Remedy for Europe
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Peter Hahne, one of the most popular German TV presenters, published a book entitled ‘Schluss mit lustig: das Ende der Spassgeseltschaft’ [The Party’s Over]. The Polish translation by Fr Adam Pradela was published by Ksiegarnia sw. Jacka in Katowice. The subtitle of the book is ‘the End of the society of pleasure’. The author speaks about the German society, giving its diagnosis. He speaks about the fall of authorities, family life, level of education, sloth and extreme consumerism. They are very dangerous characteristics. Since this society has become a society of party, oriented to pleasures. We are not wrong noticing similar symptoms in our society. It seems that we are plunging into seeking cinch, pleasure, that we are short-sighted and do not want to know the truth, which is not comfortable for us. Today we can see a cult of strong, beautiful, young people in our social life and the sick, the weak, the lost and the ugly are marginalized. Undoubtedly, comfort and pursuit of money lead to the demographical drama, which we seem to be experiencing soon. And being at church we can see that it is old people, who have difficulties in walking and who lack money, that most frequently attend services. Whereas the rich who are well off, the so-called nouveau riche, do not come to church because it is not fashionable, not cool or trendy. Moreover, they do not support religious works. They support only these works that can be used as advertisement. We have had such cases when there were chances to initiate some good works but unfortunately, because of the lack of financial support they could not be taken. By the way, I want to mention that I think highly of the Readers of ‘Niedziela’ since whenever we appeal to their hearts to help us they always show openness for the matters of the Church. A similar problem concerns the readership of Catholic press. There are still many parishes that have no Catholic paper at all. They are in a way deaf to any challenges or proposals. The problem is deeper since many people do not simply want to read. Why should they buy Catholic press or books if they do not intend to read them? It relates to the attitude of consumerism. Reading requires certain involvement, effort and after all, you can simply enjoy yourself.
Luckily, there are other examples. Each visit to the parish of Gomulin in the Archdiocese of Lodz brings optimism, e.g. the last ceremony of confirmation. Matured young people, excellently prepared to receive this sacrament. The church was full of believers, whose participation in the service was beautiful. The parish priest has based his ministry on the readership of ‘Niedziela’ to a large extent. The weekly is characteristic for the parish life. These people experience the life of the universal Church, the Pope’s teaching. They get to know the reflections of the Catholic publicists who comment on various social phenomena; they can see how many matters are solved by the wiser. You can talk to these people. My visit to this parish has practically opened my eyes to what a good priest can do for his parishioners. Let us consider how we can use the contemporary tools of evangelisation, which are the Catholic press and radio, in our pastoral service. Since we can certainly do that. And I can assure you that a parish, family culture, morality, patriotism will function differently. Since the contents we read are translated into ordinary life to a great extent. Coming back to the above-mentioned book ‘The Party’s Over’ I come to the conclusion that Christians have forgotten their identity, that Christianity obliges them to something. That’s why one can see such a big crisis of life of the society, especially in the Western society. If all things become stale, if they disappear from our hierarchy of priorities, we will be left with vacuum and will look for pleasures. And when we run out of money to use the proposals of the world, only despair remains. In Europe we reach the point when people become sad, are in despair. Then it is high time to shout ‘The party’s over!’, following the author of the above-mentioned bestseller – a German Kamil Durczok as the translator calls him. You should return to Christ, return to the Church since Europe begins to be a spiritual desert where egoism dominates, desert aiming at self-destruction. Christianity must be rediscovered and must enter our families, our hearts since only Christianity is an effective cure giving health, growth and development.