Catholicism Part of Being Polish (02:45)
Poland is over 90% Catholic. The Church has been part of national identity in this oft-invaded country for 1000 years. Jasna Góra Monastery is home to the Black Madonna, the so-called Queen of Poland.
Influence of an Icon (01:45)
Catholicism offers forgiveness through confession. Pilgrims pay homage to the Madonna, said to have protected Poland through invasions, including the Nazi occupation and enabled the overthrow of Communism.
Refuge of Freedom (02:16)
The church formed Polish culture maintained Poland's identity. Under Communism, freedom existed only in the Church. When a Polish Cardinal became Pope in 1978, the people were empowered.
Workers Look to Church (02:00)
As strikes spread, workers looked to the church for support, contrary to communist theory that they would renounce religion. Father Popielsku supported the workers' movement against the government.
Father Popieluszko Killed (01:45)
Secret police closed in on Popieluszko. Workers tried to protect him, but State and Party authorities succeeded in having him killed.
Consequences of Popielsku Martyrdom (01:26)
Popieluszko's body was recovered from a river and buried at a mass funeral. His martyrdom discredited the regime; today he is revered as a saint.
Perceived Decline in Values (02:00)
A current Solidarity leader worries that many have forgotten their religious values in post-Communist Poland. Popieluszko is still a guiding influence for the man and his family.
Post-Communist Problems and Disillusionment (01:36)
Disappointment followed euphoria over Solidarity's election. Current problems of unemployment in the cut-throat market economy are more mundane than those of the past.
Christian Politics Versus Secularism (02:28)
Christianity has long shaped Polish politics, which many believe require a moral base. One person argues for a secular approach, particularly on abortion; another sees such attitudes as an inheritance of communism.
Church Helps Rural Poor (03:07)
Farming methods have advanced little since the 1950s. In a struggling rural region, the parish priest runs EuroPilgrims, which buses people to shrines; profits support parish projects.
Advocating Political Withdrawal (03:13)
Scenes show children learning the meaning of the Communion. School curriculum includes religious instruction. As belief declines, however, some favor withdrawal from politics to focus on preaching the Gospel.
Poles still celebrate patron saint Stanislaus, who died challenging state authority, establishing a tradition.
Credits: The Roman Catholic Church in Poland (01:08)
Credits: The Roman Catholic Church in Poland
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