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Poland’s Presidential Election and the Future of Catholicism


Although Poland remains one of the world’s most Catholic cultures, in recent years its government has pushed an agenda separating Catholicism from decision-making in public life, often at odds with Poland’s Constitution and society itself. However, this is now coming to an abrupt halt with the ascent of President Andrzej Duda: young, charismatic, media savvy, and unashamed of allowing his faith to guide him in controversial matters.

Since its adoption of Christianity in 966, Poland has often played the role ofAntemurale Christianitatis, a bastion of Christendom. From halting the European advance of Mongols at the Battle of Legnica in 1241 to saving Europe from Muslim colonization when King John III Sobieski defeated the Turks at Vienna in 1683, this has been reinforced as Polish Catholicism failed to be extinguished by communism, when John Paul II was elected pope in 1978 and inspired the rise of Solidarity, playing a crucial role in ending communism. More recently, Polish immigrants have filled hitherto empty pews in Western Europe, while parishes from Paris to Peru suffering from priest shortages rely on Polish missionaries. During the current Vatican synod on the family, Polish bishops have been among the most vocal defenders of tradition.

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