Saturday, May 25, 2024

Donald Tusk’s liberal Kulturkampf in Catholic Poland

2024.02.28 Warszaw | Cabinet meeting. Photo: Krystian Maj/KPRM (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED)

The war of worldviews is intensifying in Poland as the ruling coalition’s voters receive more information concerning which election promises Tusk’s team does not intend to fulfill – because after all, it has been known for millennia that if the crowd can’t be given bread, it must be given circuses.

Krystian Kratiuk

In this ancient Roman wisdom transmuted to modern times, the metaphorical notion of bread represents the election promises, if only those on the list of Donald Tusk’s “one hundred concrete measures for the first hundred days of government.” More than half of the announced period has passed, and most “bread-and-butter” announcements have not yet been implemented, and there is little indication that they will happen anytime soon.

Rent subsidies for the young and 0% loans have not taken off, the pension plan up to PLN 5,000 tax-free has not been introduced, the Ministry of Industry based in Silesia has not been established, the Sunday trading ban is still in effect, the social tax break touted as a “vacation for entrepreneurs” has still not come into force, nothing has changed in the health service, the amount of the Alimony Fund benefit has not been raised, there is no zero VAT on public transportation, the promotion of Polish food products has not yet begun, the cost of running farms has not been lowered, and so on. Although to be fair, the Tusk government has indeed fulfilled a few promises among his “hundred measures”. But there are many indications that it will be a government akin to previous Civic Platform cabinets – meaning it is not altogether serious about its commitments.

Many of the coalition’s voters were also perturbed by the idea of work being ended on the Central Communication Port (CPK), i.e. Poland’s planned central airport hub, as well as by the government’s vague stance on Polish nuclear energy and the announcement that there is a lack of funding for laptops for schoolchildren. It is not what was expected from representatives of the “modern” side of the political dispute.

It was precisely because of this confusion that the people needed to be given circuses – which are extremely easy for those ruling Poland today to arrange. After all, these circuses include all the methods for holding their hated predecessors accountable (including the quick imprisonment of two MPs), as well as their fight against the Church and Catholics in general, which are perceived by the angry crowd as being on the side of Law and Justice (PiS). It is hardly surprising that Tusk would target them: negative emotions towards the Church are not only an intrinsic feature of his government’s supporters, but also a unifying one.

This is the main reason why Tusk decided today to launch a new religious war, putting those topics which were suspended under the PiS government back into the public debate. These are the morning-after pill, funding for in vitro fertilization, civil unions for homosexuals, crass sex education classes, restrictions on religious lessons, and changes to the structure of the Catholic institutions’ financing from the state budget, which were announced with a lot of noise when Catholics are, after all, still the majority of citizens.

A cynical cover-up

The issue of abortion under the previous government was, of course, not shelved (the Polish disputes regarding the subject were covered by the press all over the world). Still, even this topic – the most important one for the herds of hysterical women wanting to pull babies out of their wombs with forceps – had to return for obvious reasons. It is, among other things, the loudness and aggression of the circles fighting for “women’s rights” that brought the incumbent camp to power.

In this matter, however, Tusk is acting entirely cynically, for he knows perfectly well that abortion on demand in the current political reality will not fly in Poland. And it’s not just because of a possible presidential veto, but also opposition from his Third Way coalition partners. Within the Third Way alliance, the Polish People’s Party (PSL) deputies among the majority do not want to support the killing of unborn children, and the politicians of Poland 2050, like Pontius Pilate, intend to wash their hands and turn over the decision on the matter to the crowd – which these days bears the proud name of “calling for a referendum.”

Donald Tusk’s government will not find it easy to liberalize abortion in Poland

The Prime Minister’s plan is all too apparent: not only will he vote “yes” himself, signing on with both hands in support of the “women’s struggle,” but he will also blame the failure of the project on a coalition partner, conflating it with the other, more progressive member of the present government coalition: the Left. And where two coalition partners fight – Tusk will benefit.

The anti-Catholic circuses are intended to put a lid on public opinion not only to cover up the unfulfilled promises and embarrassing ideas, but also to bring about the liquidation of the CPK project mentioned above.

Let’s look at the subjects on which the most prominent media outlets prefer to remain silent and that have so far united Poles in some way. We see there is the issue of the forced relocation of migrants, which is extremely important for Donald Tusk’s European friends. It united Poles in the sense that, according to pre-election polls, the European Union plan on this issue was supported by only 17 percent of those surveyed. More than 60 percent were against the forced resettling in Poland of migrants from Africa and the Middle East who have illegally entered Greece, Italy, or Spain with the hope of benefiting from those countries’ social benefits or continuing on to even more generous Germany.

Decisions have been made in the European Parliament on this issue in recent weeks; in the relevant committees, deputies affiliated with Poland’s ruling camp voted against the will of the Polish people. Thus, while our compatriots take comfort in Tusk’s assurances that Poland will not accept any relocated migrant, his colleagues are discreetly deciding in Brussels what our streets will look like any day now. And it is on this issue – the rising crime rate – that we will soon actually catch up with the West in the manner desired by liberals and leftists.

Fortress Poland – What do Poles really think about immigration?

