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It was the late pope’s fervent hope that the intense spirituality of his native Poland would spark a ‘new evangelization’ of Western Europe. During most of his papacy, there was scant sign of that happening. But more recently Poland has emerged at the fore of a fledgling movement to restore Christian values to Europe.
‘What’s new in Poland is that political parties want to express their Catholicism,’ said Pawel Spiewak, a Polish sociologist and expert on right-wing politics. ‘A few years ago, a typical Pole was Catholic in his private life. Now he’s expressing it openly and wants to express it as public policy. It’s atypical for Europe.’
It could be the realization there are two Europes.
The first Europe is the Christian West — the Europe that brought down communism, embraced Pope John Paul II, and is unafraid to assert Christian ethics and values as better.
The second Europe is the Secular West — the Europe of the Enlightenment, instigator of ideologies (and the wars that sometimes follow), and one that sees values as different but never preferable.
Both visions are faced wtih the challenges of Islam while languishing in the grip of declining birth rates, abortion, unemployment, stagnant economies, and innovation-chocking socialism – products of modern socialism.
In Poland we see an alternative based on Pope John Paul II’s vision of a Christian Europe. One unafraid to assert it’s values as better while allowing private religious beliefs to be discussed openly in the public square. Christian Europe is not a throwback to the confessional state, but rather a condition I dare say Thomas Jefferson himself would be openly proud to live in (as he was Christian France).