Nation, State, Nation-State

Between Patriotism and Nationalism. Seen from the Perspective of Central Europe

Fr. Piotr Mazurkiewicz

1.    Two different meanings of the term “state”

The French like to repeat after Albert Camus: “Mal nommer les choses, c’est ajouter aux malheurs du monde”.[1] Stimulated by this saying, I would like to slightly clear the foreground of our discussion on nation-state and nationalism.

First of all, it is about the meaning of the term “nation-state”, which sometimes is erroneously identified with the “state of one nation”. The experience of everyday life prompts us to say that the state is a natural creation, or, in other words, that man is naturally created for life in the state. Aristotle already expressed this by describing man as a zoon politikon, political animal, or – more accurately – created for life in the polis. We encounter terminological difficulties here: can the word polis be replaced in this formula by the term “state”? In fact, the Stagirite had in mind a relatively small and autarkic political community. Only such a community, in his opinion, could be sustainable, effective in governance and able to fulfil its mainly ethical tasks towards citizens. In English, polis is usually translated as “city-state”, though Cicero gave its meaning through the Latin civitas.

The problem is not outdated as we have difficulty using the same term “state” in the context of various political entities such as the Principality of Monaco, Vatican City, the Roman Empire, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the United States of America, especially since the very names of the last two appear to suggest that the “state” is only a part of them. When will the dynamically changing European Union stop being called an international organisation and be called a state?

In Western languages we generally use terms derived from the Latin status, such as: l’état, lo stato, der Staat, the state. Although the term status belongs to classical Latin, the current meaning of these words is relatively new and was formed only during the Renaissance debate held in the northern Italian republics.[2] The Latin status means, among other things, attitude, condition, position, meaning, location, circumstances, a state of affairs or lifestyle.[3] The person of the King was entitled to a special, higher status (status regis), royal dignity, which in itself was seen as a force organising public life and ensuring government efficiency. The good state (condition) of the king and his kingdom was also often prayed for. After all, the task of the king and his officials was to care for the optimum statum rei publicae. Finally, the term status appears to describe the various political forms described by Aristotle (status unius, status paucorum, status popularis). Niccolò Machiavelli in Il Principe[4] uses the word in this sense when he affirms that: Tutti gli stati, tutti è dominii che hanno avuto e hanno imperio sopra gli uomini, sono stati e sono o repubbliche o principati.

Lo stato in Machiavelli also means territories under the prince’s authority, whose state he should maintain in its entirety, possibly joining new states. The prince should also control all the authorities and institutions existing in the regnum or civitas, and thus the apparatus of governance, which in time is also referred to as stato. Finally, lo stato is the state itself as an independent political community, and Machiavelli also applies this term to ancient Sparta or Rome. The author of The Prince therefore uses this concept in his work in both a traditional and a new meaning, somewhat invented by himself. In some languages, the old sense has survived in phrases such as, for example, “reason of state”, “state of possession” or “third state”. A new meaning was adopted in the language of political philosophy very quickly, and, in the mid-eighteenth century, the independent political formations worthy of it were commonly defined states.[5]

Terminological changes were closely related to the transformation that political institutions underwent at that time. Absolutist tendencies resulted in a centralisation of power, and thus the abolition of local centres of authority derived from the feudal system of complex loyalty, under which, for example, the king of one kingdom could be, as a prince, a subject of the monarch of another kingdom. The concept of sovereignty operating under the theory of absolutism did not allow any division of power (Jean Bodin). Only one centre of power could exist on one territory.[6] This was accompanied by the formation of a bureaucratic apparatus – efficient, hierarchical, impersonal, based on formal neutrality, subordinated to instrumental rationality, but also having its own interests. With time, heads of states also became part of it, reduced to the role of hired officials on a state salary, whose task was to implement the will of the nation (the sovereign) expressed in the law. Separation of the ruler from the state institutions took place, including the ruler’s property and the state treasury. A state army and police were formed. A new perception of the role of the ruler in the state put the question about the subjectivity of people living in a given territory: were they subjects of the king or citizens of the state? The issue of loyalty followed: should they obey the king or the crown? In the negative aspect, this is about treason: is it treason on the part of citizens if they act against the interests of the ruler or against the interests of the state? There is also the issue of the secularity of the state and law, which we used to associate with the John Locke concept of tolerance. Quentin Skinner, however, draws these ideas from the tradition of a secular absolutism, which is associated with Thomas Hobbes. Secular absolutism, according to him, not only was not able to tolerate competing centres of secular power, it did not tolerate religious power either.[7] In a way, this was also required by Machiavelli’s separation of politics and morality. Finally, the private and public spheres of life were separated.

As a result of the whole process, nowadays in political science the term “state” has two different meanings:

1.     Broad – we call “state” everything that meets the requirements of a threefold definition containing the necessary coincidence of three components: people, territory and power (Georg Jellinek). In this sense, this term only defines a form capable of accommodating various political creations, with different variations of territory, people and the power related to them.

2.     Narrow – we link the definition of state (lo stato) with a form of political organisation that has developed in modern times. According to this approach, the earlier ways of organising collective life deserve at most the name “pre-state” (Gianfranco Poggi).

According to the first usus, in translations of classical works such as Plato’s Πολιτεία, Cicero’s De re publica or St Augustine’s De civitate Dei, in some European languages (not in English) we encounter the word “state”, which may suggest to the reader that the subject matter of the considerations contained in those works is not πόλις, res publica or civitas, but a modern state. Other terms, such as imperium or regnum, often disappear in translations. The second usus associates a certain degree of the structuring of society with the term “state”, finding its expression in the form of specific features and institutions whose presence is considered a sine qua non condition of the existence of the state.[8] These institutions are subjected to very dynamic metamorphoses, which can be interpreted that only the “latest generation” products deserve the name of state in the above sense, while those that do not keep up with the changes are denied the name of state.

We use the term “state” in two different ways: broad and narrow. We certainly deal with the first when we use this term in relation to political pre-Renaissance forms, and with the second when we think of a modern state along with its extensive state apparatus. Undoubtedly, such a state is national when it is inhabited only by one nation. On the other hand, we also give a double meaning to the concept of nation. At one time, we understand the nation as a historical reality, while at another, as a political and ideological construct. In the first meaning, we tie it in some way with ethnicity, while in the second, this relationship is almost completely dissolved. This way, a paradox occurs: if we adopt the ethnic definition of a nation, then in fact nation states do not exist in the “pure” sense. There is no totally homogenous society. If we accept the political definition of a nation, then every state is a nation state. I propose to follow this second trail, i.e. to apply the term “nation-state” to the modern way of organising the political community, and therefore whenever we speak about a state in a narrower sense, adding the adjective “nation” does not change anything. This is common practice. After all, every political creation which fulfils the three-part definition, but which is not an international organisation, is currently called a (nation-) state, regardless of how many nations or ethnic groups inhabit it. Moreover, if the European Union is transformed from an international organisation into a federal state one day, it would have to become a federal nation-state, only if it does not become an empire, as Ulrich Beck points out (Germany has created an accidental Empire)[9]

