Unexpected Vitality after the Fall of Communism
The chapter on Poland focuses on two questions. Why, in contrast to all other state-socialist countries, did the church’s capacity for integration actually increase rather than decrease despite persecution and discrimination during the communist period? And why has this capacity also remained more or less constant (albeit to a lesser extent) in the period since the end of communist rule? The authors have identified four key factors in the remarkable resistance of the Polish Catholic Church during the period of communist persecution: the fusion of religious and national values, the specific conflict dynamics of the church’s struggle with the state, the structural conservatism of agricultural production in Poland, and the actions of Pope John Paul II. Explanations for the surprising stability of religiosity in Poland after 1990 point to the behaviour of the Church itself, to the internal pluralization of Catholicism, and to the impact of a homogeneous religious culture.
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