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The Polish Revolution and the Catholic Church, 1788–1792A Political History$
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Richard Butterwick

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199250332

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199250332.001.0001

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The first wave of ecclesiastical polemics (to the summer of 1789)

The first wave of ecclesiastical polemics (to the summer of 1789)

(p.65) 3 The first wave of ecclesiastical polemics (to the summer of 1789)
The Polish Revolution and the Catholic Church, 1788–1792

Richard Butterwick

Oxford University Press

Most pamphleteers concurred on the need to augment the army and find the necessary funds, thereby threatening ecclesiastical property. Some posed a more fundamental question: what was the purpose of the clergy? This chapter first considers three exceptional works (by Stanisław Staszic, Jan Nax, and Hugo Kołłątaj) before exploring some furious polemics. These concerned the origin and nature of ecclesiastical property; the performance of clerical duties, notably the ‘enlightening’ of the populace; the particular dependence of a republican polity on virtue and on religion; and the danger posed to society by supposed ‘enlightenment’ and ‘philosophy’. Despite the best efforts of writers led by Canon Wojciech Skarszewski, the polemics yielded a ‘patriotic’ paradigm. Given the overriding needs of the Commonwealth, all should contribute according to their ability, and a clergyman could contribute more than a nobleman with the same income.

Keywords:   pamphlets, Stanisław Staszic, Jan Ferdynand Nax, Hugo Kołłątaj, Wojciech Skarszewski, Enlightenment, Anti‐Enlightenment, ecclesiastical property, republicanism, patriotism

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