Polish party in bid to honour late pope

A Polish opposition party has drafted a parliamentary resolution to declare 2020 the Year of Karol Wojtyła, the late Polish-born Pope John Paul II.

Pope John Paul II visits Poland in 1979. Photo: Barbara Bartkowiak [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Pope John Paul II visits Poland in 1979. Photo: Barbara Bartkowiak [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

The initiative by the rural-based Polish People’s Party (PSL) comes as May 18, 2020 will mark the centenary of the pontiff’s birth.

John Paul II is described in the draft as “our great compatriot who contributed to the liberation of Poland from the yoke of communism, a priest, scholar, polyglot, ethicist and promoter of ecumenism and world peace.”

The draft recalls that Karol Wojtyła, who was elevated to the papacy in 1978, was the first non-Italian pope since 1523.

A pilgrim pope, John Paul II made 104 pastoral visits to all corners of the world. In 1981, he survived an assassination attempt on his life.

The draft resolution also says that John Paul II was the first pope to visit a mosque and a synagogue, initiating a historic breakthrough in the history of relations between Judaism and Christianity.

“John Paul II treated the problems of Poland and Poles as his personal priority,” the draft says. “His homily [delivered during his first pilgrimage to Poland in June 1979], with the words ‘Let Your Spirit descend and renew the face of the earth, the face of this land,’ is treated as a symbolic beginning of the collapse of the communist regime in Poland and the entire Central-Eastern Europe.”

The Polish People’s Party has handed the draft resolution to the parliamentary Speaker for further deliberation.

(mk/gs)

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