The anniversary of John Paul II’s death is coming and again – as every year – discussions concerning Generation JP II are going to begin.
I remember the day when Pope died, it was – in some sense – a great day in Poland, almost a kind of feast. People felt united, got kind to each othe, tried to be better. They spontaneously left their houses and met in front of or inside the churches to be together, to pray together, many of them were even unbelievers. That day and some period afterwards people wanted to be together, they wanted to be close and supportive to each other.
It was even a kind of revolution – I remeber that in Bialystok the faith prayed in the cathedral when a priest came and made them leave the church because it was late in the naight, but people resisted him – they told him that church is theirs, not him, and he is not just an official who closes and opens the church. There were more such cases in whole Poland.
Some Polish sociologists and philosopheres proclaimed the existence of generation JP II. Many young people started wearing t-shirts with inscriptions “We are the generation JP II”, many of them named themselves “generation JP II”. It became almost a fashion, but fashion is often shallow, quickly changes and disappears. Unfortunately those enthusiastic declarations did not found reflection in everyday life. For several days, maybe for several weeks people were really better, but shortly after all those positive behaviours started fading, interpersonal relationships worsened and returned to the state as they were before. Still Polish society has the lowest rate of mutual trust (social trust) among European societies – as sociological researches prove.
Sociologists and philosophers declarations turn out to be just a wishful thinking.
Personally I was sceptical about generation JP II. I observed people who proudly called themselves generation JP II and thought it is enough to go to church, to be a member of a spirtual community, attend its meetings, to become a volunteer in a nongovernmental or charity organization, forgetting at the same time about everyday hard work in the field of interpersonal relations, forgetting about being honest, loving, kind, helpful, supportive in boring, everyday situations, not in spectacular ones. Such an everyday improvement in interpersonal relations, in public life, in mutual trust is still absent.
A few days ago I read an interview with a philosopher who told that feast is a short period, that feasts do not occur every day. He tried to convince that improvement in interpersonal relations will come, that too short period has passed to judge if John Paul II’s teaching has really influenced young people.
Let us hope he is right…