The Monthly „Więź” Visions of Liberal Democracy and Capitalism in the Light of John Paul II’s Encyclic Centesimus annus Cover Image

The Monthly „Więź” Visions of Liberal Democracy and Capitalism in the Light of John Paul II’s Encyclic Centesimus annus

Author(s): Marek Delong
Subject(s): Religion and science , Politics and religion
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Rzeszowskiego
Keywords: Liberal Democracy; Capitalism; Encyclic Centesimus annus; Więź; John Paul II

Summary/Abstract: The present paper contains a presentation of an analysis of Pope John Paul II’s views on liberal democracy and capitalism, carried out by a Varsovian Catholic intelligentsia monthly „Więź”. The encyclic Centesimus annus, written by the Pope on the occasion of the centenary of the publishing of Leon XIII's encyclic Rerum novarum, is seen as a major source of the papal teaching in this area. The „Więź” milieu emerged from the „Znak” movement in 1958. At the end of the 1960s the „Więź” group – including young, ambitious people of great political aspirations – fell apart. A prolonged rivalry bewteen Tadeusz Mazowiecki and Janusz Zabłocki ended in the falling apart of „Więź” and the pursuit of diverging ideological orientations. The „Więź” led by Tadeusz Mazowiecki moved then closer to lay liberal opposition, while Mazowiecki became a promoter of open Catholicism, embodied in broadly understood co-operation of liberal miliues. „Więź” is in principle more independent from the institutional Church than the other Catholic monthlies, such as „Znak”. It is also much more concerned with political and historical issues. John Pope II’s encyclic Centesimus annus has been often understood in terms of an apology of capitalism and liberal democracy. Nevertheless, already in his encyclic Sollicitudo rei socialis, the Pope claimed that the Catholic social teaching was critical both of capitalism and communism, which is not equivalent to the Pope’s identical attitude towards the two ideologies. The encyclic Centesimus annus has made an impact on „Więź” publications, as exemplified for instance by a debate on the right form of capitalism. The issue of mutual relations between the Church and the liberal State was discussed as well as a dialogue of the Catholic social thought with liberalism. The publications emphasized a turn of the Church towards democracy and forecasts concerning the social doctrine of the Church in the XXI century. In the year in which the encyclic Centesimus annus was published, i.e. 1991, „Więź” presented positions taken by Polish political parties vis-à-vis the social teaching of the Church. The „Więź” milieu represents the Varsovian centre of the „Znak” movement. During the period of the Polish People Republic (PRL), „Więź” was believed to be a representative of a left-wing stream in the Polish Catholicism.

  • Issue Year: 2009
  • Issue No: 06
  • Page Range: 27-35
  • Page Count: 9
  • Language: Polish