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Poland, Family, and Catholic Culture

by easterneuropeans.co.uk
Poland, Family, and Catholic Culture
To the average Polish citizen, the concept of the family and the home are strongly rooted in the society and culture of the Roman Catholic Church at large. Poland, which is still one of the most devoutly religious countries in the West, first adopted Christianity in the later years of the first millennium, and soon after adopted the same style of Catholic monarchy as was present almost everywhere in Europe at that time.

In the proper arrangement of a European kingdom, circa 1000 years after the death of Christ, the family was a crucial element to the structure of the feudal system. The King ruled over the land and it's various lords. Lords ruled over those portions of the country assigned to them, and the various people who lived in their lands. The lords oversaw their lands through the heads of families, and the heads of the various families ruled over their families in turn. This social structure was arranged as a sort of reflection of those religious truths and teachings that were maintained by the Roman Catholic Church. Hierarchy, authority, and distribution were widely accepted as not only religious, but also civil ideals. And the structure of the ecclesiastical authorities coincided with the civil structure. The Pope ruled over Cardinals and Bishops, who ruled over Parish Priests and heads of religious orders, who in turn ruled over the base level of clergy. The civil and ecclesiastical authorities were arranged to keep each other in check, just as the priest and the family patriarch were arranged to keep each other in check. By our modern standards, it may seem quaint and limiting, but to the average Polish man or woman at the turn of the first millennium it probably seemed pretty normal.

In more recent times, the Catholic Church remains largely an inseparable portion of a polish family's identity. A number of circumstances have contributed to the maintenance of strong Catholic influences in Poland while other nations in Europe secularized, or adopted various Protestant denominations as their national religions. Firstly, the Catholic identity of the Polish family was one of the few things that clearly contrasted Poland against Lutheran Germany to the west, and the various Orthodox nations to the east. Reactions to foreign oppression and the fight for independence also caused people to look to the Catholic Church for strength and courage. The Church itself acted as a fortress against a number of sieges throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and again during the World Wars of the 20th century. With all these influences, in addition to the election of Polish Pope John Paul II, it would be very difficult, if not impossible to separate the influence of the Roman Catholic Church from the identity of the Polish family, and the general character of the Polish home.

The average family in Poland is large and comfortable, each one an independent nation unto itself, with traditions, customs, and practices unique to each family. But each family also bows before a power that they each believe to reign over all. The family itself provides for all of its members and raises its youth to respect authority. It may be because of this that Poland has one of the lowest crime rates in the western world. Poland has suffered a lot of criticism for its adherence to traditional Catholic values, but it would appear that their stubbornness has yielded productive fruit.


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- Club fire highlights problems in Romanian Healthcare System
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- Estonia - Small but Beautiful
- A Tourist's Guide to Romania
- History of Poland Part 3 - Modern Day
- History of Poland Part 2 - World Wars 1 and 2
- History of Poland Part 1 - Medieval Age
- Healthcare Ails as Doctors, Nurses Emigrate
- Traditional Drinks of Eastern Europe
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- The History and Difference Between Samba and Salsa
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- A Tourist's Guide to Latvia
- Placek Swiateczny - Polish Christmas Bread
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- Polish Employee Rights - Anna's Case Study
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