Nonetheless, the Polish episcopacy cannot simply assume that its followers will go where it leads. For centuries - through the country's multiple partitions, the Nazi occupation and the communist rule - the church fought to save the Polish nation, paying a heavy price in the process. Today it is fighting to prevent its flock from being shepherded to the verdant pastures of capitalism. A battle has begun, with minds and souls at stake: the new Poland, intoxicated by its freshly acquired wealth, is battling the millennium-old Roman Catholic Church.
Ninety-five percent of all Poles are Roman Catholics, and well over half say they attend mass at least once a week. The Poles, along with the Irish, are among the most pious members of the European Union. But the fact remains that "the majority of the Polish faithful have grown impervious to the moral teachings of the church," according to Warsaw sociologist Pawel Spiewak.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
The Catholic Church in Poland: Battle for souls
With the resignation of the Archbishop of Warsaw after he admitted being involved with the security services during the Communist era, the Catholic Church in Poland has come into the media's focus. George Weigel had a piece in Newsweek a couple of days back, and Amy provides some other good links as well about the concerns this raises about the selection of Bishops. Now, this article in the International edition of Der Spiegel focuses on the declining authority of the Church in Poland, and seems to be largely critical of the Polish hierarchy. Radio Maryja features prominently as well (the implication seems to be that most of Poland's hierarchy, and clergy are sympathetic to the perspective of this station.)