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Tygodnik Powszechny

Tygodnik Powszechny
Cover of 22 August 2004
Type weekly magazine
Owner(s) Tygodnik Powszechny sp. z o.o.
Editor Piotr Mucharski
Founded 1945
Political alignment liberal Roman Catholicism
Headquarters Kraków

Tygodnik Powszechny (Polish pronunciation: , The Catholic Weekly) is a Polish Roman Catholic weekly magazine, published in Kraków, which focuses on social and cultural issues. It was established in 1945 under the auspices of Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha. Jerzy Turowicz was its editor-in-chief until his death in 1999. He was succeeded by Adam Boniecki, a priest.

Its publication was suspended in 1953 after it refused to print Joseph Stalin's obituary; new editors representing a pro-government association took it over until 1956. After the Polish October, the former editors were allowed to resume control.


  • History 1
  • Values 2
  • Criticism 3
  • See also 4
  • Further reading 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha helped found the weekly magazine, and the first edition of Tygodnik Powszechny was published on 24 March 1945, in the closing months of World War II. Initially, the editorial staff consisted of four people: Jan Piwowarczyk, a priest; Jerzy Turowicz (editor-in-chief for many years), Konstanty Turowski and Maria Czapska. Later they were joined by Zofia Starowieyska–Morstinowa, Stefan Kisielewski, Leopold Tyrmand, Antoni Gołubiew, Paweł Jasienica (until he was arrested by the Communists in 1948), Stanisław Stomma, Hanna Malewska and Józefa Golmont–Hennelowa.

In 1953, the weekly was closed and lost its printing house after it refused to print the obituary of Joseph Stalin, powerful leader of the Soviet Union.[1] From 1953 to 1956, it was published by the pro-government PAX Association and informally known as Tygodnik Paxowski. The same format was used and numbering was continuous during this period, although none of the previous editors worked for the Association paper.

After the "Thaw" of 1956, the original editors were able to resume control of Tygodnik Powszechny in December 1956. Columnists have included prominent clerics, such as Karol Wojtyła (who became Pope John Paul II), academics and poets, journalists and other writers, including Władysław Bartoszewski, Jerzy Zawieyski, Jacek Woźniakowski, Stefan Wilkanowicz, Adam Szostkiewicz, Leszek Kołakowski, Stanisław Lem, Zbigniew Herbert, Tadeusz Kudliński, and Czesław Zgorzelski.

Czesław Miłosz published his poems in Tygodnik Powszechny for many years. In 1945, he prepared a hand-written volume of poems called Wiersze pół-perskie for Jerzy Turowicz, the editor. Forced into exile in the United States, Miłosz continued to publish in Tygodnik Powszechny. After he received, the Nobel Prize, it was the only magazine in which Miłosz published his poems.

In the late 1950s, the newspaper became affiliated with the officially recognized political party Solidarity movement, Father Józef Tischner, one of the writers of the Krakov edition, became its chaplain.

After martial law was declared, the magazine suspended its publication for several months. Since 1982, Tygodnik Powszechny has been published continuously.

When Karol Wojtyła was elected as pope, Tygodnik Powszechny became the most popular vehicle for John Paul II’s teachings in Poland. For a long time, it was the only magazine in the world to have gained an interview with the new pope, which it published 3 August 1980.

In the 1980s, the magazine informally represented the Polish democratic opposition. It was sometimes regarded as the only legal oppositional magazine in the People’s Republic of Poland (PRL). In 1987, it published a controversial essay by Jan Błoński, "The Poor Poles Look at the ghetto" (“Biedni Polacy patrzą na getto”), exploring historic relations between Catholic and Jewish Poles, and the experiences of the Holocaust in World War II.

Since the 1990s, a part of the church hierarchy has criticized Tygodnik Powszechny for what they consider its overly liberal outlook. (It does not reflect the parochial distribution of the magazine).

In 1998, Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz produced the documentary, Ordinary Kindness (Zwyczajna dobroć), telling the story of editor Jerzy Turowicz.

In 1999, following the death of Jerzy Turowicz’s death, Father Adam Boniecki became the chief editor.[2]

In April 2007, the ITI Group purchased 49 per cent of the magazine. Since 5 December 2007 Tygodnik Powszechny has been published in a smaller size. The format and editorial staff were also changed.


