Warsaw, Poland, Oct 22, 2019 / 11:22 am (CNA).- Venerable Stefan Wyszyński, Archbishop of Gniezno and Warsaw from 1948 to 1981, will be beatified in Warsaw June 7, 2020, the city's archbishop announced Monday.
“We have to put the main emphasis on his spirituality, because we know a lot more about Cardinal Wyszyński as a statesman and someone who defended man, the Church, and his homeland,” Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw said Oct. 21.
The beatification will take place in Warsaw’s Piłsudski Square.
“Cardinal Wyszyński was the rock around which Polish Catholicism rallied during the worst periods of communist oppression,” George Weigel told CNA Oct. 22.
Wyszyński “also designed the ‘Great Novena,’ the re-catechesis of the entire country between 1957 and 1966, which laid the religious and moral foundations on which the Solidarity movement was later built,” he said.
Wyszyński was instrumental in the appointment of Karol Wojtyla as Archbishop of Krakow in 1964.
“Wyszyński and Wojtyla had different visions of the Church – Wojtyla was much more the man of Vatican II – but as Archbishop of Kracow Wojtyla was completely loyal to Wyszyński, never letting the communists play divide-and-conquer,” Weigel said.
“And there is no doubt that Wojtyla shared Wyszyński's view that the Vatican ‘Ostpolitik’ strategy of accommodating communist regimes was serious foolishness,” he added.
Wyszyński is credited with helping to conserve Christianity in Poland during communist rule.
He was placed under house arrest by communist authorities for three years for refusing to punish priests active in the Polish resistance against the government.
“The fear of an apostle is the first ally of his enemies,” Wyszyński wrote in his notes while under arrest. “The lack of courage is the beginning of defeat for a bishop,” he wrote.
The Vatican announced approval of a miracle attributed to Wyszynski’s intercession Oct. 3.
The miracle involved the healing of a 19 year-old woman from thyroid cancer in 1989. After the young woman received the incurable diagnosis, a group of Polish nuns began praying for her healing through the intercession of Cardinal Wyszyński, who had died of abdominal cancer in 1981.
Born in the village of Zuzela in what was then the Russian Empire in 1901, Wyszyński was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Włocławek at age 24, celebrating his first Mass at the Jasna Gora Shrine in Czestochowa. He served as a military chaplain during the Warsaw uprising against the Germans in 1944, and was made Bishop of Lublin in 1946.
In 1948 he was appointed Archbishop of Gniezno and Warsaw, and he was elevated to cardinal in 1953.
Wyszynski died 15 days after Pope John Paul II was shot in an assassination attempt in 1981. Unable to attend the funeral, John Paul II wrote in a letter to the people of Poland, “Meditate particularly on the figure of the unforgettable primate, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski of venerated memory, his person, his teaching, his role in such a difficult period of our history.”
If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!