Love of Country: The Unsung Virtue

For us, after God, the greatest love is Poland”  – Bl. Stefan Wyszyński

In the sixteenth century St. John of the Cross said: “The Lord has always revealed the treasures of his wisdom and his spirit to mortals, but now that evil is showing its face more, God reveals them to us still more fully.” Undoubtedly, such precious gems of the Catholic Church are St. John Paul II and Bl. Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński. It was common practice for them to venerate  the Black Madonna of Jasna Góra more than almost anyone else, but also, which may be unknown to English-speaking audiences, to have an undying love of their Country – Poland.

God chose to enter history in a specific nation and a specific country.  Jesus himself expressed a particular bond to this place. (Matthew 2: 19-20) “When Herod had died, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, `Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel`…”  While still a young child, he could have remained in Egypt but things were different according to God. Then as an adult, Jesus wept for Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44). In other words, he had a special love for a specific place.

“…Then I saw the Mother of God in a white garment and blue mantle, with Her head uncovered. She approached me from the altar, touched me with Her hands and covered me with Her mantle, saying, Offer these vows for Poland. Pray for her.” (The Diary of St. Faustina, 1732) If we consider these words spoken by the Virgin Mary to Sr. Faustina Kowalska, we cannot doubt that Poland must be dear to the Heart of Mary. Meaningfully, “Poland” is mentioned several times in the Diary.

The history and culture of Poland was an object of particular national pride for Cardinal Wyszyński, the Primate of Millennium. To the faithful gathered in Kruszwica he said” Be proud of your past”. He would stress the need for teaching the coming generations respect for the history of the nation. “A nation without history, without past, soon becomes a nation without land, a homeless nation, without future”.

During the funeral services for Cardinal Adam Sapieha at Cracow in 1951, the Primate, said: “Loving Poland, in each stage of her history, he never provided her with any excuse. He loved Poland as she really was, whether she was decorated like a Queen or poor like a slave, or even an orphan like a wanderer. All was the same! Since she is always like mother – the Country!”

On May 3, 1966, Wyszyński made the Act of the Total Consecration of the Polish Nation and the Country to Mary, Mother of the Church, in a maternal slavery of love. One could say that he had made a new covenant with God through Mary. It was done when the Church lived out her  Calvary, the time of militant atheism.

Referring to the Scriptures (Matthew 28,19) Wyszyński, exhorted Polish bishops to the love of their country. “We have a duty to baptize and teach the Polish nation, and to cry out for respect for our native and national culture, so that we do not have to first love other nations and only at the end, on special occasion, Poland.” One might say that exactly the same words today  should be pronounced to the prelates in America,  Australia, India, South Africa, etc.

The various Partitions of Poland and political suppression were foisted on the Polish people. On the wall of a Gestapo prison in Warsaw, a Polish prisoner wrote: “It’s easy to talk about Poland. it’s harder to work for her. Even harder to die. And hardest of all to suffer.“ For the majority of Poles, for whom Catholic faith and patriotism go hand in hand, St. John Paul II provided a concise description of the relationship between the two: the obligation to honour their homeland and the Fourth Commandment telling  us to honor our father and mother. “The spiritual patrimony which we acquire from our native land comes to us through our mother and father,

The Holy Father perfectly understood the notion of patriotism. “Patriotism is a love for everything to do with our native land: its history, its traditions, its language, its natural features. It is a love which extends also to the works of our compatriots and the fruits of their genius. Every danger that threatens the overall good of our native land becomes an occasion to demonstrate this love. … The native land is the common good of all citizens and as such it imposes a serious duty.

It might be worth quoting earlier pontifical declarations.

In Sapientiae, Pope Leo XIII states unequivocally, “To love both countries, that of earth below and that of heaven above, yet in such a manner that the love of our heavenly surpass the love of our earthly home, and that human laws never be set above the divine law, is the essential duty of Christians.”

