The Catholic Church and Poland's Return to Europe
Byrnes, Timothy A., East European Quarterly
Six years after the dramatic fall of communism, the Catholic Church continues to play a very active role in Polish politics. The church, through Primate Jozef Cardinal Glemp and the other bishops, participates in the political process in order to advance the institutional interests of the church itself; to imbed Catholic moral teaching into the fabric of Polish law and public policy; and to warn against the election of political candidates whom the church deems antithetical to its own interests and to the interests of the Polish nation. The church's leaders view themselves as having been central agents in the great political transformation that has taken place in Poland. And they are now insisting that they play an equally central role in determining the direction that transformation will take in the future.
Evidence has emerged recently, however, suggesting that the church may have overplayed its complex and, in fact, tenuous position in Polish politics. The church acted very aggressively to advance its institutional and policy interests after the fall of communism, and a backlash has apparently set in. The post-communist (and anti-clerical) Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) now dominates the governing coalition in the Polish parliament (Sejm). And even more significantly, the SLD's Aleksander Kwasniewski defeated Lech Walesa in a closely contested presidential election despite the church's clearly expressed opposition to Kwasniewski's candidacy.
Moreover, public opinion polls suggest directly that the people have grown wary of the church's influence. Seventy-five percent of respondents to a recent poll, for example, said that the church "should not engage in politics." And 73% said that the church should not endorse political candidates.(1) In addition, a sizable majority of the country consistently dissents from the church's passionately advanced opposition to abortion.(2)
Given these qualms on the part of the public, and given the potentially counterproductive nature of the church's recent political interventions, why does the church continue to assert itself so aggressively in Polish politics? Why does the church insist on pushing its agenda so hard in the face of growing opposition and resentment? The church persists in this fashion because its goals reach well beyond the confines of Polish domestic politics to the future shape of European society. Pope John Paul II and many of the Polish bishops see their homeland as sitting once again astride the great religious and political divisions of the European continent. They want an authentically Catholic Poland to serve as an instrument of the re-evangelization of the Orthodox East, and as a spiritual and moral exemplar to the secular West. They insist with unshakable fervor, therefore, that Poland retain its national Catholic heritage, and that it resist acceptance of what John Paul II has called Europe's "civilization of desire and consumption."(3)
The Catholic hierarchy's aggressive pursuit of political influence in post-communist Poland, in other words, is deeply grounded in that hierarchy's view of Poland's role in European history. The pope and bishops do not want the newly democratic Poland merely to "return to Europe."(4) They want the new Poland to reassert its Catholic character, and in the process to invite Europe - East and West, Catholic and Orthodox - to rediscover its common Christian roots. Such a grand, even grandiose, sense of its own mission continues to lead the Catholic Church to reject out of hand any political accommodation with Poland's secularist, post-communist regime.
The Catholic Church's prominent role in contemporary Polish society is the result of three historical developments(5): the identification of church and nation through Mieszko I's baptism in 966; the association of the church with Polish nationalism during the partitions, occupations, and foreign dominations of the last two hundred years; and the creation of a nearly homogeneous nation by the murder and expulsion of Polish Jews during and after the war, and by the ethnic migrations involved in Stalin's movement of Poland's borders to the West. As a result of these developments, Poland today is a nation whose population is overwhelmingly Catholic, and whose national identity is closely associated with Roman Catholicism.
The identification of Polish nationalism with Roman Catholicism should not be simplified or overstated, however; the interests of the church and the interests of the nation have not always been consistent with each other. As one observer has put it: "The components of association between Catholicism and Polish nationalism have gone through as many permutations as have the boundaries of Poland."(6)
The complexity of this association was most clearly revealed between 1795 and 1918 when Poland ceased to exist as a sovereign state. In one sense, the church played a central role in the survival of the Polish nation during this period as Catholicism served as a pillar of nationalist resistance to Austrian, Prussian, and Russian rule. In another sense, however, the church's support for Polish independence in those years had to be weighed against the Vatican's broader institutional interest in placating the occupying powers, and in discouraging the more violent expressions of Polish nationalism. The hierarchy remained ambivalent, in other words, while the people and the lower clergy practiced a kind of Catholic "civil religion" of nationalism and resistance.(7)
This tension between Polish nationalism and the Polish Catholic hierarchy was eliminated during World War 11, however, by the church's sharing in the general suffering of the Polish nation. Catholic bishops and priests were murdered in large numbers during the German occupation, and survivors like Stefan Wyszynski, chaplain to the Polish underground and future Primate of Poland, came to associate their church with armed resistance to Nazi rule, and with the widespread Polish nationalism the occupation reignited. Years later, as primate, Wyszynski said: "Next to God, our first love in Poland."(8) Indeed, for Cardinal Wyszynski, and for the church he led until his death in 1982, Catholicism was an indispensable element of Polish nationalism, just as an enduringly Catholic Poland was an unmistakable indicator of the limits of twentieth century totalitarianism.
