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Polish MPs condemn 'disgraceful media smear campaign against St. John Paul II'

09.03.2023 23:00
Polish MPs have adopted a resolution to condemn a "disgraceful media smear campaign against St. John Paul II," and called the late pope “the greatest Pole in history.”
Polish lawmakers have voted to condemn a disgraceful media smear campaign against St. John Paul II, and called the late pope the greatest Pole in history.
Polish lawmakers have voted to condemn a "disgraceful media smear campaign against St. John Paul II," and called the late pope “the greatest Pole in history.”Twitter/Sejm of the Republic of Poland

The resolution, introduced by MPs from the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, passed on a 271 to 43 vote, with four abstentions, on Thursday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The document says: “Pope John Paul II, during his first papal visit to Poland, said these historical words in Warsaw: “Let your Spirit descend and renew the face of this land.”

The MPs added: “His words and deeds expressed and inspired love of the homeland, actively supporting the Polish nation in its efforts to regain freedom and independence.”

‘The greatest Pole in history’

In their resolution, Polish lawmakers condemned what they said was a "disgraceful media smear campaign, largely based on the documents of communist Poland’s machinery of violence, against the great pope, St. John Paul II, the greatest Pole in history.”

The MPs said "the campaign represents an attempt to discredit John Paul II" using "material that even the communists did not dare use.”

They noted that, four years ago, Poland's lower house voted nearly unanimously to declare 2020 the Year of John Paul II.

The resolution states that “St. John Paul II has a special place in the history of Poland and Europe" and that "his firm calls for his homeland's right to freedom among the nations of Europe, his practical defence of the rights of our nation made the Holy Father the foremost of the fathers of Poland’s independence.“       

The MPs went on to say that "the thoughts underpinning" John Paul II's teachings "remain an important guide in the shaping of social life."

They noted that in 1999, John Paul II told the Polish parliament that "a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism."

Symbol of Poland 'breaking free from the Russian sphere of influence

The Polish lawmakers said: “We won’t allow anyone to destroy the image of a man regarded by the entire free world as a pillar of victory over the evil empire."

They described John Paul II as "a symbol of Poland’s regaining of independence and of breaking free from the Russian sphere of influence," which they said "was noted on numerous occasions in speeches by world leaders, including by US President Joe Biden during his recent visit to Poland.”

The MPs described the late pope as “a great authority for Poles and the societies of the whole world.”

They added that he "epitomised faith, goodness and patriotism," while also expressing "respect for the work of John Paul II and his contribution to the history of Poland, Europe and the world.”

‘Advocate for human rights, champion of the poor’ 

The resolution further states that “the Polish pope was a tireless advocate for human rights and a champion of the poor in every corner of the world. He showed special sensitivity to workers’ rights and social justice.” 

Polish MPs expressed their gratitude “to all the citizens who have stood up to defend St. John Paul II.”

They added: “May our action serve as evidence for everyone seeking to deprive us of dignity and erase memory. John Paul II was a role model not only for the public, but for the whole political class, at the time of the birth of our democracy.”

The resolution said that the "Polish people and their democratically elected representatives will never allow his memory to be destroyed by means of documents fabricated by the communist system, which he had opposed.”   

Heated debate

On Monday, US-owned news channel TVN24 aired a report detailing accusations of child sex abuse levelled against three Polish priests in the 1960s and 1970s, alleging that the then Archbishop of Kraków, Karol Wojtyła, who in 1978 became Pope John Paul II, knew about the wrongdoing.

The report also included comments from Dutch journalist Ekke Overbeek, the author of a book entitled Maxima Culpa, according to PAP.

The documentary stirred a heated debate in Poland.

The Polish foreign ministry on Thursday summoned the US ambassador "in response to the activity of one of TV stations, an investor on the Polish market," it said in a statement.

The Polish foreign ministry did not name the station or specify what it believes the broadcaster did wrong.


Source: PAP, tvpparlament.pl, vatican.va