Written by Mike Roberts
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Topics: Poland

Monday, 19 April 2010

image for Poland - The unasked question
"How can a God who supposedly loves us so much do such a terrible thing to us?"

Wawel Castle, Kraków - The grief of the mourners was all too evident among the many thousands who gathered to pay their respects to Lech Kaczynski yesterday. But so too was the sense of uneasiness.

An uneasiness started by two words from a young boy in the crowd whose innocence allowed him to ask the question the adults were too afraid to mention. At first repeated furtively between close friends, like some terrible dark secret that should never be mentioned, but steadily rising to a steady murmur, "Why us?"

"First the plane taking our leaders to a memorial for the thousands who died in the Katyn massacre crashes, killing all those on board, and then the volcano in Iceland prevents world dignitaries from attending the funeral." said one bystander.

For many Europeans the answer is simple, an 'unhappy coincidence' or just plain old 'bad luck', but for the people of Poland, of whom 96% are Catholic, the question has a much deeper meaning. As one young student from Kraków asked me, "How can a God who supposedly loves us so much do such a terrible thing to us?"

Finding an answer to such a question is made even more difficult when you consider that many of those killed in the crash, including Mr Kaczynski himself, were deeply religious and whose political party PIS (Law and Order Party) were staunch supporters of the Catholic church and it's traditional moral values.

Many Poles are beginning to make a connection between media revelations about the church's behaviour and 'God's anger'. "Maybe there is a link. Maybe we should be listening to Matthew 7:15, 'Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.' quoted a young mourner.

Church leaders moved quickly to try and quell the unease, but their well rehearsed, "God is testing your faith.", "God moves in mysterious ways." and "We cannot know the mind of God." sounded weak and uninspiring to people whose 'worldview' had suddenly come into question in the most disquieting of ways.

Quite how Poles will deal with their doubts is yet to be seen. Perhaps they will decide they must believe 'even harder', or perhaps the murmured disquiet will rise to a crescendo of criticism of the church in Rome. Indeed, it would be ironic if 'acts of God' were able to undermine the stranglehold of the Catholic church in Poland more effectively than the combined outpourings of atheists like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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