KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)--The burial of Poland's president, Lech Kaczynski, in Krakow on April 18 was met by mourning not only among Polish citizens and international diplomats, but also within the pro-life movement. Kaczynski, a Roman Catholic, was "an outstanding leader for pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-family issues in Europe," said Janice Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America. "He stood strong for Judeo-Christian values in the face of intense opposition from European Union leaders," Crouse said in a news release after Kaczynski, his wife Maria and 94 other Polish leaders were killed in a plane crash April 10. The group was en route to a ceremony commemorating the Katyn Forest massacre 60 years earlier in which Soviet secret police killed more than 20,000 officers and civic leaders of Poland who had been taken into western Russia. R. Philip Roberts, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., who was in Poland at the time of the air tragedy, concurred that Kaczynski was "clearly 100 percent pro-life." "It was very obvious in everything he did, said and fought for that he maintained that position," Roberts told Baptist Press. "He was what many politicians would call 'on the right' side in his political positions, and what some would call 'far right.' I think he was 'right on' in terms of his own personal moral values, and what he wanted to see Poland do as a nation." Kaczynski also was "suspicious of the moral social agenda of the European Union," Roberts said, referring to the left-leaning league of 27 European countries, including Poland. "While Poland moved in the direction of joining the European Union, he [Kaczynski] was also concerned about the possibility of the devolution of the moral values for the country if they went along with everything the European Union wanted done," Roberts said.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)--"We weep with the weeping," Gustaw Cieslar, president of the Baptist Union of Poland, stated in an e-mail to Baptist Press April 12. Cieslar answered several questions from BP in the wake of the April 10 airplane crash that claimed the lives of Poland's president and numerous high-ranking officials in one of the greatest losses of national leadership in modern history. "In all our churches we are praying for the families who suffer the most and for the leadership of our country," Cieslar, who ministers through churches in Gdansk, Krakow, Warsaw and Szczecin, wrote. (Cieslar's comments appear in full later in this story.) Two Southern Baptist seminary leaders were in Poland at the time of the tragedy: R. Philip Roberts, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., and Jerry A. Johnson, the seminary's academic dean. Johnson told Baptist Press April 12 the Polish people are "not only grieving but also thinking about the sudden nature of death. In a country that is well over 90 percent Roman Catholic, most lack assurance of their destiny at death.