SCRANTON: The Prosperity of Coal; The European Immigrants; The Polish National Catholic Church; The Kowalski Family.

SCRANTON: The Prosperity of Coal; The European Immigrants; The Polish National Catholic Church; The Kowalski Family.    Sylvester J. Kowalski, May 6, 2015.

 Three important Scranton issues.

Scranton’s nineteenth and early twentieth century prosperity was due to its extensive anthracite coal seams. Most of the coal miners were poorly paid European immigrants who, eventually, wanted better pay and working conditions. Labor turmoil ensued. Concurrently, the Polish coal miners were experiencing the same type of language and culture repression as they did in Poland by the Roman Catholic Church. Rebellion against the Roman Church became frequent, and, out of this rebellion, the Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC) was born. The Kowalski family was intimately involved with coal mining, the labor turmoil, and the PNCC.

The 1st Industrial Revolution and Scranton’s prosperity.

John Kowalski, my grandfather, came to the Pennsylvania anthracite region from Poland because of the abundance of jobs which contrasted with their scarcity in Poland.

The technological innovations of converting the energy of coal into the mechanical energy of steam-driven engines ushered in the 1st Industrial Revolution. The northeast Pennsylvania 19th century economic boom was propelled by this region’s abundant supply of anthracite coal. It was an extension of the 1st Industrial Revolution.

Steam-driven engines permitted: the de-watering of coal mines; the powering of textile manufacturing machinery and machine tools; the building of steam-driven locomotives for transportation; the development of steam-driven marine engines for ship propulsion; the construction of steam-driven farm implements and tractors; and, when electricity became practical, the development of steam-driven electrical generators.

Pennsylvania had an abundance of coal and northeast Pennsylvania had the bulk of the country’s anthracite (hard) coal. The anthracite coal region required immense numbers of workers. Most of them came from Europe. The worker’s nationality were: England/Wales – 21%; Germany – 12%; Ireland – 16%; Poland/Russia – 26%; and all other – 25%.

The Kowalski family, Nanticoke, and Scranton.

John Kowalski is the patriarch of Kowalski family. He was born in 1857, and emigrated from the Polish Province of Poznan (western Poland) in 1882. His parents are Lorenz Kowalski and Elizabeth Zbiarwony.   Maria Henke was born in the same province in the year 1863.

Kowalski, in Polish, means the son of a smith or blacksmith. Polish surnames frequently depicted the father’s occupation. John’s father likely was a blacksmith. A blacksmith “manufactured” gates, grilles, railings, light fixtures, tools, agricultural implements, cooking utensils, etc.

According to the 1900 census, John arrived in the US in 1882.  In 1900 he and Maria lived at 24 Slope Street in Nanticoke Pennsylvania.   John and Maria had 5 children: Elizabeth born 1891; Constantine born 1899; Sylvester born 1902; Edmund in 1904; and, Joseph 1907. John’s employment was as a coal miner. In 1903, John owned a saloon located at Broadway and Lee in Nanticoke.

The 1900 census tells us that Maria Henke emigrated to the US in 1884. She certainly came to find a husband. Why Nanticoke? Likely, she came to Nanticoke because her mother’s first cousin lived in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania. Maria’s mother’s first cousin, Vincent Kołodziejczak, lived nearby at 286 West Union Street.

A huge number of men emigrated from Europe to the United States.  This gave mothers, such as, Antonina Kolodziejski Henke a problem: How can they marry-off their daughters, such as, Maria Henke?  The most practical solution was to send them to the United States.  But, where, and who would watch over these young ladies?  If one had a trusted relative already in the United States, perhaps that individual would help.  Possibly, Antonina trusted Vincent and arranged for Maria to go to Nanticoke.  Vincent and his wife would help find a boarding establishment if they themselves could not board her.  Until Mary married, she would have the support of her Nanticoke extended family.  Mary was single for 5 years after arriving in the US.

King coal and life in the 1930s Scranton.

Life in Scranton in the 1930s must be viewed, first and foremost, from the coal miner’s perspective. This will first be done. Secondly, I will look at life in Scranton through my perspective for the years 1930 to 1942.

Labor turmoil in the anthracite coal region.

