Poland Brings Strongly Christian Influence to European Politics

By Gudrun Schultz

WARSAW, Poland, May 30, 2006 ( -Poland is embracing its Christian identity with a new enthusiasm, the Seattle Times reported yesterday.

According to recent census data, 96% of the population say they are Roman Catholic, and 57% say they attend Mass every Sunday. The churches are filled to capacity and there is no shortage of priests.

During his pontificate, John Paul II expressed hope that Poland would be the source of a “new evangelization” of Western Europe. In recent years, a political movement in the country has begun efforts to influence the restoration of Christian values to the EU.

“What’s new in Poland is that political parties want to express their Catholicism,” Pawel Spiewak, a Polish sociologist, told the Times. “A few years ago, a typical Pole was Catholic in his private life. Now he’s expressing it openly and wants to express it as public policy. It’s atypical for Europe.”

Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former communist, was president of Poland in 2003 when the country first began efforts to introduce some mention of Christianity into the EU’s constitution. He told a British newspaper, “There is no excuse for making references to ancient Greece and Rome, and to the Enlightenment, without making reference to the Christian values which are so important to the development of Europe.”

In 2005, the Polish delegation to the European Parliament set up a pro-life display in the parliamentary headquarters in Strasbourg, France.

“We follow the teachings of the church and the advice of the bishops,” said Piotr Slusarczyk, a spokesman for the League of Polish Families, a Catholic party that brought in the display. The pro-family organization also opposes euthanasia and homosexual activity.

“Our goal is to defend Catholic values and to defend Poland against Western tendencies that are being promoted by a vocal EU lobby,” Slusarczyk told the Times.

Polish president Lech Kaczynski is opposed to abortion and gay marriage, and has resisted pressure by the EU to change the country’s anti-abortion laws and support homosexual activity.

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