05 May 2016

Polish Sacralism


This is the kind of relationship American Evangelicals long to implement. The Protestant Sacral model is one in which the Church advises the state, it acts as arbiter for official policy.

Poland is probably the most religious country in Europe. Historically the Poles found and maintained their identity in the Roman system while their country was divided and oppressed by Germans and Russians. The Irish responded in a similar fashion in the face of British Imperialism.

Of course the Irish have grown weary of Rome and are beginning to aggressively turn away from its influence.

Poland is heading down the same path. If Roman Catholics aren't genuine regenerate believers they are still in the flesh. Lost people will chafe at God's laws, moral imperatives and obligations.

Roman and Protestant sacralism have at times been able to forge a temporary veneer but it doesn't last.

This sort of political activism while not sanctioned by Scripture to begin with only hurts the 'Church' in the end. Doctrine becomes an element of politics. The Church's authority, whether Scripture or a Magisterium become politicised and cheapened.

It lessens belief, and leads people to question motives. If they're struggling with a political viewpoint, the issues at hand are placed on the table as equal to the doctrinal considerations and issues of the Church. This type of action doesn't increase ecclesiastical authority. In the end it decreases it.

It also hurts credibility because when large segments of the Church population, supposedly professing adherents refuse to follow Church leadership it lessens their authority and doctrine is trivialised... all too easily dismissed.

The greatest danger is theological and thus spiritual. The Church is hijacked by Right wing political narratives. The Church's interests are wed to nationalism. National identity is all but equated with the Church. Sometimes this takes the form of race. I'm not only speaking of White and Black but Slavic and German as well as other examples.

History is subject to mythologising and these lies and misrepresentations are woven together with ecclesiastical themes and the sacral notion of a 'heavenly mandate' or some kind of spiritual destiny.

The prelates of Poland feel rather powerful right now but they're fools. They're literally sawing off the branch they're sitting on. They will not be able to roll back the clock to the 18th century or earlier. Instead they will come out of this weaker than ever.

They should seek counsel from their colleagues in Ireland. The trend was already underway and the paedophilia scandals have sent the Irish Roman Catholic organisation into a tailspin. Poland is but a generation behind.


  1. One significant difference between Ireland and Poland is that the latter was a Soviet-style communist state for 45 years, during which time the Catholic church had to go underground to survive. Those who didn't collaborate with the PZPR regime were persecuted - some to the point of death - and the church and current government have capitalized on the sympathy this aroused to this day. In Poland, the church is a symbol of resistance to tyranny and the preservation of personal freedom and justice. In Ireland, it's the opposite. There it's the symbol of sexual abuse, corruption and unchecked authority. While there may or may not have been pedophiles in the Polish church during its sojourn under the Warsaw Pact, they could just as easily have joined the Communist young pioneer movement and stalked out their prey there, although given how closely everyone watched everyone else, I would imagine such people, when found out, quickly and quietly "disappeared".

  2. I was re-reading this with the recent elections in Ireland and the new succession. A "conservative" and half-Indian and gay? On top of that, being young, he seems to be the new face of politics. Ireland will be Quebec effect, except on a much larger scale.

  3. These definitions are in flux... I think the same is happening here in the US but it's further confused by the two-party system. Euro-Conservatism in the case of Fine Gael is pretty much restricted to economics. They've pretty much abandoned their social Christian Democratic conservatism.

    For other European conservatives, anti-Islam translates into pro-Enlightenment nationalism... pro-feminist, pro-gay etc...

    Ireland is continuing its backlash against the RCC. I wonder how the DUP/Tory alliance will play out in the Irish Republic?