|A great deal has happened in Poland since this photo was taken back in 1979. The JPII revolution has not had much staying power in Poland----not the religious one that is.
I find the statistics from Poland very interesting, since one would think that if JPII was going to leave a last Catholic legacy it would be in Poland. Unfortunately the statistics just don't favor that hypothesis. The following in an extract from an article in the Ottawa Citizen. The link is at the bottom of the extract.
.......But Poland's younger generation, which did not live through communism and is becoming less religious, likely viewed the ceremony through a less emotional lens.
"The pope is a human, flesh and blood person. I, as a young person, don't know why people will now pray to him,'' said Agnieszka Golabek, a 34-year-old woman who lives in Warsaw and is not a practising Catholic.
"From my point of view, maybe we don't have the right to call somebody holy. We should view good people as an example, but we shouldn't put them on a pedestal,'' said Golabek of the fact that, after the beatification, Catholics are able to pray for John Paul to intercede on their behalf.
While young Poles study Wojtyla at school and regard him as a generally good person, people like 34-year-old Dariusz Mazurkiewicz believe young people were "only mildly interested'' in the beatification ceremony, either because they cannot relate with the late pontiff or because they are "not looking for an authority in him.''
Such views are not isolated.
In a 2009 survey, some 48 per cent of respondents said Poles had become less religious over the past two decades. The local church is also finding it increasingly hard to enrol young priests. The number of candidates for seminaries has fallen from 1,145 in 2005 to 675 in 2010. (This is a forty percent decline since Benedict became Pope.)
Bishop Budzik, however, is hopeful that John Paul's teachings will continue to resonate with the young generation and that the beatification will inspire more Poles towards a deeper faith.
"It seems to me that our increasingly complicated reality and the uncertainty of the future ... will lead to a deeper reflection,'' he said. "And that for many -as well as for the young -the teachings of John Paul II will become a sign and road marker.'' (This is wishful thinking.)
Others note that the country's march towards modernism has made young people more secular and critical of the church's role in politics. While up to 95 per cent of Poles identify themselves as Roman Catholic, attendance at Mass has been steadily declining. These days, about half of Poles say they regularly attend services.
"They look at the pope with more distance and less emotion and less deep religious conviction than elderly people,'' said Zdzislaw Slowik, deputy head of the Secular Culture Society, a national council that studies the role of the church and secularism.