John Paul II - this would be a wonderful patron saint of Europe
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Europe has been a Christian land for two thousand years. Naturally, it has had its good and bad times; times when the Gospel was proclaimed very zealously and everywhere, and times when Christianity was not taken into consideration or even people fought against it, for example in the 20th century, which many of us remember very well - the times of Nazism and Communism, when religion was persecuted and people were brutally destroyed. The system of godlessness, which dominated in the East and in the West, sowed indifference and even hatred towards Lord God and the Gospel, and people were cruel to one another, to their brothers.
But then God's power was especially manifested besides the atheistic, demonic powers. Holy men, martyrs and confessors appeared. There were thousands of them, some have been canonised or beatified but masses have not been proposed for beautification although they are holy witnesses to Christ in Europe. We look at our continent and wonder how much Christian it is... We all can see that Europe departs from God, lives according to its own laicised laws and does not respect God's commandments, leading life as if God did not exist. We can see among other things that governments of some countries introduce godless laws in their societies - abortion as a way of family planning, euthanasia as 'the most humanitarian' help for old people, homosexual marriages as an expression of tolerance for those loving differently, the right to adopt children by such 'marriages' as a sign of lack of their social discrimination. Certainly, one does not need a special imagination to see what it leads to. Killing unborn babies fosters Europe's depopulation. A white European is becoming less and less present - in percentage we are fewer and fewer. The old, the sick and infirm fear that doctors will kill them instead of saving their lives. What will become of homosexual marriages? By nature they cannot bear children and will not create normal, healthy families. Only Muslim children - Turkish and Arab - will be surely brought up in normal, healthy families since expansion of these families is great. It seems that Europe is aiming at self-annihilation, extermination.
At the same we are convinced that there are still chances to save Europe and most of all to save Poland. We must know that one can achieve a lot on the basis of Christ's teaching and natural law. Therefore, a great demand of the moment is to respect God's law, and thus above all to respect the law not to kill both the unborn children and the elderly; this is the law that appreciates the natural relationship between man and woman because it worked well in the history of the world and humanity: it makes humankind continue; in this law man finds his best first environment of growth and this is the most economic upbringing. The evangelical teaching is very reasonable, far-sighted, and wise. The following figures served such culture: St Benedict, St Cyril and St Methodius, St Bridget of Sweden, St Catherine of Siena and St Edith Stein - Europe's patron saints. Through their prayers and work for Christian culture Europe became a continent of unique development. In this background the fact that the new Pope took the name of Benedict, patron of Europe, is something very meaningful. The Holy Father must have wanted to show us how to save our marvellous heritage and how not to be influenced by modernity, which destroys.
I think that another patron saint of Europe should be also our candidate for sainthood, the Servant of God John Paul II. Few people knew Europe and its Christian culture better than him. As a universal Shepherd he embraced the whole world with his hands full of love but Europe was the dearest to him. With his whole being John Paul II was a man of evangelical culture, culture of love and life. He visited almost all European countries. He kissed the ground during every visit - this was a symbol of his love, respect and homage for every part of this continent. On every Aeropagus of the world he proclaimed Christ as the only way to live a life that is worthy of man.
Today, when we are praying for a quick beatification of the Servant of God John Paul II, let us also pray that he would be proclaimed another patron of Europe along with the present patron saints. It seems that he is a saint who deserves this title most, man whom Europe loves, remembers well and in whom Europe can see its salvation; survival of its culture, roots, identity and greatness.
Papieska Kolekcja "Niedzieli" 31/2005