2.    The post-Cold-War world

The second issue that requires clarification concerns the accuracy of the belief that once – i.e. after the Second World War – international organisations were more significant actors in international relations than today. It seems to me that the role of global and regional international organisations has never been greater than today. After the Second World War, we had a concert of powers, whose permanent consequence is the current construction of the UN Security Council. On  the one hand, we had the United States and two colonial empires: France and Great Britain; on the other, the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. However, the main actors in international relations, i.e. the ones making real decisions, were nation-states, using the Security Council merely as a forum for formal talks. The main purpose of this international forum was to prevent the third world war. This system resulted from the totally unfair Yalta agreements, i.e. the division of the world at the expense of the Central and Eastern European nations. Since then there has been a process of decolonisation and the collapse of one of the communist empires. Many nation-states were created and a tendency to engage in internal conflicts appeared whenever their borders did not coincide with the borders of ethnic or religious communities. Part of this process was the reunification of Germany. In Western Europe, the process of European integration took place at that time. The assessment of these phenomena seems positive in general, although, as a result, the number of nation-states and of UN members increased at the same time from 51 to 193, and, in the case of the European Communities, from 6 to 28 (now 27). We have to leave for another occasion the answer to the question of whether the role of the UN and the EU has increased or diminished in the meantime. This does not change the fact that nation-states continue to be the main actors in international relations, and the French reaction to the German proposal to give up its seat in the Security Council for the EU is symbolic proof of it.[10]

From the Central and Eastern European perspective, regarding the process of disintegration of supranational states such as the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, one would like to repeat the words that Pope Benedict XV expressed during the First World War. The Pope reminded all those who took part in the war that “nations do not die”, and called on the struggling parties to consider “with serene mind the rights and lawful aspirations of the peoples”.[11] It is worth noting that the process of creating nation-states in Eastern Europe had already begun in 1987, and thus still during the Soviet Union, and this beginning was marked by the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh. The Armenians recognised that due to the demographic processes, this was the very last moment to prevent this region from being definitively dominated by the Azerbaijani people. As a result of the collapse of communism, more than 20 new nation-states were created. Today, it would be difficult to persuade Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Ukrainians, Moldovans, Armenians, Georgians, Serbs, Croats, Slovenians, Slovaks or Czechs to give up their own statehood, because they are “ethnically too homogeneous”. On the other hand, it is also difficult to totally deny reasons for Basque, Catalan, Flemish or Scottish aspirations. Nevertheless, whoever recognises these aspirations should keep in mind that dividing the nation-states existing in Europe could end in war.

3.    Patriotism in Catholic social teaching

            Another issue is the question of Catholic teaching on patriotism. It is relatively common to hear that patriotism belongs to the past and does not deserve any serious reflection. It is like an embarrassing remnant of the former model of social organisation, which one must abandon if one does not want to be considered a backward person. A mature man should reject religious superstitions, pompous patriotism and short pants. Even St John Paul II seems to confirm this view, saying that Western countries are at a post-identity stage.[12] People asked about their own identity, nowadays much less often than before, give answers in purely national categories. The world seems to be inevitably heading towards a global melting pot in which one day all cultures, languages ​​and religions merge into one global cultural cocktail. It is no coincidence that the construction of the House of One, a single temple for three monotheistic religions, was recently launched in Berlin.[13] The authors of the Compendium of the Church’s social doctrine seem to understand this tendency well, and one will not find terms such as “patriotism” or “homeland” in it, even if much is still said about nations and their rights in Church documents.

            It is enough to pick up the Catechism of the Catholic Church to realise that the matter is not so simple. In the context of the fourth commandment of the Decalogue, not only is the homeland mentioned, but the Catechism also underlines the duty of love of the fatherland: Amor et servitium patriae ex officio oriuntur gratitudinis et ex ordine caritatis (2239).[14] It would also be a mistake to stop reading the book Memory and Identity after the above-mentioned sentence. There is an entire chapter devoted to the matter of the fatherland, nation and patriotism. St John Paul II stresses in it a direct connection between the concept of the fatherland and fatherhood. “The native land (or fatherland) can in some ways be identified with patrimony – that is, the totality of goods bequeathed to us by our forefathers”.[15] However, he also points out the role of mothers in transferring cultural heritage from one generation to the other. The internal connection of the concept of the fatherland with fatherhood and motherhood explains the moral value of patriotism. “If we ask where patriotism appears in the Decalogue, the reply comes without hesitation: it is covered by the Fourth Commandment, which obliges us to honour our father and mother”.[16] This is the kind of reference that in the Latin language is expressed by the term pietas – says the Pope – stressing the religious dimension that lies in respect and reverence to our parents. We are to honour our parents because they represent God the Creator. Patriotism contains such an internal attitude in relation to the fatherland and the spiritual heritage, which our country gives us. It reaches us through our father and mother and puts us under the obligation of that pietas. Already St Thomas Aquinas taught that one and the same virtue of pietas manages the relationship of man to both his parents and his homeland. In the order of love, according to St Thomas, “in the second place, the principles of our being and government are our parents and our country, that have given us birth and nourishment. Consequently, man is a debtor chiefly to his parents and his country, after God (maxime est homo debitor parentibus et patriae)”.[17]

4.    Central European identity – Polish case study

Sometimes Europe is defined as a very diverse community of nations living on a small territory – maximum diversity in a minimum amount of space.[18] Central Europe, which has been providing shelter for refugees and vagabonds from Western Europe and Asia for centuries, is, in a way, Europe in a nutshell. If the diverse Greek poleis scattered in the Mediterranean are sometimes called a “laboratory of political systems”, Central Europe can be described as a “laboratory of cultural diversity”. Cultural diversity, which we associate with North America or the modern metropolises of Western Europe inhabited by significant groups of immigrants, was a permanent component of the history of this part of the continent. As Urs Altermatt writes: “Around 1900, Vienna, Budapest, Prague and other Central European cities became prototypes of multicultural societies that today, towards the end of the twentieth century, exist in cities such as London, New York, Paris, Berlin and Zurich. More than any other place, these cities of Central Europe were multicultural laboratories of modern times”.[19] It is worth adding cities of the Polish Commonwealth to this list, such as Vilnius or Lwów.[20] Poland, which today is a synonym of a homogeneous Catholic country, was a multinational, multi-confessional state for a significant part of its history. This tradition was violated only as a result of the Second World War and the Yalta Agreements. Western Europe consistently strived to implement the principle of one faith in one state (cuius regio eius religio). In Poland, in contrast, before the advent of the Reformation, a far-reaching religious pluralism prevailed, one of the manifestations of cultural pluralism. In the sixteenth century almost all of the Polish-Lithuanian people (joined from 1386 by personal union) confessed their own specific faith: Poles and some Lithuanians – Catholicism, Ruthenians – Orthodoxy, Germans – Lutheranism and Calvinism, Armenians – monophysitism, Jews – Judaism, Tartars – Islam. At a time when religious persecution was commonplace in western Europe, there was almost total, legally guaranteed, religious freedom in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.[21] It found confirmation in the Act of the Warsaw Confederation from January 28, 1573, which granted the entire nobility the right to freely choose their faith, and prohibited state authorities from any denominational discrimination in the distribution of offices, landed estates or leases owned by the ruler. The Warsaw Confederation was not an act of grace but – as it is clearly visible in the text – a grassroots and voluntary settlement of the nobility, which was each time confirmed by the newly elected king of Poland.[22] In the Confederation Act we read:

