Johannes Paul II. als moralische Autorität in der polnischen Gesellschaft
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The Author of the article assumes that the charisma of John Paul II – at least in the symbolic sphere – has impeded intensifying trends in Polish society toward moral permissivism and relativism in everyday life. In Polish society, the image of John Paul II remains not only as a moral authority and a model, but above all, he is seen as a person who throughout his whole life proved his worth as someone important to the core of Polish society. As an authority linked to the sacred sphere, he was, at the same time very human. Even among those who believe that in Polish society there are essentially no authorities left to look up to, one can find many people who are still inclined to recognize the Polish Pope as a significant moral authority. There is no doubt that John Paul II had a positive influence on the religiosity and general image of the Church in Poland, even though it is somehow difficult to measure that empirically. Experiences related to the Pope’s illness, and later, to his death had a significant impact on many Poles from throughout society. One can question whether Polish Catholicism with its folk and mass nature will retain its prevailing character, now when Pope John Paul II is gone. Even if the impact of John Paul II on Polish moral and religious awareness will be decreasing, it still will be important and significant for some period of time. The strong impact of this exemplary Polish Pope is also going to slow down the secularization process of Polish society. All sociological data indicate that the influence of John Paul II on religiosity in his homeland will last for years to come, and hence, Poland will probably remain as a “specific case” in Europe with regards to the role religion plays in society.
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