Could the Gospel be split?
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Sometimes people ask me what my favourite time for work is. I answer that the best time for me is ca. 3.30 a.m. because then you can order your thoughts and without any disturbing phone calls you can record them. It is real luxury. After some one hour and a half you can hear the street traffic and although there are no bothersome phone calls you lack this wonderful silence and peace.
I had this silence this morning when I was reading the interview with the MEP Jan Olbrycht, a member of the Civic Platform. The text was extremely important, about the matters concerning Christianity in the global dimension. It is nice to mention the conversation with this outstanding man, showing the problems Europe is coping with. These problems have been discussed by people belonging to various parties. We remember the Holy Father John Paul II’s concern about the future of the Old Continent. We remember us all listening to the important statements of the Pope, which might have seemed very difficult then and we were wondering why he had given us such directions. How much we miss John Paul II and his wise, wide perspectives concerning all difficult human matters...
The last volume of collective works of John Paul II (Wydawnictwo M), translated into Polish, has been published; collection including all teachings of the Pope addressed to scientists and ordinary readers (Volume XVI embraces the concluding remarks written by the members of the honorary committee of this edition – reflections of people asked to give their commentaries: I was privileged to be one of them as the editor-in-chief of ‘Niedziela’). I wholeheartedly recommend this publication to all who desire to have a good book collection. One cannot overlook the whole legacy of John Paul II and it will certainly be studied by generations like we study the documents of Vatican Council II although the council ended long ago.
John Paul II looks at Poland from the Father’s House. And we have a special situation in Poland. I do not mention those who have completely opted for atheism in the specific examination, which the left-wing MP prepared for the presidential candidates – the attitude towards in vitro fertilisation. But we have leading political parties whose key politicians attend Masses, and even receive Communion and – of course to a different extent – accept the ethical principles preached by the Church, and we face helplessly the fact of the big hatred between these parties and their followers. People speak about divided Poland, about the impossibility to bring Poles to unity. It is a scandal for all people, some anti-testimony for the whole Church and lead to the shameful reputation the world is establishing about us. Could the Gospel be split? Is it a sowing of the devil’s seed, which is so hard to exterminate?
Reading the above-mentioned interview with Dr. Olbrycht I realised clearly that we were getting into some dead end, without any exit. What is the sense of this hatred, envy, this self-destruction? I remember a story of two sisters that happened in the 1960s. They went to court because a child of one sister harmed – most probably unintentionally – the other sister’s child. The trials led to both families’ extreme poverty – all money was given to the lawyers. Will this Polish hatred, fanned by various people in Poland and also in Europe, not lead to Polish extreme poverty? We simply do not like one another. Our main behaviour, especially towards representatives of different political options, is mockery, derision, cynicism. It is with pain that I look at the Polish journalists who seek occasions to criticise and destroy everyone that does not agree with them; journalists who instigate and provoke.
That’s why, being deeply moved, I want to turn your attention to our attitude towards the Gospel. During one of his visits to his Homeland John Paul II is said to ask a friend of his, paraphrasing the words of the prophet Isaiah, ‘Does this nation honour me only with their lips?’ (cf. Matthew 15:8). Sometimes it seems that our nation has forgotten that it is Catholic. Our nation has forgotten that they had a wonderful spiritual leader in the person of the Polish Pope who was a gift of the Father of history. I think that the Church, which has united the nation for so many ages, should express her opinion. We do not want to live only in political categories. They lead to self-destruction, making the enemies worn out. These categories can be summarised in just one statement that the real cause of the plane crash at Smolensk was hatred. If we had reached an agreement, had accepted ourselves as brothers, that tragedy could have been avoided. That crash was not needed. Can Poles forget about the power of the Polish solidarity? When John Paul II had come to Poland after the imposition of marshal law he said, ‘There is no solidarity without love’... John Paul II came to us in those difficult times and he still comes to us. He also comes to the politicians of the Civic Platform and Law and Justice and says, ‘There will be no solidarity without love; there will be no reconciliation without forgiveness – not only shown with the gesture of a stretched hand but forgiving in your mind and heart.’ I wish Poland obeyed the Pope. Perhaps his beatification will be our giving ear to what he fervently tried to convince us about...