Pope Pius X avers that “patriotism is not hatred for other nations, but a love that ensures in our hearts the first place to our country and our compatriots, for this is the order established by divine Providence. This love does not exclude the love for other people (…)”

Globalists argue that patriotism and national pride are old-fashioned and even barbaric, therefore they should be superseded by a devotion to the planet and the human species as a whole. This view seems to be deeply rooted in the mentality of some Westerners who shrilly and constantly decry their civilization as irreparably imperialist, racist, colonialist, etc., downgrading or denying its virtues, as if it hasn’t contributed enormously to the good of the world. The unredeemable guilt of the designated oppressor might be the misapprehended equivalent to Judeo-Christian notions of inherited and collective guilt.

Quite recently the leader of so called “total” opposition, Donald Tusk said that  today true and mature patriotism also calls for keeping Poland in the EU. This was stated by a man who had gravely offended his countrymen in 1997 by saying “Polishness is abnormality”. It is an open secret in Poland that Tusk has always been a germanophile. Thus it is a risky idea, if not downright dangerous,  especially when Poland is being attacked by Germany, which is using European institutions to take away her sovereignty. Many political and financial threats from Brussels and leading politicians have been launched as a result of conservative social policies pushed by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party allegedly restricting LGBTQ rights, placing a near-total ban on abortions and making judicial system changes.  The present position of Poland is clear: We will not be blackmailed! Might it be the proverbial thirty pieces of silver, paid in Euro, making the opposition favor the neo-Marxist Behemoth that undermines sovereignty and rejects God’s kingdom? In this atmosphere, for the sake of our country, ‘Polexit’ may become the only reasonable solution.

The globalist’s dream that one day the entire planet is united and all wars cease is a completely unrealistic approach. One needs to understand that an era of relative world peace inexorably comes to an end. No country can win war with the use of military technology only. The Catechism clearly states: “The love and service of one’s country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity.” More than one contemporary Constitution stipulates that  “The defense of the Fatherland is a sacred duty for every citizen.” Nobody has ever died for a “United States of Europe”. Neither Pole, Irishman, nor Hungarian will ever give their life for the European Union, that is obvious.

I have the distinct impression that the message given by St. John Paul II for World Migration Day in 1996, has been interpreted by a large number of Catholics as “a free entry ticket” for each and every migrant to any country they choose to live in. One finds it difficult to calculate how many times Poland and Hungary have been slammed for their migration policy. Meanwhile, the Pope affirms that “Illegal immigration should be prevented, but it is also essential to combat vigorously the criminal activities which exploit illegal immigrants.” And he stated that in some cases, it may be necessary to advise migrants “to seek acceptance in other countries, or to return to their own country.” The vast majority of them, who are trying to enter the USA and the UE, can quite safely be included in this category. It is true love of country that mandates closing the door to hordes of illegal immigrants. Stay clear of progressive theologians, and remember that everything that opposes patriotism is a moral offence.

At present, the world leftist elites are arduously working together to make countries lose their national character. Speaking about nation is often perceived as a sign of xenophobia and a form of dangerous nationalism that excludes others,  and monoculturalism is believed a menace. Instead, terms like multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism and inclusivity, which are on the rise in many Western countries, are safe and truly welcome. Changing our use of language reminds one of  totalitarian regimes altering our notion of truth. But no human word has the power to change the reality of things. Those who say they completely abandon their homeland are deluding themselves. To the cosmopolitan, therefore, who professes to love humanity and hate local preference, one could reply: “How can you love humanity and abhor  anything so human?”

Summing up, love of country is in fact a moral imperative that is etched by God in the true nature of man. By divine design the general good of one’s country should not be submitted to other countries interest, not to mention the whole of humanity. It is a virtue, not vice as some persistently claim. Charity at the global level must begin at home. Hence, there in no real moral objection to declare: “America First”, “Australia First”, “India First”, “Poland First”, knowing that this pleases God.

Saint John Paul II and Blessed Stefan Wyszyński, orate pro nobis!