KRAKÓW, Poland (ChurchMilitant.com) - An archbishop and a politician are both calling on their countrymen to embody the virtue of patriotism.
On Sunday, Abp. Marek Jędraszewski of Kraków spoke on the theme of "love for the homeland," particularly emphasizing the saints as models of patriotism.
The archbishop called on Polish Catholics to emulate the country's saints: "Poles who in their lives were able to show how to combine love for God, for other people, for their homeland, culture and history."
Jędraszewski specifically cited the example of St. Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński, the archbishop of Warsaw from 1862 to 1883, who was exiled by the Russian Tsar Alexander II for demanding that Poland's sovereign autonomy be restored. The Vatican supported Feliński and later negotiated his release.
Kraków's archbishop said the saint "witnessed how it is necessary to combine love for God with love for the homeland — even if it involves persecution and exile."
Poland has long been a fiercely patriotic country, as the life of St. Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński testifies. Every Nov. 11, the nation celebrates its Independence Day, which commemorates the German, Austro–Hungarian and Russian imperial rulers being cast aside, and the Second Polish Republic being instituted in 1918. Both the nation's capital city of Warsaw and its major cultural city of Kraków host annual parades celebrating the day.
Of late, however, these events have been increasingly denigrated, smeared as demonstrations of "far-right nationalism" or derided as outlets for "radical nationalists." Poland's centuries-old tradition of national pride has been politicized and attacked; no longer is the annual patriotic display seen as simple patriotism, it is now categorized as "center-right" or "far right," depending on the involvement of politicians from this party or that.
Poland's deep vein of patriotism has long been affiliated with the nation's Catholic history. One potential cause for the decline in patriotism (prompting Abp. Jędraszewski's figurative call to arms) may be linked to a recent decline in the practice of Catholicism.
In neighboring Hungary, on the same day, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán delivered a similar exhortation.
In commemorating the 200th anniversary of Hungary's national anthem, the "Himnusz" (meaning "hymn"), the deeply conservative prime minister reminded Hungarians that their national anthem is "a message from hundreds of generations, from the prehistoric times of the Hungarians who lived before us, a message that is lost in the mists of time that starts from our first ancestors and embraces all Hungarians who have lived until now."
He further explained that the "Himnusz" is, as the name suggests, a prayer. It is not a prayer to be whispered on one's knees, though, Orbán clarified; it is instead to be sung loudly, standing tall and proud with one's head held high.
Like Jędraszewski, Orbán focused his address on his nation's Christian roots. The Prime Minister gave special attention to one line in the national anthem: "This people has been already punished for the past and the future."
With a Christian spirit, this sentence means that although the number and extent of our sins may be high, God has not wiped us off the face of the earth. Even if He has punished us, He allows us to continue our history. The only reason for this may be that our virtues and merits are numerous, which means that we have earned the right to have a future.
In fact, though neither the prelate nor the politician cited it, each essentially spoke of the Catholic virtue of patriotism.
Possibly unbeknownst to many Catholics — and certainly unbeknownst to the myriad of woke bishops and priests who go about apologizing for their respective nations' age-old historical failures — patriotism is actually a virtue.
Despite its often purely punitive connotations, justice is the virtue of giving to one what he or she is due. Piety is a virtue under justice, which includes honoring one's mother and father, and patriotism is a virtue under piety.
The Catholic understanding of patriotism is reliant on the virtue of justice. In terms of patriotism, it doesn't mean a blind allegiance to one's country, but a commitment to achieve and further the good of one's country and to obey laws that are in accord with justice and Catholic teaching.
Both Abp. Jędraszewski and Prime Minister Orbán clearly recognize this essential tenet, and each is exhorting his people to embrace or embody the noble virtue of patriotism. In the case of both Poland and Hungary, the forces of globalism — antithetical to patriotism — are conspiring to remake the two central European nations in a globalist image.
The archbishop emeritus of Veszprém, Gyula Márfi, recently decried the onslaught of globalism, emphasizing its fundamentally Masonic and anti-Catholic tenets. Márfi noted one of the most dangerous and (from the perspective of Hell) successful tools of the globalists is the LGBT agenda.
Indeed, the LGBT agenda is being wielded by globalists as a hammer against predominantly Catholic and traditionally patriotic nations like Poland and Hungary. Last month, the European Commission (the far-left governing executive body of the European Union) announced plans to force all member states (including Poland and Hungary) to legalize gay so-called marriage and to allow homosexual couples to adopt children.
The commission's proffered reasoning claims that such a measure ensures all member states maintain similar laws so that, for example, two men who get "married" in Germany may have that union legally recognized in Poland as well — that's the theory. In practice, of course, the EU's move would annihilate individual nations' sovereign rights to legislate and govern law pertaining to the most fundamental aspect of society: the family.
What both Jędraszewski and Orbán clearly grasp and boldly proclaim is that the Catholic virtue of patriotism is the antidote to globalism. It does not obliterate the nation's identity and place it under the homogenous rule of global elites; it instead sanctifies the nation's identity and places it under the rightful rule of Christ the King.