Jan Maria Jackowski
Catholics were stirred to learn that Portugal’s President signed a bill legalising homosexual relationships. Anibal Cavaco Silva is a practising Catholic and a friend of the Patriarch of Lisbon Cardinal José da Cruz Policarpo. He signed the bill just a few days after he had greeted Benedict XVI in Fatima where the Pope reminded people of the invariable teaching of the Church that the family is based on ‘indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman’. Portugal’s President tried to convince the public opinion that although he was a Catholic he ‘had to put aside his personal convictions in this matter’ and had to sign the bill.
In Poland there have also been situations that evoked the outrage of believers. It happens that politicians, claiming to be Catholics, actively help to conduct abortion or support the bill enabling in vitro fertilisation. They usually justify their activities, which contradict the teaching of the Church, using the sophist argument that one must respect various views present in society. Why does it happen so? Because the parties referring to Christian inspirations easily yield to erosion caused by the so-called political modernism.
The phenomenon means to follow the rules of democratic procedures, which lead to moral relativism sooner or later. It can be shown of the example of the Italian Christian-Democrats, who were successful in elections thanks to the Catholic voters. But these victories, through the windings of personal politics of the party, that usually in such structures promoted ‘mediocre but faithful’ members and not people of conscience, did not contribute to root public life on stable ethical foundations.
Responding to the protests of the Catholic opinion that the demands of believers were not taken into account, they always had the same answer, ‘In order to pass a good bill forbidding abortion and defending the family, supporting freedom of education and so on, you must have an absolute majority in the Parliament and the Christian Democrats did not have it. Therefore, Catholic must yield and agree to be in minority as far as these issues are concerned.’ And it was during the Christian-Democrats’ government that divorce and abortion were legalised in Italy.
When we look at the political life in Poland after 1989 we could use the activities of many parties, referring to their Catholicism or Christian inspiration, as illustrations of the Italian experiences. On the one hand, it is stressed, ‘we refer to the Catholic social teaching and express believers’ aspirations, so please vote on us.’ And when a given party or some group that gains any influence on political life thanks to the support of believing voters, it turns out that they realise the campaign promises to a small extent and in a selectively comfortable way. Therefore, it is important to vote for reliable candidates whose activities follow the values they declare and who do not surround themselves with collaborators supporting, for example financing in vitro fertilisation from the state budget.