Catholic journalist AD 2007
Fr Ireneusz Skubis
The attack on the Church has not stopped after the affair that the media provoked and which ended in the resignation of Archbishop Wielgus as Metropolitan of Warsaw. Every day we hear news on various topics, which come from some secret but allegedly reliable sources and which are various speculations about the people of the Church. What things are written! What things are spoken on the radio and television! The latter cannot be overestimated. Words spoken by 'authorities' + picture = great power of suggestion...
On Wednesday, 10 January 2007 I watched a programme of the cycle entitled 'Poles'. As one could expect a hail of stones was fired at Archbishop Wielgus and other priests, at the Church in Poland. I am astonished at the scale of hatred that was revealed. Couldn't we really think what we say? Couldn't the interviewers foresee what such talks lead to? Many people from all over Poland were gathered in the studio and all the time they spoke against priests; the programme came down to a massive attack. But the whole documentation, which the TV presenters refer to, contains no proof that Archbishop Wielgus harmed anyone. The Primate also emphasized that and the SB officers wrote that Fr Wielgus had not met their expectations. What Fr Wielgus wrote was a detailed programme of his research and studies, which he had no reason to hide. However, the television presenter spoke about the written documents signed by Fr Wielgus, and she suggested that those were the proofs of his collaboration with the SB. But in what circumstances were those signatures or statements given? What happened behind the doors of the SB offices? Similar - and very important - reservations should be taken into account while analysing the SB files concerning other clergymen, especially those who rendered great service for the country. These were attempts at freedom and dignity of man, attempts that are an insult to law. I think that Archbishop Wielgus, as the Primate of Poland encouraged him to do, should file a defamation lawsuit. This type of 'vetting' went too far. The above mention television discussion revealed attitudes of various Catholics claiming that they were believers but did not go to church. What Catholics did the presenters invite to the studio? Is a good priest or true Church the one that fulfils the presenters' own criteria? And we remember that John Paul II asked us to trust the Church. He said that one could not say 'yes' to God and 'no' to the Church. The Church is representative of Lord God, she is not perfect but only human, but she is representative. Through her service supernatural things happen among us. She is filled with God's power. Do people who believe and think not see that? Do their attitudes not come from 'garbled' conscience or their moral problems?
I do not hide my sorrow that today editors prepare many programmes in the way that is far from being objective and which makes one draw expected conclusions. These are some rallies against the Church, and rallies to defend 'the Church', which they imagine themselves, without big moral responsibilities and with selected elements of the Decalogue.
I would not like to act against rebellion of youth and natural criticism, which characterize every man, especially a young man who seeks the truth. But one cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater, especially when the people being criticised are those who contributed to science and above all to freedom and democracy: we can be proud of them. However, justice must be done in democracy, too.
On the feast of St Francis, the patron saint of Catholic journalists, I want to direct my reflection to us all. Let us think in the silence of our hearts whether we have not gone too far in our judgements, which sometimes can be mob actions.