A decade on, the late John Paul II still towers far above other national figureheads. Behind the scenes of national life, however, things have been changing.
The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has advised bishops' conferences not to take "doctrinal and disciplinary decisions" on issues that rightly fall under the magisterium of the church.
Cardinal Gerhard Muller said while bishops' conferences have authority on some matters, "they don't constitute a magisterium within the magisterium, independently of the pope and out of communion with other bishops."
The Polish bishops' conference defended its handling of sexual abuse by clergy after a former priest was jailed in connection with the case of Jozef Wesolowski, the laicized former nuncio to the Dominican Republic.
"The Catholic Church is the only entity in Poland to have adopted guidelines on pedophilia," Fr. Jozef Kloch, conference spokesman, told Catholic News Service.
Catholic leaders joined in commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, where 1.2 million mostly Jewish prisoners were killed by the Nazis during World War II.
"When we ask how God was present in the hell of Auschwitz, we must remember God's last word is one of peace," said Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland.
Jan Jagielski's retirement work reflects his vow to never forget the 3 million Jewish people from Poland who were victims of the Holocaust.
Less than six months after St. John Paul II was canonized, questions are being raised about a book of lectures he penned as a young priest in his Polish homeland.
The two-volume "Katolicka Etyka Spoleczna" ("The Catholic Social Ethic") has never been officially published. But it could, some observers said, affect interpretations of the future pope's philosophical development, highlighting a youthful commitment to radical change which sounded, at times, close to Marxism.
Poland's Catholic church has held a penitential service for victims of sexual abuse by priests after calls for more action to curb molestation in the country.
"It was said this was America's problem, and then a problem of Anglo-Saxon countries, and then a problem for the West -- the frontiers were pushed ever further so we could insist it didn't affect us," said Bishop Piotr Libera of Plock, a former bishops' conference secretary-general.
The former secretary of Pope John Paul II has approved publication of the late pontiff's private notebooks despite a request in his will that they should be burned.
Officials in Germany defended the plans to allow some divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion, saying they have the pope's endorsement.
Climate change represents an "ethical challenge to civilization," said the Vatican's lead representative to an international conference discussing the worldwide impact of climate change.
Archbishop Celestino Migliore told attendees at a church-run conference that the Vatican would help "form consciences and ethical perspectives" on climate change in line with Catholic social teaching and encourage "fairness, impartiality and mutual responsibility" when it came to action to address the environmental threat.