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  • Author: Dominika Tronina x
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Much has been written about the increasing influence of the Catholic Church in post-socialist Poland and its role in shaping the Polish national identity. As a result, the ways in which many Polish radical right groups have built their ideologies on Catholicism has also been studied. However, despite evidence of personal contact between clergymen and radical right figures over the past few decades, little is known about the intensity of these relationships and the advantages that right-wing groups might obtain from association with churches. This study aims to contribute to filling this knowledge gap by examining the relationship between churches and clergymen with the radical right in Poland by performing a case study of the group Młodzież Wszechpolska (MW, All-Polish Youth). By drawing on Social movement theory and borrowing from methods such as social network and protest event analysis, the paper uses joint events as an indicator of links and analyzes Facebook announcements posted by MW. The detected events (N = 170) primarily centered around cultural or historical issues and indicated that MW benefited from material resources and personal relationships facilitated by churches. Collaboration manifested not only as religious action but also in the involvement of clergymen as discussion participants at public events and churches as venues where MW could hold meetings. Therefore, churches can be used as a base for spreading ideology and approaching potential supporters. In addition, the presence of ecclesiastical actors can function as a legitimizing factor for increasing acceptance of MW and, ultimately, deradicalizing the group’s image.