Controversies in the Social and Political Engagement of the Catholic Church in Poland Since 1988
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The collapse of communism through Eastern Europe during the course of 1989–1991 resulted in the pluralisation of the societies, economic privatisation, and policy transformation, including in the religious sphere. In the case of Poland, the Catholic Church, which claims the allegiance (at least nominally) of 90–95 % of Poles, has made a number of gains, which have strengthened its position in the country. Of central importance was the signing of a Concordat with the Holy See in 1993. Beyond that, the Church’s agenda included obtaining a ban on abortion, protection of Christian values in the broadcast media, the introduction of religious instruction in state schools, and also changes to the text of the Constitution, adopted finally in 1997. The Church was successful in all of these areas. But the Church has also found itself drawn into controversy. Noisy controversies were provoked by revelations concerning the collaboration of some bishops and priests with the security police in the communist era, and the move towards the eventual adoption (in June 2015) of legislation spelling out the conditions for offering in vitro fertilisation (IVF) to childless couples—an act which the Church opposed, both because most of the embryos involved die and because the Church believes that the procedure reduces the newborn to commodities.