What follows chiefly comes from:

  • A DECADE OF TURMOIL: JOHN L. LEWIS AND THE ANTHRACITE MINERS 1926-1936, Douglas Keith Monroe’s Dissertation. (Georgetown University)
  • The Face of Decline: The Pennsylvania Anthracite Region in the Twentieth Century Thomas D. Dublin and Walter Light

The immigrant coal miners were exploited by the coal-mine owners. Waves of immigrants, particularly in the 19th century, provided cheap labor for these coal mines. The disparate immigrant groups were simply exploited, paid low wages, and forced to live in communities which were fragmented by ethnic barriers and without adequate socialization and integration opportunities. The living conditions were a form of apartheid. But, was very profitable for the mine owners.

In the year1918, 121 million tons of anthracite coal was mined. This was the peak for the entire coal mining cycle. In 1928, only 75 million tons were mined.

The reduced coal production created labor turmoil. A series of disruptive strikes led anthracite customers to seek alternative fuels. The 2nd Industrial Revolution based on oil and the internal combustion engine already had began, and became a significant rival to coal. Customers began to use oil for heating.

Four issues affected the long-term fate of anthracite.

First, by 1926, the easily mined coal was depleted. Second, Domestic coal faced stiff competition from oil and natural gas. Bituminous coal was much cheaper for the steam coal electrical generating market. Third, waterpower electrical generation was becoming a more serious competitor. And, fourth, the western market shrank and Northeast industrial market became stagnant.

The consequence of anthracite coal’s shrinking market share was labor turmoil not only between coal operators and the UMW, but also between the coal miners and the UMW.

The coal operator’s reaction to the coal industry decay was, first, to cut costs in any way possible to improve productivity, and, second, to discontinue the operation of collieries that were the least profitable. Employment dropped from 165,386 in 1926 to 101,500 in 1937. Annual days worked dropped by 24%.

The consequential unemployment brought poverty to the coal miners, and encouraged miners to steal or “bootleg” the coal needed for their homes and to sell to the public. The UMWA/coal operator relations became extremely turbulent.

In the aftermath of the 1925 strike, the coal miners warred with both the UMWA and the coal operators. Many violent local strikes occurred. With the onslaught of The Great Depression in 1930, the unemployment and underemployment brought misery to the coal miners.

The coal miner’s believed that the UMW ignored the poverty stricken coal miners. The coal miner’s realized that the reduced coal mining meant reduced total working hours. What they saw was that insider-favored miners were working full time, while others considered themselves fortunate if they were able to work five days per month. The coal miners wanted an equalization of days worked. This didn’t suit the coal operators nor the union insiders, and from 1930 to 1933, the coal miners warred against John L. Lewis and the UMW. Local strikes and violence were frequent.

On August 1933, John Maloney led the angry coal miners into a new union – United Anthracite Miners of Pennsylvania (UAMP), and in October 1933, UAMP struck the Glen Alden Company and its 19 collieries.

John Maloney became the leader of UAMP. At this time, my father, Sylvester C. Kowalski, was president of his UMW local, and, with membership’s approval, led it into the UAMP. Their meetings took place in the Kowalski home on East Locust Street. As a four-year old, I met the members and listened to their discussions from the second floor. My father’s UAMP local participated in the very violent strike against Glen Alden’s Baker Colliery located in Scranton.

The strike started “a reign of terror”, one with bombings and shootings commonplace. Battalion’s of miners blocked roads and gates in order to close collieries. Fights broke out frequently. Hundreds were hospitalized. Houses and cars of both UAMP and UMWA were sabotaged. Local and state police were unable to maintain order. The Wilkes-Barre area resembled an armed camp. But, the strike itself was very effective.

UAMP’s betrayal by FDR’s administration

Pressure by FDR’s administration resulted in the National Relations Board (NLRB) and Senator Wagner becoming involved in resolving the UMW/UAMP/Glen Alden strike. The Administration wanted UAMP to submit to NLRB arbitration.

Maloney and UAMP reluctantly agreed to NLRB arbitration. Since John L. Lewis and the UMW had tremendous political power, the final decision was politically motivated and favored the UMW. The second blow that UAMP received was Judge W.A. Valentine 1935 ruling that UAMP was not entitled to the union dues amassed as dues coupons (from dues check-off). UAMP was effectively bankrupted. The combination of the NLRB ruling and Judge Valentine decision meant the demise of UAMP.

In the aftermath, John Maloney, his son, Thomas, Jr., and Hanover Township School Director Michael Gallagher were all killed when packages sent to them exploded on Good Friday, 1936. Even after UAMP was destroyed, the viciousness continued. My father was “black-balled” from ever working for a coal company.

