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In Poland And The United States . . . It’s Often People Versus Prelates

October 14, 2017 Frontpage No Comments


In Poland, Catholics take their faith very seriously. On October 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, a million Poles gathered at thousands of points on the country’s borders to pray the rosary “for the Poles and for the whole world,” one participant told the BBC. Coming from hundreds of churches throughout the country, Poles joined arms in prayer, “some on beaches on the Baltic Sea, some in fields and some in towns” on the 2,000-mile border, the BBC reported.
Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski, of Krakow in southern Poland, said during his sermon on Saturday morning that people should pray for “Europe to remain Europe. . . . Let’s pray for other nations of Europe and the world to understand that we need to return to the Christian roots of European culture if we want Europe to remain Europe.”
The anti-Catholic left, on the other hand, was outraged. Krzysztof Luft, a former member of the country’s largest opposition party, called the rosary crusade “a ridicule of Christianity on a massive scale. They treat religion as a tool for maintaining backwardness in the Polish backwater.”
The Associated Press went even further, citing a “leading Polish expert on xenophobia and extremism” who condemned the prayers “as a problematic expression of Islamophobia.” The AP failed to mention that their “expert” supports George Soros’ goal of the EU accepting at least one million Islamic immigrants per year, and considers the Catholic faith to be xenophobic as well.
The international left recognizes that the Polish people’s firm desire for independence endangers the entire internationalist project. And some Polish prelates support that project. On September 15, Crux, a liberal, often dissident Catholic site in the U.S., ran another AP story praising Polish Archbishop Wojciech Polak for championing Poland’s acceptance of countless thousands of immigrants and refugees.
Once more posing as a source of news, the AP sermonized, criticizing Poland’s elected leaders for pursuing “policies so hostile to migrants that they would seem to contradict the principle of compassion their religion teaches. They also have pursued reforms widely viewed as undemocratic.”
To add much-needed heft, the AP invoked the open-borders Pope Francis, lamenting that his 2016 visit to Poland apparently “did little to budge the Polish authorities from their unyielding refusal to accept refugees or migrants.”
The story’s internationalist slant is predictable, but that’s political. Its core problem lies in its embrace of a central religious error, long condemned by the Church, and all too familiar to the faithful, both in Poland and the U.S. This error, called “clericalism,” resonates the tiresome canard that prudential opinions of politicized clerics qualify as the authentic, timeless, and magisterial teaching of the Church, implying that those among the laity who disagree are not only wrong, but immoral.
This façade of fictitious authority allows the AP story’s headline blatantly to assert that the views of the country’s elected leadership are “sins” — a classic and thoroughly uncharitable falsehood. In that same deceptive spirit, the AP then raises the ante: Archbishop Polak’s remarks then become a “signal that the influential Catholic Church sees a need to correct the path of the country’s governing politicians” — even as the majority of the faithful, many bishops, and the priests in parishes on the ground roundly reject that notion.

Prelates’ Problematic
Political Priorities

In the United States, “governing politicians” aren’t very popular with America’s Catholic bishops either — their apparent lack of gratitude is surprising, in view of Trump’s stunning reversal of several hallmark Obama-era anti-Catholic, pro-abortion policies. But since Trump’s victory last November, the bishops have continued to lobby for the preservation of Obama policies on several fronts. Their opposition to Trump’s views on amnesty for illegal aliens and other immigration issues has dominated their efforts to the point that they’ve been virtually silent on critical issues that are vital in the lives of the Catholic faithful.
The USCCB’s press office could not refer The Wanderer to any statement by an American bishop regarding Poland’s million-Catholic Rosary Crusade for the preservation of Europe’s Christian heritage. On reflection, such statements would have diluted and distracted — and possibly contradicted — the USCCB’s higher priorities. Just a day before the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, the bishops launched their campaign to “Welcome the Immigrant,” echoing Pope Francis’ campaign to “Share the Journey of Migrants and Refugees.”
According to a USCCB press release, the campaign is being conducted “in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA.” The release does not mention that both of these welfare agencies receive hundreds of millions of federal funding for their programs, including those that care for refugees and immigrants under federal supervision. (The USCCB is steadfast in its refusal to disclose the amount of such funding.)
So while the American bishops did not take the occasion to join the Catholic people of Poland in their prayers for the preservation of Christendom, they did take time last week to condemn President Trump’s proposals to enforce the country’s immigration laws (in fact, some bishops have encouraged illegal aliens to break these laws for years).
The same week, bishops also found time to criticize proposals made by Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to revoke Obama’s so-called Clean Power Plan, an edict that would raise the costs that the poor would pay for heat, transportation, and other basic needs.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, expressed “disappointment” about the decision and insisted that the costly and burdensome regulations be preserved, ironically insisting that leaders “hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

If Prelates Succeed,
Will Faithful Suffer Most?

The gulf between the orthodox laity and the politicized bishops is international in scope, Polish-American commentator Matthew Tyrmand tells The Wanderer. “The philosophical fissures Americans have seen between liberal Church leadership and grassroots conservative parishioners are also beginning to occur in Poland,” he says.
“There are more than a few in the Polish Catholic Church hierarchy who are calling for more openness to refugee resettlement as crafted by Brussels bureaucratic diktat. This is wholly rejected on the ground by those in the pews and most parish priests on the ground who are classically conservative in nature and laden with the common sense to know that there exists a culture war to which they and their parishioners would be on the front lines.
“It would be their flock, not the more ‘enlightened’ and cloistered leadership, who that would suffer directly from the collateral damage that would be guaranteed to occur. They see what has transpired in Germany and Scandinavia, and, after suffering under the evils and non-rational structures of Communism, they are now frequently leading the charge to protect Polish culture — which is conservative, Catholic, and pious.”
When it comes to “preserving the Christian roots of Western Culture,” it appears that, in both Poland and the United States, many bishops have more pressing priorities. They have abdicated that duty and left it to the faithful.
Well, after all, doesn’t the “Spirit of Vatican II” tell us that this is “The Age of the Laity”?

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