And whereas in our Commonwealth there are considerable differences in the Christian religion, these have not caused disorders among people, as detrimental as have begun in other kingdoms that we have clearly seen, we promise to one another, for ourselves and for our descendants, for all time, pledging our faith, honour and conscience, we swear, that we who are divided by faith, will keep peace among ourselves, and not shed blood on account of differences in faith or church, nor will we allow punishment by the confiscation of goods, deprivation of honour, imprisonment or exile, nor will we in any fashion aid any sovereign or agency in such undertakings. And certainly, should someone desire to spill blood on such account we all shall be obliged to prevent it, even if the person uses some decree as pretext or cites some legal decision.[23]

Later, all but one Catholic bishop refused to sign this act. However, despite this opposition, the Confederation’s resolutions became a permanent constitutional principle of the Commonwealth. As a result, the Commonwealth became – according to the expression by Cardinal Hozjusz – “a place of shelter for heretics”.[24]

The reasons for establishing the practice of religious tolerance in the Commonwealth were manifold. If we look at the map of medieval Europe – writes Janusz Tazbir – we will notice that the boundaries dividing the pagan world from the Christian world ran through two countries – Spain and Poland. However, while in the Iberian Peninsula, Catholicism served the cause of uniting the country by liberating it from the hands of Muslim Moors, the Teutonic Order operating under the auspices of the Papacy and Empire constituted a deadly threat to the existence of the Polish state. In the fight against the Teutonic Knights, Poland benefited from the help of pagan (up to a certain time) Lithuania, and from Tatar support. No wonder that some of the Polish theologians, in the years of the hottest battles with the Order, at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries developed a doctrine condemning the forced spreading of faith and stressing that “‘unfaithful’ are our fellows who are subject to the principles expressed in the Gospel”.[25] This was accompanied by the belief that any war or religious disagreement could lead to a breakup of a multiethnic Commonwealth, which was inhabited by people with different historical and political traditions, customs and languages.

Tolerance in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (since 1569) was not only a necessity, but also had earlier theoretical justification. The Council of Constance (1414-1418), which sentenced Jan Hus to death, is associated in Polish memory primarily with the speech of the Rector of the Krakow Academy, Paulus Vladimiri (1370-1435) on the power of the Pope and the Emperor over non-believers (Tractatus de potestate papae et imperatoris respectu infidelium). In the historical context of constant clashes with the Teutonic Order, which was devoting more time to fighting Catholic Poland than converting pagans, he condemned the Crusades as contrary to the will of God. At the same time, he presented one of the earliest lectures on the concept of natural rights of pagans (almost one hundred years before Francisco de Vitoria [1492-1546], the founder of the Salamanca School), according to which faith should be spread with persuasion, not sword. On the other hand, he gives a negative answer to the question if the things gained in an unjust war become the property of the invader. Thus, he acknowledges that regardless of baptism, people have the right to property under natural law and that by confiscating pagan property the Teutonic Knights became thieves. To illustrate the effectiveness of the road chosen by Poland, he took with him a group of several dozen voluntarily converted Lithuanians as witnesses.

Another argument in favour of tolerance was the strength of privileges of the nobility aware that an attempt to limit the freedom of any part of them constituted a threat to the whole group. The words of the Hetman and the Chancellor of the Commonwealth, Jan Zamoyski, addressed to the Protestants explain this perfectly: “I would give to cut my hand to convert you, but I would give the other in your defence if you were to be persecuted for faith”.[26]

The history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was completely different in this respect than, for example, the history of France, which was deeply marked by religious conflict. In fact, even a legation with the postulata polonica was sent to France, in which Polish deputies demanded the establishment of religious peace in that country.[27] The tradition of tolerance is mentioned by St John Paul II in his book Memory and Identity: “It is difficult not to recall one more historical fact: in the period when Western Europe was plunged into religious wars after the Reformation, which were attempted to be prevented, adopting an incorrect principle: Cuius regio eius religio, the last of the Jagiellons, Zygmunt August solemnly stated: ‘I am not the king of your consciences’. Indeed, there were no religious wars in Poland. There was, however, a tendency towards agreements and unions: on the one hand, in politics, union with Lithuania, and on the other, in church life, the Brest union concluded at the end of the sixteenth century between the Catholic Church and the Christians of the Eastern rite”.[28]

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was also extremely hospitable to Jews who, as exiles, came here from all over Europe. Because of religious tolerance, Poland was called Paradisus Iudaeorum. In Hebrew, two words were used to describe Poland: Polánia and Polín. The Hebrew transliteration of the first name, Polánia, can be broken down into three Hebrew words: po (here), lan (dwells), ya (God), while the second name Polín into two words: po (here) lin ([you should] dwell). The message was clear in both cases: Poland is a good place for Jews. In later centuries, up to 80% of the Jewish world population lived in Poland. Unfortunately, this was also the reason why the Germans during the Second World War decided to exterminate the Jewish people in the territory of the Polish Commonwealth.

Jews constituted a separate legal group in Poland. They had their own local government and judiciary. They enjoyed location privilege, which made it possible to establish a synagogue, cemetery and communal institutions, such as the board, commissions, and brotherhoods. Kahals (Hebrew kehilot) formed lands (Hebrew aracot). Four lands were established: Greater Poland, Lesser Poland, Volhynian and Ruthenian. Land representatives met at Jewish regional councils. In the years 1580-1764 the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealt included the Sejm (Parliament) of the Four Lands (Hebrew Waad Arba Aracot), a central institution of the Jewish self-government representing the interests of all Jewish communes in the territory of the Commonwealth. The Jewish Sejm was the highest authority in legal and court matters, regulating all areas of Jewish communities’ lives. Simultaneously with the Sejm of the Four Lands, the High Court of the supreme Jewish self-government was established, modelled on the Crown Tribunal. The Jewish Tribunal chose its own marshal, usually a rabbi, and deliberated during parliamentary congresses. The Sejm’s congresses lasted a few days, usually in Lublin or Jarosław. They began on Sunday, simultaneously with the so-called Feast of Our Lady of Candlemas (February 2). From 1623 there were two Jewish Sejms: the first, covering the lands of the Crown (Waad Arba Arcot), and the second for Jews living in Lithuania (Waad Medinat Lita). These institutions were originally established to facilitate the collection of poll tax from Jews. However, the Sejm also dealt with issues of religion, Jewish law and culture. It intervened with state authorities when unjustified attacks on Jews appeared, e.g. as a result of accusations of ritual murders or desecration of the Host. It also settled disputes between Jewish communities and landowners. It was the only local government institution of this type in Europe. The Jewish Sejm was dissolved in 1764 by the decision of the Polish Sejm, which decided that it did not fulfil its basic task of collecting Jewish taxes.[29]

According to José Casanova, thanks to the uniqueness of the Polish experience, conflicts typical of the Western world were avoided in nineteenth-century Poland. There were no fights between the Catholic Church and the secular, liberal state; between the Church and the laity, referring to humanism, anti-clerical intelligence; finally, between the Church and the socialist workers’ movement, which was first anti-clerical and then aggressively atheistic. Of course, on the one hand, this is a very selective presentation of Polish history, but on the other, as in the history of any other nation, any idealisation would not be legitimate.[30] Nevertheless, the singularity of this Central European tradition deserves to be emphasised.

