Polish Toledo

This blog is associated with www.polishtoledo.com

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Another Cross to bear

Events in Poland appear to be putting the public display of the cross in jeopardy in a country where 90 percent of the population professes to be Catholic. Here in America for comparison you might be aware that the World War I memorial cross in the Mojave Desert was torn down by vandals in the middle of the night after the Supreme Court ruled it may remain on public lands. Lately it seems Christianity is under attack while other religions get a pass.

Since 966 when Mieszko I accepted Christianity for himself and his people the cross has been the most significant symbol for Poles. Throughout Poland’s history unwavering faith of Poles has been the basis of glorious triumphs. Defeat of the Teutonic Knights, the Miracle on the Vistula and the Solidarity movement are but a few examples. The same devotion has also been the predominant reason Poland was able to survive with their culture remaining intact through horrendously oppressive times such as the 123 years of partition and later socialist domination.

To everyday Poles who opposed the Communist regime the profound significance of the cross is well understood and acknowledged. Solidarność protesters laid out a cross of flowers on Warsaw’s Castle Square during the struggle for free elections. So powerful was the message that the government didn’t have the guts to march in and remove it. Security forces swept it away under cover of night.

Then there’s the famous cross erected by ordinary citizens located at Nowa Huta that was to become the new churchless model city for socialist propaganda in 1956. The Bishop of Kraków, who later became Pope JP II, conducted open air Masses at the site and faced off armed military units who cowered in fear rather than follow Marxist orders to keep the town Godless.

Eventually, a church was promised by government, but wasn’t permitted to be built. The cross became the focus of riots in 1960 when it was threatened with removal. For millions of Poles across our Motherland the cross is as instantly recognizable as a symbol of political protest as it is of Catholic devotion.

A few months ago Polish scouts erected a 30-foot wooden cross in front of the presidential palace honoring victims of the plane crash that killed Polish president Lech Kaczyński. Sadly it provoked thousands of protesters to take to the streets demanding its removal even though its placement was meant to be temporary until a permanent memorial can be erected.

This past August attempts to move the cross at the Presidential Palace led to violent clashes between police
and Catholic pro-cross demonstrators and mass counter-protests by youthful secularists who insist the emblem must go.

Poland's powerful Roman Catholic Church is also split over the issue. In Warsaw, the Church favors moving

the cross to nearby St Anne's church. But Radio Maryja, the country's conservative Catholic radio station, has called on the faithful to rally to the defense of the cross.

Newly elected President Bronisław Komorowski from the liberal Civic Platform Party opted to stay away from the presidential palace during the confrontations and ordered the cross to be removed. In mid-August Polish authorities like the faithless Communists before them went to remove the wooden cross, but decided to leave it in place after hundreds of demonstrators came out to protest its removal.

Today, the cross is gone. The Komorowski regime like thieves in the night used the cover of darkness to take it down even though a majority of Poles wanted it to stay.

There is an increasingly large segment of Polish society too young to remember how it was before the free elections in 1991 or when Poles were clinging to their religion to strengthen their courage and determination during marshal law that preceded the downfall of Communism.

Faithless aspects of collectivism after World War II could not shake the power the Church had keeping Polish heritage and traditions in tact. It was the Pole’s stanch adherence to their religion that finally crushed the iron curtain and was responsible for influencing and changing the political landscape of Eastern Europe when the other socialist countries fell one after another like dominos.

While secular philosophers contend it is the pen, Poles have proven for themselves it is the cross that is mightier than the sword. While the Presidential Palace may be a symbol of secular power, the cross represents a greater power: the very foundation of Polish culture. Legacy is a terrible thing to lose even as we see it being fundamentally transformed. October is Polish Heritage Month. Keep alive this heritage.

Read JPII's words on the subject [Click Here]

Sainthood on hold

Five years after a crowd of nearly 4 million broke into chants of "Santo Subito" (sainthood now) during Pope John Paul II's funeral, the case for his beatification has encountered a serious roadblock.

We were all excited that the beatification and canonization of our dear late Pope John Paul II would coincide with the anniversary of his election as the 263rd successor to St. Peter in October. Polonians were also thrilled to have the Polish born Pope elevated to Sainthood during Polish heritage month. Unfortunately, there is the possibility we will not see this joyous event anytime soon, if ever.

The process of beatifying JP II now depends on whether doctors will confirm a miracle he allegedly carried out. A French nun was said to have been cured of Parkinson's disease as a result of the prayers of the late pope. At present, some physicians doubt whether the nun really suffered from Parkinson's or if she was wrongly diagnosed.

Everything is now in the hands of a committee of doctors who are investigating the case and have the power to confirm or reject the alleged miracle. If the panel rules that it was a healing, the Church will be able to start talking about a date for beatification. This is working pretty much like the panels called for in the 2,400 page Health Care Bill that past earlier this year commonly referred to as Obamacare. I've never liked committees very much. As with the Creator, my relationship with my docotor and my insurance company... let no man come between.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Poles fear government’s privatization plans

About half of Poles think that Polish state-owned energy companies, mines and hospitals should not be sold off to foreign investors.

A survey by PBS DGA conducted September 3-5, 2010 finds:

46%  oppose selling off state owned companies to foreign companies
35%  support privatization in general
70 % privatization to Polish investors only, if it is necessary
33%  would not allow foreign investors from Russia, China and Germany

Mainly people above 60 years old (54 percent) oppose privatization.

Kutyłowski says, "Don't trust Komorowski & Tusk cutting good deals."