Douglas Keith Monroe states:

“The question which remains is not whether the cards were stacked against Maloney and his mine workers. They clearly were and and under the conditions which were imposed on his new union, it was probably destined to fail.”

“… whether the UAMP’s was good or bad, and whether it had any impact in its brief life.”

“Maloney was an idealist and in many respects a true radical, a man who was captivated by a strong sense of right and wrong. He was convinced that the UMW was corrupt, inefficient and lacking in ideas needed to better the conditions of the anthracite workers. In this regard he cannot be faulted.”

Maloney more than anyone dramatized the equalization issue. Since the onset of the 1918 coal mining slowdown, the coal miners insisted on an equalization of hours worked by all UMW members. Instead, the privileged few, such as, UMW insiders were working full time while many at the opposite end of the spectrum were working less than five days per week. Maloney forced the UMW to re-organize and give the mine workers a voice in policy making, and he forced John L. Lewis to stop his arbitrary decision-making.

The post-UAMP Kowalski family sunk into deep poverty. The East Locust Street home’s mortgage was defaulted, and the family needed to move. For a time, my father “worked” with the Federal WPA (Works Project Administration. In 1937, the “tide” changed. My father was able to get employment as a coal miner at the Moffat Coal Company in Taylor, PA, on the basis that he would not participate in any union activity. Even better, in early 1939, my father obtained a mechanic’s position at the Manor Farms of Fleetville, PA. He repaired dairy equipment and serviced its truck fleet.

The saving grace for the Kowalski family was that it had three wonderful extended families.  the Janchak family (my father’s sister); the Sysko/Kosciuk family (my maternal grandmother), and St. Stanislaus PNCC Cathedral.

The Janczak family provided the young Kowalski’s with much love and support. Ciotka, our father’s sister Elizabeth, and her three children, Regina, Rose, and Leo, provided us with sleep-overs, treats, such as, ice cream, and, at times, the only Christmas presents that we received. Later, my father arranged for Leo to be his assistant at Manor Farms.

My maternal grandmother, Bronislawa Lewandoska, was, in my opinion, the 1st Polish feminist. When she was 16, her father pressured her to marry a Russian soldier. This was not what she wished, and, secretly, left her home, emigrated to the U.S., married Joseph Sysko, and both lived in the Greenwood section of Moosic Borough for the rest of their lives.

The Sysko/Kosciuk family.

Joseph Sysko died at the age of 29, and his family needed to find a survival strategy. Family survival for the European immigrant families meant remarriage when the coal miner father experienced premature death which was frequent. Death from mine explosions and cave-ins were frequent. The coal miner’s surviving family had no financial resources. Benefits, such as, Survivor’s Benefits, relief payments, or food stamps were not available. For survival, the young widow had no choice other than to remarry. Likely, the coal region’s had a deficit of marriageable females, and surviving widows had no difficulty finding a second husband. Likely, there was a shortage of marriageable females.

Bronislawa’s grandchildren loved her. We were frequently at her house on Sundays. She always had a feast of fried chicken, her own fresh sausage and plenty of fixings’. Dessert was her homemade pie, apple or strawberry-rhubarb, all from her own yard.

The Sysko/Kosciuk family was the second of the important extended families.

Our third extended family was Saint Stanislaus PNCC. Why was PNCC an important extended family? St. Stanislaus Cathedral showed: love; security; consideration; assistance in time of need; education; a Christ-like holy culture; love and understanding of the Holy Spirit; and, companionship. It had a traditional Slavic communitarian culture. Here in Scranton, Bishop Hodur nurtured St. Stanislaus’ to be the “Kingdom of God here on earth”.

A PNCC May Day parade took place on the first Sunday of May. The parade started at the St. Stanislaus Cathedral and ended in the recreation area adjacent to the PNCC cemetery. My brother, Vincent Kowalski, is in the foreground and on the extreme right. Such celebrations provided us with pride in both our Polish culture and pride of being Americans.

The Polish National Catholic Church: Its Origin; Why it was Founded; The Organizer – Prime Bishop Francis Hodur; The theology of Bishop Hodur .

