Authoritarian, corrupt or rogue regimes, their leaders, and their beneficiaries often behave in similar ways in different countries. They fear their democratic opponents and rely on the secret police to keep themselves in power through monitoring, intimidating, jailing and sometimes killing those who may challenge their repressive rule. Although Poland of the 1980s and today’s Russia are not exactly alike, there may be enough similarities worth exploring between the 1984 murder of a Catholic priest in Poland and the assassination of Russian opposition leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov in Moscow last week.
After missing for eleven days, the dreaded truth was finally revealed. Today, thirty years ago, the body of blessed Father Jerzy Poplieuszko was pulled from the Wloclawek reservoir. He was barely distinguishable, bound and beaten. Jerzy stood up for the truth and it cost him his life. The fears of his family, congregation and the Church as a whole had come to pass. They tearfully accepted the truth that their beloved priest was gone. Thousands of Catholics from Poland to the Vatican and around the world mourned the loss of their beloved priest. As the word of his apparent murder spread, the Catholic Church stumbled at his loss. “All America shares the grief of the Polish people at the news of the tragic death of Father Jerzy Popieluszko. Father Popieluszko was a champion of Christian values and a courageous spokesman for the cause of liberty. His life exemplified the highest ideals of human dignity; his death strengthens the resolve of all freedom loving peoples to stand firm in their convictions. Father Popieluszko’s spirit lives on. The world’s conscience will not be at rest until the perpetrators of this heinous crime have been brought to justice.” – Ronald Reagan Leaders both religious and political across the globe spoke out against the travesty and honoring the life of Father Jerzy. The world was stunned that a priest, at such a young age of 37 was allegedly killed by those sworn to protect and serve. His broken body was found October 30, 1984. Thirty years later we celebrate […]