The Polish parliament has declared 2021 the Year of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, in honor of the churchman who helped to preserve and strengthen Christianity under communist rule.
Resolutions of both houses of parliament — the Sejm (lower house) and the Senate (upper house) — hailed the achievements of the cardinal who led the Polish Church at the height of communist oppression and is expected to be beatified soon.
The resolutions were adopted by overwhelming majorities.
The Sejm’s resolution said: “In his priestly activity, the Primate of the Millennium paid attention to man’s inherent dignity, the source of all his rights.”
Cardinal Wyszyński is known as the “Primate of the Millennium” because as Primate of Poland he oversaw a nine-year program of preparation culminating in a nationwide celebration of the millennium of Poland’s baptism in 1966.
The Sejm’s resolution also praised the cardinal for his robust defense of the Church’s independence under communism. It alluded to his 1953 letter to Poland’s communist leader Bolesław Bierut in which he refused to subordinate the Church to the authorities, declaring “Non possumus!” (We cannot). Cardinal Wyszyński was imprisoned later that year.
“As a man of deep faith and love for the Church and the Fatherland, he sought agreement with the authorities. However, when the actions of the authorities of the Polish People’s Republic threatened the rights of the Church and the faithful, they heard the resolute ‘Non possumus!’ The Primate of Poland was imprisoned. He became a symbol of an unwavering attitude of opposition to evil,” said the resolution, dated Nov. 27 and passed by 387 votes to 48, with 16 abstentions.
In its resolution, the Senate described Cardinal Wyszyński as “one of the greatest Poles of the 20th century.”
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