5.    The borders of Central Europe

It is relatively easy to indicate the border between Eastern and Western Europe. It is rooted somewhere in the division of the Roman Empire into East and West. In subsequent centuries this meant belonging to the Latin or Greek world, to Western or Eastern Christianity. This border is clearly visible even today, both when it comes to the use of the Latin or Greek alphabet, the dominance of Eastern or Western Christianity, or in architecture. For example, the border between Gothic and Neo-Gothic overlaps with the former eastern border of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Dnieper line).

However, where is Central Europe and where are its borders? In short, Central Europe is the land and nations that lie between Russia and Germany. This statement is true only from the time when Russia shaped itself as a state that could threaten its Western neighbours. A special overtone took place due to the partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at the end of the 18th century. Central Europe is generally defined as non-East or even anti-East. This negation refers to two anti-European wedges embedded in the continent: Tartar-Muscovy and Turkey.[31] Russia, like Turkey, is treated here as anti-West.

Some point out that the Asian lands conquered by Russia in its colonial expansion in just a few decades never became part of Europe, even though they were not overseas territories but a not very distant neighbourhood. Even when the Russian Empire occupied the leading political position in Europe, the European and the Asian Russia were clearly distinguished. This is in spite of the fact that the division back then did not overlap exactly with what is nowadays seen as a border between the continents. Asian territories have never been demographically dominated either by Russians or by the Slavs in general, nor by Christianity. Therefore, they are for Russia a kind of a colony, very much the same as overseas territories of Western countries. If the Russia of today is therefore treated as a unity, it does not belong either to Europe or to Asia. It is something in-between, something defined as Eurasia.[32] If we separate the two parts of Russia, then one of them should be called Eastern Europe, but even then, the problem of the borderline between these two parts remains open.

            The nations of Central Europe for whom Russia was a constant threat, and which were forced to become thoroughly acquainted with it, never had any good opinion about it. They were always astonished at the fascination with Russia in the West. As Kundera writes: “Russia isn’t my subject and I don’t want to wander into its immense complexities, about which I’m not especially knowledgeable. I simply want to make this point once more: on the eastern border of the West – more than anywhere else – Russia is seen not just as one more European power but as a singular civilization, an other civilization”.[33]

Czeslaw Milosz, when presenting the cultural relationship between Poland and Russia in the 16th and the 17th centuries, writes the following: “Muscovy was Barbarians with whom wars were fought on the peripheries, like with Tartars, and people were not particularly interested in them. In this period of void in the East, the Poles developed their view on Russia as something located outside, outside the orbit of the world”.[34] Marquees de Custine, who had also had a chance to get to know Russia from the inside, observed: “Whenever your son is discontented in France, I have a simple remedy: tell him to go to Russia. The journey is beneficial for any foreigner, for whoever has properly experienced that country will be happy to live anywhere else”.[35] To what extent are such opinions prompted by the ill-will towards an eternal enemy, or are a result of adopting negative stereotypes, and to what extent are they the fruit of better, direct comprehension of the neighbour? Nevertheless, the negative opinion about Russia as a country still exists in Central Europe and, on the other hand, never prevented people like Milosz from having Russian friends.

The concept of Central Europe in German political thought was promoted during the First World War by Friedrich Naumann.[36] Originally, he sought to establish Germany’s hegemony in a global policy based on the colonies, alongside with Great Britain, Russia and the United States. The naval blockade caused Naumann to change his mind about the role of the overseas colonies, turning his attention to Central Europe, and more specifically to the cooperation between the German Empire and Austro-Hungary. The unification of the territories of the two states would lead to the creation of a “purely German” area, using the “universal German language” as a language of communication. In practice, this would mean compulsory Germanisation of all nations living between Germany and Russia. In the interwar period, the concept of Central Europe was replaced in Germany by the term Zwischeneuropa. This was an expression of peculiar “embarrassment” in the emergence of independent states in this area, which were considered to be only temporary. Zwischen since the mid-1930s meant between Stalin’s Soviet Union and Hitler’s Nazi Germany.[37] Today, although there is no sense of threat in Central Europe of invasion by Germany and we  have witnessed a marvellous process of reconciliation, fear of German economic and political domination can still be felt. Historical memory also makes the ear of the inhabitants of this part of the continent susceptible to slips of language, such as what Angela Merkel said during her visit to Japan in February 2019: Im Grunde sind wir fast Nachbarn. Wir liegen weit auseinander, aber im Kern ist nur einmal Russland dazwischen (We are almost neighbours, we are far away from each other, but only Russia is between us).[38] Is it really true? The Russian aggression against Georgia and Ukraine led in turn to the pursuit of a stronger NATO presence in the region.

Kundera begins his essay on “The Tragedy of Central Europe” with the recollection of Hungarian events approximately sixty years ago. “In November 1956, the director of the Hungarian News Agency, shortly before his office was flattened by artillery fire, sent a telex to the entire world with a desperate message announcing that the Russian attack against Budapest had begun. The dispatch ended with these words: ‘We are going to die for Hungary and for Europe’”.[39] In defending the case of Central Europe against Russia, Kundera underscored that in their opposition against communism, Poles, Hungarians and Czechs stood up not only against a political system but also stood up for Europe and the European system of values. To die for one’s own home country and for Europe, in his view, was the idea which inspired the dissidents of Warsaw, Prague or Budapest, an idea that was totally unthinkable in Moscow or Leningrad. When the bloodless “Solidarity” revolution began in Poland to smite the Berlin Wall and to facilitate the reunification of two parts of the continent separated by violence, the nations who were conscious of being the bulwark of Christianity and Europe’s Eastern trench suddenly found out, to their surprise, that in the West nobody looked forward to meet them. Instead, they were treated as “second class” Europeans, poor relatives who would first need some more refinement before they were allowed in European parlours. And in the meantime, they should stay a little longer in the waiting room.[40] This was more or less the meaning of a fairly popular stock phrase suggesting their “entry into Europe”. Finding this phrase insulting, St John Paul II spoke to his countrymen: “We do not have enter Europe because we are in it [...], we have always been and we are in Europe. We do not have to enter it because we created it and continue to create it with much more effort than those who are given the credit or who give themselves the credit of being European. [...] European culture was formed by the martyrs of the first three centuries, the martyrs east of us in recent decades and the martyrs among us in most recent decades. Father Jerzy (Popieluszko) also contributed to this culture. He is the holy patron of our presence in Europe at the price of his life, just like Christ”.[41] From that time, a certain kind of resentment towards Western Europe becomes relatively widespread among the inhabitants of Central Europe. It is often based on the conviction that Europe, for which they were ready to give their lives, the Europe of universal Christian values, has since died. This way, “backward” Central Europe has become the most European part of the Old Continent.[42] One can say that this is megalomania and perhaps it is right, but these people expect much more from the European Union than they received from the Soviet one.

But what is Central Europe? This is an area of small nations lying – as we said – between Germany and Russia. Kundera puts a very strong emphasis on the word “small”, although not about the size of the population, but about the fact that none of them had a chance in a simultaneous confrontation with Germany and Russia. Recently, this fate met Poland in 1939 due to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. “The small nation is one whose very existence may be put in question at any moment; a small nation can disappear and it knows it. A French, a Russian, or an English man is not used to asking questions about the very survival of his nation. His anthems speak only of grandeur and eternity. The Polish anthem, however, starts with the verse: ‘Poland has not yet perished…’”,[43] even if Poles form quite an important nation in the demographical or geographical sense. Central Europe, therefore, is a community of small nations which are not yet dead, but which live under a constant threat. They are distrustful of history. Hegel’s or Marx’s history is Reason incorporated. It is a history seen with the eyes of victors. The nations of Central Europe, and Poland for the last 200 years, are a reverse side of this history, they are its victims. Sandwiched between two powers, they know they must survive. It is worth recalling that in 2018 most Central European countries celebrated a century of gaining or regaining independence, and for that hundred years, there were 50 years of German or Soviet occupation.

