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Theme: Battle for Souls in Poland

January 12, 2007

Spiegel Online: The Battle for Souls

A battle has begun, with minds and souls at stake: the new Poland, intoxicated by its freshly acquired wealth, is battling the millennium-old Roman Catholic Church.

Ninety-five percent of all Poles are Roman Catholics, and well over half say they attend mass at least once a week. The Poles, along with the Irish, are among the most pious members of the European Union. But the fact remains that “the majority of the Polish faithful have grown impervious to the moral teachings of the church,” according to Warsaw sociologist Pawel Spiewak…

Catholic News Service: Pope, in Poland, says faith, thanks, remembrance to guide trip

At the cathedral, the pope met with close to 1,000 representatives of the Polish clergy and emphasized that the task of strengthening the faith of Polish Catholics rested largely on their shoulders.

“Believe in the power of your priesthood,” he told them.

The pope paid tribute to the often-heroic endurance of Polish priests and Poles in general during the Nazi occupation and under communism.

“Let us remember with appreciation and gratitude those who did not let themselves be overwhelmed by the forces of darkness, and let us learn from them the courage to be consistent and constant in our adherence to the Gospel of Christ,” he said.

Pope Benedict said it is natural for priests to ask if God might have been able to find better instruments for bringing his love and truth to others, but they must be confident that he wants to use their mouths and their hands to reach the world.

The faithful, he said, want and need priests who are experts in the spiritual life and witnesses to eternal truths.

“In the face of the temptations of relativism or the permissive society, there is absolutely no need for the priest to know all the latest, changing currents of thought,” he said.

The pope also said the temptation to hide one’s faith, which was understandable under communism, is not an acceptable attitude for priests in the new Poland.

Instead, he said, they must cultivate a true spiritual brotherhood among priests, supporting one another and sharing each other’s burdens.

“Christ needs priests who are mature, virile, capable of cultivating an authentic spiritual paternity,” he said.

“Gazing upon Christ,” the pope told them, “live a modest life in solidarity with the faithful to whom you have been sent.”

See also:
Zenit: Pope Encourages Polish Unity in Faith
BBC News: Changing times for Poland’s Catholic Church
Time Archive: Poland and Christendom

Updates:
World Net Daily: ‘Repulsive’ Poland confronts Europe (May 12, 2007)
CWNews: Practicing Catholics on the rise in Poland (May. 16, 2007)

Related Post:
Theme: The Hope of Christendom

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