articles. This is one that I have found very informative.

natemat.pl/78625,nie-chodzimy-do-kosciola-bo-jest-w-nim-nudno
Y12$    
13 Jul 2015  #21
I know, DominicB. One problem with forums is that I find it hard sometimes to detect the tone behind a particular statement. I also find it that sometimes people misunderstand the point I'm trying to make. Or I miss the point they are trying to make.

One thing I am sensitive on, is when non-Poles appear to belittle Poles or Poland, and this is when my emotions go in overdrive (maybe I heard too many Polish jokes, I don't know). I realize now that you were not trying to do that. I think everybody should be a critical thinker.
Polsyr 6 | 771    
13 Jul 2015  #22
@Y12$ @DominicB; you both make good and interesting points. I enjoyed reading you fellows.
jon357 64 | 14,382    
13 Jul 2015  #23
I'm curious, do both of you speak Polish fluently? Can you read in Polish? I take it both of you are in Poland.

In my case yes - at home we speak no other language and yes, reading isn't a problem. Writing is a not so easy.

We need to be very aware that JK was speaking at a very special event - one with religious people and he was telling them what they want to hear. The audience was far from typical.
Polsyr 6 | 771    
13 Jul 2015  #24
@jon357 so JK adjusted his speech to the audience. Like I said before, the guy is not stupid. He's just offensive.
jon357 64 | 14,382    
13 Jul 2015  #25
@jon357 so JK adjusted his speech to the audience.

Even more than that - he was playing to the gallery and the audience were an untypical bunch.

Like I said before, the guy is not stupid. He's just offensive.

Most realise that - hence dumping him as quickly as the electorate could - he didn't even complete a term of office. The mohair berets gathered at the event he turned up to were among the minority who think he's a lovely person.
Polsyr 6 | 771    
13 Jul 2015  #26
mohair berets

That stinky old baggage - Poland will dump them sooner or later. Everyone is getting annoyed with the smell.

Edit to add: Many social traditions originate from the Church (and many if not most of these in turn are originally Pagan), and I actually enjoy participating in some of these traditions from time to time. But I think they are fading out little by little.
pweeg    
13 Jul 2015  #27
Y12$
The reality from the Poles I have met is that the majority we far more catholic than not. Neither John or Dominic are Polish or church goers AFAIK. If you visit Polish churches you will see, big city or small village, that the churches are full. Full as in, stand outside in the rain, full.

Even those who don't attend church much, like me, or even actively dislike it will still be catholics at heart.
jon357 64 | 14,382    
13 Jul 2015  #28
If you visit Polish churches you will see, big city or small village, that the churches are full. Full as in, stand outside in the rain, full.

So you haven't been in Warsaw much lately?

Neither John or Dominic are Polish or church goers

Religious affiliation and/or nationality make not one fig of difference.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,467    
13 Jul 2015  #29
So you haven't been in Warsaw much lately?

But I have and I visit churches eversy Sunday, not only my parish but also other churches. Compared to churches in Sweden, Holland, the Czech Republic, Germany and elsewhere, Polish chruches are definitely fuller on Sundays. It is true that congregations have thinned somewhat since the early post-PRL period but not to the point of being nearly empty. So don't pull rank on non-Poland-based posters and flaunt the fact that you are "on the spot" and therefore presumably more credible. The credibility of anyone who regards Simon Mol as "a nice guy" has to be highly suspect!

were an untypical bunc

Perhaps, but percentagewise far less untypical than your beloved freak parade types.

stinky old baggage

I presume that's also you view of your own mother and grandmother. A shining example of the kind of of filial love and respect demonstrated by the wayward and unchurched.

Neither John or Dominic are Polish or church goers

You will find that PF despite the name is populated largely by expats and non-Poles so the general tone of discussions is not typical of Polish public opinion. They tend to selectively focus on those fringes of Polish society that reflect the alien prejudices and ways they have brought here from their home countries.

Conversely, they often attack, belittle or deride typically Polish views, attitudes and traditions with which they do not identify.
PF may be helpful for practial things like train routes, how to rent a flat, hire a car, seek job openings, etc. but it does not reflect a representative cross-section of Polish public opnion.
Dougpol1 27 | 2,577    
13 Jul 2015  #30
Polish public opinion.

Well, if you were (mistakenly) alluding that Polish public opinion largely mirrors your own Polonius, then it would desperately need to be dragged screaming into the 21st century :)

However educated and younger Poles who live here are moving with the times, thanks be to God! ( I spoke to him just the other day, and He is very relieved with the way that things are going here generally)


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