Christmas 1981 Heralded the Collapse of Communism in Poland, by Paul Kengor

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December 13, 2021
Daily Scripture Readings and Meditation: All Hold That John Was a Prophet
December 13, 2021

Clockwise L-R: T-55A on the streets during Martial law in Poland. President Ronald Reagan with Pope John Paul II. ZOMO squads with police batons preparing to disperse and beat protesters. (photo: Public domain)

COMMENTARY: Forty years ago, Soviet communists tried to turn out the lights. But like a candle in the White House window, Ronald Reagan and John Paul II and the people of Poland kept a flicker of hope alive.

By Paul Kengor, EWTN News, December 13, 2021


Paul KengorForty years ago, on Dec. 13, 1981, late night, darkness overcame Poland, the homeland of Pope John Paul II and the only country in the Soviet bloc where the communist war on religion had not only failed but backfired.

Crucial to that failure had been not only the Polish Pope, but Lech Walesa’s Solidarity movement, which the communists had reluctantly permitted to legally organize in August 1980.

In retrospect, what a mistake it had been. By December 1981, every man and his sister, brother and mother belonged to the independent, anti-Soviet, pro-Catholic Church trade union. It had become a movement of mass resistance to Soviet Communism.

The communists decided that enough was enough. They had already done everything in their power to stop the Polish Pope, who seven months earlier, on May 13, 1981, the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima, was nearly assassinated. The Kremlin badly wanted to eliminate Pope John Paul II, and it equally wanted to eliminate Solidarity. Dec. 13 was their big chance. …