Poland

Kids in Defense of the Culture

The shock troops against Conservatism, Inc. have arrived. Witness the rise of the groypers. These cowboys sent people ducking beneath barstools the moment they set a spurred boot in the Culture War saloon. It has been amusing, to say the least, but not everyone is laughing. Some have even warned that the pale rider of [...]

Polish Poetry Under Occupation

As the Nazis prepared to invade Poland, they must have thought about the Polish history of sustaining its national spirit through art and literature. When Poland was partitioned in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was poets like Adam Mickiewicz and novelists like Henryk Sienkiewicz who kept Polish culture alive and inspired their downtrodden countrymen. [...]

Poland Responds to Gay Pride

Since the European Union elections in May, Poland has entered a summer marching season. More precisely, there are traditional religious processions, on the one hand, and LGBT “pride” parades on the other. The former boast millions of participants, in particular, the nationwide Corpus Christi holiday held in every parish; the latter attract thousands and, usually, [...]

Anti-Polish Bigotry in Contemporary Scotland

The most recent and internationally-reported physical and verbal assaults on Catholic clergy and churches in Glasgow has occasioned not only vehement condemnation at home and abroad, but has also rekindled controversy over the long-standing theme of anti-Catholic bigotry and discrimination in Scotland.  Within this broad context lies the subtext of anti-Polonism, which has been brought [...]

With Friends Like These Poland Needs No Enemies

When Poland agreed to host a Middle East conference in Warsaw, on February 13-14, it expected some flak from Muslim countries, in particular Iran, a cold shoulder from the European Union, and, of course, scathing criticism from Russia and, perhaps, China. What the Polish hosts did not expect were attacks and hectoring from the United [...]

New Law Defends Poland’s Honor During World War II

Within the last year and half I have traveled four times to Poland. I have by no means covered the broad expanse of this great country, but I have managed to visit Warsaw, Sulwalki, Lublin, Kraków, Oswęciem, Wadowice; I have spent much time in Katowice in Upper Silesia, and its surrounding towns such as Tychy, [...]

Poland Keeps the Lord’s Day Holy

After Polish Catholics lined the country’s 2,000-mile border to pray the “Rosary to the Borders,” Poland made another headline last week: Poland’s Sejm (lower house of Poland’s parliament) voted last week to phase out shopping on Sundays by 2020. The idea behind the bill is to allow Poles to spend more time with their families [...]

The Power of Three Simple Words: We Want God

Modern political discourse is in a sad state today. Ideas are now crafted in sound bites, tweets and slogans to appeal to a world absorbed by the frenetic intemperance of instant messaging. Speech has become dominated by empty rhetoric and posturing. Expressing oneself is complicated by political correctness that suppresses common sense and objective truth. [...]

We Are All Poles Now: The Battle is for Western Civilization

While some frenzied protestors call Trump “illiterate,” Polish crowds were impressed at the American president’s depth of historical understanding in the recent speech delivered in Warsaw’s Krasiński Square (July 6, 2017). The place chosen for the speech was remarkable in itself and holds great significance for Poles. Trump chose to speak at the memorial to [...]

President Trump’s Warsaw Speech

In the mid-nineteenth century, the poet and playwright Adam Mickiewicz dramatized the theme of his suffering Poland as the “Christ of Nations” and, deprived of its national identity for two centuries, the agony worsened when, in an image borrowed by many, Poland was crucified between the two thieves of Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. It [...]

Poland’s Presidential Election and the Future of Catholicism

Although Poland remains one of the world’s most Catholic cultures, in recent years its government has pushed an agenda separating Catholicism from decision-making in public life, often at odds with Poland’s Constitution and society itself. However, this is now coming to an abrupt halt with the ascent of President Andrzej Duda: young, charismatic, media savvy, [...]

Remembering Polish Catholic Heroes of WWII

Although even secularist historians admit that Pope St. John Paul II inspired the rise of Solidarity and dealt a death blow to the Soviet Empire, the pivotal role Polish Catholicism played in anti-Nazi and anti-Soviet resistance is less well-known. The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II this year is a fitting time to [...]

St. John Cantius: The Professor Saint

To many these days, the saint and the professor may seem quite distinct, even opposed, figures. The professor pursues the affairs of the intellect, and is recognized—if sometimes grudgingly—by the world as a sophisticate and knower of its ways. The saint, on the other hand, pursues holiness even at the expense of basic worldly interests, [...]

Bl. Ladislaus of Gielniów and the Power of Catholic Culture

 In the year of Our Lord fourteen sixty-two, St. Peter’s chains’ day, I took the cloister’s bonds. In Gielniów, Peter begot me, but Peter, most kind, in the cloister enclosed me: smashed my chains. Thanking good God, with the Psalmist I sing: ‘You have broken my bonds, O merciful God, By a wretch be thanked, [...]

How The Poles Saved Civilization, Part II

Among the most momentous events of twentieth-century history is the defeat of the Communist Red Army in the Battle of Warsaw in the summer of 1920, “the miracle on the Vistula,” the subject of Adam Zamoyski’s excellent recent book Warsaw 1920: Lenin’s Failed Conquest of Europe. In the aftermath of the catastrophic First World War, [...]

How the Poles Saved Civilization, Part I

On a June evening in 1979 I was having a drink on a small balcony outside a sixth-floor apartment in downtown Warsaw with a very civilized, elderly Polish intellectual, a retired mathematics professor who had taken a degree at Cambridge between the two world wars and spoke a refined, witty, patrician English. Inside the apartment [...]

Poland’s Warrior for the Faith: Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński

On June 1st, 1961, the feast of Corpus Christi, the Cardinal Primate of Poland, Stefan Wyszyński stood at St. Anne’s Church in Warsaw, his archiepiscopal see.  The baroque and neoclassical-style church was still not fully rebuilt from Hitler’s systematic destruction visited on Warsaw for having dared to rise against his rule.  Outside the church, well [...]

An Open Letter to My Friends in Poland

A son of Poland is now Blessed John Paul II. What is Poland to do now? If a friend might offer a suggestion: The Church in Poland should start looking forward rather than backward. Ever since the late pope’s death in 2005, the Polish Church seems to have been looking over its shoulder at the [...]

Remembering Pope John Paul II

Strange as it may seem, I've been vaguely worried about the beatification on May 1 of a man with whom I was in close conversation for over a decade and to the writing of whose biography I dedicated 15 years of my own life. My worries don't have to do with allegations of a "rushed" [...]

Fun with stereotypes

Bulgarian artist Yanko Tsvetkov is getting lots of attention for his "Mapping Stereotypes" project -- various maps of Europe according to different countries' real feelings about their neighbors. Here's Europe according to the U.S.: Seems about right: What else is Ireland good for if not giving us St. Patrick? (Guinness, maybe.) And the further east [...]

1942: State Absolutism

St. Thomas More said that to be a Christian, we must not only believe the Resurrection, we must continually be surprised by it. That saint, surprised daily by the empty tomb, saw what happens when people are not even surprised by God. The reinvented government that sentenced More to death was, from various angles, a [...]

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