Who is disturbed to see a crucifix?
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
The problem of the presence of the crucifix in public places has been raised in the Catholic television programme ‘Between heaven and earth’ recently. And on 25 November 2007, the Sunday that ends the liturgical year, we celebrated the Solemnity of Christ the King, which suits the theme very well. Since the problem has been rather drastically raised. Mrs Manuela Gretkowska, who had studied at the Catholic University of Lublin, eagerly and boastfully noticed that our country was secular and the crucifix – religious sign – should be not exposed in public places. Then there was a discussion concerning the problem, but the discussion was very fundamental. As we all know, in the European Union there are strong tendencies to thwart the presence of religious signs in public life. This problem has been known since the French Revolution, the ‘achievements’ of which are much discussed today, especially in France. I want to remind you of the victims of the revolution and of the victims of other atheistic revolutions, for example the Bolshevik revolution or such political movements as Hitlerism. Here we can ask who is disturbed to see a crucifix, especially in the society that is predominantly Catholic, society consisting of people who believe in the crucified and resurrected Jesus Christ as the giver of sense in their lives. And why have we heard the unexpected speech of Mrs Gretkowska who is anxious about the fate of the country that has placed the sign of Jesus’ cross at the most honourable place? We are dealing with some complete misunderstanding of the whole matter. Following this line of thinking we should get rid of all important symbols and signs, such as the identification marks of various organisations, logos and even the national emblem or banner. Therefore, we must state that this ‘dogma’ of the atheists cannot be accepted; on the contrary it should be rejected. Mrs Gretkowska did not present any objective argument against the presence of the cross in the Parliament. Poland’s Primate Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski said at Jasna Gora that Poland should return to normality. I think that not only Poland but also Europe and the world should do that. The expression of normality and ordinariness is the concern for people’s well-being so that they can discern what is valuable and worthy.
So which people regard the cross as an obstacle, the cross that has not been a new and revolutionary sign for us? Nobody can say that the cross indicates something evil. On the contrary, it leads to values that evoke the best thoughts and emotions.
The objection was that although the cross was placed in the Parliament the place is still full of arguments. And this sign is a chance to see the disputed matters from the proper perspective. The quarrels in the Parliament are seen differently through the prism of Christ’s cross – the aim of the fight is defined and its methods are clearly seen. One of the participants of the television discussion stated that if the society stressed its democratic character it should know that democracy, i.e. the majority, should decide whether the cross was to be hanged in the Parliament. Let the people vote ‘for’ or ‘against’ the cross. Although such methods should not be used when the majority of the Polish society believes in Christ. Therefore, ‘democracy’ will show that the cross is a sign that is not only commonly accepted but also important and dear. And as we choose to have some picture in our home – and Poland is our home – which is valuable to us for particular reasons we, Poles, have the right to choose which symbols should be placed in the Parliament and which values we should follow in our lives. Let no stranger impose on us any values that are not ours, values which we can evaluate in our own way and which aim at rejecting God’s values and God’s signs. We must realise the fact that during the time of fighting for human souls various circles, especially the most important ones, will try to force atheistic tendencies and introduce atheistic thinking. In the time of Advent that has just begun let us try to reflect on God’s presence in our lives so that our lives are not dull and mindless. In order to live in the realm of the truth, love, justice and peace we should realise that it is Christ that is the King of the Universe and our Saviour.