Is Poland still a Catholic country or a country of Catholic tradition? There are countries built on Catholicism, such as Italy or Spain, permeated with the symbolism, tradition and history of the Church, which no longer have a living faith in the social layer. There, the majority of children are born outside of sacramental marriage, the number of abortions is increasing, and the dominant religious attitude, if any, is religious indifference.
In its recent history, Poland is probably at such a historical turning point, where fewer and fewer Poles consider what the Church proclaims to be a "sacred message". The interpretation of the Church's doctrine is less and less our central point of reference and explanation for the world. Although in June this year the Church's opinion polls rose in relation to May by as much as 5 percentage points and 53 percent of Poles positively assess the activity of the Church, nonetheless besides this seemingly optimistic data, there are other statistics and sad events of the ruthless attack on the Church and the faithful. Only 15% of Poles attend Sunday Mass after confirmation. The number of divorces is increasing from year to year, and in some regions the increase follows geometric progression. Many Poles of the middle generation fight with their children for the baptism of their grandchildren.
The Christian world view ceases to be a cultural manifestation in Poland, and is becoming one of many particular world views coexisting in society in the name of the principle of tolerance and freedom of conscience. Today, the ideology of liberal democracy stands higher than the Church's doctrine, because it is that which, through its goodwill, allows Christianity to function modestly, but on an equal footing with other "truths". This state of spiritual disorder is well illustrated by the words of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD)spokeswoman Anna-Maria Żukowska, who wrote on Twitter on Corpus Christi "A very nice public gathering. People are dressed a little less colourfully than at the Pride Parade, but their faces show the joy of being able to walk around the city flaunting their private business, which is faith. I wish all the processionaries a successful march!"
We are going through a quiet moral revolution, who knows, perhaps the largest in the last century. Something mind-boggling is happening to us. From a Catholic country which was even able to stand up to the partitions, Stalinism and the Communist Security Service (SB) with its Department IV appointed to fight the Church, from the country of Primate Stefan Wyszyński, who in the times of the People's Republic of Poland was a real Interrex and of John Paul II, we are going through an accelerated course of secularization and, astonishingly, not all of us are worried about this secularization steamroller.
The respectable and also deceased priest, Professor Lucjan Balter, strongly associated with the theological journal "Communio", in 2008 quoted in that magazine his conversation of a decade ago with the custodian of the Marian shrine in Kavelaer. "The Custodian said that until 20 years ago Germany was very religious: a living faith in God was felt almost everywhere. They did not even notice how and when there was a real flood of secularization, dangerous especially because it was somewhat anonymous. The Custodian's message to the Poles was: Watch out! If we did not notice when the wave came to us from the West, then beware, because in twenty years' time it may even reach you and overwhelm you [...] The infamous Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the borders opened up not only for us, but also for 'them'.
At the time when we were emerging from Soviet communism, cultural communism, which finally "hit" us, was flourishing in Europe. Cultural Marxists under the auspices of Gramsci also waited for the opening of Polish borders. Twenty years ago, could a blasphemous "procession" of homosexuals have safely passed through any city in Poland? No, not even the communists, when they arrested the image of Our Lady, dared to defile her. Now we are not disturbed by blasphemies, and if not to a lesser extent by them, blasphemies committed in the most sacred places in Poland, such as Jasna Góra, which was recently stormed by LGBT circles with the slogans "nationalism - begone from the monastery" and "let gays in on Jasna Góra". On their banners they had a light mountain icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a rainbow halo. A few weeks earlier, in Gdańsk, the participants of the homo-parade made a blasphemous parody of the Corpus Christi procession, and had carried a picture of a vagina on their banners. All this is happening in a country where a few years ago many serious observers of public life, including those far from the Church, spoke about the phenomenon of the "JPII generation".
The young Anna Domini 2019 generation, as well as many opinion-forming professional circles have developed their own systems of meanings, which can no longer be integrated with Catholicism, or are even on a collision course with the values propagated by the Church. They are not only artists and journalists, they are also lawyers and even athletes. It turned out that when Zofia Klepacka defended the traditional family and fought against LGBT propaganda, Adam Małysz, Jolanta Ogar-Hill, Otylia Jędrzejczak, Radosław Majdan, Polish Champion in Muay Thai Kamil Siemaszko and European Jiu-jitsu Ne Waza runner-up Tomasz Paszek joined the campaign Sport Against Homophobia.
