Faith and Fatherland: Catholicism, Modernity, and Poland

By Brian Porter-Szűcs | Go to book overview

9
Polak-Katolik

When Roman Dmowski died in January 1939, Przewodnik Katolicki put his picture on the front cover and lauded him as a national hero. The anonymous author of this obituary singled out Dmowski’s greatest contribution to the nation:

It was he who first elevated the Jewish Question to the level of a polit-
ical issue. That effort did not go smoothly, but faced resistance amidst
the mockery and the hatred of Jews from all over the world. Dmowski
managed to conquer that …. The hidden forces, the Masons and the
Jews, the sworn enemies of Dmowski, spared no effort to make Poland
as weak, as incapable of life as possible. Dmowski declared war on
them.1

This, ultimately, was what drew Catholicism and National Democracy together during the interwar years: they shared a common worldview according to which both Church and nation were under assault by a nefarious conspiracy of enemies, with the Jews first among them. The clergy believed that good Christians must love their neighbors and their enemies, but even so they tried to ensure that Poles would be acutely aware of the dangerous assault on their faith and fatherland.

As the Church became more infused with talk of the Jewish-MasonicBolshevik (etc.) campaign to destroy Christianity and achieve world dominion, it seemed increasingly vital to establish a common front with all those who hoped to resist the encroaching armies of Satan. Reinforced by a shared vocabulary of struggle, Catholicism became more national and nationalism became more Catholic. That fusion between nation and faith was built not on a demographic observations; as we saw in chapter 5, Catholic political commentators had long been wary of basing any of their claims on mere numbers. The Polish state may have attained near religious homogeneity only after 1945, but in

-328-

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Faith and Fatherland: Catholicism, Modernity, and Poland
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - The Church 16
  • 2 - Sin 54
  • 3 - Modernity 81
  • 4 - The Person and Society 118
  • 5 - Politics 158
  • 6 - The Nation Penitent 208
  • 7 - Ecclesia Militans 232
  • 8 - The Jew 272
  • 9 - Polak-Katolik 328
  • 10 - Mary, Militant and Maternal 360
  • Conclusion 391
  • Notes 397
  • Bibliography 449
  • Index 471
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