FROM ‘NIEDZIELA’ TO ALL MEDIA
Milena Kindziuk talks with Fr. Dr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik – a new spokesman of the Polish Episcopal Conference
MILENA KINDZIUK: - Priest has been a deputy of the editor-in-chief of ‘Niedziela’ for Western Europe and Near East, and then a delegate of the weekly on this area. Now Priest is in a completely different role. Is Priest surprised by it?
FR. DR. PAWEŁ RYTEL-ANDRIANIK: - I have accepted it (laughter). When my bishop Tadeusz Pikus asked whether I agreed to suggesting my person as a candidate for the spokesman of the Polish Episcopal Conference, I answered that I am at the disposal of the Church. I would have pangs of conscience if had given a different answer. Whereas the today’s decision is the will of bishops.
– Why did Priest got related just to ‘Niedziela’?
– In fact, I have been related to ‘Niedziela’ since my childhood. At my home, in the diocese of Drohiczyn, from the 80s of the last century, my family subscribed ‘Niedziela’. And it has been so till today. Later, as a cleric, I had already been in the seminary, when bishop Antoni Dydycz asked me to write articles for ‘Niedziela’. And it was how my cooperation with this weekly started. Next, when I became a vicar in Ostrożany, we edited a parish magazine ‘Niedziela of Ostrożów’, which was a supplement to ‘Niedziela of Podlasie’. Later when I studied abroad, I remained in touch with the prelate priest Ireneusz Skubiś, who asked me to write for ‘Niedziela’ and help to promote the weekly in Italy and Jerusalem. So, ‘Niedziela’ has always been at my home and I feel in ‘Niedziela’ like at home. Now it is time to get to know other homes, beginning with neighbours.
– Are glad with the nomination for the spokesman of the Episcopate?
– I entrust this ministry and all cooperators to care of the Blessed Mother through intercession of St. John Paul II. This is how I accept this election.
– A spokesman is an apostle of the Good News. Does Priest feel it so?
– Yes, I do! The essence of this issue is well-reflected by Italian language, and exactly speaking, the phrase ‘portavoce’ – the one who brings (‘porta’) a voice (‘voce’) – so I am the one who brings bishops’ voice.
– How is Priest going to get to people who are not in the Church?
– I learn from Fr. Prof. Józef Kloch, who has been holding this ministry for 12 years. It is him who uses the newest mass media, such as Twitter and Facebook, in order to get to people on peripheries.
– A spokesman not only brings the Good News – he must also explain difficult issues. It is significant that Priest’s nomination took place on the day on which the Episcopate presents a report on pedophilia in the Church…
– In such issues also bishops’ attitudes are presented. As for these painful issues, the example is just the Polish Episcopal Conference whose attitude can be summed up in the words: zero tolerance for pedophilia.
– So, Priest is not going to avoid explaining difficult issues?
– It has been said for a long time that a priest is a man who has the Holy Scripture in one hand, and a current newspaper in another. Therefore, current challenges are enlightened with the light of the Bible.
– Will Priest cooperate with all media?
– Soon after announcing the will of bishops, I was asked to make a contact with journalists. Because I was appointed to work with journalists, both in Poland and abroad, I am at disposal both of bishops and journalists.
–Will Priest go to every TV or radio station and newspaper to give an interview?
– My task is giving bishops’ voice to people, where they live. I am open to all groups who want to ask questions. Through mass media, including the social media, it is possible to get to many people with the news today.
– What is Priest’ s opinion on today’s media in the aspect of passing information about the Church?
– Today we have more possibilities than it was before. Whereas Catholic mass media are not appreciated. Recently I have heard that about 60 percent of Poles use Catholic media listen to, watch Catholic programmes or read Catholic press. Congratulations and keep doing so!