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

By William H. Swatos Jr | Go to book overview

9
The Crash of the Sacred Canopy in Polish Society: A Systems Theory Approach

Enzo Pace

Religion cannot give "money" a try if God doesn't seem to be working any more. ( Luhmann, 1977: 13)

After the change of political regime, Poland, in its current transitional phase, may be considered a social laboratory where several theoretical paradigms may be tested. Contemporary Poland invites sociological reflection for at least three reasons:

First, the end of the communist regime has highlighted what had already begun to emerge during the years of great political and social struggle; namely this: The reference to church religion as "a monotheism of universal faiths" (i.e., of all beliefs, including those strictly religious as well as those simply of opposition politics) ceases to function in a society that appears as it really is -- pluralistic and able to reproduce, within certain limits, historic ideological differences, especially those between "liberal" Catholics and national-populist Catholics that predate the advent of communism ( Pomian-Srzednicki, 1982; Zagajewski, 1982).

The divisions in Polish Catholicism, which under the communist regime reassembled for a common political battle especially from the beginning of the 1970s, have deep historical origins. After World War II they emerged clearly as two main currents born of the socialist transformation of Poland. Initially at least, the two currents consisted of

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