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John Paul II’s Hero: Stefan Wyszyński Faced Communism With Clear Eyes and a Steel Spine

“The modern world needs to be reminded of the great truth that men are called for eternal life and that their life does not end here, on earth. Our faith in eternal life has a very important meaning: it teaches us to respect men. We must always remember that man is the most important, most precious, most splendid work of God.” —Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, Primate of Poland, May 24, 1964

“The Primate of the Millennium. A great Primate. I was witness to the mission, to his total entrusting of himself, to his struggles, to his victory” —Pope St. John Paul II on Cardinal Wyszyński

In his times, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński was the soul of Poland. He was the “Primate of the Millennium” because he oversaw a nine-year program of preparation culminating in a nationwide celebration of the Millennium of Poland’s Baptism (966-1966). The nationwide commemorative events made clear that Communism was unwelcome in a faithfully Catholic country.

The Millennium marked the beginning of a road to the Polish Catholic triumph over Communism. The Primate of the Millennium was its principal architect. He was one of the key figures in Poland’s 20th-century history. 

The victory would be, first and foremost, spiritual. However, devoted as he was to the Church, Wyszyński was also quite enmeshed in the Polish social and political life. He was an unshakable man who helped save the Church in Poland during the Soviet occupation. He defended the Polish people from the Communists. And he brooked no opposition. Once, in a pastoral letter, he preached: “I am your spiritual father, your shepherd, and the bishop of your souls; I am the apostle of Jesus Christ.” He was a role model for the Catholic elites. 

Read more at National Catholic Register

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