Small nations must somehow cope with history and violence. There may be different ways and means adopted. Constant conspiracy, uprisings, evasion of unjust law, underground circulation of culture, inward emigration, escape into irony or feigned idiocy, the way the good soldier Schweik adopted. In a nutshell, everything that allows one to cherish some hope even though one has been betrayed and sold in captivity. Everything that allows one to enjoy freedom under external servitude.

            And yet, the nations of Central Europe bear in them some extra-European significance. Small communities which are not yet dead unveil Europe’s fragility. In the era of globalisation, now more frequently called glocalisation, all nations may fear that they will be reduced to small local communities and will be doomed the same way. In that sense, as Kundera underscores, the plight of Central Europe seems to augur the plight of Europe as a whole, and the culture developed in Central Europe becomes more valid. Small nations which are not yet dead convey in their memories a message which is very important for integrating Europe: they managed to survive through the centuries, even deprived of their statehood. The fact was recalled by St John Paul II during his address at the UNESCO headquarters: “I am the son of a Nation which has lived the greatest experience of history, which its neighbours have condemned to death several times, but which has survived and remained itself. It has kept its identity, and it has kept, in spite of partitions and foreign occupations, its national sovereignty, not by relying on the resources of physical power, but solely by relying on its culture. This culture turned out, in the circumstances, to be more powerful than all other forces”.[44]

6.    Nation as a “product” of culture

The discussion on the future of Europe seeks a new definition of state sovereignty and new guarantees for the duration of national communities. The nations of Central Europe have their own, very valuable experience in this area. We mentioned two concepts of nation: ethno-cultural and political. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth developed a third concept of nation, different from that in the West. It is defined not in ethnic or political terms, but as a cultural community. The separation of the ethnic (biological) element from the cultural one is crucial here. “The Nation is (…) the great community of men who are united by various ties, but above all, precisely by culture”.[45] The cultural concept of nation, in a certain sense an invention of Central Europe, widely recognised today, makes the nation an open community. Culture is not only inherited, but it is also the subject of free choice. Moreover, within this concept, the nation and its spiritual sovereignty are distinguished from the state and its material sovereignty. The sovereignty that expresses itself in the culture of the nation is of greater fundamental importance to society. At the same time, it is a guarantee of the individual’s sovereignty.[46] According to this view, nations, on the basis of free decisions, can create a variety of political-type communities without losing any of their basic cultural sovereignty.

Since St Augustine, in Catholic teaching, the nation is treated as a spiritual community. The content of the national bond is love, which means that it is subjective, dependent on human reason and will. Bringing the spiritual element to the forefront makes groundless accusations that the concept of nation is based on a mistaken belief in a common biological origin or that there exists an inevitable relationship of patriotism with racism and xenophobia. The nation is first and foremost a creation of culture. Its essence is the cultural bond between people.[47] This approach to the problem of the nation was presented by St John Paul II in the previously mentioned speech at the UNESCO: “The Nation exists ‘through’ culture and ‘for’ culture”.[48]

The sense of national identity plays a significant role in human life. For the nation (the society in mature form) “is not only the great ‘educator’ of every man, even though an indirect one (because each individual absorbs within the family the contents and values that go to make up the culture of a given nation); it is also a great historical and social incarnation of the work of all generations. All of this brings it about that man combines his deepest human identity with membership of a nation, and intends his work to also increase the common good developed together with his compatriots”.[49] Belonging to a particular tradition and culture is the foundation of spiritual sovereignty. It expresses the human need to identify oneself and survive in his/her otherness, in confrontation with currents aimed at cultural and social uniformity. “This tension between the particular and the universal can be considered immanent in human beings”.[50] The nation, as a large, well-integrated group of people, separated from other populations, convinced of the common destiny is – as emphasised by the representatives of the historical school – the reason for one’s self-esteem, for determination of individual identity, giving one the feeling of being at home, in a community of people who understand and speak the same language.[51]

Catholic social teaching – writes St John Paul II – considers both the family and the nation as natural communities, and therefore not the fruit of an ordinary contract. For this reason, it cannot be replaced by anything in the history of mankind. Neither by the state, although the nation naturally wants to exist as a state, nor by so-called democratic society, because it is about two different orders, although binding with each other.[52] In the social teaching, attention is paid to the right of nations to self-determine and to the equality of nations in front of the law. The conviction about the inferiority of some nations or cultures was, especially in our century, the cause of many crimes committed in the name of deadly doctrines,[53] and lack of recognition of their right to self-determination is the cause of constant anxiety in the world, because – let us recall the words of Benedict XV – “nations do not die”.[54]

It seems worth paying attention to the concept of societal security or ontological security, which was developed by a mostly Danish group of researchers in the context of accession of this country to the European Communities.[55] Its residents were concerned about the loss of national identity in a kind of European melting pot. They distinguish the security of the state from the security of society. At the same time, they draw attention to the fact that the existing integration policy focused on state institutions, while the source of future conflicts may be a sense of threat of EU societies experienced as a result of migration and cultural changes. According to scholars from the Copenhagen school, multinational states are much more likely to generate internal conflicts than single-nation homogenous societies. Therefore, in the future integration policy, much more attention should be paid to protecting the cultural identity of nations, because ensuring the security of the Member States (their sovereignty) does not guarantee that societies also feel safe.[56] In his book After Europe, Ivan Krastev argues that the waves of refugees heading for Europe have stimulated a kind of “demographic panic” in many European countries. Conscious of the demographic crisis and massive emigration of Bulgarian youth to the West, he asks: “Is there going to be anyone left to read Bulgarian poetry in one hundred years?”.[57] The answer that in a hundred years no one will ask such questions any more will certainly not help solve the panic.

St John Paul II even talked about the need for an international agreement, similar to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, devoted only to the rights of nations. While sketching the outline of these laws, he mentions the right to exist (no one is ever authorised to state that a particular nation does not deserve to exist), which does not necessarily entail the right to state sovereignty, the right to their own language and culture, their own traditions, their own future provided by appropriate education, and respect for their own cultural identity. In addition to rights, nations also have duties resulting from the need for universality. The first of them is the commitment to live in a spirit of peace, respect and solidarity with other nations.[58]

7. Patriotism and nationalism

            As a result of Polish history, we can see two different way of understanding patriotism in Polish culture and society. The first, which is common with other cultures and countries, is rooted in the first centuries of the Polish statehood, when Poles formed an ethnical community called a Piast, after the first Polish dynasty. The second is specific for the Polish Commonwealth, when Poles (understood as citizens) formed a multinational and multireligious community, called a Jagiellonian, after the second one.[59] The Polish Bishops’ Conference refers to this double tradition in a social letter on patriotism.[60]

