The Queen of Poland is with her Nation today
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
The sad face of the Queen of Poland at Jasna Gora seems to be especially worried during the national mourning. We participated in the extraordinary funeral of the President and the First lady, in the funeral of the last Polish President-in-Exile Ryszard Kaczorowski and many other people – some funerals are still being held.
We are still in mourning and pain, especially the families of the victims of the plane crash, including the orphans. People keep asking, ‘Why did that happen? Why couldn’t such an excellent crew have landed the plane safely and why couldn’t the passengers have arrived at Katyn safely? Why did such a crash happen and even the bodies could not be identified?’ At the moment we cannot find any answer. Perhaps the answers will be given soon. It depends on the efficiency of the special commissions that are investigating this case. We are all waiting for the results of the investigation.
But we have also seen another Poland during these days: people who went out to honour the bodies of the late Presidents, of his wife Maria Kaczynska and then the next bodies brought in coffins to Poland; people queuing for hours to pay tribute to the late President of Poland and the First Lady and the other victims; the scouts who spared no effort to help all those who needed help during these days; the media that drew large audience by showing good, etc.
This picture of Poland and Poles was moving and edifying. On the one hand, we saw the ashes of the plane in the forest near Smolensk. We saw pain and tears and on the other hand, a new Poland started to be built, out of the heart and good words. All people saw the rebirth of our Homeland from the ashes, giving us the certainty that we must build on the truth, love, respect for others, inner righteousness. During that time we could see big crowds, including young generations of Poles, who reflected on the tragedy and paid tribute to the victims, which made us joyful and hopeful as well as allows us to conclude that patriotism seems to be evident in families, schools and the Church. Prayer was much in focus those days. This is the best reference for us all, filled with pain, unbelief, deep and difficult emotions.
At the same time there was a new formula to run the state. What belonged to the President of the Republic of Poland or his Chancellery is shared by others. By virtue of the Constitution the Speaker of Parliament, who belongs to another political party, has taken over as head of state. However, it seems that certain moderation in holding this office that includes an important definition: ‘assuming the duties.’ Will the acting president wait with the most important decisions for the new president, so that not to perform the so-called accomplished acts?
As far as the Holy See is concerned the Church follows the principle, ‘Sede vacante, nihil innovetur’ – one should introduce no special innovations when there is no full power.’ Therefore, one needs certain moderation in using the capacity of the office that the Speaker, having assumed the duties of the President of the Republic of Poland, is to hold for some time. As society we expect the authorities, which are substitute, to fulfil their powers in a subtle and delicate way, trying to understand what the nation is expecting. Law is to show the way – this is obvious and normal. At the same time gentleness and understanding are important in these hard situations. In the situation when the President, generals, Roman Catholic clergymen and clergymen of other sister Churches died in the accident we expect the authorities to be moderate and gentle.
We feel that the Queen of Poland is with her Nation today. Our Lady of Jasna Gora is suffering with us. Her face shows the pain of her wounds. The Primate Stefan Wyszynski would have said that she had her face wounded four times – once by the robbers and today by Katyn and the present situation. We fervently pray, asking her to beg God to give us wisdom that is so needed for our future and to spare us the sin of hypocrisy and manipulation, which has been a share of our political elite.