Christianity is dying before everyone in Poland. The reason for this is not the propaganda of freethinkers or the activities of freemason lodges and international conspiracies. We ourselves are eradicating Christianity, we, clergymen, the most zealous members of the Church, at our own request and with our own hands. Fewer and fewer people identify with the Church. The Statistical Institute of the Catholic Church recently recorded the largest decline in practicing Catholics in years. In 2016, the figure fell by more than 3 percent compared to 2015 to 36.7 percent – the lowest figure in Poland’s post-war history.
What’s happened? An element has been integrated into our religiosity that bursts it. It’s our hostility. It is not just a viral infection, but has become a habit for us and is, so to speak, the characteristic by which we are recognized. But where hostility reigns, civil rights know hatred – the enemy must be wiped out. People may therefore be spat upon, mocked and kicked; they may be accused without justification of infamy and even criminal acts, while invoking the Gospel, making a pilgrimage to the “Bright Mountain” (Jasna Gora) as savior of Christian values and the Church, folding their hands in prayer in fear of God and presenting themselves in prayer in the media. This is no longer Christianity, but its parody.
The anticatechesis of the refugees
How deeply this hostility has permeated our thinking is shown by our attitude towards refugees and migrants. Ten years ago, 70 per cent of Poles believed that we, who were refugees in other countries, should offer hospitality to those fleeing the war. Today it is different: 63 percent of Poles are against the admission of refugees. This is the tangible result of the aggressive anticatechesis carried out by politicians. Unfortunately, they are supported by many clergy.
No one will claim that receiving migrants is easy, especially if they belong to a different culture and religion. But every person who suffers injustice and is in need, and therefore every refugee – as Pope Francis reminded us – shows “the face of Christ”. Those who want to close the borders to the foreigners claim to protect Christian civilization, religious culture, yes, the Gospel and Christ himself. But our canonized Pope taught that “man is the way of the Church. We have man to serve. To each and every one. To reach out to one’s neighbor, and especially to the stranger, is to work for Christ and the Church.
It is hard to believe how deeply hostility has settled in the minds of Polish Catholics. The other day, a distinguished clergyman I knew well said: Lucky our government didn’t let this rabble go to Poland… They’re not human, they’re savages. “
Those who govern Poland today appeal to the darkest corners of the Polish soul. They have created a “spectre” with which they scare almost two-thirds of the Polish population. They knew it would give them the election victory. The refugees from Africa and the Middle East – so the people were hammered in – are not people asking for help, not victims of violence, but cynical Muslims who will destroy the Catholic nation and rape Polish women.
After all, the Bishops’ Conference proposed to create “humanitarian corridors” as they exist in other countries. Without burdening the state budget, they make it possible to provide treatment to patients in critical condition who are not expected to receive any help in Syria. But our government – its ministers were in the front rows during the “monthly celebrations” for Smolensk in the cathedral in Warsaw – rejected this proposal on the grounds that – if I understood correctly – it would pose a threat to the security of the state. It is hard to imagine greater hypocrisy.
You have to say it out loud: Polish refugee policy is a disgrace. Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz said: helpless people are dying at the borders of Europe and in front of the civilized world.” And we – instead of offering help – are erasing the Gospel. While allied countries in our European community, such as Greece and Italy, are struggling with the refugee problem, Poland is evading solidarity and isolating itself in immigrant communities.
In this situation, every single step is important, such as Janina Ochojska’s proposal, supported by the Primate and the President of the Bishops’ Conference: on 14 January, the World Day for Migrants and Refugees, the priests should use the Mass form for the refugees.
Many faithful concerned about the Church demand a declaration from our Pastors to those in power that they respect the right of democratically elected representatives of the people to conduct domestic and foreign policy, but at the same time feel responsible as Pastors of the Church “to subject even political matters to a moral judgment when the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls demand it” (,,Gaudium et Spes”, 76). Therefore, the Pastors of the Polish Church should declare that the government’s attitude towards the refugees is not consistent with the Gospel and Christianity. They should ask that the government of the Republic of Poland should not refer in its policies to concern for the Christian religion or the Catholic Church. For the bishops are of the opinion that such a “concern” does not serve the Church, but rather destroys it.
