Politics and Religion in Central and Eastern Europe: Traditions and Transitions

By William H. Swatos Jr | Go to book overview

8

Religion, Communism, and Democracy in Central Europe: The Polish Case

Patrick Michel

"The underground struggle that is now taking place in Poland is concerned with several questions. Ostensibly, there are diverse parties, groups and currents; in reality, it concerns the eternal struggle of Good against Evil." In expressing himself in this way on 10 March 1991 in a message to students, Monsignor Jozef Michalik (see Wolicki, 1991: 101), president of the Episcopal Commission for the Academic Apostolate, aimed to perpetuate an interpretation of the real which, in confronting a perverted politics with ethical categories, has constituted a formidable instrument in the struggle against the Soviet type of system. The problem is that in persisting with this discourse today, during a transitional phase toward democracy, the church takes the risk of perverting these same ethical categories, which henceforth become nothing more than instruments inhibiting the passage to pluralism.

Catholicism in Poland has made a significant contribution to the long process of emerging from communism. Merely affirming that politics must be submitted to ethical principles was already an instance of pluralization: this indicated a logical process of emerging from totalitarianism, announcing, to a certain extent, the coming of democracy.

Translated from the French by William La Ganza.

-119-

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