Let us choose the truth
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
When I read the speeches of John Paul II from his pilgrimages to his Homeland I reflect on some phrases, including the ones that have been quoted in this issue of ‘Niedziela’, ‘O Polish land! Heavily experienced land! Beautiful land! My land...’ Each phrase contains some aspect of the heart of that wonderful Pilgrim. They expressed his longing and love, his view of Poland, great reflections on our history, full of Christian imagination. The Holy Father must have thought about Poland enslaved by the invaders, Poland that did her best to care for its feeling of independence and desire to free herself from the bonds of slavery. He might have also thought about the period of 20 years between the wars when Poles intensified their efforts to belong to the key European countries. They showed that if they wanted to do something they would be able to succeed. Karol Wojtyla himself experienced the calamity of World War II. He knew what betrayal meant when on 17 September 1939 our neighbours from the East stabled Poland in the back. He saw the cruel politics of Stalin and then the politics of the communists that spread their wings over our country. In those concise words of his address the Polish Pope reminded us of the history and beauty of our fatherland.
Today we are reviving those words of our great Countryman referring to the present reality. When I write this text we are still before the presidential election and whoever is elected, the values that Poland follows, thanks to which Poland survived on Europe’s map, the cultivation of which gave great personalities to the world, must be preserved. The most important value is care for neighbour and life in truth. As we know these are the matters that are closest to the Church and Catholicism. Therefore, the Church does care about the way Poland will be governed. Naturally, we would like to have a share in welfare – this common welfare making all citizens prosperous; we would like young and talented Poles do not work abroad, experiencing humiliation and miserable life, leaving their spouses and children. But in order to improve the fate of citizens authentically we all must live in truth. Since the information about the improvement of the living conditions of Polish families is false if we do not show the real conditions of Polish families, how many hours parents must work to earn their living and education of their children. One must be honest and one should not speak about the great economic successes, which, by the way, are the merits of others, but show the concrete lives of Polish workers and businessmen, each of them having the right to develop and better pay.
We do not want illusions. We do not want to ridicule anyone, show one’s brilliance of mind so that people think that this or that politician dominates. What dominates is the truth, reality, and we should care for this truth. Unfortunately, sometimes the truth is difficult, painful and many a time does not bring applause. But if we have the courage to live in truth and it may happen that we must admit our mistakes, we will make a step towards our own growth and development of the state. We would like people in our Homeland follow the truth and wish there were no room for lies. Although it is easy for some people to tell lies and promise pie in the sky – the nation will not allow to be deceived (see the Pole’s attitudes after the crash at Smolensk). So if some politician really takes care of the nation’s interests he should never wade towards illusion.
‘The truth will set you free’, said Christ (John 8:32). If we get to know even the worst truth, we will mobilise ourselves to improve the situation although we may experience anger, pain or disappointment. If we are nourished by hypocrisy its charm will disappear sooner or later and the awareness of manipulation can evoke serious social unrest.
During the times of the national election the Divine Providence gives us the example of Blessed Fr Jerzy Popieluszko. In all his speeches, in his sermons, Fr Jerzy stressed the significance of truth, respect for man and that we should overcome evil with good. It was his great work on thousands of people’s consciences; it was work on the politicians’ awareness – humanly speaking, it seems to be work in vain, ended with the martyr’s death of the Priest. But the nation did value his work, praying for his beatification. May this new Blessed of ours, so close to our times, by his teaching and example warn politicians against excessive arrogance, lies and hypocrisy. May him say that we all should take our conscience into account and should not forget who we are and why we have been given these places.
Our thinking about Poland must be transformed. No more PR but the truth must be the advertisement of Poland and Poles, and it is the best model of patriotism, which the great Pope John Paul II showed. His attitude towards his Homeland was summarised by the words of his welcome speech in 1987, ‘O Polish land! Heavily experienced Poland! My Land...’