It is generally believed that the responsibility for the inferno that struck Poland lies with a single man. I was of the same opinion. But when the defamatory formulations of the “assassination of traitors” and the “canals” fell in the Sejm and the members of the ruling party were not embarrassed at the slightest, but even considered these insults with standing ovations, it became clear to me that it is they, they who stand there and applaud, who actually bear the responsibility for what is happening now.
Not long ago Poland was highly respected and was leading in the changes after the fall of communism, now it is the “sick man” of Europe. Don’t you see that, Congressmen and Senators? Many highly respected authorities accuse you of destroying Poland, but I accuse you – ashamed but resolutely – of destroying Christianity. Therefore, I ask you to refrain from calling yourself defenders of the Church.
The poison from the radio
Opponents of receiving refugees would not have been so successful if the hostility in religious life had not spread in Poland for years. Psychologists know that the best means of group integration – albeit a dubious one – is the invention of an external enemy to threaten. The world champion is Father Tadeusz Rydzyk. In his appearances, phrases like: We are persecuted, they want to destroy us because we love Poland and the Church, we are constantly being attacked… Our critics “radiate hatred against the Poles, the country, the Church and Radio Maryja,” says the Father and Radio Director. Are there no prayers on Radio Maryja, on the programmes of the television station I Stand by and in Unser Tagblatt? Yes, they do exist. Just as there are top-class conferences and interesting texts. Then why are they criticized by Wisniewski and clergymen like him? Because these prayers are interspersed with attacks on people – and that is no longer Christianity.
Seeing enemies and critics everywhere is the hallmark of sects. Professor Norman Davies, whom we admire for his sober view of Polish history because he sees in it what local historians do not see, recently formulated: “The faithful in Poland are instilled with poison in the churches”. This sentence also applies to the media of the Father, its director. For a while the author of these lines tried to pray the Rosary together with Radio Maryja, but in the long run they proved impossible: Immediately after the “Amen”, Mr Michalkiewicz or some other “inspired patriot” started insults against political opponents. The main enemy was the previous government, which had “plundered Poland, degraded it and sold it to Berlin.
The radio station recently held another ceremony in Torun. Bishop Wieslaw Mering celebrated the Mass, assisted by several dozen high church representatives. In the presence of the most pious ministers and deputies (Macierewicz, Ziobro, Szyszko, Blaszczak, Piotrowicz, Czarnecki) he “canonized” the Father and Director of the station, then he referred to its epochal achievements (“We thank you for awakening your love for the Fatherland, for the difficult art of teaching service to the Fatherland and the true depiction of its history”, but also for “that Radio Maryja unswervingly denounces all lies about the tragedy of Smolensk and thus awakens the conscience of the Poles”). The celebrations were honoured with letters from the President and the then Prime Minister, but above all the President of the PiS: Yaroslav Kaczynski, who only a few years ago claimed that Father Rydzyk served Russia’s interests, wrote: “Providence sent Father Tadeusz Rydzyk on our way.
It must be made very clear: Radio Maryja, the television station I endure and Our Day Gazette have been spraying their poison for years and calling it the Annunciation. This poison is all the more powerful because its spread is supported by many bishops. Our unforgettable Archbishop Jozef Zycinski has courageously declared publicly that this work has little to do with Christianity and drives people out of the Church. I am convinced that many bishops share this view, but they remain silent. Those bishops who go to Torun and praise the “great evangelist of the people”, who send their congratulations to Our Day Gazette during the holidays and thus give credibility to Father Rydzyk’s activities – they are not silent.
I decided to write these lines because I recognize the concern and sorrow of many wonderful people, even the intention to leave the Church. For them, our community is no longer focused on love and truth. If only the bishops knew how many there are and how difficult it is for them to remain in the Church…
You, Bishops, bear the responsibility for the Polish Church and for the proclamation of the unadulterated Gospel. If you remain passive, the churches will empty. Many believers expect you to clarify – since the Catholic character of the media founded by Father Rydzyk cannot be restored – that these media have no right to call themselves “Catholic. And that the radio of Torun cannot bear the name “Mary” because its program denigrates the Gospel, and thus also the Blessed Mother. Yes, I accuse Radio Maryja, the television I persevere and Our Day Gazette that they are destroying Christianity and the Church in Poland.
The monthly profanation
Since I have decided to sound the alarm because Poland is about to become dechrist-proof, I cannot ignore the lesson we have been taught for seven years in the “Krakow Suburb” in Warsaw. I mean the “monthly celebrations” for Smolensk.
