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100 years of Poland’s independence. The bishops call for “future of stability in the Country”

Mons. Stanislaw Gadecki indicated the path for renewal in a polarised political context, amidst a Eurosceptic government majority and requests for less nationalist-populist politics. The prelate recalled the years of subjugation to foreign powers (1795-1918). On that occasion – he pointed out – the “hope stemming from utter trust in God’s intervention” has supported and helped the Polish people in the preservation of their national identity. "The same is true for the years that ensued, when, despite differences, national unity had to be pursued to rebuild the Country and defend its borders”

foto SIR/Marco Calvarese

Reaffirming the five pillars of Polish community life – faith, conscience, memory of the past, culture and politics – ensures “the Country’s stable future.” The commemorations of the past, notably the celebrations marking Poland’s 100 years of independence, thus served as an occasion to reaffirm the need for stability in a divided Poland. The quote is from the speech of the President of Polish Bishops, Msgr. Stanislaw Gadecki, who indicated the path for renewal in a polarised political context, amidst a Eurosceptic government majority and requests for less nationalist-populist politics. The prelate recalled the years of subjugation to foreign powers (1795-1918). On that occasion – he pointed out – the “hope stemming from utter trust in God’s intervention” has supported and helped the Polish people in the preservation of their national identity. “The same is true for the years that ensued, when, despite differences, national unity had to be pursued to rebuild the Country and defend its borders.”
Speaking about the need to renew the Country’s political life, the President of Polish bishops made reference to the abortion law and the regulations on assisted reproduction: “I am thinking not only of disputes involving the reform of the judiciary system – he observed – but also of something with a far greater fundamental import, such as the laws contrary to the truth about man.” In this respect Msgr. Gadecki expressed the hope that “political leaders who have at heart the rule of law will make every effort to repeal these laws, for – he explained – just as there is fake news there are also fake laws, namely, flawed and deceitful legislation.”
The anniversary of independence was celebrated also by the Apostolic Nuncio in Poland Msgr. Salvatore Pennacchio, who presided over the Solemn Mass celebrated in the Temple of Divine Providence, built a few years ago in Warsaw as a votive church for regained freedom.

The celebrations also had a markedly ecumenical trait: a solemn ecumenical celebration took place in one of Warsaw’s churches attended by the nuncio, by Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, Msgr. Gadecki and by the Archbishop of Lodz, Grzegorz Rys. In his homily Lutheran bishop Jerzy Samiec pointed out that while the independence anniversary “was meant to unite the Polish people, it has sadly become a source of conflict and resentment” between various social brackets. He voiced concern over situations whereby Protestants “are being denied the right to celebrate on the basis of unacceptable motivations.”
The deep political divisions felt across Polish society were addressed, inter alia, by the Archbishop of Lublin Msgr. Stanislaw Budzik who highlighted that “today’s patriotic duty involves promoting social reconciliation, defending the dignity of the human person and appeasing excessive political passions, indicating and expanding areas for cooperation over and above all divisions.”

The goal is to “preserve public life from unnecessary politicization.”

At the Shrine of Jasna Gora Archbishop Waclaw Depo underlined the indivisibility of Church life from the Country, and of “true human freedom”, reiterating that if that were not the case “the Church would betray her mission by abjuring Christ, and Poland would deny her true identity”, thereby belittling herself as “Europe’s caricature.” The archbishop of Wroclaw, Msgr. Jozef Kupny, expressed his disappointment about the social and political leaders’ inability “to define what represents the common good” of all Poles and “the increasing cracks in the  foundations of the Country where the same words are understood in different ways.”
The archbishop of Bialystok, Mons. Tadeusz Wojda, said he hopes that Poland “may always be the common good of all citizens, and especially of the next generations, understood as a gift transmitted across the years and across the centuries.” The prelate encouraged all Poles to

“stand out for your compassion and justice, for your honesty and spirit of service.”

These words were echoed in a news report by Poznan’s news agency WTK.pl: to celebrate 100 years of independence a local baker made 100 loaves of bread following an old recipe of 1918. Some of these loaves were offered to the poor. The baker sold the rest of the loaves and collected money for those in need. He explained his gesture by recalling that according to tradition “we must share our goodness and our bread rather than holding bombastic celebrations”, since “despite the independence, EU membership and wealth, many people in Poland continue having nothing to eat.”

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