Opinion

From cradle to coffin, the church owns you

From cradle to coffin, the church owns you

Earlier this year an atheist conference took place in Warsaw. Many visitors from all over the World had a chance to present their personal experiences and discuss problems regarding free speech and the interference of religion in education and medical research.

While in Poland, some of the visitors had a chance to personally experience the overwhelming presence of the Church. What struck them most was the sheer number of churches, religion relics, crucifixes, paintings, and sculptures.

They were also confronted by protesters who vented their anger against the non-believers in their midst.

To understand their outrage, and the reasons why people living in Poland have little chance of getting away from the Church, we need to examine the sheer power of the Church derived from both the strength of of faith in Catholicism and political support for its machinations.

The political aspect is best typified by the reverance the country has for John Paul II, the first Polish Pope. His battle against communism was renowned and the political transformation of Poland in the early 199os will always be partially attributed to his actions.

Pope

He is not only revered as a Pope but as a true Polish hero who helped eradicate Polish communism. Many streets, schools, hospitals, churches and public places are named after him. His pictures hang in many houses and his cult status is still growing, boosted by that fact that became officially canonised last year.

You cannot pray to a human, but now you can pray to John Paul II as he is a new saint.

Another aspect of living in Poland is the yearly visit of the priest in your household. He will ask questions and write down information about you and your family.

Who is currently living with you? Are you working? How is life generally treating you? After a quick prayer and few drops of holy water you will then make a donation accordingly to how much you can afford. This also will be written down.

If you think being a Christian in Poland will leave you much time to freely enjoy your life, think again. Life is lived under constant surveillance by the Church, one’s families and friends  – and indeed the entire community.

Take, for example, pregnancy time. Family members – especially of the older generation – will remind your parents how important it is to choose a biblical name. In Poland every day has assigned to it a list of  names of saints to celebrate. In fact, it is more important for you to celebrate your named saint day than your birthday.

When you are born you are not regarded as part of the Christian community. You enter this world with “Original Sin, and if you die at this stage you will go straight into Hell. Fortunately, every Christian has a power to perform an emergency baptism and priests are also readily available in hospitals should you need them.

Pope-Ben-Baptism_Of_Child

Baptism ceremonies open the door to heaven. Everyone within the family will constantly ask your parents when it will happen. Until then everyone remains concerned about your life and soul.

Between the ages of one and five you will learn how you should pray every day as well as perform the sign of cross with your right hand. You will also be told there is nothing else in this world except good and evil. Sunday worship ceremonies will not yet be for you, as others don’t want to be disturbed by your behaviour.

Special editions of holy books for children will be read to you as a bedtime stories, and you will learn about the Earth’s creation in seven days and other amazing things about the world you will grow up in.

Weekly lessons are added to your school’s schedule when you are aged between six and seven. If your parents didn’t teach you how to pray correctly then this is a chance for a priest to tell you how to do it properly and how often. You will learn about Jesus and the Bible.

Songs written specially for children also will also feature in your religion lessons.

On reaching eight, you will be kept really busy in order to gain a second sacrament called communion. During the whole school year your religious lessons will concentrate on the Church’s rules you will have follow in later life.

There is no exam as your teacher – a priest – will assess you during the lessons. Constantly repeated Church laws will be memorised by you, and remain implanted in your brain for the rest of your life.

However, there is bright side to  the whole experience. You will spend most of the time chatting with your friends about the communion presents you hope to receive from your relatives.

Most popular choices are things like iPads, laptops, game consoles, pushbikes and jewellery. Parents and other family members will keep abreast of modern trends via the media that helps them decide what’s best for you this year.

During communion ceremonies for kids aged between nine and 14, you gain two important rights. First, you can now be fully engaged in Sunday services where the bread will change into Jesus’s flesh which you will gladly take into your mouth.

The second most important aspect for this age group is confession. If you behaved badly or had any sexual thoughts you will be encouraged to share them with a stranger in your church. Something you would not even tell your parents or friends will be discussed with God’s earthly envoy, the priest.

You will be asked to do this at least one a month in order to stay pure, and after every confession you will be given a list of prayers and instructions you will have to follow to cleanse your soul from sin.

Don’t worry, your parents and family, who spent more money than you could dream of on your communion, will keep a close eye on you, to make sure that do not miss any Sunday services or confessions.

No marriage can take a place without a third sacrament, confirmation. You will have to remind yourself of all the Church’s rules and you will be given list of ceremonies you cannot miss, plus a separate list of confessions you have to perform during the whole year.

There is no escape from this as each one has to attested to by your priest. Only this will guarantee you a confirmation place, at which point you can choose an additional unofficial third name.

Polish society frowns on young people living together outside the sacrament of marriage, so weddings in Poland are a Big Deal; the biggest ceremony you can organise or attend. They can be monumentally expensive and last for days.

wedding

Before your wedding can take place you will need to attend lessons specially created for young couples. You will be told how you should live once you become married, as well why you should not use condoms or any other contraception. Without argument, you just have listen and confirm that you understand what is being said to you.

The whole cycle begins again when you have your first child. Under a pressure from your family, friends and community you will repeat the same rituals you had to endure.

As you grow older, you will have more time in your hands, but very little freedom unless you have managed to break free of the Church. So your days will be filled watching a religious television channel,  TV Trwam, or listening to Radio Maryja.