"Poland, Christ of Nations"
Cardinal Wyszynski and other Catholic leaders of this period did much more than offer their support to Polish nationalism, however. They also advanced that nationalism as a necessary precursor to the eventual emancipation of Eastern and Central Europe from Soviet rule, and to the ultimate reemergence of an authentically Christian Europe. They believed, as many Poles have believed through the ages, that their nation is destined to play a special role in human history. They made sense of their nation's tragic history by characterizing it as a national recapitulation of the suffering of Jesus Christ. And they comforted themselves with the conviction that just as the despair of Good Friday was followed by the redemption of Easter, so Poland's suffering and serial dismemberment would be followed by national rebirth and international Christian renewal.
As indicated above, the leading figures of the Catholic Church's hierarchy did not always play a leading role in this national passion play. Popular folklore and nationalist literature, not formal Catholic teaching, defined Poland as the "Christ of nations."(9) But during the Communist era, Cardinal Wyszynski closely identified his church with the aspirations of the Polish nation as he eloquently proclaimed the historic role Polish Catholicism would play through its endurance and vitality. His job, as primate and patriot, was to defend the Polish church not only for its own sake (although that was reason enough), but also for the sake of Poland's future, and indeed for European Christendom's survival of both tyranny and apathy.
Wyszynski's pursuit of this distinctively Polish mission brought him into sharp conflict with the political authorities in Warsaw and Moscow, of course. But it also brought him into conflict with his religious superiors in Rome as well. Popes Pius XII, John XXIII, and Paul VI all viewed the Polish church in a broader context as only one of several Eastern and Central European churches suffering under Soviet domination. Paul VI, in particular, viewed the Polish church's predicament as relatively mild in comparison with that of the church in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. As a result, he expected Cardinal Wyszynski to subordinate his own actions and political commitments to the wider imperatives of the Vatican's Ostpolitik.(10) And Wyszynski, in response, insisted on the unique nature of the Polish circumstances, as he sought to protect his status as the central Catholic emissary to Poland's governmental authorities.
Wyszynski's struggles with the regime have been romanticized in hagiography. But the fact of the matter is that the Catholic primate played a complex, and in some quarters controversial, role in Polish society as the decades of communist rule wore on. He was, to be sure, a sharp and consistent critic of the regime. But he was also a cautious patriot, ever mindful of Poland's limited sovereignty and its potentially explosive relationship with the Soviet Union. As a result, Wyszynski became in time less an outright opponent Of the regime and more a mediator between the regime and its more radical opponents in an increasingly restive civil society. And as he did so, he became increasingly fearful that his tenuous balancing act would be toppled by Vatican officials who understood neither the confounding complexities nor the Pregnant possibilities of the Polish circumstance.
As Wyszynski walked the tightrope of Polish politics in the 1970s, however, he had no way of knowing, or even imagining, that his fellow Pole, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla of Krakow, would be elected pope. Heel would be way of knowing, in other words that he would be displaced as the most influential leader of Polish Catholicism by a man who had a less parochial world-view and therefore a much broader conception of Poland's proper role in Europe's future.
George Weigel has written that "what Lenin started at Petrograd's Finland Station on April 16, 1917... Pope John Paul II begun dismantle at the Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa, the shrine of the Black Madonna, Queen of Poland, on June 4, 1979."(11) Not all observers of these events would agree with Weigel's sweeping judgment. But most would probably agree with the basic argument that John Paul's election; and his triumphant return to Poland in the Spring of 1979, played an important Part in the rise of Solidarity the following year, in the subsequent weakening of the Polish regime, and in the eventual disintegrati-on of the Soviet bloc.