I will not go into what is going on in Warsaw Cathedral: I quoted the shocking phrases in the sermons several times. It still amazes me that these semi-religious, semi-political meetings continue. Here I would like to refer to what happens after leaving the cathedral. The procession starts moving. The cross is carried at its tip. The rosary is prayed. It can be read on the banners that the Smolensk tragedy was a planned crime, that it was “an attack”. The portrait of Tusk is shown together with Putin, below: “They have succeeded.”
At the presidential palace, flowers are laid down. Then the highlight: the speech of the chairman of the PiS, who regularly stigmatizes his political opponents as traitors, spreads hatred and incites them: They wanted to suffocate our memory because they feared it. This is the fault of Donald Tusk’s government. She did everything she could to erase that memory,
Antoni and his team performed a miracle” (sixth anniversary). “Poles have been constantly lied to, Poles have been constantly lied to.”
The President and his wife were not yet buried when the attacks (…) began, the whole machinery of degradation was set in motion, the cross was desecrated (…), all the basic rules of our European culture were trampled underfoot. There was a real outburst of hatred against the Polish Catholic tradition (…) “All this was done with approval, if not on the orders of the government” (fifth anniversary).
The processon ends with a prayer, often led by Pf. Scanislaw Malkowski (currently represented by another clergyman). At the chairman’s side he spoke of exorcisms directed against the presidential palace where [then president] Bronislaw Komorowski lived. It has to be said out loud: This is not Christianity, but its parody and a profanation of the cross! Hostility and hatred packaged as religion are worse than unbelief. Why don’t so many people understand: This is an epidemic.
Many faithful expect the Bishops’ Conference to finally make it clear that these “monthly celebrations” have no religious character and that no cross may be carried. And that the bishops ask the clergy not to take part in these marches. But I accuse Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the organizers and participants in the monthly celebrations (including those who participate in good faith) of destroying authentic Christianity and the Church in Poland.
Hate on the streets
Strange appeals are increasingly being heard on Poland’s streets and squares: “With hammer and sickle against the red pack”, “Jews away from power”, “White power, white race”, “Pure blood, cool mind”, “Europe will be white or it will be deserted”, “Victory healed”. The politicians obviously do not take groups that shout such slogans seriously, or even, it seems to me, have certain sympathies. Many clergy also consider these screamers real patriots, on the “Bright Mountain” they will be received with all honours, like last Saturday. 13 The subprior of the monastery proclaimed:
“You are the heroes of the 21st century.” As if nationalism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia were not lifethreatening diseases. The history of the 20th century teaches us that they must not be trivialised.
I am in no way against contacts of priests with such groups, quite the contrary. But they must take place in the spirit of the Gospel. The organizers of such celebrations for football fans on the “Bright Mountain” may not be aware that the Eucharist cannot be reconciled with aggressive, hateful behavior, but the theologically educated Pauline Fathers have a duty to enlighten them and to demand that such behavior be omitted if one wishes to be received on the “Bright Mountain”. The same applies to the Independence March, which was organised under the motto “We want God”. If a group, organization or association wants to be considered Catholic, it must renounce hostility and hatred. That is why I accuse priests who tolerate nationalism and hostility “and especially those who even approve of it: with this behavior you are ruining Christianity and the Church and strengthening the forces that endanger social peace.
For a pure Poland
In my darkest dreams, I never thought I would live to see this. The government is devaluing the importance of Solidarnosc and Poland’s achievements after the fall of communism and believes that everything that is good comes from it – so far it would still be bearable. The problem is that those who rule Poland are of the opinion that on the other side there are not opponents or competitors, but only traitors. That’s why they spit on them and slander them. That’s why they say “Everything that is sacred is trampled underfoot, Poland is underestimated, these are bandits who serve foreign interests.” Now that the institutions that uphold the rule of law and civil liberty have been brought to trial, it is announced that traitors and enemies will now be dealt with – so that Poland will become pure, just and Catholic. “Let Poland be truly Poland.”
The only power that still enjoys a certain authority in Poland are the bishops. Therefore I ask, not least in the name of many who think similarly: Bishops, make public appear. It is high time, you are needed now, and that urgently “in the Church, but also in Poland.
Article from Quart magazine Nr. 4/2018, 21.1.201, translated from Polish to German by Marlis Lami, and form German ro English by www.deepl.com