Murdered Priest Nominated as Poland’s Patron

News: World News
by Martina Moyski  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  January 22, 2024   

Bl. Jerzy Popiełuszko gruesomely killed by communists 40 years ago

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BIAŁYSTOK, Poland (ChurchMilitant.com) - Amid Poland's recent takeover by the globalist Donald Tusk, the name of one of the country's most beloved martyrs is rising to the fore.

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Bl. Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko

Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko, gruesomely killed by communist forces 40 years ago, is being considered for the position of patron of Poland in 2024.

The councilors (aldermen) of Białystok, one of Poland's largest cities located near the priest's birthplace, sent the nomination to the speaker of the Sejm [lower house in the Polish Parliament] in Warsaw for consideration. 

"The life and death of Father Popiełuszko is a constant inspiration to act for truth, justice and social solidarity," they said.

According to Polonia Christiana, the councilors explained strife involving the European Union (EU):

We currently have a difficult situation in Poland, and values close to Catholics are under attack, not only by the EU, but also by national authorities. Therefore, today — when the foundations of our national identity, which our ancestors built on the Gospel, are threatened — we, Poles ... need the unity implemented by Fr. Jerzy.

The "difficult situation" the Polish media site refers to is a litany of transgressions by Tusk's new coalition. They include the liquidation of Polish public TV, a police raid on the presidential palace and the arrest and incarceration of two Polish MPs, the promise to overhaul the country's conservative abortion laws and the promotion of LGBT education for minors in public schools — all in just a little over a month.

An idea which needs rifles to survive dies of its own accord.

It's not surprising that traditional Catholic Poles would look to Popiełuszko for patronage.

Life of Holiness

He was born on Sept. 14, 1947, on the Feast of the Holy Cross in Okopy, a small village in the northeastern part of Poland. Despite humble roots, he was known for having great faith at an early age. He walked two miles each day to serve Mass and entered the seminary after graduating from high school. His seminary studies were interrupted when, along with other seminarians, he was inducted into a special unit designed to indoctrinate young Catholic soldiers with communist ideology. 

The now-blessed man, however, resisted the indoctrination. He publicly prayed the Rosary and refused to remove his scapular. As punishment, he had to stand barefoot all night — in rain and snow.


Father Jerzy Popieluszko: Priest, Patriot, Martyr
 

His resistance to compromise on matters of faith and morals characterized his life as a priest.

After the communists declared martial law in 1981, Popiełuszko offered from the pulpit of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Warsaw desperately needed comfort and advice — particularly to families of those being imprisoned and killed by the regime.

Peaceful resistance was always at the core of his advice.

"An idea which needs rifles to survive dies of its own accord," he taught.

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Thousands came to hear Fr. Popiełuszko's Masses

While many Poles at the time were silenced, the priest continued to speak the truth. His example offered strength and encouragement to many people. 

He reassured his growing flock at St. Stanislaus Kostka, urging them to hold their heads up, "for you have knelt only before God." 

When the communists forbade uttering the word "solidarity" [the name given to the movement resisting the communists], he defended its use, saying: "Solidarity means remaining internally free, even in conditions of slavery — overcoming the fear that grips you by your throat."

Truth never changes. It can never be destroyed.

He also offered Mass to the workers inside the Huta steel mill, considered by authorities a communist fortress because it was a center of the government's economic power.

"Truth never changes. It can never be destroyed by any decision or legal act," the priest declared in one of his sermons. "Telling the truth with courage is a way leading directly to freedom."

Just weeks before his death, Popiełuszko hit the apex of his message, speaking against the communists' decision to deny work to employees who did not pay homage to their ideology. He argued that all men had the right to work in their professions and not be thrown out of work for their beliefs.

Brutal End

The communists had their eye on Popiełuszko for months. Finally, on Oct. 19, 1984, they abducted him on a country road at night outside Warsaw. They hog-tied him and subjected him to prolonged torture before killing him. His body was found 11 days later in the Vistula river. 

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Autopsy photo of Popiełuszko

The results of the autopsy revealed details so horrifying that both the communists and the Church suppressed them. His remains were eventually identified by his brother — from a birthmark on his chest. 

Some of what the post-mortem revealed was a brain concussion and an injured spinal cord. Internal bleeding from external pummeling was found in his lungs. His kidneys and intestines were reduced to pulp. When the doctors opened his mouth, they found his teeth smashed and his tongue missing. 

He was beatified on June 6, 2010 in Warsaw by then-Abp. Angelo Amato. More than 100,000 people attended the open-air beatification Mass. 

Pope Benedict XVI said of the blessed priest, "He exercised his generous and courageous ministry beside all those who were working for freedom, for the defense of life and for its dignity. His work at the service of goodness and truth was a sign of contradiction for the regime governing Poland at the time."

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