A GREAT FRIEND OF ‘SUNDAY’ PASSED AWAY
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
When I received a message about the death of cardinal Stanisław Nagy, I thought about the talk with him two days earlier, that is, on 3 June, which was very friendly, conducted by Priest Cardinal with a full awareness. We were talking about his speech, planned on 16 June this year at Jasna Góra, during the Nationwide Congress of the Catholics – ‘Stop Atheism’. He was wondering what he should say. I answered, cheering him up: - Priest Cardinal, please, do not worry, Priest has a good knowledge about Atheism. We finished talking with these thoughts, not being aware, that it would be our last talk on the phone…
Talks with the Priest Cardinal had always been friendly and substantial. They mostly related to the situation of the Church and Poland. Cardinal Nagy was a great patriot, everything, which related to Poland, was an apple of the eye for him. Poland was very important in his life, he spoke about homeland very frequently and emotionally. He was experiencing moments difficult for homeland very much, he always thought about the welfare of the nation. However, what he loved the most was the Church and he was bringing this love through his whole life.
I remember Priest Cardinal still from the times of my studies at the Catholic University of Lublin, but also as a young editor of the ‘Sunday’. He was close to us, published excellent articles and sent materials to us, which contained a reference to the Polish reality. He was a friend of Blessed John Paul II. He felt his needs and he wanted to be helpful to him, especially when he became cardinal. He conducted discussions with him and listened to his reflections. He sometimes told us about matters which were very dear to the Pope. He suggested issues which should exist in the ‘Sunday’. It was very important to us, as the editorial team, because we also wanted to be close to the Polish Pope, for whom homeland was so dear. There was such a beautiful symbiosis: the universal Church and the Church in Poland, Christian culture and the nation, its existence, education…All these matters were in the heart of cardinal Nagy permanently, and he had wisdom from the Treasury of Wisdom in the person of the Polish Pope. He noted that a great valour of John Paul II was an ability of seeing whole issues connected with Poland, the Church in Poland and in live reference to God. He emphasized what was the best and the most beautiful in the person of the Holy Father, always remaining a humble priest. Just in this quiet and discreet way his greatness was seen.
He was a cardinal – a prince of the Church, but what was striking in him, was his modesty, humility, simplicity, and, first of all, love to Christ and high responsibility for the Church. Trustful and strong faith of this prominent theologian was visible in his many statements, books, articles. He was a dogmatist and apologetics expert, an expert of key ecclesiastical disciplines. We used to come to him as to a competent man who was able to do a lot through his authority, but he kept it in a shadow. He always had a picture in his eyes as God’s child and a brother of his neighbour, sticking to wisdom and prudence, modesty and love. His loving the Church strongly remains in our awareness and memory. He wrote: ‘My church is my love. My heart is joined with the Church for ever’.
It is not time or a place to speak here about academic heritage of cardinal Satnisław Nagy. Historians and experts of academic discipline which he represented, will do it better and more exactly. One thing must be stated: he was one of the greatest Polish theologians. We speak about the Primate of Millennium, about the Pope of Millennium - so today we can also say that cardinal Stanisław Nagy was a great Cardinal of Millennium who did not have his active bishopric capital, but he was a potentate of spirit and a theological master. His great knowledge, erudition and education had an influence on personal actions - he managed to teach many schoolboys and schoolgirls, also through his example, the wisdom of the Church and the holy theology.
He always spoke about the ‘Sunday’ with gratitude that it had helped him come out somehow, to the world. It had its place in his office. He emphasized the friendly cooperation with our editorial office, visited us and where he could, he promoted our Catholic weekly.
Sadly enough, I acknowledge the fact of the death of cardinal Stanisław Nagy. I believe that it was the saint Cardinal, the saint Man who passed away. In holiness which he was revealing, we all felt well and safe, we were listened to by him attentively and were not left without a wise advice. Today we thank God for him. Let his example inspire our Readers to live with Christ, to love His Church and our earthly homeland, let him encourage us to simplicity and ordinariness which Priest Cardinal practised. Let our reverie on this great priest, professor, educator, experienced theologian, and finally, the cardinal of the Roman-Catholic Church bring fruits for the Church, which the deceased would surely wished. On the example of the late cardinal Stanisław Nagy we also see how a man lives and works, who dipped his thinking and himself in the Heart of Jesus, which he loved – for, Priest Cardinal was a member of the Congregation of Priests of the Sacred Heart and his bishopric call was: ‘In Te Cor Jesu, speravi’ – ‘In You, Heart of Jesus, I laid my trustfulness’.