Poland’s Minister of Education and Science Przemysław Czarnek held a speech during the 10th Pilgrimage of Men on September 10th in which he told participants that “Poland will either be Christian or it will not exist.” According to liberal sources, the ultraconservative MP of Poland’s ruling PiS party referred heavily to a sermon given by Saint John Paul II during a visit to Warsaw in 1979, underscoring Polish identity as intrinsically linked with Christianity:
Who we are is the sum of who we were. We are the sum of all our Christian heritage, over a thousand years, and it is up to us today whether we will transfer this heritage to the future, for our future generations. This is our responsibility, our task, our duty to do so, and this is what we are doing today, dear gentlemen.
The MP quoted a segment from John Paul II’s sermon: “Man cannot be understood without Christ, and maybe more—man is unable to understand himself without Christ.” Czarnek elaborated that all misfortunes are a result of human error and of a false vision of man in the role of God, or as a falsely free person unbound by duties and responsibilities:
To be a believer means to be faithful to God and the Fatherland. It is a matter of submitting to all of His commands and prohibitions. Every misfortune in the world results from the fact that someone does not follow one or another of God’s commandments.
Czarnek added that if everyone obeyed the ten commandments, there would be no misfortunes in the world.
In a further reference to the 1979 sermon, Czarnek stressed that it is impossible to understand the history of Poland without Christ, saying that if we don’t “understand the history of Poland, more than a thousand years of great heritage, we will not understand Poland and we will not understand Polishness.” The minister criticized those that “not only get rid of Christian values, but fight them, and try to forcefully throw away the key to understanding Polishness.” Those that are “faithful to the values of all their ancestors and are steadfast in bringing these values into the future” are “not selfish,” but “painfully altruistic.”
Czarnek stressed the necessity of a strong, Christian Poland, as “there is only room for a great, strong nation between Russia and Germany, and we are a nation of victors, because if it were not so, we would simply not be here.” If those who want to see Christianity cut off from Polish identity had their way in former times, “we would probably speak Russian or German today.” The education minister used his speech to emphasize the need of “educating young generations” about the history of their ancestors, who were “great winners” and “bought this victory with a huge sacrifice.”
A week earlier, Czarnek had spoken at a conference in Warsaw where he said Poles “must be counter-revolutionaries” if they “do not want to be the West.”
“We must realize that we are on the front line of a culture war, a brutal revolution,” said Czarnek, adding that “everything related to Christianity, Catholicism, religion as such, is ridiculed and spat upon.”