Friday, May 23, 2014
Jerzy Popieluszko: Religion and Geography
Jerzy Popieluszko: The Messenger of the Truth has one of the most suspenseful climaxes for a documentary I have ever seen. The film is about a Polish priest who sets out to remind Poles about their natural rights as workers and humans. His struggle shows the dark side of utopian visions such as Communism due to its disconnectedness with natural law and the world. I strongly recommend this film.
Several factors make Father Popieluszko's effort note worthy to even secularists (or geographers disconnected to religious issues) and play key roles in the documentary:
The Papal Effect was Only the Beginning: 1980s Poland was revolutionized by the Polish pope, Saint John Paul II. John Paul's election and visit to Poland allowed for the popular culture to come out of forced hiding due to Communist rule. However, after a week the pope went back to Rome. The labor union Solidarity and its chaplain, Popieluszko, seized the momentum the pope started. The union united not only blue collar Poles but also academics and rural populations in making a popular culture peaceful resistance.
Communism - A "Vanguard" is not the People: Solidarity was an independent labor union and that scared the "Workers of the World, Unite" Communist Party of Poland. Communist and major leftist movements had long moved past any serious care for the worker. Solidarity's goals were laborist, not leftist, and that scared the party.
Faith is dangerous, it's why Caiaphas killed Jesus: There is a reason why Poland crackdown on Catholicism after the rise of Solidarity. It is the same reason the People's Republic of China bans independent Christianity and why Caiaphas killed Jesus. When an authoritarian regime encounters someone claiming there is a "universal truth" above the party/regime/king then the regime is shown to be limited. It must either strike out or fold, there is no middle ground.
The documentary is well done and the narration by Martin Sheen sets a professional tone. Clocking in at about 90 minutes this film is best viewed in one sitting but I recommend parental guidance before letting children watch it.