The decision about Cooperative Credit Unions expressed in Lvov on 2 December 2011 and concerning the undertaking of steps aimed at beatification of Franciszek Stefczyk, a creator of the cooperative movement in Poland, met with a wide interest among Poles. Many people were asking about the details of this meeting via letters and phone. I will remind that Franciszek Stefczyk could not look at the situation positively, which was a participation of our nation at the turn of XIX and XX centuries. In their poverty people were often subjected to actions by usury. Cooperative Credit Unions were supposed to support people in a real way when their life was difficult. Thanks to these institutions many families were able to survive their difficult time, and the help of the funds also contributed to, among the others, the stabilisation of life in the country. Certainly, it was not completely a new action because the cooperative movement had already started to develop all over the world – and it is current and important today as well. Cooperative funds of different types have millions of members all over the world. Thanks to the suitable organisation the whole world can belong to the union of such movements which have much usage in the economic life in the world. An example can be the activity of the cooperative unions in Poland which are popular among about 2 million of their members and meet with a great social esteem. However, there are, unfortunately, different dangers for the Polish cooperative movement. First of all, it is competitive towards banks and, therefore, they are trying to disturb the activity. However, we hope that thanks to a wide social support and transparent rules of the movement activity our policy-makers will try to respect its presence in the polish reality. After 1989, in Poland there was a particular situation. Reforms were suggested which directed the country and economy onto a strong strict capitalism. However, we did not have many rich enough people who would be able to buy our factories and enterprises. So, Poland opened to capitalists from the world who bought industrial productive halls, investment areas and local just for a song. Sometimes they purchased them in order to use an area or take over buyers of our products. In this way, for example, a factory of tents disappeared in Częstochowa – after being purchased by a foreign capital it was liquidated, and receivers of products went into other hands. We lost the workplace and employment, we also lost our customers. There were very many similar situations in Poland. Later, there were directives of the European Union added to it, which limited, for example, the purchase of milk or production of sugar and there was economic breakdown, and many families started living in poverty; if only our wise economists had noticed the possibilities of the cooperative movement at that time...If groups of people were united economically, funds would increase, factories and industry would remain in Polish hands. It looks so today and it seems that our economy would serve to our nation and Poles would have assured workplaces in an enormous number. Unfortunately, foreign capitalists care only about their own interests but not development of our economy. This problem is also quite an important issue for the Church. Holy Father Benedict XVI expressed his opinion on the cooperative movement very positively, noting that the program of the cooperation is inscribed in the evangelical program. ‘Cooperative societies are noble institutions which carry an evangelical message. In the times of great changes and economic whirls they play a great role in the evangelism of the society <>’ – said Pope on 10 December 2011, during his meeting with the representatives of the Italian cooperative movements, referring to the words of his encyclical ‘Caritas in veritate’. The Polish pastoral ministry could go in this direction, working over a situation when people would connect economically with one another and become competitive. Then, the fate of the nation would change significantly and much could be done for the sake of the Polish economy. So it happened well that although it is late, the eyes of Poles are looking at other possibilities of economic development. It seems very important to highlight the person of Franciszek Stefczyk, his way of thinking and his social attitude; for it is high time we thought about rebuilding the Polish economy so that our homeland would respect its children and Poland would be a country where we all feel well and safe.


"Niedziela" 14/2012

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: