(By:Paul Hensler) This was a very tough time in Poland as the country and it’s citizens tried continue life under Martial Law. With the increased presence of the militia and army units on the streets the underground was put to good use. Father Jerzy’s message to those who wanted to fight back, to kill communists was “Don’t be afraid, love your enemy – but stick to Solidarity.” The crowds were with Father Popieluszko, that is, they saw that Solidarity had to be transformed from a clandestine organization into a kind of broad cultural resistance to the regime, a lobby for truth telling in every day life, for individual dignity and a ready supply of assistance to the persecuted. This is clearly evidenced in Father Jerzy’s mass for the fatherland on April 25, 1982. The attendance was not quite as large because the police had set up very narrow road blocks around his church, and if you did not have a permit to attend this church, you were turned away. Many just went around the roadblock or through back yards to get to the church. April 25 1982 – Father Jerzy’s Road to Sainthood For the direct link to his sermon for April 25 1982 Click Here
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.