The Organizer – Bishop Francis Hodur

“Franciszek Jan (Francis John) Hodur was born in Poland in the village of Zarki in the country of Chrzanow, a coal minig region in what was then the Austrian section of Upper Silesia, on April 1, 1866, the son of Maria and Jan Hodur, a country tailor and farmer. He completed his secondary education in Krakow in 1889 at St. Anne’s Gymnasium of the 300 year old Nowodworski Lyceum, perhaps the fines prepatory school in the country, where he was one of the highest ranking students. Entering the Vincentian theological seminary, at that time affiliated with the Jagellonian University, he continued as an excellent student. However, his budding career was cut short in 1892 and he came to America early in 1893, where he entered the Roman Catholic seminary in Betty (now Latrobe), Pennsylvania. On August 19, he was ordained a priest by Bishop William O’Hara in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

“At first, a vicar in Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary Parish in Scranton, in 1895 he was appointed pastor of Holy Trinity Church in not-far-distant Nanticoke. As in many Roman Catholic parishes throughout the United States, a protest movement developed at Sacred Hearts in 1896, leading to the building of a new church, St. Stanislaus. [Sacred heart of Jesus and Mary and St. Stanislaus are a distance of one block from each other.] Father Hodur accepted the invitation of the dissident parish to become its first pastor in 1897. The date of his arrival, March 14, has become the traditionaldate marking the beginning of the Polish National Catholic church.” (From the Biographical Note in Hodur: A Compilation of Selected Translations by Theodore L. Zawistowski.)

“Bishop Hodur was a brilliant and complex priest who devoted his life to God and building the Kingdom of God here on earth.

“Why did Bishop Hodur organize the PNCC? This is how Bishop Grochowski, Bishop Hodur’s successor responded:

During the observance of the 60th Anniversary of the founding of St. Stanislaus parish and the Polish National Catholic Church, a logical question prods the mind: What were the fundamental causes for bringing into existence the Scranton parish in general? A clear and truthful answer must be given for our own assurance and for the assurance of the future of the Church which depends on the proper knowledge and preservation of our ideology and our aims.

“THE FIRST AND THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON FOR THE ORGANIZATION OF THE ST. STANISLAUS PARISH AND OF THE POLISH NATIONAL CATHOLIC CHURCH, HAD BEEN THE DESIRE AND DEEP CRAVING FOR THE IDEALS OF THE RELIGION OF JESUS CHRIST. THE ORGANIZER OF THE POLISH NATIONAL CATHOLIC CHURCH CARRIED AND NURTURED THESE IDEALS IN HIS HEART AND IN HIS SOUL, because he lived according to the teachings of Jesus, and he knew how to evaluate their blessed worth. Unfortunately God’s truth was neither applied in the life of the Church, nor in the social or national life. The foremost Polish philosopher and Christian, August Cieszkowski, who knew that danger lay in the spiritually degenerate condition of the European nations, sounded this warning:

“Holy God, what is happening in the world! So much hostility and so much repulsiveness. Everywhere truth is on the decline and falsehood in ascendancy. The world is attiring itself for a marriage feast amidst the cries of hungry nations and those being murdered. A sea of pleasure and an ocean of pain, pleasure accompanied by weariness, despair and pain. Vanity prances while virtue idles. The arm of the flesh is lascivious, the arm of spirit is decrepit. The Word of God is on the lips of all, abused, it doesn’t live in them, nor do they live by the Word. Brotherhood of peoples and nations proclaimed, but the crime of Cain passes on from people to nations.”

“The Polish philosopher saw the moral decline of the Roman church and of the nations. The Organizer of the Polish National Catholic Church wrote and taught the same. He cautioned and pleaded with the highest authorities of the Roman Catholic Church, but he met with rejection and anathema. The only road left, was the road chosen by the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and he has taken it.”

THE SECOND IMPORTANT FACTOR IN BREAKING WITH ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH WAS ARDENT PATRIOTISM AND THE FERVENT LOVE FOR POLAND, ITS LANGUAGE, CUSTOMS AND CULTURE.

Our Organizer was an expert historian. He studied the misfortunes which Poland experienced at the hands of Rome. On this continent, he had foreseen a slow death for Polish culture under the Irish-German ecclesiastical domination. It had been the aim and scheme of the Roman Bishops to bring about this regimentation. The motto coined by Bishop Tierney of Hartford, Conn., was “ONE GOD, ONE FAITH, ONE LANGUAGE AND ONE CHURCH JURISDICTION IN AMERICA.” This motto was adopted by other Roman Catholic Bishops. Some of them, such as, Richter, Messmer, Katzer, Ireland and Tierney prohibited singing Polish hymns and prohibited the Polish language in the churches and in the parish schools.

