By Magda Teter
Opposite to the typical rivalry that the Catholic Church triumphed in Counter-Reformation Poland, this research finds that from the increase of the Reformation and the quick dissemination of its new rules, the Catholic Church was once conquer with a powerful feel of lack of confidence. The beleaguered Church sought to split Catholics from non-Catholics: Jews and heretics. This technique helped shape a Polish id that ended in racial anti-Semitism and to the exclusion of even such a lot assimilated Jews from the class of Poles. The publication portrays Jews not just as sufferers of Church persecution yet as energetic influential individuals in Polish society.
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Extra resources for Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland: A Beleaguered Church in the Post-Reformation Era
Jews were not the only ones against whom the Polish clergy fostered feelings of hostility, and they had a place, if a limited one, within Catholic Christianity. Christian heretics, such as Protestants and others, did not. Anti-Jewish rhetoric was employed against these heretics, and also against the nobles who, because of their political and economic power, could not be directly attacked. Symbolic Jews and their sins – even, indeed, their piety – were cited in moralistic Catholic sermons to illuminate the severity of the sins of “bad and disobedient Catholics,” that is, Catholics such as those who preferred to go to a tavern on a Sunday rather than to attend a mass.
Thus, the series of paintings in the cathedral church in Sandomierz underlines these sentiments, as do Bishop Szembek’s words in 1714: “The Catholic Church rejects, condemns and curses all pagan errors . . heresies and all schisms. 20 Jews, but not Jews alone, were attacked by the Church. The Catholic Church of the post-Reformation period strove to reestablish its religious hegemony to become the “only one Church,” but it failed in that mission. The vast Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth continued to be religiously diverse.
When the Jews do not believe in our Scriptures, their own Scriptures are fulfilled in them, while they read them with blind eyes. . We recognize that it is in order to give this testimony, which in spite of themselves, they supply for our benefit by their possession and preservation of those books, that they themselves are dispersed among all nations in whatever direction the Christian Church spreads. In fact there is a prophecy before the event on this very point in the book of Psalms, which they also read.