Giovanni Reale, in a commentary on Karol Wojtyła’s writings, notes that patriotism and nationalism are often confused with each other. Sometimes this is done deliberately. Reale polemicizes with Zygmunt Bauman’s thesis that the difference between these concepts is only formal and rhetorical, not substantive. Bauman claims: “Patriotism is described (...) by negating the least pleasant and the most shameful features of nationalism. (...) The difference lies in the words and is above all rhetorical in character, so it does not concern the essence of the phenomena discussed, but the ways of speaking about feelings and passions, which, in principle, do not differ from each other”.[61] Referring to the texts of St John Paul II, Reale states that nationalism is a “pathological exaggeration of the nation”, and properly understood patriotism is the “antithesis of nationalism”.[62] “It is characteristic of nationalism that it recognises only the good of its own nation and only strives towards it, without taking into account the rights of others. Patriotism, on the other hand, as the love of the fatherland, grants all other nations the same rights as their own, and thus is the way to orderly social love”.[63] This idea is taken by the Polish Episcopate in the Letter of 2017, presenting nationalism as a kind of “national egoism”, cultivating the sense of self-superiority and closing itself to other national communities. Like individual selfishness, it deserves moral stigma, especially when it tries to elevate its own nation to the rank of absolute, which is idolatry.[64] Patriotism, meanwhile, combines the love of one’s nation with a deep respect for what constitutes the value of other nations. “It requires recognition of all goodness outside us and readiness to improve ourselves, based also on the achievements and experience of other nations”.[65]

It seems that, by recalling Vladimir Solovyov’s explanation concerning the difference between self-love and egoism, the difference between patriotism and nationalism can be better understood. He states that a man noticing his exceptional and irreplaceable value is absolutely right. Not to notice, however, his “absolute meaning” in the world would be denying human dignity. Selfishness begins when, “rightly ascribing absolute importance to himself, man wrongly denies others the same value”,[66] similarly, to a certain extent, with nationalism. It is an erroneous view, not only when one elevates one’s own nation to the rank of absolute, and one’s attitude towards it becomes some kind of religious Ersatz. We also deal with adulteration when, recognising our own nation as unique, wes forget that every nation is unique, and everyone has the same rights. St John Paul II explains: “The love of the fatherland is a value that must be cultivated, ‘but without spiritual narrowness’, at the same time, loving the entire human family and avoiding the pathological attitudes that manifest themselves when the sense of belonging leads to being above other people and to reject everything that is different, taking the form of nationalism, racism and xenophobia”.[67]

However, if patriotism is to be a moral virtue, it cannot simply be about the approval of everything national, regardless of the ethical value of the proposed content. You cannot agree on the formula: my country, right or wrong. “Every person of good will must ask himself about the basic ethical principles that shape the cultural experience of a given community. Cultures, like the human being who is their maker, are permeated by mysterium iniquitatis – the ‘mystery of ungodliness’ that works in the history of mankind, and therefore they also need purification and salvation”.[68] “The love of the fatherland, writes Jacek Salij, demands that we strive for our moral integrity. The above answer is based on the distinction between ethics and art. Ethics is about making our actions internally good, whereas in art, it is about the good of our product. Thus, an immoral person can create outstanding works of art, because the most important are talent and experience. An immoral man can even greatly serve his homeland thanks to his economic, organisational or military skills. However, patriotism in the strict sense is not a work of art, but a virtue, and therefore its foundation must be moral at least at the elementary level”.[69]

Karl Jaspers, considering the problem of German guilt in the context of the crimes of World War II, speaks about a certain weakness of German culture, which is the readiness to “subordinate to a leader of a certain kind”.[70]

We all are complicit for the fact that in the spiritual premises of German life there was the possibility of such a regime. This does not mean, however, that we must admit that “the world of German thought”, “old German thought” is simply a source of immoral actions of national socialism. But this means that in our national tradition there are powerful and dangerous forces that have brought us moral destruction.[71]

Personal moral integrity also allows us to respond to the ethical value that comes to us from the past of national memory. St John Paul II – in the context of the examination of the conscience of the Church on the occasion of the Jubilee Year – pointed out that not everything that happened in a given community’s past is a source of pride and deserves to be continued. He pointed to the need for the “purification of memory”, which “calls everyone to make an act of courage and humility in recognizing the wrongs done by those who have borne or bear the name of Christian”.[72] The “purification of memory” means “eliminating from personal and collective conscience all forms of resentment or violence left by the inheritance of the past, on the basis of a new and rigorous historical-theological judgement, which becomes the foundation for a renewed moral way of acting”.[73] The past is captured in the possibilities it opens to modify the present. By giving past historical acts a new meaning in the life of communities, their new qualitative influence is assumed on the present relations between these communities. Instead of dividing them, they are supposed to connect communities in the truth about the past and in a common ethical assessment of it. “The memory of division and opposition is purified and substituted by a reconciled memory”.[74] Patriotism, understood as a responsibility for the moral value of the community, also requires watching over the common memory and moral quality of the heritage that is passed on to future generations.

Concern for the moral quality of heritage, which is still being created, sometimes requires opposition to initiatives of current, legal power that do not respect elementary ethical principles.[75] “Wherefore – wrote Leo XIII – to love both countries, that of earth below and that of heaven above, yet in such mode that the love of our heavenly surpass the love of our earthly home, and that human laws be never set above the divine law, is the essential duty of Christians, and the fountainhead, so to say, from which all other duties spring”.[76]

7.    Our fatherland is in heaven

The word “homeland” also has a metaphysical meaning. Leo XIII in Sapientae Christianae writes provocatively: “Now, if the natural law enjoins us to love devotedly and to defend the country in which we had birth, and in which we were brought up, so that every good citizen hesitates not to face death for his native land, very much more is it the urgent duty of Christians to be ever quickened by like feelings toward the Church. For the Church is the holy City of the living God, born of God Himself, and by Him built up and established. Upon this earth, indeed, she accomplishes her pilgrimage, but by instructing and guiding men she summons them to eternal happiness. We are bound, then, to love dearly the country whence we have received the means of enjoyment this mortal life affords, but we have a much more urgent obligation to love, with ardent love, the Church to which we owe the life of the soul, a life that will endure forever”.[77] Leo XIII immediately adds that these two loves, the supernatural love for the Church and the natural love of our own country, are not in conflict because they both proceed from the same God.[78]

The very statement that the Church needs to be loved more than the homeland, relativizes the value of patriotism in a dual sense. On the one hand, it reminds us again that the homeland is not an absolute value. On the other hand, it opens patriotism to the world, as the Church is a universal community. “Here there is not a Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all” (Col 3:11). Faith creates a much deeper community between people than national bonds. It does not cancel them, because the Church is not a community abstracted from the conditions of this world, but a community of communities rooted in their locality. Participation in these gatherings also makes us aware that our, however important, local problems are not always the most important from the point of view of the universal community. It also helps us to understand that often those who seem to be the poorest and need the most help, often have the most to offer. I am thinking here especially on the testimony of contemporary Christian martyrs, to whom we owe so much and from whom we can learn so much. Their lives help us to better understand the sense of ancient texts like “The Letter to Diognetus”, in which an anonymous author from the second century explains what it means to be “in the world”, but “distinct from the world”.[79]

