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Pope meets Poland Prime Minister at Vatican to discuss Collaboration of Church & State, Family Policy & Protection of Creation

 

 

Pope Francis met at the Vatican with Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, June 3, 2018. It is well known that Poland has implemented a ban on Sunday shopping that has now gone into affect. This “Sunday law” is said to serve as a model to America and other countries.[1] Considering the reverence that Roman Catholicim has for the sun from which is derived Sunday (their Sabbath, not God’s Sabbath) and the fact that mandatory Sunday laws are a creaton/child of the Papacy, we do not have to speclate what this “private” meeting was all about. In fact Vatican News discloses what some of the topics of discussion were, which all point to Sunday observance. 

 

 

“The Holy See Press Office says Pope Francis’ meeting with Mr. Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of Poland, included discussion on family policy and the protection of creation. Pope Francis held a private audience with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland, Mr. Mateusz Morawiecki, on Monday in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.

A statement from the Holy See Press Office called the discussions ‘cordial.’

‘The good existing bilateral relations between the Holy See and Poland were emphasized, as well as the fruitful collaboration between the Church and the State in their respective spheres of action,’ it read.The Pope and the Polish Prime Minister also talked about family policy and the protection of creation, ‘with a view to the United Nations Conference on climate change to be held in Katowice in December 2018.’”[2]

 

The topics of discussion should not be surprising.  In case you missed them--1. family policy, 2. the protection of creation, 3. the good relationship between the Vatican and Poland, and 4. the “fruitful” collaboration between the Church and State.  This article will address the four points in the order in which they are listed and it will be shown that in each area of discussion Sunday is an integral part.

 

The two leaders are reported to have discussed family policy. Pope Francis speaks highly of restoring the family and having healthy family relations.  In fact when he came to America in 2015, one of his speaking events was at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of the things that Pope Francis along with his predacessors promulgate for the preservaton and happiness of families is observing Sunday.  Consider the following headline quoting Pope Benedict: “Sundays must be a day of rest dedicated to God, family.”[3] And more recently and specific to Poland, “Poland lawmakers voted last week to reclaim Sunday as a day of rest by phasing out Sunday shopping by 2020. In 2012, Pope said that in defending Sunday as a day of rest, one ‘defends human freedom.’ ‘Sunday is the day of the Lord and of mengoo and women, a day in which everyone must be able to be free, free for the family and free for God. In defending Sunday we defend human freedom!’ he said. The country’s Catholic bishops have praised the move, but say it doesn’t go far enough.”[4]  Additionally, when considering that policies are denoted in what is included under legislation, it is clear that the policies the men discussed were not merely reccommednations for families but rather laws for families to abide by.

 

The next topic mentioned in the report that Pope Francis and Mr. Mateusz discussed was the protection of creation.  This is something that Pope Francis is deeply passionate about, and one of the primary reasons why he selected the name “Francis,” after Francis of Assissi, a man that admired and worshipped nature.  He also devoted an encyclical, one of the highest of Papal documents, to the topic of caring for creation, Laudato Si. In said encyclical, the proposed solution given to not only care for “our common home” but also for the poor was government-mandated Sunday observance. “On Sunday, our participation in the Eucharist has special importance. Sunday, like the Jewish Sabbath, is meant to be a day which heals our relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world...The law of weekly rest forbade work on the seventh day... And so the day of rest, centred on the Eucharist, sheds it light on the whole week, and motivates us to greater concern for nature and the poor.”[5]

 

In additon to conversing about family policy and the care and protection of creation, Pope Francis and Poland’s Prime Minister also discussed the good relationship between the Vatican and Poland. Poland has an embassy in the Vatican and likewise Vatican City (also known as the “Holy See”) has an Apostolic Nunciature (an administrative center of the Catholic Church) in Warsaw, Poland.[6] Also noteworthy is that full diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Poland were restored in 1989, the very year that the United States, under then President Ronald Reagan, united with Pope John Paul II to tear down the Berlin Wall thus bringing an end to communism. From a July article published in The New York Times in 1989 it was reported: “The Vatican and Poland crowned years of negotiations and re-established full diplomatic relations today, the first such ties between the Vatican and a Warsaw Pact nation.The announcement of restored relations after a 44-year rupture set a precedent that some Roman Catholic Church officials said could lead to appreciably closer contacts between the Vatican and other Communist nations in Eastern Europe...Despite the momentous nature of today's events, they were noted in a low-key manner. The Vatican statement was a model of brevity... noting the ‘noble tradition’ of relations that go back many centuries between the church and the predominantly Catholic Polish nation. A simultaneous announcement was made in Warsaw, where a Foreign Ministry spokesman described it as 'a very important fact that crowns a long process of normalization of relations between the state and the church.’ Poland's bishops also issued a statement in which they welcomed the restored links with ‘great joy.’”[7]

 

One of the “noble” traditions dear, not only to Roman Catholicism, but also to Poland is Sunday observance which prompted the Sunday shopping ban in the country,  as noted in the following article from 2017: “As the Law and Justice party (PiS) has come to dominate Polish politics there has been a shift towards social conservatism...Sunday shopping looks as if it will be banned...The Church influences PiS, both because of the party’s dependence on Catholic voters and because of its leaders’ and members’ own beliefs. Beata Szydło, Poland’s outgoing prime minister, has a son who is a priest. PiS, however, is no mere arm of the Church. The campaign to prohibit Sunday trading was led by the trade union Solidarity, famous for its resistance to communism.”[8]

 

This leads us to our final point regarding what Pope Francis and Prime Minister Morawiecki discussed, the collaboration between church and state in Poland.  What was covered in the previous paragraphs detail the collaboration, or a more appropriate word in the place of collaboration would be the control of the Roman Catholic Church over, not only Poland’s politics, but also its society at large. Of course the very makeup of Roman Catholicim is a composition of church and state, with the church dictationg to the state and the sate enforcing religious legislations. When the first compulsory Sunday Law was enacted in 321 A.D. under Emperor Constantine it was an act not only merging paganism with Christianity, but also merging churh and state. As was covered, it was the union of church and state that brought to fruition the Sunday shopping ban; and although other than religious reasons are given for the ban, it is clear that this is a religious law in homage to Roman Catholicism that will impose even further restrictions.  Such a law will not remain in Poland alone, but a more stringent National Sunday Law with persecution will be enacted in United States and will then go to the rest of the world. “The decree enforcing the worship of this day is to go forth to all the world.  As America, the land of religious liberty, shall unite with the papacy in forcing the conscience and compelling men to honor the false sabbath, the people of every country on the globe will be led to follow her example. Foreign nations will follow the example of the United States. Though she leads out, yet the same crisis will come upon our people in all parts of the world.”[9] 

 

[1] http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/taking-sunday-seriously-poland-leads-the-way

[2] https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-06/pope-francis-poland-prime-minister.html

[3] http://www.catholicsun.org/2012/06/06/sundays-must-be-a-day-of-rest-dedicated-to-god-family-pope-says/

[4] http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/2017/november/poland-reclaims-day-of-rest-by-slowly-phasing-out-sunday-shopping

[5] http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

[6] https://www.embassypages.com/missions/embassy16504/

[7] https://www.nytimes.com/1989/07/18/world/vatican-and-poland-restore-relations.html

[8] http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/issues/december-15th-2017/how-influential-is-polands-catholic-church/

[9] White, Ellen. Maranatha (1976), page 214

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