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Jacek Woroniecki

Jacek Adam Woroniecki – a Polish priest, a Dominican, theologian, pedagogue, philosopher, Scholastic, ethicist and moralist. He was born on 21 December 1878 in Lublin and died on 18 May 1949 in Krakow. In 1892 he started attending the 4th Junior High School and Secondary School for Boys in Warsaw. Then he studied natural science, as well as theology and philosophy in the Swiss Fribourg. After obtaining the bachelor’s degree in theology, he joined the Theological Seminary in Lublin. In 1909 he defended his doctoral thesis on theology at the University of Fribourg, and then he joined the Dominican order, fulfilling the novitiate in San Domenico di Fiesole near Florence. In 1911, in Dusseldorf, he took perpetual vows. In 1914 he started giving lectures on ethics at the Dominican monastery in Krakow. In 1919 he was given the post of the professor of moral theology and ethics at the Catholic University of Lublin (KUL). In 1922-1924 he performed the function of the rector of KUL, and in 1928 he became a vice-rector of that university. In 1929 he became the head of the chair of moral theology of Angelicum in Rome, and a year later he obtained the highest scientific degree in the Dominican order – the Master of Saint Theology. In 1932 he founded the Congregation of the Dominican Missionary Sisters of Jesus and Mary. From 1933 he was the rector of the Dominican Philosophical and Theological Study in Lviv, where he taught moral theology, patrology and the history of the Church. In 1937–1939 he taught at the General Study in Warsaw, where he also worked as the editor of the magazine entitled “Szkoła Chrystusowa” [Christ’s School]. When the Second World War broke out, he was in Krakow and he remained there until his death. Due to his worsening health, he focused on writing books on philosophy, paying special attention to ethics, pedagogy and the history of the Church. Rev. Jacek Adam Woroniecki OP was buried in Krakow, at the Rakowicki cemetery, and in 1960 his remains were moved to St. Hyacinth’s Church in Warsaw.

The most important books of Rev. Jacek Woroniecki include: “Katolicka etyka wychowawcza” [The Catholic Educational Ethics] (vol. I–III); “Katolickość tomizmu” [The Catholicity of Thomism]; “Św. Jacek Odrowąż i wprowadzenie zakonu kaznodziejskiego do Polski” [St. Hyacinth Odrowaz and Bringing the Order of Preachers to Poland]; “Pełnia modlitwy” [The Fullness of Prayer]; “Tajemnica Miłosierdzia Bożego” [The Mystery of the Divine Mercy]; “Królewskie kapłaństwo” [The Royal Priesthood]; “Około kultu mowy ojczystej” [On the Cult of Homeland Language]; “U podstaw kultury katolickiej” [The Basics of the Catholic Culture]; “Umiejętność rządzenia i rozkazywania” [The Ability to Rule and Command].

The thought of Woroniecki was strongly influenced by the person and texts of St. Thomas Aquinas whose ideas are reflected in almost all of his writings. Because of the universal nature and the social (team) way of practising Thomism, Woroniecki treated it as a complete system which is a synthesis of the whole heritage of human thought. At the same time, he emphasized that this system is cognitively open to what is true in any other manner of philosophising. In ethics he emphasized the role of the aim of human action, i.e. God, which is transcendent as compared to social conditions. He also believed that morality is an area related to education. In his opinion, the key to moral shaping of the man, i.e. encouraging him to acquire constant abilities (virtues) to do good, is the process of self-education focused on the integration of various levels of the man’s personal life: the intellectual, volitive and emotional level. Also, Woroniecki’s philosophical interests concentrated around social philosophy, especially the issues of justice, ruling, state and nation.