The conflict surrounding this year’s Independence March shows the gravity of the challenge that the extreme nationalist movement will be for the Polish Church. The Confederation Liberty and Independence’s entry into the parliament, a strongly nationalist party, proves that this movement is becoming stronger and popular among the youth. If only the youngest voting demographic got to vote in Poland’s parliament, the Confederation would get almost 20 percent of the vote.
Many hardcore nationalists use the symbol of the rosary wrapped around a fist, which shows that many do not understand the teachings of the Church. They reject the differentiation between the political and religious spheres by showing they have no issue with political usage of religious symbols, which gives them a character of exclusion.
Their critics are put in a tough position as they are included among the enemies of religion. The Church teaches that no political group can claim Catholicism because it is universal and the Church works in the sphere of metapolitics.
Some nationalists also reject the Church’s teaching, such as the Polish episcopate’s “The Christian shape of patriotism” document, where the difference between patriotism and nationalism was outlined.
Looking through nationalist discussions on social media, one can tell that the so-called “open Church” is their enemy as much as the hated left. They believe that the Church is terrorized by the left and liberals, so they keep their distance from religious institutions.
While nationalism can be a healthy counter to globalism, many Polish nationalists resort to a very traditionalist version of Catholicism. They then manage to embarrass parties such as PiS, who also are connected to the Church’s teachings, by criticizing decisions like not introducing a ban on abortion.