Homeland in the metaphysical sense, however, is not only the Church in its visible, earthly dimension. St. Paul writes: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself” (Phil 3:20-21). “The Gospel – says St John Paul II – gave new meaning to the concept of the homeland. The homeland in its original sense means what we inherited from our earthly fathers and mothers. The fatherhood which we owe to Christ directs what belongs to the heritage of human homelands and human cultures towards the eternal homeland. Christ says: ‘I came from the Father and have come into the world. Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father’ (Jn 16:28). This departure of Christ to the Father means the beginning of a new homeland in the history of all homelands and all people. It is sometimes said: ‘the heavenly homeland’, the ‘eternal homeland’. These are expressions which point precisely to what has happened in the history of man and nation through the coming of Christ into the world and his departure from this world to the Father”.[80] You can find exactly the same idea in the letter of the Polish Bishops: “For the Christian, the service to the earthly homeland, like the love of his own family, is always a stage on the way to the heavenly homeland, which, thanks to the infinite love of God, embraces all peoples and nations of the earth”.[81]


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[1] «Mal nommer un objet c’est ajouter au malheur de ce monde, car le mensonge est justement la grande misère humaine, c’est pourquoi la grande tâche humaine correspondante sera de ne pas servir le mensonge» (A. Camus, Sur une philosophie de l’expression, compte rendu de l’ouvrage de Brice Parain, Recherches sur la nature et la fonction du langage, Gallimard, Poésie 44, n° 17, p. 22).
[2] See: Q. Skinner, The State, in: R.E. Goodin, P. Pettit (ed.), Contemporary political philosophy. An anthology, Blackwell Publishers Ltd, Oxford – Massachusetts 1997, p. 3.
[3] Quentin Skinner claims that its presence in fourteenth-century discourse was associated with the development of studies of Roman law and recalls in this context a fragment from Justinian’s Digest De statu hominum (See: Q. Skinner, The State, p. 3).
[4] N. Machiavelli, Il Principe, I, (09.04.2019).
[5] See: Q. Skinner, The State, p. 3-8. 17-20.
[6] Max Weber claims that “the modern state is a compulsory association which organizes domination. It has been successful in seeking to monopolize the legitimate use of physical force as a means of domination within a territory. To this end, the state has combined the material means of organization in the hands of its leaders, and it has expropriated all autonomous functionaries of estates who formerly controlled these means in their own right. The state has taken their positions and now stands in the top place” (M. Weber, Politics as a Vocation, Oxford University Press, New York 1946, p. 8).
[7] See: Q. Skinner, The State, p. 17.
[8] See: A. Weber, Die Krise des modernen Staatsgedanken in Europa, Berlin 1925, p. 12.
[9] See: U. Beck, Germany has created an accidental Empire, 25.03.2013, (05.04.2019).
[10] France rejects German wish for EU seat at UN Security Council, (09.04.2019).
[11] “Nor let it be said that the immense conflict cannot be settled without the violence of war. Lay aside your mutual purpose of destruction; remember that Nations do not die; humbled and oppressed, they chafe under the yoke imposed upon them, preparing a renewal of the combat, and passing down from generation to generation a mournful heritage of hatred and revenge. Why not from this moment weigh with serene mind the rights and lawful aspirations of the peoples? Why not initiate with a good will an exchange of views, directly or indirectly, with the object of holding in due account, within the limits of possibility, those rights and aspirations, and thus succeed in putting an end to the monstrous struggle, as has been done under other similar circumstances? Blessed be he who will first raise the olive-branch, and hold out his right hand to the enemy with an offer of reasonable terms of peace. The equilibrium of the world, and the prosperity and assured tranquility of Nations rest upon mutual benevolence and respect for the rights and the dignity of others, much more than upon hosts of armed men and the ring of formidable fortresses” (Benedict XV, To the peoples now at war and to their rulers, 28.07.1915, (05.04.2019).
[12] John Paul II, Memory and Identity, Random House Incorporated, 2005, Chapter 15, (Polish edition: p. 91).
[13] See: (06.04.2019).
[14] In the English version there is no word similar to patria.
[15] John Paul II, Memory and Identity, Chapter 11, p. 60.
[16] Ibidem, Chapter 12, (Polish edition: p. 71).
[17] Secundario vero nostri esse et gubernationis principium sunt parentes et patria, a quibus et in qua et nati et nutriti sumus. Et ideo post Deum, maxime est homo debitor parentibus et patriae (S. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, 2-2 q. 101 a. 1).
[18] See: O. Halecki, The Limits and Divisions of European History, London and New York, Sheed & Ward 1950 (Polish edition: p. 29).
[19] U. Altermatt, Multiculturalism, Nation State and Ethnicity: Political Models for Multi-Ethnic States, in: H. Kriesi, K. Armingeon, H. Siegrist, A. Wimmer (ed.), Nation and National Identity. The European Experience in Perspective, Verlag Rüegger, Chur – Zürich 1999, p. 19.
[20] The symbol of the Central European tradition of multiculturalism may be the tombstone in the Evangelical church in Lublin. The Cyrillic text informs us that Friedrich Marianowicz Dreiman is buried there, who in Lublin found his small homeland, where he lived, worked and dreamed. The name of the deceased indicates cultural interactions in his family. The Protestant congregation and the name of Friedrich testify to German influence. “Marianowicz”, derived from his father's name, as well as the use of Cyrillic – to Russian influences. Dreiman, however, was the name of the Lublin Jews. Other symbol of local tolerance are two pulpits in the Lublin Dominican church. When heretics were hunted down in Western Europe and piles were prepared for them, in Lublin they were invited to participate in public discussions, implementing the Jagiellonian principle Plus ratio quam vis. See: J Życiński, Rola kultury polskiej w doświadczeniu procesów integracyjnych (The role of Polish culture in integration processes), (25.09.02).
[21] Until the mid-17th century, ten to twelve Lutherans and Calvinists were killed in religious conflicts in the Polish Commonwealth, and the same number of Catholics who died at the hands of Protestants defending themselves, or as a result of a trial in which they were found guilty of looting and robbery. See: J. Tazbir, Silva rerum historicarum, Wydawnictwo Iskry, Warszawa 2002, p. 150-152.
[22] A fifteen-member committee working on this document was headed by Catholic bishop Stanisław Karnkowski.
[23] The Confederation of Warsaw of 28 January 1573: Religious tolerance guaranteed, (09.04.2019); See: M.B. Biskupski & James I. Pula. Polish Democratic Though from the Renaissance to the Great Emigration. Columbia University Press, 1990.
[24] Ibidem.
[25] J. Tazbir, Reformacja – kontrreformacja – tolerancja (Reformation – counterreformation – tolerance), Wydawnictwo Dolnośląskie, Wrocław 1997, p. 58.