“The emergence of the Polish National Catholic Church has to a large degree slowed down these anti-Polish schemes of the Irish and German bishops. The Polish Press, both in Poland and America has written extensively about the merits of culture-preservation by the Polish National Catholic Church through the untiring efforts of its founder, Bishop Francis Hodur.

IT IS DESIRED THAT IT SHALL PREVAIL AGAINST THE BESIEGING HOSTILE FORCES.”

“A certain anonymous writer who understood the importance of the role of Bishop Hodur stated:

“His work arose from a fervent religious and national longing, nourished by the eternal elements of God’s goodness and justice. Through him and by him had spoken the spirit of a true priest, a Pole and Emancipator of our times. He has delved into the deepest layers of Christian tradition, those which affect man’s morale. He has shown how collective religious life and activity must be organized and sustained in order to contribute to the moral, social and national growth.

“He has regained for the Church of Jesus, light and liberty. He has liberated his people from the bonds of a lifeless, dogmatized faith and has pointed to the unlimited possibilities of growth which freedom of religion offers to the individual and the nation.

“In this manner a new religious organization came into being. It is full of vitality and is ready to serve God, nation and man.

“He measured the greatness of the Polish National Catholic Church by the magnitude of its aims and by the degree of the moral and religious regeneration of its communicants.”

THE MERITS OF THE SCRANTON CONGREGATION

“We cannot overlook the merits of the Scranton people in this historical sketch. They stood firmly by their good shepherd. They felt intuitively that they were in the presence of a man of God. They believed that the work that they began with their leader would be blessed by God. Their feelings and beliefs did not deceive them. We must marvel at their courage and gallantry with which they triumphed over the numerous obstacles and discrimination directed at them. We must marvel at their faith, their brave stand and Christian courage. Newly arising parishes of the Polish National Catholic Church received not only able assistance of the Organizer but of the whole St. Stanislaus Congregation. They visited even distant towns to strengthen and comfort those who dared to break the shackles of Roman slavery. No other parish has borne greater sacrifices for the Church. The members of the first parish always were and still are the most numerously represented at the General Synods, Conventions and religious or patriotic demonstrations. They are ready at all times to undertake and perform any service for the good of the Church.

GUIDED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

“The influence of the Holy Spirit was clearly experienced during the many important events which took place in Scranton, Pa. To the delegation of the people from Scranton wronged by the Roman Bishop, in 1896, Father Francis Hodur said:

“ALL WHO ARE DISSATISFIED AND WRONGED IN SCRANTON SHOULD ORGANIZE AND BUILD A NEW CHURCH, WITH FULL CLAIMS TO PROPERTY OWNERSHIP.”

“The advice was very stirring. The organizational work was undertaken immediately and the activity was not stopped until full success was assured.

“Father Francis Hodur, then made a trip to Rome to see what could be done to help those who were wronged by the Roman hierarchy. He returned early in March of 1898. Ammeting of St. Stanislaus Congregation was called for the second Sunday of March at which Father Hodur presented the results of his efforts made in the “eternal city.” They were negative, nevertheless they were blessed with far-reaching consequences. Father Hodur had discovered that no just solution of any problems presented in Rome on behalf of the Scranton Congregation could be expected. The rebuff which Father Hodur met in Rome contributed to the organization of the Polish National Catholic Church for which we should perpetually thank God and bless His Holy Name. Upon notifying his congregation of the refusal which met their just petition, Father Hodur said:

“It is for you to decide now what steps we must take in the future. If you think that the spirit of the decisions of the Baltimore Synod are binding as just laws, and that by accepting those decisions, you can serve God in all peace and tranquility and live happily, tell me now, so that I may notify Bishops O’Hara and Hoban, and through them the Apostolic Legate Martinelli, that you are willing to recognize their jurisdiction.”

“At this moment, an ardent and active parishioner, Michael Szczyglinski stood up and asked, “What will happen to you, Father, what do you intend to do?”

“I shall not return under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Bishop. I shall not return to the Roman Church,” replied Father Hodur firmly and distinctly.

“Then we shall not return either,” replied Michael Szczyglinski, he was supported by thirty other participants of that meeting. A holy ardor overwhelmed the gathering. They all stood up: men and women, raised their hands to show their indomnitable decision and repeated: “We shall not return!”

