Catholic Sunday Weekly
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17 October 2013
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Pope Francis announced that on 27 April 2014 there will be a ceremony of canonization of blessed John Paul II, the pope of Poles, together with pope John XXIII. The announcement of canonization of the Polish pope made our whole country and real Poles happy, who find their new hopes and strength in this canonization of their compatriot, in order to be reborn internally and spiritually. It is a great breath of fresh air for Poles, especially the Catholics.
Today, we have to recall the day when John Paul II was passing away to eternity. We remember that there were first rumours that a priest, who was a spy, a connector of Polish political forces, was with the pope. The trial of this priest was taking place in front of cameras, among shouts in nearly all mass media. He had been declared a traitor and sentenced to civil death. Stones were being thrown at him from many sides This kind of a show had been needed by some forces (read: enemies of the Church). The aim was to show a kind of ugliness close to the pope, to discredit the famous Catholic priest, who had brought millions of Poles to John Paul II for many years and I did not believe in these accusations at all.
It seems that when respect for the Polish pope reached an apogee and the whole world was following the holy coffin of John Paul II, and forces hostile to the Church wanted to disturb it. They found this kind of thread. Besides at that time, there were attacks against many priests. Many of them were called snitchers, cooperators of the Security Services. There were really a lot of real cooperators of the Security Service, they were present in all environments but only Catholic priests were blamed for everything. It was all about destroying the good name of priests, the influence of the Church on the history of the developing Polish democratic country. From time to time, media pointed out to the surnames of priests and proclaimed some incredible things against them and the priests could not defend themselves. They will prove their innocence at the Last Judgment, when God will ask them about the truth, righteousness of heart and conscience.
And here, again, when we found out about the date of the canonization of blessed John Paul II, we deal with the frontal attack on the Catholic priests. Television information programmes start with stigmatizing priests suspected of pedophilia. Names, surnames and photos are made public in a ruthless manner and it is said that priests who should be an example, deserve regretting and condemning. Certainly, the doctrine of the Church is clear here. In the Gospel Jesus speaks about mischief of the little ones; especially that today the Church must listen to its Lord and Master, when it finds out about bad deeds. We also must note whether a crime is really proven, whether there are verdicts of legitimate courts in the issues of alleged bad acts which should be condemned. Therefore it seems odd that journalists and publicists, being respected by some groups, can, for example, speak to a bishop in an arrogant way, demanding either an apology or some other declarations, which would be an answer to insistent questions and propositions of those who conduct interviews.
The Church has its Code of Canonic Law, has its department of criminal law, canonical methods, and bishops have a holy duty of following the canonical law, also when there is a mischief and committing criminal deeds. As it concerns pedophilia, bishops acknowledge the process of matters of secular courts and refer to way in which these matters are settled. There are also basic laws, binding both in the canonical law and the state law, that is, that every human being has a right to innocence – and in order to sentence him, his fault must be proven. This rule obliges not only priests but also all people, offices and first of all, courts. So, if a journalist is attacking a bishop and wants to force some decisions, it is an ordinary abuse.
If we want to apply group responsibility, we should ask the question: is this behavior permitted? How easy it is to compare what the media are doing at present, with the situation of the Third Reich and anti-Semitism whose victim was the Jewish nation. At present we are witnesses of a similar way of treating the Church and priests. If mass media broadcast information about pedophilia among priests longer and more often, in a short time, young people will think that every priest is a pedophile, pervert or a deviant. Later, time for killing will come. It is a form similar to anti- Semitism towards the Church and clergy.
We are agitated by attacks which are taking place in Syria, Pakistan or other Islamic countries, where the Christians are killed and churches are destroyed. Whereas in Poland it is allowed to kill priests in a civil way, destroy opinion, throw everybody to one bag – because mass media want to judge Polish clergy. A priest who was fighting for independent Poland, is suddenly accused of everything which is the worst. We all are sinners – says the Holy Father Francis, beginning with his person – it is true, but we also want to fight with the sin. We do not approve of the deeds, if they were committed. As the Church, we will always defend holiness and what Christ beloved so much. And his words from his sermon on the Hill: ‘The blessed of the pure Heart, as they will see God’ belong to the most beautiful blessings. The doctrine of the Church is clear here, but we must note that mass media – press, radio and television, internet, portals – will do everything to befoul the good name of a priest. It is unfair and dishonest towards the Church.
Therefore, we must not allow others to manipulate us. We should write to the chairman of the Polish Television TVP Juliusz Braun to think how to run the Polish television, so that it would be for all Poles and would not befoul the good name of people of the Church.