Tygodnik Powszechny has tried to reconcile the values of liberalism with the principles of faith. It has presented an open ecumenical view of Polish Catholicism. Its goal was a dialogue. Persons with non-Catholic ideas are invited to take part in printed debates. According to the analysis by Jarosław Gowin, presented in his book, Church in the Times of Freedom (Kościół w czasach wolności), Tygodnik Powszechny is one of the main representatives of ‘open’ Catholicism, inspired by Catholic personalism.

Sergiusz Kowalski, who was analyzing the history of the journal from 1993 to 1995, wrote: “The authors of Tygodnik Powszechny appreciate moderation, openness, readiness to dialogue and compromise,” looking for “modus vivendi between liberal democracy and Church, between modernity and tradition.” (Kowalski 1997: 148)


In the time of the People’s Republic of Poland (PRL), Tygodnik Powszechny was considered as the magazine which, to some extent (determined by censorship), could publish criticism of the communist authorities.

After 1989, the magazine was seen to represent one option in a dialogue within the Church, called “open Catholicism”, which caused criticism from people of other circles. After 1989, Tygodnik Powszechny was believed to represent only one political party, the Democratic Union, later transformed into the Freedom Union. Many people involved in the magazine participated in the political changes of the era (Józefa Hennelowa, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Krzysztof Kozłowski).

The critics of the Cracow weekly magazine often quote the letter written by John Paul II, on 15 May 1995 on the occasion of the magazine’s 50th anniversary:

"The year 1989 brought Poland deep changes connected with the downfall of the communist system. Resumption of independence paradoxically coincided with an increased assault of secular left-wing parties and liberal groups directed against the Church, the Episcopate as well as against the Pope. I felt it especially in the context of my last visit to Poland in 1991. The point was to erase from the memory of citizens what was the role of the Church in the nation within the space of the last years. Accusations and slanders about clericalism were multiplying as well as those about the alleged intention of the Church to rule Poland and about hindering political emancipation in the Polish society. Forgive me, if I say that those influences were also visible in Tygodnik Powszechny. In those difficult times, unfortunately the Church did not find in it any support and defense which in a way he could have expected: “it did not feel cherished enough” – like I once said (…)”

- Letter of 15 May 1995 from John Paul II to Jerzy Turowicz, editor-in-chief, Tygodnik Powszechny

Opponents of Tygodnik Powszechny accuse the magazine of leaning to liberal and left-wing Catholicism. In his book Obłudnik Powszechny (2002) (The Common Canter), Jerzy Robert Nowak, said that Tygodnik Powszechny betrayed the ideals of John Paul II and the Church. He is a historian and publicist associated with the major Catholic weekly Niedziela.

See also

Further reading

  • Christian Heidrich: Die neue Frage nach Gott und Kirche. Ein Blick auf "Tygodnik Powszechny" und "Christ in der Gegenwart". In: Aleksandra Chylewska-Tölle / Christian Heidrich (Editors): Mäander des Kulturtransfers. Polnische und deutsche Kirche im 20. Jahrhundert. Berlin [Logos Verlag] 2014, p. 249-275. ISBN 978-3-8325-3660-2
  • Michał Jagiełło, "Tygodnik Powszechny" i komunizm, Warszawa: NOWA, 1988
  • Jacek Żakowski, Anatomia smaku czyli rozmowy o losach zespołu Tygodnika Powszechnego w latach 1953-1956, Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Wolne Pismo, 1988
  • Jacek Żakowski, Jerzy Turowicz: Trzy ćwiartki wieku: rozmowy z Jerzym Turowiczem, Kraków: Znak, 1999, ISBN 83-7006-166-4
  • Jacek Żakowski: Pół wieku pod włos. Czyli życie codzienne "Tygodnika Powszechnego" w czasach heroicznych. Kraków: Znak, 1999, ISBN 83-7006-886-3


  1. ^ Annika Frieberg (2008). The Project of Reconciliation: Journalists and Religious Activists in Polish-German Relations, 1956--1972. ProQuest. p. 54.  
  2. ^ Laurence Weinbaum (Fall 2002). "Penitence and Prejudice: The Roman Catholic Church and Jedwabne". Jewish Political Studies Review 14 (3-4). Retrieved 8 September 2013. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Information in English
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