The Father Lemański Affair

Personal versus Institutional Sanctity in Contemporary Poland

in Journal of Religion in Europe
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Under the People’s Republic of Poland, the Polish clergy often assumed the power to speak on behalf of ‘its’ laity. However, the Church’s foray into democratic politics in the 1990s opened up a profound moral and ideological divide between itself and many Poles who now reject the Church’s institutional pronouncements as immoral and nonrepresentative. This article compares two paradigms of resistance to oppressive institutions by people affiliated with the Church in light of this change. The first, under late Stalinism, reflected hierarchy-initiated efforts to combat state oppression. The second, in contemporary Poland, reflects efforts by a small town priest (Father Wojciech Lemański) and his parishioners to resist oppression at the hands of Church institutions. I argue that the locus of the ‘enemy other’ has shifted, for many Poles, from the state to the Church. Most importantly, I show that sanctity continues to be experienced and sought after in contemporary Poland, but that its social profile has shifted from more institutional to more personal forms in light of increasing suspicion of the institutional Church.

The Father Lemański Affair

Personal versus Institutional Sanctity in Contemporary Poland

in Journal of Religion in Europe

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References

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5

Jan KubikThe Power of Symbols Against the Symbols of Power: The Rise of Solidarity and the Fall of State Socialism in Poland (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press1994).

6

Paul Christopher Johnson“Savage Civil Religion,” Numen 52/3 (2005) 289–324.

8

Elected to the papacy in 1978he had previously served as Archbishop of Kraków.

9

Scot J. Paltrow“Poland and the Pope: The Vatican’s Relations with Poland, 1978 to the Present,” Millennium—Journal of International Studies 15/1 (1986) 1–26.

11

Brian Porter-SzűcsPoland in the Modern World (Oxford: Oxford University Press2013).

12

KubikPower of Symbols129–130.

16

KubikPower of Symbols125–127.

18

Rebecca Pasini“Piety amid Politics: The Roman Catholic Church and Polish Abortion Policy.” Problems of Post-CommunismMarch/April (1996) 35–47.

20

Stanisław Burdziej“Religion and Politics: Religious Values in the Polish Public Square since 1989,” in Religion State & Society 33/2 (June 2005) 165–174 at p. 169.

22

Ewa Wolentarska-Ochman“Jedwabne and the Power Struggle in Poland (Remembering the Polish-Jewish Past a Decade after the Collapse of Communism),” in Perspectives on European Politics and Society 4/2 (2003) 171–189.

24

Halina Filipowicz“Taboo Topics in Polish and Polish/Jewish Cultural Studies,” in The Journal of the International Institute of the University of Michigan 9/1 (Fall 2001) http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.4750978.0009.103.

25

Ruth E. Gruber“Polish Church Declares Jan. 17 to be Annual ‘Day of Judaism,’” Jewish Telegraph Agency (1 December 1997) 10.

27

 See for instance Brian Porter“Making a Space for Antisemitism: The Catholic Hierarchy and the Jews in the Early Twentieth Century,” Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry 16 (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2003) 415–429; and Rzeczpospolita “Komorowski: ciemny znak pamięci” (10 July 2011) http://www.rp.pl/artykul/685727.html.

28

In 2000Primate Glemp apologized for the occasional Catholic priest who tolerates anti-Semitism or shows disrespect to people of other faiths rather than addressing the Church’s institutional anti-Semitism (see Porter “Making a Space” 415–416).

33

Michael Fleming“The Ethno-Religious Ambitions of the Roman Catholic Church and the Ascendancy of Communism in Post-War Poland (1945–50),” Nations and Nationalism 16/4 (2010) 637–656.

34

DudekPaństwo i Kościół29.

35

Timothy WilsonFrontiers of Violence: Conflict and Identity in Ulster and Upper Silesia 1918–1922 (Oxford: Oxford University Press2010).

41

Zuzanna Radzik“Proboszcz przed prawem,” Tygodnik Powszechny (6 July 2013) http://tygodnik.onet.pl/32080578proboszcz_przed_prawemartykul.html.

42

Wojciech Lemański“Oświadczenie ks. Wojciecha Lemańskiego,” Tygodnik Powszechny (8 July 2013) http://tygodnik.onet.pl/32080852artykul.html.

51

Francziszek Kucharczak“Ksiądz Lemański jest fajny - i co z tego.” Gość Niedzielny (8 July 2013) http://gosc.pl/doc/1600956.Ksiadz-Lemanski-jest-fajny-i-co-z-tego.

52

Michał Wilgocki“Ks. Lemański uspokaja zbuntowanych parafian. I ostrzega przed prowokacją.” Gazeta Wyborcza (16 July 2013) http://wyborcza.pl/17547814282080Ks__Lemanski_uspokaja_zbuntowanych_parafian__I_ostrzega.html#ixzz2ZF7Megka.

55

Piotr Markiewicz“Kuria: Watykan odrzucił odwołanie ks. Lemańskiego ws. probostwa. ‘Złożę rekurs. Mam takie prawo,’” Gazeta.pl (18 December 2013) http://wiadomosci.gazeta.pl/wiadomosci/111487115158042Kuria__Watykan_odrzucil_odwolanie_ks__Lemanskiego.html.

57

Aleksandra Pawlicka“Ostatnia msza kś. Lemańskiego,” Newsweek Polska 2 (7 January 2014) http://polska.newsweek.pl/ostatnia-msza-ks-lemanskiego-newsweek-plartykuly2781531.html.

59

Piotr Sikora“Podmiotowość wspólnoty Kościoła?” Ortodoksja bez przyzwoitek (15 July 2013) http://piotrsikora.blog.pl/tag/klerykalizm.

66

Wojciech Lemański“List do Pani Agnieszki Ziółkowskiej.” NaTemat.pl (April 2013) http://wojciechlemanski.natemat.pl/59115list-do-pani-agnieszki-ziolkowskiej.

72

Wojciech Lemański“Dom Marty,” NaTemat.pl (20 July 2013) http://wojciechlemanski.natemat.pl/69029dom-marty.

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