Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Polish National Catholic Church of America: Minutes of the Supreme Council 1904-1969

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Polish National Catholic Church of America: Minutes of the Supreme Council 1904-1969

Article excerpt

Polish National Catholic Church of America: Minutes of the Supreme Council 1904-1969. Compiler and General Editor Casimir J. Grotnik. Translated by Theodore L. Zawistowski. [East European Monographs, No. DCLXIII.] (Boulder: East European Monographs. Distributed by Columbia University Press, New York. 2004. Pp. 392. $60.00.)

This is a valuable source for the investigation of the understudied Polish National Catholic Church. The denomination arose in 1897 under the leadership of a dissident Polish Roman Catholic priest, Father Francis Hodur, and is the leading American example of an ethnic church which stoutly maintained its Catholic identity. The compilation provides translated records of the Supreme Council of the PNCC and is a necessary companion to the earlier compilations Synods of the Polish National Catholic Church 1904-1958 and The Polish National Catholic Church: Minutes of the First Eleven General Synods 1904-1963.

The Supreme Council Minutes begin in 1904 and proceed with numerous lacunae through the leadership tenures of Bishops Francis Hodur (1904-1953) and his successor, Leon Grochowski (1953-1969). Certain issues appear repeatedly, most notably the persistent and eventually successful effort to establish the church in the homeland. A presence in Poland was vital to a church claiming to represent more fully Polish ethnicity, but World Wars I and II, interwar hostility from a government linked by concordat with Rome, and later persecution by the Communist government presented numerous obstacles and gave the effort an overtone of tragedy. Another ongoing concern, addressed usually by implication, was the reconciliation of the need for administrative order with a polity avowedly more democratic than Roman Catholicism. …

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