John Paul II's primary role in the historic transformation of European politics was to embody the failure of communism to impose itself on the hearts of Poles and other Central Europeans. If, as Stalin once said, communism fits Poland like a saddle fits a cow, then John Paul II's papacy represented the enduring distinctiveness of the Polish cow. His very existence as a stubbornly independent and fiercely pious Polish Catholic, not t(;mention the ecstasy with which his election was greeted in his homeland, symbolized the survival of a culturally and socially independent Poland despite over three decades of Soviet-imposed communist rule. Cardinal Wyszynski had skillfully nurtured that independence from the relative isolation of Warsaw and often in the face of distrust and misunderstanding from the Vatican. But "Pope Wojtyla" would celebrate that independence on a much grander stage, and advance the Polish cause with all his considerable talents and with all the varied tools available to the modern papacy.
For Karol Wojtyla, however, even more than for Stefan Wyszynski, Polish cultural and religious autonomy were valued not so much for their own sake, but for the role they would play in recreating and reunifying European Christendom. Wojtyla had been deeply affected by his nation's tragic history, and was fully committed to the messianic mission that history had created for his people. And once he ascended to the throne of St. Peter as Pope John Paul II, Wojtyla set out to advance that mission in ways never before imagined by Polish Catholics. In fact, John Paul publicly interpreted his election to the papacy as a direct sign of God's endorsement of his distinctively Polish vision of the future:
Is it not Christ's will [he asked during his first
pilgrimage to Poland in 1979], is it not what the
Holy Spirit dispenses, that this Polish Pope, this
Slav Pope, should at this precise moment manifest
the spiritual unity of Christian Europe?(12)
This pope, in short, views his role in human history in remarkably sweeping terms. He sees himself as having been personally chosen by God to be the central agent in both the healing of the great Christian schism, and in the unification of the European continent around Catholic principles and practice. He has, in the words of Patrick Michel, a "grand design of unity, of the reconquest and recatholization of Europe, of which the Church in Poland is at once the starting point, the powerhouse, and the ideal."(13) Wyszynski, as Primate, preserved the Polish church. Wojtyla, as Pope, seeks to use that church as a model and building block of a much more ambitious project.
Poland in Europe
As early as his first pilgrimage to Poland in 1979, Pope John Paul II was already calling for the re-establishment of a "Christian Europe" and already emphasizing the central role that the Polish people could play in that project.(14) One of his earliest encyclicals, Slavum Apostoli, celebrated the contributions made by Sts. Cyril and Methodius, apostles to the Slavs, to the "building of Europe, not only in the religious Christian communities, but also in the spheres of its political and cultural union."(15) The roots set down by Cyril and Methodius, he argued, "constitute an extremely firm foundation that cannot be ignored in any serious attempt to recreate the unity of the continent in a new way, relevant to our times."(16)
Moreover, since the fall of communism in 1989, the Pope has even more vigorously advocated his vision of a new era of Christian union in Europe. And he has passionately defended Poland's right to join that union on its own terms.
We [Poles] have a right to be in Europe [he said in
1991], and to develop among other nations,
according to our own identity, standing on the
ground of what we ourselves worked out during
this difficult stage of history. We have the right
especially because others look at the Polish way,
sometimes critically, but often with hope.(17)
In fact, the right of Poland to participate in "Europe" on its own terms was a major theme of the Pope's first visit to post-communist Poland. Gone were the inspirational exhortations to "solidarity" that had characterized his earlier dramatic homecomings. In their place were stem warming to his fellow Poles not to turn their backs on their heritage of Catholicism, and not to surrender their national evangelical mission:
Do not let yourself get caught up by the civilization
of desire and consumption. Is it civilization
or anti-civilization, a culture or an anti-culture ... ?
We do not have to enter Europe, because we
helped to create it, and we did so with greater
effort than those who claim a monopoly on
The Pope is not the only leader of the Catholic Church who speaks in this vein. Jozef Cardinal Glemp, Wyszynski's successor as Primate of Poland, and the other leaders of the Polish episcopate speak often of the need to resist secular trends in contemporary Poland, and of the right of a distinctively Catholic Poland to live in Europe on its own terms. At times, in fact, their rhetoric has gone well beyond that of their leader in the Vatican. Bishop Ryszard Karpinski of Lublin, for example, charged that arson attacks on churches in his city were indicative of a "resurgence of anti-religious sentiments of a force unheard of even during the occupation or Stalinism," and that the promotion of "atheistic, anti-national, and anti-human values" was proving successful among, the people because it was cloaked in the beguiling garb of Poland's promised return to Europe."(19) In a similar vein, Niedziela, a Catholic weekly, dismissed the call for Poland to return to the center of modem Europe as an invitation to return "to the center of modem barbarity."(20)
Most directly, this commitment to the cultural distinctiveness of a Catholic Poland has led to a certain ambivalence concerning Poland's application to join the European Union. The Polish episcopate is wary of rushing into a wider European entity that will neither recognize nor reflect the Catholic values the bishops are advocating in Poland. This ambivalence was expressed, for example, by Cardinal Glemp in August 1995 to 100,000 pilgrims gathered at Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa, Poland's most sacred Catholic shrine. Entering the European Union, Glemp argued, should be seen as a "moral issue," not merely an economic one, and Poles should beware of the potential threat that membership could pose to Polish national identity.
