1/20 – English Summary – Polish ways

Alfred Marek Wierzbicki
A poor Christian stares at a dying solidarity

In the introduction, the author looks for a connecting element of populism, xenophobia, na­tion­alism and anti-Semitism. It points out that this is their incompatibility with Christianity. But he must nonetheless state their glaring presence in the mental landscape of Polish Catholicism, which also infiltrates pastoral practice and raises significant concerns for him about the changes in the Polish Church. Then he discusses, through the prism of the Polish experience, populism or a false panacea for problems; xenophobia or a caricature of the order of love; nationalism or a charity begins at home; and anti-Semitism or guilt not entirely acknowledged. In conclusion, the author notes that the rising influence of populism, xenophobia, nationalism and anti-Semitism is leading Polish society to a crossroad. If the idea of solidarity dies, it can cause a serious crisis both political and spiritual.

Andrzej Draguła
Secularization or desecularization?
Theological model for Poland

The author represents secularization not as a negative phenomenon but as a positive process of purification and metamorphosis that can lead to withdrawal from positions not belonging to religion. The secularization of society can thus be linked to the desecularization of the Church, the casting aside of that secularity that the Church destroys and that Pope Francis talks about many times. In the space of the Polish Church, the author sees the recognition of its role in a pluralistic society as an important problem. He points out that a pastorship based on antagonism, combat and de­fence, with a clearly defined enemy of both social and theological nature, such as communism, must re­orient itself towards a strategy of free choice between different offerings in the marketplace of ideas. He sees the church’s desecralization as an important process in revealing its true nature and focusing on effective pastoral and mission activities.

Tomasz Dostatni OP
“Jews are our brothers”
However, we no longer hear this teaching of John Paul II

The essay addresses the actuality of John Paul II’s teachings regarding Jews, Judaism and the Holo­caust in contemporary Poland. He shows in several paintings (a speech in Yad Vashem, a prayer at the Wailing Wall, a visit to a Roman synagogue, a memory of Jewish childhood friends…) how important this issue has been to the Pope. At the same time, the author critically notes that despite of John Paul II’s popularity in contemporary Poland and respect for him, this very dimension of his teaching is fading into the background, just as anti-Semitic and otherwise xenophobic views which are resurgent nowadays.

Piotr Nowina-Konopka
Corruptio optimi pessima or whitened grave

The distinguished Polish academic, politician and diplomat reflects on John Paul II’s legacy in Polish society and the Church, and what Pope Francis’s pontificate reception is based on that. He talks about a certain instrumentalization of John Paul II without the necessary study of the depth and diversity of his teachings. That has led to shorthand and schematic conclusions and then it has been difficult to fully understand what Pope Francis brings. The lack of information about the new pope’s teachings, skepticism about him and a sense that he has nothing to say to Poles lead to other specific manifestations of Polish Catholicism that the author believes can be linked to the biblical image of whitened graves.

Ludwik Wiśniewski OP
What church is the Pope coming to?

The Polish Dominican is using the occasion of Pope Francis’ visit to Poland in 2016 to provide a critical analysis of the state of the Polish Church. It notes that it has been in serious crisis since 1989, which must not be covered up by even the still seemingly vivid Polish Catholicism. It names and approaches a number of maladies of the Polish Church: threats to manicheism; absence of dialogue in the Church; flourishing sectarianism; clericalism; politicization of the Church; overconnection of the Church and nationalism; intellectual sterility; the gene of triumphalism.

Damian Jankowski
When is the change coming?

After the movies Clergy and Just don’t tell anyone
The author notes that although the subject of sexual abuse in the Polish Church had been known before, it had long stood out from the public’s interest. That has only changed in the context of the two films the essay discusses: the hit film Clergy, depicting the arrogance and power desire of priests and bishops, and a reportable documentary on sexual abuse in the Church. Both movies have received quite unprecedented ratings. The author depicts the content and artistic context of the two films, he analyses the way they speak of their own Christianity and notes the responses to them from society and, above all, the church hierarchy. This leads him to consider the future of the Church in Poland.

Andrzej Szostek MIC
The common good – a difficult challenge for politicians

In the lecture delivered on the occasion of the establishment of the Polish Coalition’s club of thoughts the author presents the concept of the common good, as found in the work of Karol Wojtyła/John Paul II. Then he considers how these ideas are implemented in the present Republic of Poland. It mentions the Pope’s words about the crucial role that is played by fair administrative law in a democratic state. The basis of this law should be always and everywhere a man and the whole truth about a man, his inalienable rights and those of an entire community. And he recalls that, alongside the objective dimension of the common good, one must also remember the sub­jec­tive dimension, the dimension of personal participation in the community. Caring for the common good must be done by all citizens and must manifest itself in all areas of society’s life. In a specific, particular way, this care is then required in the policy area.

Janina Koźbiel
For me writing is one of the activities leading to good
Interview with Olga Tokarczuk

The Polish authoress, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, talks about her approach to crea­tion, the importance of freedom of knowledge and openness in the creative process, in an interview with the Polish magazine Więź. She prizes literature as the best space to ask questions and find answers, to experiment, to take a man beyond his “self”. She also presents her view of the importance of the idea of a personal God in the formation of European culture, the issues of good and evil, the destroying of taboos, the difference between male and female narratives or the relationship of ­faith and disbelief.