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Poland: Bishops send message to fellow Poles living abroad. “Patriotism does not equal nationalism”

“A mature patriotism does not equal nationalism or closure to other cultures and traditions”, the Polish Bishops underline in a letter marking the Feast of Our Lady Queen of Poland, celebrated on 3 May. The message is addressed to the 18-20 million Poles who live abroad, of whom one third were born and educated in Poland. The Bishops, on the occasion of the centenary of Poland’s independence following the Great War (1914-1918), also focus on the patriotic feeling as opposed to the “internationalism, so fashionable today”, that “makes the differences between different nations unclear”. The Bishops encourage those Poles living abroad to participate in the liturgy celebrated in their mother tongue by the prelates who work in close contact with numerous national communities throughout the world; they also invite expatriates to take part in the life of the local Church, in the local language and in accordance with local traditions, because “the bishops in other countries rely on the help of Polish Catholics” that they may offer “a witness of life consistent with the faith they profess”. The letter also expresses the Polish Church’s pastoral concern for those living in former Soviet countries where “keeping one’s religious and national identity often requires heroism”.

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