There are two ways for the poor to enter the
group of the rich. The first is to make an
impression with their character, diligence, and
personality. The second is to get rid of their
character, their clothes, and their way of life,
changing into compulsory full dress or jeans and
imitating everything that makes a man rich.(21)
Pope John Paul 11, Cardinal Glemp, and the other Polish bishops are not advocating the continued isolation of Poland from Western European society. In fact, like most Poles, they believe their homeland to be culturally and historically part of the West, and they are anxious to reconnect the bonds broken by forty-five years of Soviet domination. What they are arguing, however, is that Poland should navigate its way back to the European community without relinquishing either its Catholic identity or its self-styled evangelical mission. These spokesmen for the church view the period following the fall of communism as an historic opportunity both to reassert Catholicism's role in Polish society, and to reassert Catholic Poland's proper role in European politics and society. They do not want to drift toward Western secularism; they want to build a Catholic Poland that can in the long term serve as a model for other nations on both sides of the old Cold War border.
The Church in Poland Today
Such a mission for the church, of course, requires sustained and active participation in the political life of contemporary Poland. A retreat now from the struggle to define the post-communist culture and politics of Poland would be tantamount to a retreat from the church's historic mission to defend Poland and redeem Europe. The first order of business for the church, then, has been the protection and advancement of its own substantial institutional interests in Poland. Cardinal Glemp and the other Polish bishops are mindful of the struggle that the church has waged for centuries in Poland for its own institutional survival. As a result, they are committed to establishing during this window of legitimate national autonomy reliable and enduring protections of the church's role in Polish national life.
The church's leaders, for example, have held lengthy and detailed negotiations with the government concerning the exact language of the new Polish Constitution. At the center of the dispute has been the church's objection to a constitutional formulation setting out a "separation" of church and state. The problem for the bishops is that the old Communist Constitution of 1952 included the word separate" in this context.(22) Not willing to countenance what one bishop called a "return to the 'separation' of the communist times," the church's leaders have insisted on "the need to find other words."(23)
A final version of the Constitution has not yet been adopted and ratified, but it appears that compromise language will declare that church and state are "autonomous and independent" of each other in Poland, and that the state's relations with the Catholic Church will be regulated in their specifics by a concordat with the Vatican.(24) In fact, such a concordat was signed in July, 1993 by the Vatican and the government of Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka. It guarantees the autonomy of the Polish church and all its religious activities, ensures maintenance of relations and communications between the Polish episcopate and the Vatican, and maintains church-supervised religious instruction in public schools.(25) It also includes provisions governing Christian marriage and church construction, and it is considered by Glemp and others to be a major element in the establishment of a legally-protected role for the Catholic Church in the new Poland.
Getting the concordat ratified, however, has proved much more difficult for the Catholic Church than getting it signed was. When Suchocka's broadly based moderate government was replaced in September, 1993 by the leftist coalition of the Democratic Left Alliance and the Polish Peasant Party, ratification of the agreement with the Vatican ceased to be a priority of the Polish state. At the time of this writing [September, 1996], the government has put off ratification of the concordat at least until after final passage of the new Polish Constitution, and perhaps longer. In fact, following Kwasniewski's election to the presidency, there are indications that the post-communist government may now seek renegotiation of the concordat with the Vatican. Such a step would greatly sharpen conflict between the government and the church within Poland.
For Cardinal Glemp and the other members of the Polish episcopate, the government's delay in ratifying the agreement with the Vatican serves only to highlight the need for a concordat in the first place. They believe that a formal accord with the Vatican will offer the church protection from attempts by similarly hostile governments in the future to marginalize the influence of the church on Polish society. As the secretary-general of the Polish episcopate put it: "The concordat is important because it will extinguish the fires of dispute between church and state in Poland."(26)
The church's political activities go well beyond setting structural relations between church and state, however. Much of the rationale for preserving the church's institutional viability, after all, is to preserve the church's ability to influence public policy on issues of central importance to the church's hierarchy and its members. This influence is exercised in Poland today on a long list of issues. But the issue of abortion captures more clearly than any other both the forcefulness of the church's current political commitment, and the magnitude of the church's current political task.
