The Church: The memories of the squares full of young faithful in Poland, during the World Youth Days of Pope Wojtyla, are now a distant memory. Cardinals, bishops, and parish priests fear a future of empty churches abandoned by young people in Poland. The great pope Giovanni Paolo II country, an anti-Nazi partisan and later the first “global pope” and leader of the non-violent global revolution against communism. That was unveiled by the most authoritative and unsuspected source, the Statistics Institute of the Polish Catholic Church (ISKK) confirming the data of a growing trend of requests for apostasy, especially among young and old in the educated European urban middle classes. Just 9-9.2 percent of young Poles say they believe in the Catholic Institution or have a good opinion of it.
It is a historical turning point that will mark 2021 in the largest eastern member state of the European Union, NATO, and the free world. From the glorious centuries of the Kingdom of Lithuania and Poland and the Polish armies that stopped the Turks at the gates of Vienna, to the brutal partition of Poland between Russia, Prussia, and Austria-Hungary; from criminal aggression and exterminating Nazi occupation in the decades of Communism and after, the Church has always played the role of refuge, critical voice and culture of the Nation and civil society’s protector.
“Notes from Poland” reported that the ISKK started to work on a study and census of Catholics and apostates for the first time since 2010. At that time, there were just 459 requests for apostasy, today polls and investigations reporting by media of every color herald an all-time high. Obtaining apostasy and leaving the Church today has become easy. But a crowdsourced “apostasy map” conducted in early December asking people to share their experiences of leaving the church in various parts of Poland, found that only 6.7% reported having had a difficult time receiving their apostasy certificate, while almost 76% had found it easy.
Just show up at the parish or diocese with an identity document and a baptismal certificate. Accompanying witnesses, contrary to yesterday, are no longer needed. “As far as we know, at the moment, the apostasies are still well below the number of baptisms, but the trend of farewell to the Church is increasing,” says the director of the Institute, Professor Monsignor Wojciech Sadlon. Several sources explain with solid arguments what is happening in Poland. Young people and the modern global and hard-working pro-European urban middle classes are disgusted by the cleric.
Members of the left-wing Spring (Wiosna) party launched an “Apostasy Counter” website to act as a “census of people who have left the church in Poland.” It demands people to email a copy of their apostasy certificate. Their anonymized details and year of apostasy are public on the website. The counter is approaching 1,000 entries, with the most commonly recorded year of apostasy being 2020. Some who have sought apostasy in Poland – where, according to Statistics Poland (GUS), a government agency, 92% of people are Roman Catholics – say that the process is not made easy by the church.
The disappointed faithful reproaches and aspiring apostates are precise: The Church has covered and continues to cover an enormous number of cases of paedophile abuse committed by religious. The institution is a spearhead of the hostile campaign of the national-American sovereign government freely elected and led by the Prawo I Sprawiedlywosc (PIS), Law and Justice, of the historical leader of the right, deputy premier and charismatic number one, an ally of Orbán, towards the struggle of the movement of women against the new laws and constitutional changes that prohibit abortion even in the case of lethal malformations of the foetus. Many Polish faithful have also had enough of the episcopate’s implicit but very perceptible hostility to Pope Francis’ line. The distrust of ecclesiastical institutions is such that it even leads to the false belief that the Church evades taxes.