Sign of Christian solidarity
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Anno Domini 2011 began, unfortunately, with the attacks against Christians in the world, this time in Alexandria, Egypt. There was a bomb attack on people going out of the Christian Coptic church. The Holy Father Benedict XVI spoke about this event with great pain. 21 people were killed and ca. 80 were wounded.
We, Christians living in Europe, in Poland, should pay greater attention to what is happening regarding Christianity in the world. We all believe in Triune God and were baptised in the name of this God and we live in him, following the principles of the Gospel that Jesus Christ brought and the basis of this teaching is for us the Holy Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament as well as the great Christian Tradition. Faith in God is a guideline for over one billion people in the world – members of the Christian and at the same time Catholic family. So many people live in the inspiration of God’s revelation, live with God’s wisdom and transmission of faith. It obliges us, as the French say, ‘Noblesse oblige.’
It was St Leo the Great (d. 461) who appealed, ‘Christians, recognise your dignity!’ Today, after so many centuries, we should return to this appeal and say, ‘Christians of the third millennium, living in the whole world, recognise your dignity! Let us realise that we all are marked by the Holy Trinity and so many of us bear suffering and are harmed. As members of the large Christian family we have the obligation to help our brothers.’
Thus I am appealing to Poles, asking them to show more Christian solidarity. We know how much one can do through solidarity of thought and desire, through solidarity of effort. Thanks to the event of ‘Solidarity,’ which happened in Poland in the 1980s, there was a great transformation not only of our nation but also of the entire Europe, which the world does not want to notice clearly. But it was thanks to Poland and Poles that many European nations are breathing the freedom of democracy today. And it happened – let us admit it honestly – as the result of the solidarity of believers in Christ. The atheists and free masons cannot boast of this fact, rooted in the Polish Christian thought and the Polish Church, for years educating heroes, saints who have done so much for social life. The wave that occurred in the Polish coast made the Berlin wall fall and we all began different lives.
Therefore, one, common, loud voice and activities of Polish Catholics are important. We should also return to the spirit of solidarity in the life of our closest environments – to mutual agreement, respect for one another and for values. We should reveal ourselves to the world as the first force – first because evangelical, drawing from faith.
Nowadays one should listen to the voice of the Pope who is filled with sorrow because of the persecutions of Christians in the world, and recently in Alexandria. Once this city belonged to the first centres of Christian life. The first catechetical schools, today we would say universities, were founded there. And the city had a huge and dynamic Christian environment. Attacking Christians in Alexandria was an attack against our roots, attack against the Church.
The appeal for peace, justice and appeal to stop killing people only because they confess another faith is very important, and because of John Paul II, our Countryman, and for other reasons, it should come from Poland and be heard all over the world. We cannot leave suffering Christians in Egypt, Iraq or distant Asia. In these regions there is the Church of Christ who is being tormented; there are brothers who are suffering – they are Christians!
Let us defend Christians in the world. Let our governments use their diplomatic ways to speak up for them. Let us raise our voice and increase our effort for human rights and dignity of God’s children. Let us not only sing to the Lord ‘Glory to God in the highest’ but also let us care for all our brothers in the world; those who suffer and are persecuted.