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Patriotism, Poland, and Cardinal Sarah

There is a sociocultural and even spiritual “big picture” which must be kept in mind by those who would battle against specific problems such as abortion, transgenderism, and militant scientism.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, is pictured after a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 16, 2018. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

From the standpoint of those of us concerned about questions of nationality, sovereignty, and rootedness, it is only logical to find that the most resolute upholders of Catholic tradition should also be among the most prominent opponents of globalization. For in its own way, the patriotism which stands in opposition to globalism is a critical part of Catholic tradition, as Blessed Stefan Wcysynski realized full well. “We should wish to help our brothers,” the cardinal once told his countrymen, “to feed Polish children, to serve them here and to do our duty rather than succumb to the temptation to ‘save the world’ at the cost of our own fatherland.”

Robert Cardinal Sarah of Guinea seems to agree. During a 2017 conference hosted by the very Polish university named in honor of Wycszinski, Cardinal Sarah insisted that communities as well as individuals must be respected: “In what manner is it possible to remove the rights of the nation to distinguish between a political or religious refugee, who must flee from his homeland, and the economic migrant, who wants to change his address without adapting himself, identifying with, and accepting the culture of the country in which he will live?” As if directly retorting to the popular slogan “welcome the stranger,” the cardinal admonished all who “exploit the Word of God to justify the promotion of multiculturalism and gaily take advantage of the excuse of hospitality to justify the admission of immigrants.”

In a 2019 interview with a French journalist following said visit to Cardinal Wyszyński University, Cardinal Sarah explained his views on the patriotic question in greater detail:

When I went to Poland, a country which is often criticized, I encouraged the faithful to affirm their identity as they had done over the centuries. My message was simple: You are first Poles, Catholics, and only afterwards Europeans. You should not sacrifice the two first types of identity on the altar of a nationless, technocratic Europe. The Brussels Commission thinks of nothing except the construction of a free market in the service of great financial powers.

As if to drive home the point that he is no proponent of the ideology of democratic capitalism, His Eminence goes on to lament that “the European Union no longer protects peoples. It protects banks.” Cardinal Sarah goes on to sum up the proper role of Saint John Paul II’s fatherland in the disordered mess that is 21st-century Europe. As part of her “unique mission in the plan of God,” says the cardinal, Poland

is free to tell Europe that each was created by God to be placed in a particular place, with its culture, its traditions, its history. The current drive toward globalizing the world by doing away with nations is pure madness. The Jewish people endured exile, but God brought them back to their country. Christ fled from Herod and into Egypt, but he returned to his country upon the death of Herod. Each should live in his own country. Like a tree, each to his own soil, his place where he flourishes perfectly. It would be better to help people to flourish in their own cultures, than to encourage them to come to a Europe filled with decadence. It is a false exegesis that uses the Word of God to celebrate migration. God never wanted this tearing away.

Whether Poland will follow the heroic path outlined by Cardinal Sarah or instead succumb to the “great financial powers,” only time will tell. What is clear is that the stakes are high, and that the author of The Power of Silence and The Day Is Now Far Spent exhibits concerns more reminiscent of Jean Raspail than of the USCCB:

The Church cannot cooperate with this new form of slavery that has come of mass migration. If the West continues on this disastrous course, there is a great risk that, with declining births, it will disappear, invaded by foreigners, as Rome was invaded by the barbarians. I speak as an African; my country is mostly Muslim. I think I know the reality of which I speak.

For my part, all I would add to His Eminence’s penetrating reflections is the observation that those Catholics who dissent from time-honored Church precepts about sex, human nature, and the primacy of the Magisterium are usually the ones most sympathetic to the idea of a borderless world. This in turn suggests that there is a sociocultural and even spiritual “big picture” which must be kept in mind by culture warriors who would battle against specific problems such as abortion, transgenderism, and militant scientism. However deplorable such afflictions may be, we will never get beyond ineffectually complaining about them unless we can summon the nerve to connect them with the globalist elephant in the room.


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About Jerry Salyer 42 Articles
Catholic convert Jerry Salyer is a philosophy instructor and freelance writer.

13 Comments

  1. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

    ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

  2. The article and Cardinal’s rhetoric are big on sensationalism but short on substance. What’s worse is, ir reported correctly, the way they mock scripture. One bread, one body? One lord of all? Hospitality? Refuge? We are all brothers and sisters? Try as I might, I do not see anything in the Bible that says humans are trees planted in one place where we are supposed to remain the rest of our lives. We grow, we explore, we uproot, we move, we make changes, we learn. That’s our anthropological history both as humans and Christian humans.It makes little to no sense to assert that constantly changing national borders are, as they stand right now at this moment, the actual boundaries that “God intended.”

    • This issue is the EU Administrative State overpowering nations with their own dictates. Not sure what God intended each countries borders to be. Over time there has been drastic changes. However one thing I don’t think is likely is that God has designated the EU Administrative State to establish or destroy existing boundaries.

      • I don’t understand what you are trying to say. The EU has never changed any borders. The EU sets rules of commerce much like American administrative agencies do in the US. The only difference is that the EU cooperates among nations and the US cooperates among states.

        • The big difference is this: U. S. are based on some residual conservatism and active knowledge of living God. You cannot compare US and EU by pointing to some superficial similarities between agencies. In fact, the “only” difference is that the EU and US are planted inside different civilizations.

        • Meant to imply that European nations have changes it borders over time not that the EU changed borders. The EU essentially dictates the rules of commerce much more than just merely sets the rules of commerce and other rules. Each country must abide by the EU rules, meaning that each country cannot govern themselves, just ask Greece. Also I think that was the driving force for Great Britain for leaving. If you love central control of your life than your home is in the EU. If you love Liberty and from that your ability to live your faith, than your love for the EU is not so much.

  3. “The Brussels Commission thinks of nothing except the construction of a free market in the service of great financial powers.”
    .
    I will not say I am an expert in European affairs, but the “free market” they have is not “free”–it is highly regulated, just as the market is in our own USA. And then there is the tax code.

  4. Interesting article. The EU while may have started out with good intentions has seemingly morphed into a godless dictatorial entity. The administrative state in the US is the same thing. Over time societies grant too much power and control to central authorities (Kings, Dictators and Administrative State). The end result is the same they want to run your life, by their rules. Their rules are anti God, anti Family anti Freedom and certainly anti Catholic.

    • What are those anti-God policies? I have religious friends in Europe. I’ve never heard any complain about having to follow any anti-God rules.

  5. john,
    We may all be members of the Body of Christ but we’re also entitled to preserve our own unique cultures. That makes the world richer and more interesting I think.

    • We manage to maintain our culture in the United States but we are still a melting pot. There is no reason why other countries can’t do the same. All of us here, save for a small population of native Americans, are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. We bring our culture and merge it with American culture. It works out beautifully.

      • john,
        What may work in America isn’t required for the rest of the world. We don’t dictate culture.
        And truthfully, America is much less of a melting pot than we imagine.

      • Ok. Great. We can allow some Middle Eastern, Africa, and Indian groups to bring “female circumcision” to our country. We can, and probably should, allow polygamy and child brides.

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