Limits of criticism

Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ

Recently we have noticed increasing attacks of Janusz Palikot, an MP from the Citizen’s Platform, on Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski. I would like to turn your attention to the fact that he attacks the head of state, who was elected to this highest position by us and thus he personifies the whole majesty of the Republic of Poland, the person who is entitled to all state honours and highest entitlements, which the Polish Constitution speaks about. We have noticed such attacks for some time. Additionally, the media outdo one another in publishing various rankings, weakening the prestige of the head of state, in preparing various accusations as well as gossips concerning him. One can see a special picture of political culture that has been prevailing in our country. It turns out that the media, instruments of communication, stir dirt on the difficult way to common good aim instead of fulfilling a noble role of informers. And we cannot see the aim through these clouds of dirt. Today the reports given by the media are at the border of being ordinary hooliganism, which causes that we are witnesses of big lark and fair. Of course, the world watches people who are in the spotlight with bigger attention and not all people like all things about them. But there must be some limits of criticism. One cannot destroy all things with impunity. You should fear that way of behaviour. Where can we find the most fundamental moral principles, for example that each man has the right to respect and care from the state? We must care for this respect for our brothers whom the media kick around. And we should care even more for those who have been elected to the honourable positions in the country. No one has the right to treat them in such a way. Criticism should be expressed in a worthy way and naturally, it must be justified and should not include malicious assumptions or suspicions. We can observe similar behaviours in other fields, including the matters related to vetting. The legal foundations are useless here – presumption of innocence, the guidelines of the Holy Father (let us remember the words of Benedict XVI spoken in Warsaw) or the appeals of the Church. There are constant accusations of collaboration with the Security Service, especially accusations of the important people. Consequently, the good names and even identities of many people are practically undermined and they are socially banned. Slander and informing are thriving because this brings immediate desirable effects. Where is our Christian morality, where is conscience... The legal order is set in a strange light today. One can see that journalists look for a prey, follow him or her, make investigations and at some moment they make a public discovery: here we have a thief, criminal... After all journalists are not public prosecutors and they need not be even lawyers! Thus a society of those who make investigation is created. We remember the story of the Gospel when Lord Jesus taught and ‘they were watching him’, looked at him carefully to say something against him (see Mark 3:2; Luke 6:7; 14:1; 20:20). There are some journalists about whom we can say the same. For example, they watch Fr Tadeusz Rydzyk because someone does not like him and one needs to write something wrong about him. Let us imagine that we are the preys who are being watched... But there are appropriate state organs, the police, the prosecutors and controlling units and that is their job! How can we feel in a country where we are followed, watched and others inform on us... Defending ourselves are we not to become informers too? Here we notice the absurd but we still remember the recent years, especially the time of the Soviet Union... Therefore, we should reflect on educating the society to react to these media ‘sensational news’ and do it as quickly as possible. For the good of Poland there should be environments that will teach us anew how to live, how to relate to others, ignoring all suspicions about them. And we all dream to see an atmosphere of friendliness and care in the media and not some dirty mess that has been made and which, as one can see, is quite well today. We should feel secure in our own country. A normal state, friendly to its citizens – this should be the aim of our social efforts. Therefore, the state could see to it that its law is observed. And one should begin with respect for the highest authority – the President of the Republic of Poland. The old Latin maxim says, ‘Serva ordinem et ordo te servabit’ – Keep order and order will keep you.’

"Niedziela" 19/2009

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Lidia Dudkiewicz • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl