Welcome to Poland, the New Middle Ages! Although we don’t have the Doge’s Palace as does Venice or Notre Dame as does Paris, we have great tourist potential. It has recently been discovered in Krakowskie Przedmieście, just outside the Presidential Palace.
Tourists today are bored; they have had enough of sights and monuments and crave something more. They need quality tourism. We already had a great opportunity to develop this branch of our economy under Martial Law. I remember crowds of French people arriving in Poland, allegedly bringing food aid but in reality wanting to witness tanks, ration cards, queues – and with a bit of luck, to suffer a few truncheon blows. Sadly, society at the time had not realized this potential and martial law was suspended. But who knows, maybe it simply was not yet ready – it was too focused on longing for freedom, modernity and progress, and perhaps it was still relatively rational.
Now things are much better. Over the past twenty years Poland has been steadily laying the foundations for a New Middle Ages – the greatest tourist attraction in Europe. It won’t be an artificial Catholic Disneyland as in Licheń but rather something authentic, a genuine New Middle Ages whose first act we have seen in Krakowskie Przedmieście. The show has drawn crowds of enthusiastic and astonished tourists. And this is just the beginning. We now have entire generations of Poles brought up in a cult of irrationality. Our children and young people spend twelve years diligently attending two hours of religious education a week, where they are taught to believe in miracles, virginal births, celestial ascensions, transformation of water into wine and that what matters is obedience rather than reason, arguments or knowledge. The Ministry of Education – under every government from left to right – has done everything to ensure that a state of complete ignorance is maintained in matters of ethics and contemporary moral issues. Most recently a new spokesperson for civic rights (for the New Middle Ages) has been specially picked to guarantee that ethics curricula would be drawn up in consultation with the Church. New generations have been growing up in the knowledge that there is no greater evil than abortion and homosexuality and no greater good than John Paul II, because that’s what the Vatican has decreed. These generations also know that when it comes to any other dilemmas they have to turn to Mr. Gowin the parliamentarian, Mr. Terlikowski the journalist or Father Rydzyk [of Radio Maryja].
How will they reach them? No problem. Poland has become a place of permanent pilgrimage. Soon they pilgrimages will replace all other means of locomotion – Use Pilgrim Travel: a great attraction awaits you at your destination: a sanctuary, a relic, the site of a miracle where you can always make a wish, and moreover partake of a great emotional experience. And remember – you won’t be alone! On your pilgrimage you will be accompanied by crosses (the one from Krakowskie Przedmieście, in line with a presidential decision, has been promised a pilgrimage), relics, flagellants, ecstatics, penitents, lepers, your acquaintances and, of course, the media.
Are you ill? Don’t worry about having no insurance. What do you need a doctor for? Everywhere, any time and for any problem you can book a mass; each parish has a great variety on offer.
Do you suffer from depression? Do you have mental problems or a stubborn child? No problem. Poland is a treasure trove of exorcists. We have the best institutions providing top qualifications and boasting genuine healing successes. Just don’t forget to buy a rosary: its beads are as bullets of a gun, effectively combating all evils.
Infertility problems? In the West they have no idea what to do about this. In this country you can choose from a whole array of prayer groups for an effective battle against infertility. Just a few sessions and bingo! – your fertility is back. And if it isn’t, all you have to do is follow the advice of Nelli Rokita, M.P., have a little drink of wine (preferably communion wine) and a good dinner with your husband and pregnancy will appear all by itself.
Of course the New Middle Ages, in spite of thorough preparations by several generations of political elites, still demand many months of labour. Poland still contains some beachheads of religious independence. There are not many of them but they do interfere. However, the Presidential Palace has recently given us all a great example: what matters most is the cross! So what do we need a Palace for? The office of the President has already decided: instead of a palace there will be a Lech Kaczyński sanctuary (Komorowski will have to do with the Belwedere).
Only one thing stands in the way of total success. Bishop Michalik mentioned it during the XVI. Meeting of Couples Who Had a Teetotal Wedding (Gazeta Wyborcza reported): we lack saints! For we certainly have no lack of experts in the Middle Ages.
Translation: Julia Sherwood
This article was originally published in Polish in the Wprost.