Catholic Church in Poland

Primary Sources

Anonymous sermon from 1982

Description

This sermon was delivered in Podkowa Leśna, a small town in central Poland near Warsaw, on October 13, 1982. An émigré publishing house in the United States published a transcript in a collection of sermons that purported to present the views of the rank-and-file clergy during the period of martial law. Much more militant than the official pronouncements of the Bishops, texts such as these show that the Church spoke with many voices and that the leadership of the Church did not exercise tight control over parish priests.

To see the associated Teaching Module on the Catholic Church in Poland, click here.

Source

"Kazanie o wolności ducha i umysłu," Kazania wojenne, trans. Brian Porter, (Chicago: Polonia Book Store and Publishers, 1984).

Primary Source— Excerpt

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1). These are words which St. Paul wrote to the Galatians two thousand years ago. Words, which more than ever before apply to us and are written for us. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Christ passed through his way of the cross and passed through the cross and through death on the cross. That death was an unavoidable means, the way to resurrection. But that death and that resurrection was necessary in order to free us, people of all times, from spiritual slavery. Christ gave his life so that we could live, so that man could live. This is accomplished in the sacrament of baptism, when we are joined with Christ so as to life His life, a new life, the life of the free, the life of grace. And it is up to us alone, all of us, whether we will grow in this freedom, whether we will remain in it, whether we will once again be slaves.

This isn't about prisons, concentration camps, internment camps. This is not about shackles on our hands or feet. This is about freedom of the spirit, about freedom of the mind, about freedom of the heart. A thousand years ago Poland accepted the sacrament of baptism, it moved towards freedom and in that freedom it grew, defending that freedom for itself and for others. That is why Hitler had to fall. Stalin had to fall. And all structures of the generals, presidents, dictatorial governments, and juntas must fall, because they are not able to destroy and subjugate the Polish Nation, its spirit. They can shut down printers and publishers. They can establish censorship and censorship offices. They can ban talking. They can lock people up in camps. They can kill, shooting people in the back, but they can never subjugate the spirit of the Polish Nation.

Parliaments can pass pseudo-legislation about freedom, they can destroy institutions, but they can never subjugate the spirit of the Polish Nation. Traitors, beginning with Judas, can be found in all generations. You had the "Volksdeutch", you have various sorts who collaborated with the Nazis against the Polish Nation. They were enemies of the Polish Nation in the Stalinist epoch, and they are enemies of the Polish Nation today. They were and are traitors. Perhaps out of weakness, because man is weak. Man is fallen. Perhaps out of a desire for profit, perhaps for a career, perhaps even for academic glory. Today we must recognize that everyone who is not with the Nation, who is not with Solidarity, is against the Nation. Even if only in their thoughts. . . .

The arm of justice will sooner or later reach the traitors of the Nation. It will reach them here on earth, or in eternity. Every treason must be punished. Every negation of truth must be punish. It must be. We can talk about the mercy of God, but we must talk about the justice of God. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." Only Christ is the foundation of all justice. All others will pass away. They will last for a long or a short time, but all others will pass away. That is why our hearts must be full of hope. Hope and joy. Even when our closest brothers point pistols at us. Even if our closest brothers denounce us. Even if our closest brothers, out of fear, betray us and succumb to all sorts of human depravity.

How to Cite this Source

Anonymous, "Anonymous sermon from 1982," Making the History of 1989, Item #12, http://chnm.gmu.edu/1989/items/show/12 (accessed October 25 2014, 11:41 pm).