“It was a holy and decisive moment. It was the moment when the Free Polish National Catholic was born. That holy ardor – the gift of the Holy Spirit – imparted itself to all present. A similar ardor enveloped the Apostles and people gathered together with them during the great day of Pentecost.

“The Scranton people became an instrument in the hands of God by transforming into action a holy and great task. On that day the people of Scranton, led by their pastor, and inspired by God, set the foundations for a free Polish Church.

“When Bishops O’Hara and Hoban were informed of the decisions reached, Father Hodur and the Scranton Parish were excommunicated. Father Francis Hodur read the document of excommunication from the pulpit to acquaint his parishioners with the diatribe. He then burned it and the ashes were thrown into the brook which flows beneath the hill upon which St. Stanislaus Cathedral stands. While excommunication terrified even kings, the Scranton Congregation refused to be bullied into Roman submission!

“The burning ceremony of that un-Christian and barbaric document generated an indescribable enthusiasm among those present in church. Some toiled the bells, some sang, some prayed aloud, some embraced and kissed each other, while others approached the pulpit to greet Father Francis Hodur who was descending from it as though he were returning from another world. Others jumped over the communion railing, crowded into the sanctuary and cried out loudly: “God is with us Father. He will not forsake us, his children. God is with us!” They were transformed. The spirit to Power, of Faith, and of Valor descended upon this inspired congregation, which was starting a new, free and dangerously expendable life.

“God was with us, He is with us and shall continue to be with us as long as we remain united with Him in our hearts, minds and souls.

“The un-Christian excommunication of Father Hodur and of the Scranton Congregation, set loose a storm of abuse. In a land of brotherhood and freedom of religion, the Roman hierarchy and its faithful conducted a veritable “holy” inquisition. Against the Polish National Catholic Congregation of Scranton, every evil abuse was employed: discrimination in mines and factories, good names besmirched, beatings and cruel treatment – all this, in the name of the “One, True, Church” which is not willing to practice the Fatherhood of God nor the love of the Son, Jesus Christ.”

Bishop Francis Hodur was, without doubt, an important religious reformer. His life’s work in bringing the word of God, the teachings of Jesus Christ, and his work in bringing the Kingdom of God to St. Stanislaus compares him favorably with an earlier Roman Church reformer, Jan Hus. Jan Hus, the founder of the Hussite movement, was one of many reformers who tried to get the Roman church to reform prior to the Reformation. He was asked to go to Rome to defend his views, which he did, and his king gave him assurance of safe passage. The evil Roman Church burned Jan Hus at the stake ignoring his safe passage. Hus and many other reformers of that period failed to get Rome to change, and the outcome was the Reformation.

We need to take cognizance of the environment from which the Polish immigrants came from. Since the latter part of the 18th century, Poland no longer existed. Poland was partitioned by Prussia, Russia, and the Hapsburg Empire. Prussia, in particular, aggressively Germanized their part of Poland. German was the only acceptable administrative language, and Polish was forbidden to be taught in schools. For these immigrants, having their language and culture marginalized after coming to the “land of brotherhood and religious freedom” was an insult. The Polish language and culture had to be embedded into the new Church.

Bishop’s Grochowski’s history is almost equivalent to the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament. My association with St. Stanislaus from 1st grade to 9th, gives me confidence to state that the Holy Spirit indeed protected St. Stanislaus and the Polish National Catholic Church.

A PNCC reference library.

The following are good references to the Polish National Catholic Church, and can be readily obtained from St. Stanislaus Cathedral on East Locust Street. The APOCALYPSE is a must read.

  • A CATHECHISM of the Polish National Catholic Church.
  • 1897-1957 ALBUM: 60th anniversary of the PNCC.
  • MAN of DESTINY: A Pictorial History.
  • HODUR: A COMPILATION OF SELECTED TRANSLATIONS.
  • APOCALYPSE: The Revelation of the XXth Century.

The Fundamental Beliefs of the Polish National Catholic church.

The beliefs of the Polish National Catholic Church are in the A Cathechism of the Polish National Catholic Church, in the The Six Truths of Faith as found on page 7:

The Six Truths of Faith.

