'Sunday in Warsaw'
Fr Ireneusz Skubis talks to Cardinal Jozef Glemp, Archbishop of Warsaw, and Primate of Poland.
Fr Ireneusz Skubis: - Your Eminence, Primate of Poland, I am very thankful that you wanted to receive 'Niedziela' as a paper of the Archdiocese of Warsaw. By publishing the edition "Niedziela w Warszawie' we have become your paper in a special way. This is a very important challenge. Therefore, I want to ask: What do you think about our weekly and what do you think about the situation of the Catholic media in Poland? Do they fulfil the tasks, which the Polish bishops assign them?
Cardinal Jozef Glemp: - 'Niedziela' has been known and appreciated in Warsaw for a long time. Formally speaking, the insert was connected with the diocese of Warszawa-Praga, but your paper wrote about religious issues for the whole of Warsaw. Now we want to organise the editorial board of 'Niedziela' for the Archdiocese of Warsaw.
Referring to your question about the Catholic media, it is hard to define what the term means. The simplest criterion has always been the recognition of the Episcopate. However, the Episcopate cannot speak about all publications, for example the parish weeklies, and yet they are Catholic papers, too. We know that there are media, which are sceptical about the hierarchy, and they are also called 'Catholic'. I mean those media (papers, radio stations, television channels or websites), which try to take up problems of faith in the apostolic aspect. The bishops have often given their opinions about the media that call themselves Catholic and they wanted them to join the pastoral programme of the Church. The matter is not simple. Although the Episcopate expresses the unity of the Church in the best way, it does not hinder the freedom of speech proclaimed in good faith. We know that it is not easy to maintain unity in this aspect of the pastoral work of the Church. Earlier there was the Association Pax, which published 'Slowo Powszechne' (Universal Word), there were other publications that were dependent on the ideological authority but they tried to keep conformity to the Revelation at the cost of selecting priests and exposing certain ideology. Today there exist some Catholic environments, which we do not know if they will support 'Gazeta Wyborcza' in case of some dispute or they will be satisfied with the favour of only some selected bishops.
- What in your opinion are the greatest tasks of the Catholic press in Poland? Should this press only serve the pastoral activities of the Church or should it fulfil an important function in culture, history, erasing the so-called 'white spots'? Should the Catholic press refer to political, social and economic issues?
- The problems the Catholic press should write about go beyond the scope of pastoral work, which is carried out from the pulpit. The field of culture is the closest to the pastoral work because without culture one can neither celebrate the liturgy nor catechise. However, there are fields, which need discussion, analysis or even polemics. Then the Catholic media, or better the Catholic editors, should take up these themes and they should do it in a competent way. Other fields, especially the medical ones, should be widely consulted and the specialised institutions of the Holy See or the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) offer such possibilities.
Politics is another topic. It penetrates all fields of life. Therefore, the Church, which is at the centre of current life, cannot completely leave aside politics, understood in social terms. On the contrary, it should remind us that politics is to serve society and not a programme of some party.
- We have thousand Polish priests who work with zeal but at the same time we notice that we lose in many questions. Could you encourage priests, inspire them so that they see that the Catholic media can help them in their pastoral work. Could you possibly appeal to pastoral leaders to make a great effort to co-operate with the Catholic media so that through co-ordination and action they teach the principles and the highest values to the Polish people in their homeland and abroad; the values John Paul II spoke of. Priests should also teach how the Servant of God Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski presented the values.
- The places where evangelization is fervent and carried out in a responsible way and with God's love and love for the homeland there are no losers. It can reduce the popularity of some people in the Church and the implementation of pastoral programmes can be difficult, etc., but the truth will always be victorious, naturally in some perspective of time. I think that priests willingly use the media, which support their work. The media are invaluable collaborators of priests. They help priests to present the issues which otherwise require much study. Moreover, they have the possibility and ability to speak in suitable contemporary language. Naturally, priests as theologians know the precise language of theology but we want to express ideas in contemporary Polish, in the language, which refers to images, but at the same time it forms the society in great flexibility of word.
- 'Niedziela w Warszawie' establishes a close co-operation with the Archdiocese of Warsaw; it wants to serve it and be an additional assistant of every parish priest in the Warsaw parishes. It desires to serve you, especially in your effort to build the National Shrine of God's Providence and in all your pastoral endeavours. 'Niedziela' is at your disposal. Please tell us the most important themes, which would serve the Archbishop of Warsaw to fulfil the bishops' tasks and the pastoral programmes.
- I do trust that 'Niedziela' will continue to co-operate in everything that contributes to maintain, defend and develop Christian faith in our fellow countrymen wherever they live. The editors of 'Niedziela' have helped us much in spreading the idea of the National Shrine of God's Providence. I use the word 'idea' and not 'construction'. The contemporary world needs God who watches over human activities. One should especially remind Europe, which is being united painfully and with difficulty, that God who watches over people does not only protect them against evil but leads to full happiness.
- Thank you very much for the conversation.
Editorial board of 'NIEDZIELA W WARSZAWIE', insert into the Catholic Weekly 'NIEDZIELA'
Mokotowska 43, 00-551 Warszawa
tel. (0-22) 629-72-62, tel./fax: (0-22) 621-74-97
Fr Dr. Andrzej Tulej - ecclesiastical assistant
Milena Kindziuk - leading editor
Board: Fr. Prof. Dr. Kazimierz Szymonik, Piotr Chmieli?ski, Wies?awa Lewandowska, Izabela Matjasik, Artur Stelmasiak,
Margita Kotas - leading editor in the editorial board in Cz?stochowa:
3 Maja 12 42-200 Cz?stochowa, tel. (0-34) 365-19-17