The perpetrators were Catholics, German and Polish, and the victims of their scheme were the Polish-speaking Protestant Mazurians.
24) Mazurians, however, found sympathetic Catholic priests who communed their sick and comforted the dying.
Undersecretary Kassa went on to report that Protestant Mazurians customarily prayed in local Catholic churches and left money on the altar, or presented the offering directly to priests in exchange for prayers.
If there was a problem, he argued, it was with the audience and not with the clergy because the Mazurians were not your average church-going Protestants.
They were proof of the church's failure for Oldenberg who, like Carl Moll, concluded that the Mazurians were not typical nineteenth-century Prussian Protestants.
According to him, the Mazurians were losing their farms to creditors because their premodern spirituality prevented them from taking advantage of recent agricultural advances.
Although the setting was different, the pattern and consequences were identical: Mazurians drank heavily because they were poor and remained poor because they drank.
While Germans attended church sporadically, Mazurians went every Sunday and received the sacrament of Holy Communion whenever it was offered.
Mazurians held the pastor in high esteem and traditionally kissed his hand upon meeting him either in the church or on the street.
On Christmas Eve, Mazurians stopped work at five in the evening, returned home, and gathered with their families around the table that was covered on this night with a white tablecloth.
Oldenberg praised the respect Mazurians had for the traditional Protestant texts but lamented to officials in Berlin that they lacked a history of the Reformation, as well as a history of Prussia in Polish.