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Reconciliation in Bloodlands

Assessing Actions and Outcomes in Contemporary Central-Eastern Europe


Edited By Jacek Kurczewski

Central-Eastern Europe, in the mid-20 th century, was a scene of Holocaust, mass killings, war, deportations and forced resettlements under the competing totalitarian invasions and afterwards. It was also the area where churches, politicians and citizens were engaged in reconciliation between antagonized religions and nations. This book presents several attempts to heal relations between Poles, Jews, Germans, Czechs, Ukrainians, Russians and Latvians as well as between Catholics, Protestants and Mariavites. Re-conciliatory practices of John Paul II and other Catholic leaders as well as Protestant churches are analysed in the first part of the book. Most of the remaining studies are focused on particular localities in Upper Silesia, Cieszyn Silesia, former Polish Livland and on the Polish-Ukrainian borderland. These detailed contributions combine sociological methods with anthropological insight and historical context. The authors are sociologists, psychologists and theologians and this leads to a fully interdisciplinary approach in the assessment of the recent state of inter-group relations in the region as well as in the proposed theory of peacebuilding and reconciliation.
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Reconciled Diversity – Contribution of the Opole Catholic Church to the Reconciliation of Ethnic Groups, Traditions and Cultures


‘One of the basic human rights is the right to be different. Christianity must allow people to be different. God is the reason for this, as every human being created by him is an original entity. God is unable to repeat himself’ (Nossol 1997, p. 201).

Taking up issues related to the Catholic Church’s activity is difficult and carries the risk of making many oversimplifications or placing a subjective emphasis on secondary aspects. If we add to the whole spectrum Poland’s socio-political (socio-constitutional) context, which has undergone many changes within the last century, as well as modifications of state and administrative borders – including those affecting the Church’s structural functioning (new dioceses, the loss of some dioceses in former eastern Polish territories and the takeover of the current western and northern territories), it becomes evident that an attempt to investigate individual areas of the Catholic Church’s functioning is undoubtedly a formidable challenge.

We encounter a similar problem when we analyse issues related to the Church’s functioning in the Opole part of Upper Silesia. It is very easy to generalise, oversimplify the context and ignore events and achievements of people who have determined it’s difficult, mainly reconciliatory, mission. While analysing the Church’s integrating role in Upper Silesia – especially in its Opole region part – it is easy, on the one hand, to face criticism for tackling specific issues ← 113 | 114 → by drawing on the experiences, research and literature accounted or produced by institutions and persons associated with the Opole...

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