In Poland, as in so many other contexts, abortion is both an important moral issue on its own and a powerful indicator of larger social conflicts.(27) For the Polish episcopate, in particular, opposition to abortion serves as a kind of shorthand for support of the Catholic heritage of the Polish nation. Those who oppose legal abortion are deemed by the church to be patriots committed to the creation of an authentically independent Poland. Those who endorse legal abortion, on the other hand, are dismissed as either secularists devoted to the assimilation of Poland into an amorphous European whole or, even worse, communists nostalgic for the degradations and indignities of the Stalinist era.
At first. the Polish church was fairly successful in its efforts to restrict access to abortion. Completely legal in Poland during the communist era, and in fact for decades the leading form of birth control for Polish women, abortions were made quite difficult to procure in Poland, according to a law passed with the church's vocal endorsement in 1993. Abortions were allowed only in response to rape, incest, and fetal deformity, or in the rare cases where carrying the pregnancy to term would threaten the life or physical health of the pregnant woman.(28) Abortions for "difficult personal circumstances'?, or "societal hardship," though supported by a majority of the population, were made illegal.(29)
Political conflict over abortion continued, however. A repeal of the 1993 abortion law, passed with powerful support of Kwasniewski's Democratic Left Alliance, was successfully vetoed by Walesa in 1994. But the repeal was passed again by the Polish Sejm, and President Kwasniewski has said that he will sign it. The church. for its part, is fighting liberalization with all the resources at its disposal. As stated above, the abortion debate in Poland is about much more than abortion. It is also about the ability of the Catholic Church to influence public policy more generally, and it is most fundamentally about the future of Polish society itself. Legal and readily available abortion, in short, would run directly counter to the church's vision of a new. and at long last authentically Polish. Poland.
Moreover, legal and readily available abortion in Poland would also run directly counter to the Pope's project of advancing the cause of European Christianity generally. through the consolidation of Polish Catholicism specifically. The criminalization of abortion, along with support for other policies like the reintroduction of Catholic instruction into public schools, are important to the leaders of Polish Catholicism, not only because those leaders believe such policies are morally righteous, but also because they believe such policies are essential prerequisites to Poland's playing its proper role in the European community of nations.
How, they ask, can Poland bridge the gap between the Orthodox East and the secular West if it loses its distinctively Catholic character? How can Poland serve as the moral exemplar of a new Europe if abortion is legal within its borders, religious observance is ousted from public institutions, and its Constitutional law explicitly declares neutrality as to the secular and religious conceptions of modem culture?(30) Put another way, how can Pope John Paul II use his homeland as the "starting point, the powerhouse, and the ideal" of a re-evangelized European continent if the church cannot even have its way in Poland?(31)
Is it any wonder, then, that the church persists in trying to influence partisan politics in Poland? The church actively engages in the political process in Poland because that engagement is essential to the church's carrying out the historic mission it has set for itself. It is committed to the preservation of a Catholic Poland as the foundation of reconstituted Catholic Europe.
At first, immediately following the fall of communism, the political situation was rather straightforward for the church. The Catholic hierarchy offered its explicit support to the Solidarity-based candidates and governments that resuscitated Polish democracy in 1989 and 1990 because those governments were anti-communist and because they were willing to acquiesce in the adoption of the church's legislative program. But following the collapse of Solidarity as a coherent political force, and reflecting the church's fears of becoming too closely identified with a single political force (e.g., The Christian National Union Party [ZCHN]), the Polish bishops have over the last few years turned the bulk of their political energies away from supporting specific candidates or parties and toward opposing the "post-communist" forces of the political left.
The coalition of the Democratic Left Alliance and Polish Peasant Party, which has governed Poland since September 1993, for example, has had a particularly difficult time with the church. As indicated above, the church has fought the government over the ratification of the concordat, over the wording of church-state relations in the new Constitution, and over a long list of specific public policy issues. The bishops consider the reconstituted left in Poland to be antithetical to the church's interests and to the nation's interests as defined by the church. Therefore, they have opposed the regime and its affiliated candidates with considerable energy.