The spirit of Palikot’s radical liberal party in education

The most interesting aspect of the new battleground of worldviews in Poland, however, remains in the sphere of educational and cultural issues, for the new authorities know perfectly well that the future of our republic will reflect the way young people are raised today. Hence the aggressive policy of Minister of Education Barbara Nowacka, who began her political career with the radical liberal Palikot Movement and is responsible for educating Polish children today. Not long ago, we were witnesses to a highly symbolic change in the institutions that are subordinate to Nowacka: on one occasion, the Lesser Poland education superintendency removed a portrait of John Paul II from its facade, and the other day the minister invited top model Anja Rubik to speak as an expert on sex education. This peculiar swapping of authorities perfectly illustrates the idea behind the Tusk government’s approach to education.

This is even more evident in the ideas about changing the curriculum in Polish schools. As part of an “unburdening” of students, Barbara Nowacka’s ministry has proposed to move away from presenting students with key elements of Polish history – and so the Greater Poland Uprising is to disappear from the basic program. Even in the extended educational program, knowledge of, for example, prominent military officers of the old Polish nobles’ republic will not be required. But most notably from the point of view of the clash of worldviews and the religious war, a lot of information about Christianity’s historical role – about Father Piotr Skarga or St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, for example – is to be removed from the core curriculum.

According to the ministry’s ideas, the requirement to describe Christianity’s “cultural novelty” – a matter that is fundamental to understanding our religion’s historical role – will disappear from the required curriculum covering ancient times. When learning about the early Middle Ages, students will no longer have to learn the meaning of the term Christianitas, and knowledge of the Gregorian Reformation – which is crucial, after all, for general history – will be necessary only for those pursuing the extended course. In high schools there will be no information about the first Polish rulers’ interactions with the Church regarding the consolidation of the country’s sovereignty, and even in the extended program there will be no place for a description of… the dispute between King Bolesław the Bold and St. Stanislaus.

While we know perfectly well that Polish teachers will cope – not for the first time – with such reductive moves by the ministry, these proposals perfectly illustrate who has been identified by the ruling team as the enemy to be gradually “cancelled.”


The Kulturkampf of Henryk Sienkiewicz’s great-grandson

While these changes in education are a factor to which we should, unfortunately, have become accustomed by now (after all, each new government has its own idea about a new reading list), the actions of Culture Minister Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz in the context of NGOs and the media remain extremely interesting. The issue of “Sienkiewicz’s list,” which contained the names of suspicious entities – in addition to those media that are in opposition to the new regime (including “Do Rzeczy”) as well as Catholic organizations – has already become famous.

Someone might grumble that this list was created in order to check (as part of the subsequent anti-PiS campaign) which transfers from ministerial funds could be considered “suspicious” and to condemn the previous ruling team for them. But the list included, for example, Caritas, or the Light-Life Movement, alongside the Father Piotr Skarga Association for Christian Culture. The latter organization has never benefited from any government subsidies. This therefore means that the list was created not after reviewing any transfers, but simply as a list of institutions that are considered, by definition, hostile to the new government. The overwhelming majority of these entities are precisely those organizations with a Catholic pedigree.

The list is circulating among those institutions that fall under ministries. It is intended, among other things, to send a signal from the Tusk government to those who would like to benefit from state subsidies: Want funding for your activities? Stay away from Catholics.

This is a striking dimension of the ruling team’s peculiar new Kulturkampf – which, interestingly, is being conducted at the direction of Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, whose great-great-grandfather wrote his most noteworthy works (which are heartening to Polish Catholics) just a few years after Chancellor Bismarck ordered the first Kulturkampf.

The ups and downs in Polish history

The anti-Christian revolution marches on

To bring this argument to a close by listing all the mundane reasons these people are fighting Catholics would be to treat an altogether serious matter superficially, for the issue is much broader. After all, the recent change of government in Poland is a natural consequence of the anti-Christian revolution sweeping across the Western world.

Just remember the radical outcry of global public opinion when the Poles succeeded in banning abortion. It was a spark that ignited pro-lifers in the United States, among others, to action. It was so effective that, less than two years after the Polish Constitutional Court’s ruling, the US Supreme Court itself changed the existing law there, leaving the decision on the permissibility of abortion to individual states, some of which immediately took steps to make it more difficult to murder children. While tens of millions are killed each year around the world, it is still illegal to do so in Poland.

Poland yet exists in the middle of the European Union, where 16 countries already allow same-sex couples to enter into what the law calls “marriage” (Greece joined their ranks in February). And in our country – despite dozens of letters from ambassadors, hundreds of LGBT-friendly movies and TV shows, and billions of dollars spent on various rainbow campaigns – not even “civil unions” have been pushed through so far.

There is no right to euthanasia in Poland. Even now Polish parents, for the most part, do not want their children to learn how to masturbate and choose their own sex in their school’s drag-queen story hours. Poles still – despite a massive propaganda campaign – fill churches (which remain crowded in comparison with Western European countries). Polish priests are still reluctant to bless homosexual couples, and Polish bishops remain in the vanguard of opposition to changes in the Church’s teachings, and from time to time more or less boldly go against the grain of the modern world, which promotes everything disgusting, vulgar, and anti-Christian. Every 11th Catholic priest in the world is Polish.

Foreign money and pressure is artificially pumping up the LGBT movement in Poland

Such a country could not fail to become the target of all those who dream of building a brave new world. We’ve been targeted in this way for a long time – and we’ll continue to be so, regardless of whether Donald Tusk is aware of this and deliberately participates in the anti-Catholic conspiracy or whether he remains one of the hundreds of useful idiots, perhaps even thinking that he’s only changing the world for the better.


This article was first published in Polish in the Do Rzeczy weekly in February 2024.


The author is the editor-in-chief of