The Guardian, Cif Belief: Poland’s faith divide

Ignited by the Smolensk crash, bitter tensions have emerged between Poland’s Catholics and liberal secularists

When 96 Polish dignitaries, including President Lech Kaczyński, were killed in a plane crash near Smolensk in April, the world briefly turned its gaze to Poland and its often tragic history. The victims were travelling to a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre – the murder of some 20,000 Poles by the Soviet secret police in 1940. The two tragedies became fused in the public imagination, reviving old anti-Russian prejudices and seeing the memorials to Katyn across Poland become the focus of fresh mourning. But the events that followed, and their consequences for Poland’s religious culture, have been little-covered in western Europe. The last six months have seen a bitter controversy emerge, raising serious questions about the place of religion in Polish public life…

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