The clearest indication of this opposition was the church's unveiled efforts to prevent the SLD's Aleksander Kwasniewski from winning the 1995 presidential election. While technically stopping short of endorsing any Kwasniewski's opponents in the first round of the presidential campaign, the episcopate urged Poles in a pastoral letter read in all churches on 27 August 1995 to refrain from voting for candidates who "participated in the exercise of power at the highest party government levels under totalitarian rule."(32) The import of this statement was not lost on anyone with even a passing familiarity with Polish politics; Kwasniewski had served as junior minister in the last communist government. But once Kwasniewski and Walesa emerged from the first round as the two contestants of the final run-off, the leaders of the church abandoned all subtlety and pretense.
Several individual bishops openly endorsed Lech Walesa in the days be re the election; masses for "President Walesa and the homeland" were held in Warsaw's churches on the eve of the election; and Cardinal Glemp himself declared that the election presented Poland with a choice between Christian values and "neopaganism."(33) Kwasniewski's subsequent victory, in the face of the church's clearly expressed displeasure, was a major political setback for the church. It indicated the church's diminished influence on the political life of the country, at least in terms of electoral politics. And it placed the church clearly on the defensive in its dealings with the state.
To be on the defensive, however, is not to be absent from the fray. In structural terms, the church will continue to fight the government over the terms of the proposed constitution and over the ratification of the concordat with the Vatican. On specific policy questions, such as abortion or religious education in public schools, the church will fight attempts by the governing majority to repeal or restrict the church's previous victories. In a sense, the church has been engaged in the past year or so in political battle to defend the spoils of its victory over communism. Kwasniewski's victory in the presidential campaign makes the church's defensive task far more complicated and difficult than it was before. But from the church's perspective of trying to direct the future of Poland, and the future of Poland's place in Europe, Kwasniewski's victory makes the church's political activities all the more necessary as well.
The Polish bishops, both on their own and at the behest of their patron in Rome, want more than changes on the margins of Polish constitutional law, and changes in specific public policies. They want nothing less than to preserve the Catholic heritage of Poland so that their "Christ of Nations" can serve its redemptive role in the twenty-first century. To be blunt about it, they want a new Poland to sit at the center of a new Europe.
This self-styled mission goes well beyond particular legislative strategies or specific electoral cycles. It requires persistent and consistent opposition to any forces who would seek either to lead Poland back toward communism, or to lead Poland "forward" toward Western secularization and assimilation into a purely economic or political vision of European union. And, clearly, it rules out any retreat on the part of the Catholic Church from the front lines of contemporary Polish politics.
(1.) Foreign Broadcast Information Service -- East Europe, 22 September 1995, p. 48.
(2.) See Open Media Research Institute Daily Digest, No. 137, Part II, 17 July 1995.
(3.) New York Times, 8 June 1991.
(4.) Indeed, John Paul II has called such a formulation a "humiliation" given the central role Poland has played in European political and cultural history. See ibid.
(5.) Scott Paltrow, "Poland and the Pope: The Vatican's Relations with Poland, 1978 to the Present," Millennium: Journal of International Studies. 15:3 (1986), p. 3.
(6.) Maryjane Osa, "Resistance, Persistence, and Change: The Transformation of the Catholic Church in Poland," Eastern European Politics and Societies, 3;2 (1989), p. 277.
(7.) See Ewa Morawska, "Civil Religion Versus State Power in Poland," in Thomas Robbins and Roland Robertson, eds., Church-State Relations: Tensions and Transitions (New Brunswick: Transaction Books, 1987), pp. 221-232.
(8.) See Bogdan Szajkowski, Next to God ... Poland (New York: St. Martin's, 1983).
(9.) In fact, this sense of the nation's redemptive role in human history runs throughout the Polish romantic literary tradition. The most famous expression of it is a lengthy speech delivered by a character in Adam Mickiewicz's classic play. Forefather's Eve, comparing Poland's national history to Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection. See Harold B. Segel, ed., Polish Romantic Drama: Three Plays in English Translation (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1977), pp. 125-126. A recent biography reported that this play is one of Pope John Paul II's "favorites." See Tad Szulc, Pope John Paul II: The Biography (New York: Scribner, 1995), p. 246.
(10.) See Hansjakob Stehle, Eastern Politics of the Vatican 1917-1979 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1981), especially pp. 341-356.