  1. That there is but one God, who created, preserves and governs all things.
  2. That God is a righteous judge who rewards the good and punishes the wicked.
  3. That there is but one God in three Divine Person: The Father, The Son, and The Holy ghost, or the Holy Trinity.
  4. That the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, out Lord Jesus Christ, became man and died on the cross for our salvation.
  5. That God’s grace is absolutely necessary for salvation.
  6. That the soul is immortal and will never die.

Belief 5, “That God’s grace is absolutely necessary for salvation.” comes from the teachings of Martin Luther. In Bishop Hodur’s APOCALYPSE or The Revelation of the XXth Century, written in 1930, stated, that in his opinion, Martin Luther was a great Christian thinker. Hans Kung wrote the following about Martin Luther in his Great Christian Thinkers:

“So the starting point of Luther’s reforming concern was not any abuses of the church, not even the question of the church, but the question of salvation: how do human beings stand before God? How does God deal with human beings? How can human beings be certain of their salvation by God? How can sinful human beings put right their relationship with the just God? When are they justified by God? Luther found the answer above all in Paul’s Letter to the Romans: human beings cannot stand justified by God, be justified by God, through their own efforts – despite all piety. It is God himself, as a gracious God who pronounces the sinner righteous, without any merits, in his free grace. This is a grace which human beings may confidently grasp only in faith. For Luther, of the three theological virtues faith is the most important: in faith, unrighteous sinful human beings receive God’s righteousness.”

The Two Commandments of Love.

  1. Thou shall love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
  2. And thy neighbor as thyself.

Prayer.

What is prayer?

Prayer is the lifting up of our minds and hearts to God. It is our talking to God and listening to God.

Why do we pray?

We pray:

  • To adore God, expressing our love and loyalty to Him.
  • To thank Him for his gifts to us.
  • To beg His pardon for our sins and shortcomings.
  • To ask His blessing and graces for ourselves and others.

For what should we pray?

We should pray for God’s help and guidance that we may live and work according to His holy will and attain salvation.

Who was Bishop Hodur?

The book APOCALYPSE: The Revelation of the XXth Century, informs me of: Who Bishop Hodur was. It has two parts: Historical-Sociological; and, Evangelical-Prophetic. In the first section, Bishop Hodur tells us:

“In the first section of the Apocalypse or the Revelation of the XXth Century, called historical part, I moved before the Reader’s eyes the thoughts and sayings of great theologians, excerpts from the Holy Scriptures, as well as eminent personages who played a conspicuous role in the 19 centuries of drama in the Christian church.”  

“I have given an unusually harsh assessment of the Roman catholic church. I have done this not because of hatred or from ill will, for I hate no one and least of all the Roman church, to which, as a priest, I owe so much; but because the Roman church to a high degree is responsible for much of the derailment of Christianity in the past. In the 11th century the Roman church caused the final break with the Eastern and Western churches, in the 16th the Roman church caused the religious revolution called the Reformation and at present impedes the unification of Christianity and thereby prevents the strengthening of its influences on human life and the course of world events.”

And, further:

“In the second part, in the Apocalypse proper, I have undertaken a tremendously difficult task. I wish to remind the Reader of the unique program of Christ’s mission. “

“The primary objective of the messianic life of Jesus was the spiritual regeneration of man and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.”

“This is why, though I am an unworthy man, only a poor and humble Polish priest, I consider it my greatest obligation, a direct Divine command, to remind my Brothers and Sisters of everything that Christ Jesus foretold about the salvation of man and of the Divine Kingdom.”

Christianity as seen by Hans Kung.

Hans Kung wrote two books of especial interest: Om Being a Christian; and, CHRISTIANITY: Essence, History, and Future.

In the book, CHRISTIANITY, Father Kung wrote in “The Aim of This Book” as follows:

“Christianity should become more Christian – that is the only possible perspective for the third millennium, too. The Roman system, Orthodox traditionalism and Protestant fundamentalism are all historical manifestations of Christianity. They have not always been there, and one day they will disappear. Why? Because they are not of the essence of Christianity.”

These are powerful words. Father Kung unequivocally states that the three major “Christian” groupings are devoid of the essence of Christianity. They are not followers of Christ.

In contrast, Bishop Hodur built the Polish National Catholic Church on the foundation of Christ’s teaching. Specifically, that each person has the right, and the duty, to develop a personal relationship with God, and that each of us have a responsibility to assist in the development of the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Bishop Hodur’s faith and brilliance informs me that he is the greatest Christian leader since the Reformation.

 

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