ATTITUDES TOWARDS THE LANGUAGE CHANGES IN BYELORUSSIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AMONG THE LOCAL WORSHIPPERS
The article is a summary of sociological research undertaken in the year 2003 among Catholics in Byelorussia of which the numbers are estimated at a million people. Most of them consider themselves also as Polish. The aim of the research was to find out their attitudes towards the changes happening in the language of liturgy of Catholic Church in that country. These changes are characterized by a gradual replacement of the Polish and Latin language in liturgy by the Byelorussian language. The priests from Poland were the main initiators of these changes.The research has been conducted among 43 randomly chosen parishes and 4 dioceses existing in this country. 860 people have taken part in the research. The results show us that the process of 'bielorussianization' of the religious life in Byelorussia is highly advanced now and still takes place. In 16% of the parishes Russian or Byelorussian has replaced Polish totally and in the remaining parishes Polish and Byelorussian are used in various proportions. 66% of the respondents definitely prefer Polish as their liturgical language. Nevertheless the younger generation accepts the changes from Polish to Byelorussian. The result is a rapid decline in Polish national consciousness and an increase in choosing a Byelorussia self-identification. In majority of cases Polish Churches are the only places where Poles can hear the Polish language.
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