And no reversal of these trends in the a conservative, pro-Christian direction is to be seen. The model of social advancement in Poland, just like in the world, belongs to the cultural left, in which Catholic interpretations of reality lose their credibility at an alarming rate. Yes, "Jesus Christ is not in fashion today, because the horned one is on a roll" sang punk rock band Apteka even back in the time of Jarocin. Today, these words are even more relevant than they were three decades ago.
Today, the answer to the question of whether the teaching of the Church determines our personal choices and whether it is still a point of reference for us, does not cause any difficulties to anyone, the teaching of the Church is more and more often an empty phrase for us, and when it comes to sexual ethics and premarital chastity for example, this teaching is actually dead. Young people who admit to being virgins until their wedding are treated by their peers as aliens.
In most Western European and Canadian states, right-wing politicians not taking part in a gay pride parade must explain publicly why they did not do so and woe to their careers or their position in the party if they admit that this is against their conscience. The brave ones, whose conscience does not allow them to attend such events, later use health reasons, urgent trips etc.as their excuses This is where their tolerance and conscientious objection ends. Even the President of the United States, Donald Trump, known for his wars with left-wing madness, has recently bowed down and supported the 'Month of LGBT Pride', and the rainbow-coloured banners of homosexuals hung in the windows of the US Embassy in Warsaw.
In Poland, the affirmation of Catholicism is not yet so stigmatized, but it already arouses tension and consternation in some situations and in an increasing number of environments. We were surprised fifteen years ago when priests working in Germany said that you do not go there in a cassock and a collar because it exposes the presbyter to verbal and physical attacks. Today, things are starting to look the same in Poland. From time to time we hear that a priest was spat at or beaten up, like a cleric in a staircase in a block of flats, when he came to visit his parents. Not so long ago, the prestige of a clergyman in Poland was visible not only on the religious and moral level, but also on the socio-cultural level. Today one is afraid to go out into the street in a cassock.
Catholics in Poland no longer think in terms of the categories of the triumphant Church. Most of us, genuinely concerned with the evangelical message, more and more often are worried about the time when we will no longer be able to fully live our Christian lives in a social environment? The priest Prof. Dariusz Oko, who is scientifically involved in gender theory and who tours the country with lectures on the harmfulness of this ideology, admits that gays still threaten to kill him.
Certain Christian attitudes are already becoming excluded, for example, from public life. Such a fate has recently been encountered in Poland by pro-lifers for example, whom "reasonable people do not shake hands with". Few of the young aspiring, ambitious people have the courage to remain with Catholic Social Teaching when there is a chance to join an elite, be it social or professional. Most of them are silent about this accession.
In this way, we are approaching the point where the situation of Christians in the West, where the participation of Catholics in the life of the state is becoming more and more apparent, with many reservations, is beginning to be repeated. In a very short time, more will be asked of Catholics than non-believers in public debate just because we are believers. The 'plus' of legality required of Catholics is already blatant discrimination, unequal treatment and some kind of heroism.
"In modern culture it is not easy to observe Christian principles in those spheres of life which have been freed from the normative influence of the Church. The number of those who, for Christian reasons, decide to behave ethically in the economic or political sphere is decreasing, because those who, for example, consider observance of the law to be of moral importance and a matter of conscience for them, experience the impression that by acting morally they bear costs that are not commensurate with those incurred by people in whose lives moral norms do not play a significant role," writes Agnieszka Fedczak in her work "Christianity and contemporary socio-cultural transformations".
A country of Catholic tradition expresses itself in the fact that we treat the Church as a permanent, important and useful place, but still a custom for which we would not be ready to make a personal sacrifice today. We get married in church because it's a nice setting, but if the spouse's cross was too heavy, we'd just part like civilized people.
This is not without consequences. Who enjoys this state the most besides the left? Our neighbours Russia and Germany. Tsar Alexander II, ordering the dissolution of monasteries in the Kingdom of Poland, knew well where Poles draw their moral strength from, which keeps the nation together despite the horror of the partitions. More than seventy years later, another occupant, Hans Frank, the General Governor of the occupied Polish lands, spoke of Jasna Góra in the following way: "When all the lights for the Poles go out, they will always have the Saint from Częstochowa and the Church”.