POLISH-BELARUSSIAN CONTROVERSIES IN THE CATHOLIC CHIRCH IN THE SECOND REPUBLIC (Kontrowersje polsko-bialoruskie w Kosciele katolickim w II Rzeczypospolitej)
National-religious problems were indubitably one of the most difficult and complicated domestic issues faced in 1918 by the reborn Republic of Poland. Assorted questions associated with the national minorities left their imprint also on religious life, especially the Polish-Ukrainian and Polish-Belarussian meeting points. They proved especially controversial due to the fact that the two prime factors shaping their course, i. e. national and government, were accompanied by a Church factor of dual dimension - Roman and local. The Belarussian Catholics demanded from the spiritual authorities the introduction of the Belarussian language into sermons, additional services and seminars, a participation of the Belarussian clergy proportionate to the number of the Belarussian members of the diocese, and a separate church in Wilno. Numerous memorials and petitions addressed to the bishops ordinary, the nuncio's office in Warsaw and directly to the Apostolic See served the realisation of the main target - the religious emancipation of the Belarussian Catholics. A characterstic of the Polish-Belarussian controversy within the Catholic Church in the north-eastern borderlands should take into account the mutual impact of the Church and national factors. Pertinent studies conclude that nationalist currents and young national movements aimed at involving religious authorities and the Church; hence it was possible to observe in the discussed period such a profound and frequent involvement of the clergy in campaigns of a national and strictly political nature. To a certain degree these processes were unavoidable, since in the case of the Belarussian Catholics at the time of the Second Republic the national clergy was one of the scarce groups of the local intelligentsia working for the sake of awakening and reinforcing national consciousness and the cultural distinctness of the Belarussian population.
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