Poland’s ruling party makes the defence of Pope John Paul II a key electoral issue

Image posted to Twitter by the President of the Republic of Poland.

AN “explosive” documentary recently aired by US-owned broadcaster TVN alleges that when Karol Józef Wojtyła was a cardinal in his home city of Kraków, he protected priests accused of sexually molesting children.

According to Politico the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party—closely allied with the powerful Roman Catholic Church—reacted with fury to the expose.

It even went as far as to “invite” US Ambassador Mark Brzezinski to Poland’s Foreign Ministry where he was made aware of PiS’s displeasure. PiS also pushed through a parliamentary resolution “in defence of the good name of Pope John Paul II.”

[Parliament] strongly condemns the shameful campaign conducted by the media … against the Great Pope St. John Paul II, the greatest Pole in history.

Writing today (Wedneday) for Politico, Wojciech Kość reported that the documentary has caused “a collective meltdown” in the PiS.

In a move that suggests panic over the issue, the Government and its affiliated media has launched a wide-ranging campaign about the canonised Pope. It even included a gigantic picture of the pope projected on the façade of the presidential palace in Warsaw. 

In a statement, the ministry said it:

Recognizes that the potential outcome of these activities is in line with the goals of a hybrid war aimed at causing divisions and tensions within Polish society.

‘Electoral rocket fuel’

Ben Stanley, an associate professor at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw was quoted as saying that it’s all a political play, as PiS has found what it hopes will be electoral rocket fuel ahead of the election.

Defending John Paul II offers PiS an opportunity to show they’re on what they claim is the right side of a dispute that poses authentic Polish values against something inauthentic and suspicious.

Image via YouTube

At the weekend Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, above, accused the opposition of:

Being ashamed of the most important countryman in the history of the republic.

Kość pointed out that, although Poland is secularising, with a steady fall in new priests, a decline in people attending Sunday mass, and large numbers of pupils abandoning religious education, the country is still one of the most Catholic in Europe.

The Church still has an outsized influence among the elderly and those in smaller towns and villages—PiS’s electoral strongholds.

Civic Platform, Poland’s biggest opposition party, sat out the vote on the papal defence resolution. The party accused PiS of playing politics with the issue.

Paweł Kowal, an MP for Civic Platform, said of the PiS overreaction:

You don’t want to defend John Paul II, you want to sign him up to PiS!

Image via YouTube

Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, above, head of the country’s Conference of Bishops, denounced the reports on John Paul II as:

Shocking attempts to discredit his person and work, made under the guise of concern for the truth and good.

It’s not just TVN accusing John Paul II of turning a blind eye to clerical kiddy-fiddlers.

Similar allegations are made in a new book by Dutch journalist Ekke Overbeek.

Maxima Culpa: John Paul II Knew claims that when he was a bishop, John Paul II moved paedophile priests from parish to parish to keep them from being discovered.

Both the book and the TVN documentary are being attacked for relying on communist-era secret policy archives.

TVN, owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, responded by saying:

The role of free and reliable media is to report the facts, even if they are painful and difficult to accept.

It also stressed that the author of the documentary didn’t only rely on archived files, but also contacted people who had been abused by priests.

Pope Francis put out “a pretty lukewarm defence” of his predecessor. He told Argentina’s La Nacion newspaper:

It is necessary to place things in their time …  at that time, everything was covered up.

With several months to go before the vote, PiS will now watch to see if John Paul II is gaining traction as an issue, Stanley said.

Pushing it too hard is potentially risky because it’s no longer the early 2000s and it’s not so clear this time if that many people, especially the young people, will spring to John Paul II’s defence.

A ‘cult figure’

Image via YouTube

Back in 2020, the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue, above, was enraged when a Catholic news outlet, the National Catholic Reporter ran an op-ed entitled “US bishops, please suppress the cult of St. John Paul II.”

In it said:

This man, proclaimed a Catholic saint by Pope Francis in 2014, willfully put at risk children and young adults in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and across the world. In doing so, he also undermined the global church’s witness, shattered its credibility as an institution, and set a deplorable example for bishops in ignoring the accounts of abuse victims.

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2 responses to “Poland’s ruling party makes the defence of Pope John Paul II a key electoral issue”

  1. St John Paul ll is an example of how once decisions have been made to venerate a priest how they actually behaved becomes irrelevant. Thus any evil scoundrel is defended regardless of any facts. This happens time after time and sometimes the worse their behaviour the more determined are their defenders.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Sounds like he’s the Patron Saint of Paedophiles.

    Liked by 2 people

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