You can also attend church services every day. Priests will welcome you and your donations, and happily provide practical advice on how to keep your kids and grandchildren focused on the faith. You might also visit hospitals more often, but  even there there will be priests who with make the sign of the cross on your forehead and, of course, accept a donation.

Death will be the final step for you, but not be for your family. Your funeral may come at a price if the local priest decides that you had fallen by the wayside and refuses to conduct your burial on church grounds.

But your relatives will say anything and pay any price for a proper Catholic funeral.

They will also be obligated to pay for your name be listed on Sunday’s worship prays. No one will be allowed to forget about you for rest of their lives. Every year the list will be renewed for an additional fee.

This Christian pattern of interfering with people’s lives has been carefully planned to protect to protect the Church and its traditions, and makes as nonsense of the notion of free will. There is no easy exit and it will take generations to create a new pattern of life for Polish people.

10 responses to “From cradle to coffin, the church owns you”

  1. Broga says:

    Amazing! I would never have expected this. Sounds like an earthly hell to me. If they were able this is what the priests would inflict on the UK and any other country falling under their malign power.

    I don’t suppose there is much sale for “The God Delusion” or Sam Harris’ “The End of Faith.” With their hands on the throat of the country the last thing the priests want are any facts, challenges or open discussion.

    Superb article in its stunning revelations. Deserves to be widely read. Thank you.

  2. Rob Andrews says:

    The same kind of thing is happening in Russia. I guess people are so repulsed by their former communism, that they’re flying into the arms of any group that will counter a return to the former.
    Secular humanism is not a very comforting belief. It’s a loose agragation of ideas.

    “Religion is good stuff for keeping the common people quiet”–Napoleon. I would add: except when you want them sterred up.

  3. (&$%^&&%$% says:

    I went to a wedding in Poland recently and stayed a few days to look around. Everywhere you look there are churches, everywhere .. an astonishing number … and big too. The wedding ceremony was a convoluted complex over embellished long tedious theatrical exhibition of pompous overpowering idiocy. The idea of course is to make the whole event into an act of extreme propaganda designed to convince the congregation that god must be real .. otherwise why would the ceremony be so ostentatious. I was thoroughly amused by the whole thing. Oh and by the way us brits .. a mixture of anglicans quakers and horror of horrors atheists were eased into an area set aside for unclean non catholics. I made a point of blanking the priest after the ceremony … I looked him in the eye as we left the church and made sure that my boys did not come anywhere into the range whereby he could shake hands with them. No doubt the priest performed some elaborate pew cleansing ritual after we had left.

  4. Doug says:

    This article sounds like it was written by a petulant teenager in the midst of a temper tantrum. It is filled with half truths and unsupported “facts.” If the author wants discussion, then writing as an informed adult would be far better.

  5. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    Doug, I think you’ll find the author is Polish and so, probably knows what they’re writing about..
    http://freethinker.co.uk/2015/05/30/poles-apart-religion-and-the-real-world/
    It starts:
    “When I was growing up in a religious Polish family”

    Could you supply the other half of the “truths” and give some “supported facts”?

  6. RussellW says:

    The Catholic Church was the only independent institution that existed under the former Communist regime, it’s not surprising that Poles regard it with some reverence. Unfortunately they appear to have exchanged one totalitarian system for another.
    The Communist system collapsed because the Soviet political elite finally acknowledged its total failure, John Paul II played no significant role whatsoever.

  7. P.C. Kelev says:

    The Writer of this article gives a fair picture of the situation.
    I grew up in a small village in the Netherlands. The majority of the population was R.C. it was in 1940 until 1960. I did go to a R.C. school, run by religious fanatics. There was a school for girls and one for boys.
    The day begun with an early mas at 7.30 h. A great deal of time was reserved for religion lessons, and if you had a good voice you was asked to sing in the church coir. As a little boy I believed strongly and I wanted to study for the priesthood. At the age of 12 I discovered that I was a Jew. During the German occupation my real parents gave me away to save my life. I was raised by R.C, stepparents, and they let my believe that I was there real son.
    They never told me who I really was. After I find out that I was a “murderer of Jesus” I went to the synagogue, but after a few years I became a full time atheist, and I still am.
    Today the R.C. church has lost his credibility and his power in The Netherlands. Much of the churches and convents are closed, and there are not so many children left to indoctrinate, because of the fear among parents for pedophile priests. The Catholic church has committed suicide.

  8. Stephen Mynett says:

    During a spell of teaching English as a foreign language I worked with some polish students, mostly in one-to-one lessons and can easily believe this article from things I heard. The students were aware of my atheism and as it was a one-to-one lesson with no one listening most of them seemed to feel free to talk about Polish education, which certainly was, for them, riddled with religion.

    An enjoyable aspect of TEFL teaching is that lesson plans can be geared to the individual and as long as the relevant aspects of English are taught anything can be used. With a few of the students I had a couple of lessons based around Speedway, a sport very popular there and the feedback I received was encouraging. It was also interesting that the majority of students thanked me for making the lessons interesting and not using a bible at all.A course without a god was a first for their education.

  9. dennis says:

    I grew up in this ordered incrusted seduction strategy, but it was called the baptist church. we had no communion, confession, or confirmation as that was sinful and them luthereans and roman catholics were wrong about jesus with these horrible incantations. the fear of hell fire and brimstone took the place of communion, confession, and confirmation. but the result was the same sheeple with low intellect or high intellect lost in eternity and did not or have not lived their lives free and open to logic reason or science. the poor Poles and the poor World.