Arma Veritatis : Poland and the World Exhibition of the Catholic Press (Esposizione mondiale della stampa cattolica), Vatican City, 1936


The World Exhibition of the Catholic Press held in the Vatican City from mid-May 1936, though not a 'universal' exhibition, but – seemingly – an internal affair of the Catholic Church, attracted representations of 45 states of Europe and America and 53 regions of the remaining three continents. True to its motto, its aim was propagandistic, directed against the current communist and liberal tendencies. The present paper, which looks at the exhibition from the perspective of the Polish room, is based on documentary materials left by its prime mover, Fr Stanisław Adamski, bishop of Katowice, responsible for the mass media in Polish episcopate. An interesting paradox is that it was not Poland as a state, but the representation of Polish Church that participated in the event. The state authorities were contacted only as much as political correctness and diplomatic courtesy required, or with the prospect of some financial support. They seemed to be indifferent and, at any rate, unwilling to spend any money on the exhibition, even though it was advertised by the Church as an excellent promotional opportunity. Bishop Adamski almost single-handedly devised the Polish exhibit, including the iconography and political message of a painting entitled Polonia – Sanctorum Mater et Scutum Christianitatis ('Poland – Mother of the Saints and Shield of Christianity'), which depicted important personalities from Polish history, including – tellingly – the figures of King John III Sobieski and Marshall Józef Piłsudski.

Catholic press; World Exhibition of the Catholic Press / Esposizione mondiale della stampa cattolica 1936; Vatican City; Stanisław Adamski; Jan Henryk Rosen


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