We want to defend Christian Poland
Fr Piotr Baczek talks to Marek Jurek, MP, about politics, democracy and protection of human life.
FR PIOTR BACZEK: – You are constructing a new political party. Such a party needs to have some element that would differentiate it from other rightist groupings in order to be some power, which would influence the Polish social-political scene. What will be the differentiating element of the Polish Right?
MAREK JUREK: – First of all, we work for civilisation of life. In fact, we work for family rights, which must be made concrete in economic and social politics. That principally means decreasing the tax burdens laid upon families, but also lengthening the period of maternity leave (we have submitted a project of such a bill) or fight against demoralization, which destroys family values. I do not understand why Law and Justice (PiS) withdrew its support for a pornography ban. We have submitted this bill again. We agree that we should build a new state but actually the state must protect authentic social peace.
– One can find most of these demands in the programme of PiS…
– Unfortunately, as I have already stated, these things are meaningless in the policy of PiS. But for us these matters are most important since family is Poland’s future. Therefore, the Polish Right has been called into being.
– Looking at the present day politics we have the impression that people are not going to believe that one more political party will contribute to social peace… Could such a project succeed?
– When the state policy omits important social issues some other power is needed to speak about them. The big parties disgraced themselves with their constitutional activities for the cause of protection of unborn life. So it cannot be that in Poland, like in Germany or Spain, Catholics will have to vote for the parties that think they have no responsibilities concerning civilization of life. In fact, even when a right-wing party seizes power it does not bring about any moral change. Recently ‘Dziennik’ has written that the right-wing party in Poland should look like the party of Cameron or the party of Sarkozy. But we think that we should defend Christian Poland since the next generation will not get the values we were given, and this is what Europe needs and what Pope Benedict XVI spoke about in Krakow.
– Let us return to the attempt to change the constitution concerning protection of life. In one of your interviews you said that your decision to give up your post as Sejm Speaker was absolutely necessary to confirm the responsibility that the Parliament bore. And perhaps it is also to confirm that politics is simply helpless in terms of outlook on life?
– No, the state cannot be indifferent to violating anyone’s rights, in particular the rights of the weakest. And indifference is a matter of opportunism of the big political parties. When the MPs voted in accordance with their conscience the decisions of the Parliament were very good: 72 % were for the schedule to begin working on the project last October. If such a result had been repeated we would have included the respect for dignity and rights of every man from conception in the constitution. Unfortunately, the calculation of the leading politicians who distanced themselves from those works caused much harm to the cause. That means embarrassment to both big political parties but not to a democratic state and parliamentarism. The present law concerning political parties strengthens their leadership and the leaders have big money at their disposal and the possibility to control the MPs even before they present their candidates. And unfortunately, instead of using this power to fulfil social duties they use it to force opportunism on politicians.
– What failed? The media, education of the society, politicians, the events leading to disagreement, the condition of Poles’ conscience, all these things?
– Certainly, the political parties let us down. First of all, it was a very bad choice of Platforma Obywatelska. They were proud to be the first party to have organised a pilgrimage to the Holy Father but they could not draw any conclusions from the fact. The majority of their members voted against the change in the constitution. The role of PiS was also bad. Their responsibility was special because of the mandate from the Catholic opinion. But some PiS politicians repeated the argument of the abortionist side and agreed that it was the tactics of the leaders and not the programme that would define the policy of the party. The role of the media was very visible and the rights of family are still weakly represented in the media. In ‘Evangelium vitae’ John Paul II wrote about the big responsibility of the media concerning the progress of the civilisation of death (No. 24). The media often, or directly, support the views that oppose the civilisation of life or take a very indifferent stand, which treats the culture of life and its negation in a similar way. The attitude of the media towards the civilisation of life, statistically speaking, was shown during the meeting of 8 March in the President’s Palace, where the cream of the Polish journalism opposed any changes in the constitution. It was very depressing to see that the majority of the most popular women journalists did not only oppose the right of unborn children to life but also opposed acknowledging human dignity of unborn children.
– How did the parliamentary fight for life influence our image in Europe?
– Europe is pluralistic. The liberal environments might have an occasion to stigmatise the Catholic stubbornness of our country although the number of such opinions was small. The Christian environments showed many signs of support. One can see a great Christian movement in Europe: large manifestations against imposing homosexual legislation in Spain, Italy or Belgium. We could have done even more, we could have shown that the trend increased and proposed a complete vision of human rights. Unfortunately, Jaroslaw Kaczynski chose an adaptive formula claiming that one should do what ‘modern democratic countries’ (as he put it) accepted. But he forgot that those were mostly ‘abortion countries’. But even if we do not stigmatise the fact of violating human rights in those countries because of our collaboration with them it does not mean that we should not react to it by showing that one can follow another way, the way John Paul II showed.
– The parliamentary fight for life harmonised with the teaching of the Church…
– When we tried to change our constitution the Holy Father issued two important acts: he refused to sign the UN convention concerning the disabled, the convention that did not include the right of the unborn, and in his exhortation ‘Sacramentum caritatis’ he very firmly appealed to politicians to act for the cause of the civilisation of life. The Conference of the Polish Episcopate was in favour of the change in the constitution. The opinion of the Church was very clear and only a bad will could cause someone to refuse listening to it.
– But it could be another point of view. The teaching of the Church to a considerable extent forms our society. We have representatives of this society in the Parliament. And again the society fails to defend life on the level of the most important legal acts.
– I told Jaroslaw Kaczynski many times that it was a real chance to make an authentic moral revolution, which PiS had announced before. Since moral revolution must mean changes of social attitudes, a choice of good, responsibility for other people and not anger and grudges against others. That occasion was torpedoed. And one had to draw conclusions: I drew personal and political conclusions. But the works for the civilisation of life continue and what’s more, today we much further than we were a year ago.