[26] See: F. Koneczny, Prawa dziejowe (The laws of history), Wydawnictwo Antyk, Komorów 1997, p. 444.
[27] These are the postulates put forward by Polish MPs to Charles IX, the King of France, in which they demanded that he announce a general amnesty for the Huguenots, grant religious freedoms to their confession, restore to the descendants of the Calvinists killed in August 1572 their dignities, offices and goods, and finally that he indicate in each province a city where they could freely practice religious services. The fulfilment of these requirements was the pre-condition of the possibility to the election of his brother, Henri de Valois, as Polish king. Et nunc nisi id fecersi, Rex in Polonia non eris – said one of the Polish deputies. See: J. Tazbir, Reformation – counterreformation – tolerance, p. 93, 188-189; J. Bérenger, Tolérance ou paix de religion en Europe centrale (1415-1792), Honoré Champion, Paris 2000 (Polish edition: p. 71).
[28] John Paul II, Memory and Identity, Chapter 23, (Polish edition: p. 143).
[29] See: Sejm Czterech Ziem. Źródła (The Sejm of Four Lands. Sources), Kaźmierczyk, A., Goldberg J. (eds), Wydawnictwo Sejmowe, Warszawa 2011, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Sejm Żydowski, Waad Arba Arcot, (14.09.2019); POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Sejm Czterech Ziem (The Sejm of Four Lands), (14.09.2019); Jewish Historical Institute, Sejm Żydów Polskich (The Sejm of the Polish Jews), (14.09.2019).
[30] See: J. Casanova, Catholic Poland in Post-Christian Europe, Tr@nsit. Europäische Revue 25, p. 8.
[31] See: R. Zenderowski, Europa Środkowa jako “ucieczka przed Wschodem” czy “pomost” między Wschodem i Zachodem? (Central Europe as “escape from the East” or “bridge” between East and West?), in: idem (ed.), Europa Środkowa: wspólnota czy zbiorowość? (Central Europe: community or collectivity?), Ossolineum, Wrocław 2004, p. 40-41.
[32] See: O. Halecki, The Limits and Divisions of European History, p. 87-103.
[33] M. Kundera, The Tragedy of Central Europe, in: New York Review of Books, Volume 31, Number 7, April 26, 1984, p. 4, (10.02.2020).
[34] C. Milosz, Rodzinna Europa (Native Europe), Czytelnik, Warszawa 1990, p. 135-136.
[35] A. Custine, Marquis de, Letters from Russia, Robin Buss translation, Penguin Classics, London 2014.
[36] See: K. Ziemer, Europa Środkowa – niemiecka perspektywa (Central Europe – German perspective), in: R. Zenderowski (ed.), Central Europe: community or collectivity?, p. 94.
[37] See: ibidem p. 95.
[38] See: T. Vitzthum, “Im Grunde sind wir fast Nachbarn”, (09.04.2019).
[39] M. Kundera, The Tragedy of Central Europe, p. 1.
[40] Jaroslaw Rymkiewicz, a well-known Polish writer, explained in one of his interviews this inclination to transform the Poles by the influence that the generation of 1968 exerted in the West in the 1980s. “They (the 1968 generation) had a recipe for Poland where the basic communist idea of transforming a man would be further continued. This was a notion rooted in the ideals of the 19th century’s socialism. The people who revised communism were always accompanied by the thinking that the Poles are a dangerous nation of uneducated xenophobic peasants. In other words, a nation which needs to be transformed into some other nation: preferably more enlightened, liberal and European [...] I do not want to be transformed into someone else. If I wish to, I will transform myself and I will not let anyone else, any communist, transform me into a different kind of Pole than I am. This is now the most fundamental Polish question: will the Poles let other people to transform them into some other nation, or will they continue to live the way they want to, the way they always did here”. Dlaczego jestem taki wsciekly? Wywiad z Jaroslawem Markiem Rymkiewiczem (Why am I mad? An interview with Jaroslaw Marek Rymkiewicz), Zycie Warszawy, May 17, 1993.
[41] John Paul II, Homily during the Holy Mass, Włocławek, June 7, 1991, (12.04.2019).
[42] See: W. Roszkowski, Roztrzaskane lustro. Upadek cywilizacji zachodniej (A shattered mirror. The fall of Western civilization), Biały Kruk, Kraków 2019.
[43] M. Kundera, The Tragedy of Central Europe, p. 9.
[44] John Paul II, Address at the UNESCO, Paris, June 2, 1980, (10.04.2019).
[45] Ibidem.
[46] See: Ibidem.
[47] See: J. Majka, Etyka społeczna i polityczna (Social and political ethics), Warszawa 1993, p. 133.
[48] John Paul II, Address at the UNESCO, Paris, June 2, 1980.
[49] John Paul II, Laborem exercens, n. 10, (10.04.2019).
[50] See: John Paul II, Address to the UN General Assembly, New York, 05.10.1995, n. 7, (10.04.2019).
[51] See: G. van Wissen, Państwo i naród (The State and the nation), in: Naród – Wolność – Liberalizm, Kolekcja Communio n. 9, Poznań 1994, p. 84.
[52] See: John Paul II, Memory and Identity, Chapter 13, (Polish edition: p. 74-75).
[53] See: John Paul II, Address to the UN General Assembly, New York, 05.10.1995, n. 5.
[54] Benedict XV, Do walczących ludów i ich przywódców, 28 lipca 1915 r.
[55] B. Buzan, People, States and Fear: The National Security Problem in International Relations, 1983; Other Nordic members of the group were: Jaap de Wilde, Ole Wæver, Morten Kelstrup.
[56] See: M.G. Bartoszewicz, Festung Europa, Ośrodek Myśli Politycznej, Kraków 2018, p. 24-32.
[57] I. Kractev, After Europe, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia 2017, (Italian edition: p. 63).
[58] See: John Paul II, Address to the UN General Assembly, Now York, 05.10.1995, n. 8.
[59] See: John Paul II, Memory and Identity, (Polish edition: p. 91-92).
[60] See: Polish Bishops’ Conference, Chrześcijański kształt patriotyzmu (The Christian shape of patriotism), Biblos, Warszawa 2017, p. 14-15.
[61] Z. Bauman, Płynna nowoczesność (Liquid modernity), Kraków 2006, p. 269-270, after: G. Reale, Karol Wojtyła. Pielgrzym Absolutu (Karol Wojtyła. Pilgrim of the Absolute), Centrum Myśli Jana Pawła II, Warszawa 2008, p. 155-156.
[62] G. Reale, Karol Wojtyła. Pilgrim of the Absolute, p. 156-157.
[63] John Paul II, Memory and Identity, p. 73; See: Paul VI, Populorum progressio, 62,  (14.09.2019).
[64] See: Polish Bishops’ Conference, The Christian shape of patriotism, p. 8-9.
[65] See: ibidem, p. 9.
[66] V. Solovyov, Sens miłości (The meaning of love), Wydawnictwo Antyk, Kęty 2002, p. 17.
[67] John Paul II, Dialogue between cultures for a civilization of love and peace. Message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace, 01.01.2001, n. 6, (12.04.2019).
[68] Ibidem, n. 8.
[69] J. Salij, Patriotyzm dzisiaj (Patriotism today), W drodze, Poznań 2005, p. 18.
[70] K. Jaspers, Problem winy. O politycznej odpowiedzialności Niemiec (The problem of guilt. On the political responsibility of Germany), Narodowe Centrum Kultury, Warszawa 2018, p. 88.
[71] Ibidem, p. 89.
[72] John Paul II, Incarnationis misterium, n. 11, (12.04.2019).
[73] International Theological Commission, Memory and Reconciliation: The Church and the Faults of the Past, 5.1, (12.04.2019).
[74] Ibidem.
[75] See: Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life, 4, (12.04.2019).
[76] Leo XIII, Sapientiae Christianae, n. 11, (12.04.2019).
[77] Ibidem, n. 5.
[78] See: ibidem, n. 6.
[79] See: The letter to Diognetus, 5, (12.04.2019).
[80] John Paul II, Memory and Identity, (Polish edition: p. 68-69).
[81] Polish Bishops’ Conference, The Christian shape of patriotism, p. 7.


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