11 November 1918, the symbolic date of Poland’s restoration of independence, was not only the result of historical justice and favourable geopolitical situation, but above all the outcome of the Poles’ preservation of patriotic attitudes and their country’s traditions beyond the borders of the Partitions as well as of their constant efforts to regain freedom and sovereignty and to upkeep their national identity.
The debate entitled “Citizenship and Patriotism” devoted to these issues and their Polish forms of expression, taking into account early and contemporary Polish tradition and patriotic thought, is to become an opportunity for an in-depth critical analysis of our experiences and reflections in this field in search of today’s features of patriotism and citizenship and their vitally important references to the special form of the common good of all Polish citizens with fundamental impact on the quality of life of the Polish society. This good, according to the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, is the Republic of Poland (Article 1).
In-depth analysis will include: contemporary patriotism and citizens’ share in deciding about state matters understood as important forms of the common good not only of the Polish society, manifesting itself in a sense of solidarity and concern for the welfare of their own state and nation, but in a supranational dimension in solidarity for the well-being of other communities, national and supranational communities, respecting their freedom of self-determination.
“THINKING ABOUT HOMELAND …”
Societies are based on a community of intentions and feelings, rights and obligations, on solidarity and friendship of their members, their strengths and weaknesses. They become Homeland in the course of transformation by social consciousness and common heritage, i.e. material and cultural wealth, values and moral authority, institutions and structures.
FOUNDATION AND SOURCE
The validity of the subject and method of reflection have been defined as follows: “Theology and theo-logic of the homeland and the nation, as well as theological reflection on the relations between man – nation – fatherland – state – citizenship protect this complex conglomerate of problems subjected to ambiguity and distortion from mistakes and their existential consequences (which often have terrible consequences), such as uprooting and orphanhood on the one hand and nationalism on the other “(Rev. Father Jerzy Szymik).
In the context of fundamental historical experiences, the Silesian route to an Independent Republic of Poland was particularly prominent. “If it were not for the love of the nation, manifesting itself in various forms, including national uprisings, Poland would not have been reborn in 1918 after almost 150 years of captivity, and Silesia – although only a part of it – would not have returned to Poland” said Rev. Father Prof. Jerzy Myszor in 1922.
The metropolitan archbishop of Katowice, Wiktor Skworc, referred to diverse sources of patriotism, saying: “Generations of Upper Silesians including our grandparents and parents knew well the meaning of the concept of citizenship and patriotism. They showed it in the gift of selfless work, in a sense of duty and loyalty to the state. And, above all, by preserving family life and family as a place for passing on faith and values, culture, tradition and historical memory.”