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Pope asks Polish people to pray to Mary for Europe

Pope Francis in The Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary

© Marcin Mazur / catholicnews.org.uk

Pope Francis in The Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 05/04/22

"In Jasna Góra you remembered Blessed Cardinal Wyszyński, who taught you to entrust yourself to Mary in the most difficult moments of your history"

In his greeting to Polish pilgrims at the conclusion of the general audience on May 4, 2022, Pope Francis saluted the memory of Cardinal Wyszyński and noted the celebration the previous day of the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Poland.

Without explicitly naming Ukraine, the Pope referenced the current war that has led Poland to take in more than four million Ukrainian refugees.

“In Jasna Góra you remembered Blessed Cardinal Wyszyński, who taught you to entrust yourself to Mary in the most difficult moments of your history,” Pope Francis said. “Following his example, entrust to the Virgin Mary the fate of your homeland and peace in Europe,” the Pontiff asked the Polish faithful.

Pope Francis, who visited Poland in July 2016 for the WYD in Krakow, has received many Polish personalities in recent weeks, including Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, former secretary of John Paul II; Bishop Stanisław Gądecki, president of the bishops’ conference; and the president of the republic Andrzej Duda, who invited him to come to Poland to meet Ukrainian refugees.

But in Polish public opinion, the Pope’s position on the Russian offensive in Ukraine is often perceived as too complacent towards Vladimir Putin.

While Pope Francis’ polemical remarks reported on May 3, 2022, in his exchange with Corriere della Sera, were hard on Putin and Kirill, his questioning about “NATO barking at the gates of Russia,” caused deep discomfort in Poland, as they were interpreted by some political and media figures as a vindication of Moscow’s rhetoric toward the West.

Cardinal Wyszyński, a figure of resistance to Communism

Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński (1901-1981) was archbishop of Warsaw and primate of Poland from 1948 to 1981. Confronted for more than three decades with persecution orchestrated by the Moscow-subservient Communist regime, he was created a cardinal by Pius XII in 1953 but did not formally receive the cardinal’s biretta until four years later, after several periods of detention.

His long service as head of the Church in Poland was marked by very complex relations with the country’s leaders, with whom he managed to obtain some concessions in the area of religious freedom. Even today, he is deeply admired and respected for his struggle, both spiritual and political, which allowed him to maintain a powerful popular piety in this population, which was nevertheless restrained by an atheistic regime and by an often intrusive police surveillance in the parishes and dioceses.

He died in May 1981, just 15 days after the assassination attempt against his friend and compatriot John Paul II, who had been able to speak to him by telephone after waking up from his coma.

The former Primate of Poland was beatified in Warsaw on September 12, 2021, the day Pope Francis celebrated the closing Mass of the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest.

Tags:
PolandPope FrancisVirgin Mary
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