Nunciature in Warsaw has a new host
Msgr. Ireneusz Skubis talks to Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the new Nuncio to Poland.
The new Apostolic Nuncio to Poland Archbishop Celestino Migliore, after having been greeted on 10 September 2010 in Warsaw, directed his first steps to Jasna Gora, the heart of the Polish nation to dedicate his ministry in Poland to Our Lady of Jasna Gora. On 11 September he took part in the Jasna Gora Appeal, the evening prayer of the Polish people. On 15 September he handed over his credentials to the President of the Republic of Poland, thus beginning his diplomatic mission in our country. Since that moment he has been the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Poland, i.e. the honorary head.
The seat of the Apostolic Nunciature in Poland is located in Szucha Avenue in Warsaw.
Fr Ireneusz Skubis: – The Apostolic Nunciature of Holy See in Warsaw is not alien to you. You worked in Poland with the former Nuncio Jozef Kowalczyk. Excellency, what were your feelings when you accepted the proposal of the Holy Father to become the apostolic nuncio to Poland?
Archbishop Celestino Migliore: – I accepted the appointment of the Holy Father with joy and trembling. I am glad to return to Poland, the country I got to know and loved in its difficult, but at the same time extremely interesting time of leaving the epoch of communism. Now a lot has changed. The country had the chance to restore her stable traditions of freedom, democracy, initiatives, desire to life and development. In the new context the way to full realisation of these values becomes more and more exciting but at times also changeable. Therefore, I rejoice that I can participate in the enduring work of the Church aiming at making this way quicker and more harmonious.
– Excellency, you worked for serious UN structures. Will the tasks undertaken in the Apostolic Nunciature in Warsaw be equally important?
– After several years of my ministry for the United Nations in New York the appointment for the apostolic nuncio to Poland means some transition from globalisation to locality, from general to specific. However, I am convinced that today there is no locality or details, limited to themselves. Every aspect, every issue concerning local or national life can be properly understood and conceived only in the global context. There is a close correlation between the so-called locality and globalisation: if we consider local matters only within our walls it may turn out that even small problems can overwhelm us. But taking only the global perspective we can fail to see a concrete person, with his dignity and needs, which are always connected with a certain environment.
– What are the priorities of the apostolic nuncio’s work in Poland?
– The fundamental duties of every nuncio include showing the Holy Father’s concern for the country he has been sent to, and to support the creation of mutual communion. He also interprets the Pope’s efforts for the good of the nation where he fulfils his mission. In particular, he should be interested in the questions of peace, progress and co-operation with the country he has been accredited, to attain common mutual spiritual, moral and material good. I realise that my work is both enormous and delicate but the warm welcome I experienced and the spirit of sincere collaboration, which I could witness during my first contacts with the representatives of the Church and the State, give me courage.
– One of the most important tasks of the nuncio must be guarding the principles of the concordat. Today some left-wing forces in Poland undermine the validity of our concordat. Excellency, what are your reflections on this topic?
– A concordat is a valuable tool that favours harmonious and fruitful relationships between the Church and the State. The relationship between these two entities will be effective and harmonious to such a degree that they will remember that service to the same people unites them. The thing is not the division of competences, influences or power but necessary complementariness to serve the same people. It is for the good realisation of this service that the Church and the State should care for harmonious and unanimous relationships.
– The contacts with the Polish Bishops’ Conference and particular bishops belong to the important tasks of the apostolic nuncio, too. How do you see these contacts?
– 18 years ago I left Warsaw to fulfil international tasks in the Council of Europe. Then I continued these activities in the Secretariat of State and then at the UN in New York. It was an extremely interesting and satisfying work since despite numerous frustrations resulting from the fact that one cannot do as much good as one wishes – one can have the impression that one can contribute to the integral development of many people and societies in the world. Now I am to deal with a concrete community where I am to offer a considerable part of my efforts to the local Church. I do realise that people expect of me, first of all great abilities of meeting, listening, understanding, which cause me to see the light necessary to discern, together with the bishops and Catholic community, how to behave for greater good of the Church herself and the society.
– How do you think the condition of the Polish Church is?
– I am hardly getting to know people and situations. It would be too early and imprudent to formulate any evaluations. However, I can share a general impression: the Christian experience in this country is based on strong faith and vivid feeling of dependence on God, which yield the fruit of affinity to the people of God and first of all, conversion to God.