(11.) George Weigel, The Final Revolution: The Resistance Church and the Collapse of Communism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 16.
(12.) Quoted in Paltrow, "Poland and the Pope," p. 16.
(13.) Patrick Michel, Politics and Religion in Eastern Europe: Catholicism in Hungary, Poland, and Czechoslovakia (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991), p. 133.
(14.) See Paul Hockenos, Free to Hate: The Rise of the Right in Post-Communist Eastern Europe (New York: Routledge, 1993), p. 245.
(15.) Slavum Apostoli, reprinted in Origins, 18 July 1985, p. 123.
(17.) Tygodnik Powszechny, 9 September 1990.
(18.) New York Times, 8 June 1991.
(19.) RFE/RL Daily Report, 19 July 1994.
(20.) Niedziela, 20 February 1994.
(21.) This sermon was reported in Zycie Warszawy on 16 August 1995 under the headline "To Which Europe? At Jasna Gora, Primate Glemp Highly Criticized the Poles Striving to Join Europe," Foreign Broadcast Information Service -- East Europe, 17 August 1995, p. 32. Soon after the sermon was given, Jacques Santer, the president of the European Union, came to Poland and met with Glemp. After the meeting, Santer stressed that European integration is a moral issue as well as a political one, and that entering the EU would not mean relinquishing national identity. See Open Media Research Institute Daily Digest, No. 188, Part II, 27 September 1995.
(22.) See Leszek Lech Garlicki, "Drafts of the Polish Constitution: A Comparison of the Treatment of Religious Freedoms," in Leszek Lech Garlicki, ed., First Amendment Freedoms and Constitution Writing in Poland (Warsaw: American Studies Center, University of Warsaw, 1993), pp. 81-82.
(23.) Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek, interview with author, Warsaw, Poland, 6 June 1995. There was also a great struggle over the use of the word "neutrality" in the draft constitution. The church interpreted this word also as a movement back to the anti-church sentiments of the previous regime. Marek Pemal, Director General of Office of Religious Affairs of the Cabinet's Office, interview with author, Warsaw, Poland, 5 June 1995.
(24.) Open Media Research Institute Daily Digest, No. 68, Part II, 4 April 1995.
(25.) Concordat Between the Holy See and the Republic of Poland, signed 28 July 1993.
(26.) Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek, interview with author, Warsaw, Poland, 6 June 1995.
(27.) For background on the abortion debate, and on the church's role in it, see Hanna Jankowska, "Abortion, Church and Politics in Poland," in Feminist Review, 39 (1991), pp. 174-181.
(28.) New York Times, 8 January 1993. This law was not a complete victory for the church. The church's original proposal had called for exceptions for the life of the woman only and for jail terms for physicians who performed illicit abortions. See Andrzej Kulczycki, "Abortion Policy in Postcommunist Europe: The Conflict in Poland," Population and Development Review, 21:3 (1995), pp. 483-484.
(29.) According to a public opinion poll conducted in June, 1995 by the Center of Public Opinion Research, 83% of Poles support legal abortions in cases of rape or incest and 86% if the pregnancy endangers the woman's health. Fifty-three percent endorse legal abortion if the woman is in difficult conditions, and 33% support abortion on demand. See Open Media Research Institute Daily Digest, No. 137, Part II, 17 July 1995.
(30.) A Catholic weekly, for example, regretted that for many people "abortion is a model of modern society," and declared that Poland must not join in community with Europe" regarding its approach to abortion. In fact, the weekly hoped instead that Poland's strict anti-abortion law would serve as "a model for the rest of Europe in its fight against abortion." See Niedziela, 6 February 1991.
(31.) See Michel, Politics and Religion in Eastern Europe, p. 133.
(32.) Open Media Research Institute Daily Digest, No. 168, Part II, 29 August 1995.
(33.) For reviews of the church's activities during the election campaign, see "Church Engagement in Elections Assessed," in Foreign Broadcast Information Service - East Europe, 20 November 1995, pp. 58-61, and Jane Perlez, "Walesa's Defeat Called Big Setback for Polish Catholic Church," New York Times, 23 November 1995, A13.…
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Publication information: Article title: The Catholic Church and Poland's Return to Europe. Contributors: Byrnes, Timothy A. - Author. Journal title: East European Quarterly. Volume: 30. Issue: 4 Publication date: Winter 1996. Page number: 433+. © 1999 East European Quarterly. COPYRIGHT 1996 Gale Group.
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