Passing judgement on the Church?
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
In some interview I made with one of the bishops many years ago my interlocutor spoke about the Polish piety that had the character of the Lord’s Passion. Poles love crosses, Calvary routes, places resembling Jerusalem and the Passion of Lord Jesus. It is called ‘passion piety.’
Reflecting on the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary: the agony of Jesus in the garden, the scourging of Jesus at the pillar, the crowning with thorns, the carrying of the cross and finally, the crucifixion and death, we notice that these mysteries are still realised: our Divine Master – in his Church – is still scourged and persecuted. This has always been the case. The scourging of Jesus is continuing through attacks on his Church. One persecution ends and another attack begins, and it is often deliberate and elaborated. There are whole centres the activists of which love flogging the Church. For example, some newspapers specialise in unrefined criticism of the Church, making a fuss over something and spreading aversion and even hatred towards first of all priests and laymen. They throw stones all the time and they want to hurt. And there will always be some pretext: enough to take from the context some controversial words of some representative of the Church, enough to find some priest and accuse him of something or take a nun who does not fulfil someone’s subjective expectations. The cross standing in front of the Presidential Palace was a perfect pretext and the attacks were on the bishops and priests; at the same time the cross was mocked and treated like dirt. And the best way to attack the Church is to use priests – the effect is dead cert.
And the recent matter – the Committee on Church Property and on this occasion the calumnies thrown against the Church, e.g. that the Church is greedy of property. I would like to turn attention to the fact that after the war the government took brutally all the property the Church had, moreover, the Church did not use her property for herself – these goods were used for pastoral and charity activities. Naturally, these activities were also brutally stopped and destroyed. All of that was perversion of the course of law. When other institutions began claiming their lost property the Church also claimed her property rights, which I want to stress again, were violated. And the press does not pay attention to the Jews claiming their lost properties whereas as far as the Church is concerned accusations are brought at once. Simply, every pretext is good enough to strike the Church. The attackers are the heirs of the communists who assumed the atheistic, communist ideology, forgetting that their predecessors committed theft, which was the case after the war. I do remember the day when an orphanage run by nuns was closed. What confusion it was! Nobody expected the communists to liquidate everything on one day. There were many harms of that kind. And how dare anyone speak about the Church’s greed today!
As for the legal issues concerning the return of the seized property it is obvious that every institution uses lawyers and advisers. In case of malpractice it is not the fault of the Church but of the person that was to help conduct the affairs. But it is too early to speak of crime without a verdict; there is only a suspicion. But some environments always look for ‘stones’ against the Church and unfortunately, there are more and more such cases. It doesn’t bear thinking about what it will happen tomorrow, from which side the Church will be attacked.
Therefore, we, Catholics, should have a good judgement concerning these matters. We have concrete means of action: parliamentary and local elections, noticing all cases of abuse made by the authorities, proper attitude towards mass media and, what is most important, work on our characters considering the voice of conscience and the Church.
When we see the numerous cases of stoning the Church and her people, attacks on the Christian culture and the way of upbringing of young people, we should know that the Gospel can always help us. We must struggle for Poles’ souls. We must think about their good and bright future.