‘POLAND NEEDS PEOPLE OF CONSCIENCE THE MOST’
Fr. IERNEUSZ SKUBIŚ
The known words: ‘Poland needs people of conscience the most’ were said by Blessed John Paul II in 1995 in Skoczów. I remember how journalists were concerned by these words of the Holy Father at that time. And the Pope drew the attention only to the fact that in life we must behavior accordingly to our conscience. For it was already seen then that in Poland bad things were happening. The Holy Father recalled mildly that the voice of conscience has a binding power unchangeably, that the qualifications done by conscience have a significance decisive for the evaluation of human behavior.
When today we are looking at what is happening in homeland, we are shocked. Here is a country which could be a rich, beautiful country, bringing joy to its citizens, a country in which they have a job and do not have to go away in search for a better and dignified life, became a contradiction of this ideal. It seemed to us that when we went away to the European Union, the situation would get improved. Indeed Europe opened itself to the countries similar to Poland but to much extent – as it seems – in order to make them sale markets for their products and cheap employment markets for their enterprises.
For 50 post-war years, despite communist governments, we have elaborated much national property in Poland. Not everything was ruined due to the ‘cooperation’ with the Soviet Union. We had heavy industry, mines, ironworks, shipyards, factories, sugar mills…Many life areas were functioning quite well, for example, an enormous textile industry. Unfortunately, the privatization trend imposed on us caused a situation that everything was sold out. Maybe it is worth asking the question: Where is money which Poland received for this property? Who and how calculated it? These questions somehow come to mind themselves… It was the property of the Polish nation! Today it is still often said that this or that should be sold, changed into money. Our decision-makers do not want to explain to us what this money is going to be assigned for. Moreover, we do not know how Poland will cope with enormous debts and how many generations will have to pay it off. Instead, the voices of politicians have been permitted recently who are criticizing the Church, especially there were unfriendly voices of Palikot’s movement, voices irritating and hostile to the Church. In this point the country is becoming unfriendly to the citizen, because most Poles are Catholics and it is them who are experiencing most painful things and it is them to whom most accusations and slanders are being addressed.
From time to time in Poland we are also being surrounded by scandals. There was, among the others, a hazardous scandal, practically unfinished – I was disgusted by the investigation of the investigating commission by Mrs. Sekuła. And here we have another scandal, this time with the Polish People’s Party in the main role. I remember those people how beautifully they could speak during farmers’ pilgrimage to Jasna Góra, and now such a shame! How could such situations be allowed for, how can the treasure and finances of the country be treated like that! How can it be that one man earns such big money and decision-makers have their eyes closed! As it is generally said, people holding the highest posts – not only from the Polish People’s Party but also from the Civic Platform – knew about what was happening. Some people even said that it was not the only political party which made private trips for the state budget. It is really painful.
And here is another scandal – Amber Gold. So many deceived and hurt people. Where are consciences?! We must also ask about the consciences of politicians, especially people responsible from the governing coalition (the Civic Platform + the Polish People’s Party).
We return to the question about the conscience. Is the citizen, who so carelessly uses the public money, aware that so many people in the country are not able to keep their families, do not have any money for schoolbooks for their children, because they must share their poor penny with the state which is supposed to coordinate a good functioning of all spheres of life? Does this man who is a prime minister, parliamentarian, politician a conscience? This is an aimed kind of theft which must be called by name. There are so many shouts about a big property of the Church, about money of bishops or priests, but one thing is certain: if it was truth, the Church would have good solutions, like the media ones; whereas the Church cannot afford many things needed as a tool of evangelization. But also a false picture of reality is being built in order to distract the social attention from ourselves and matters which are the most important for the nation.
Therefore, we must recall the still current words of Blessed John Paul II: ‘Poland needs people of conscience the most’. And if Polish bishops and priests, Catholic media remind about the conscience, it is the most patriotic duty. It is the voice of God who calls us to keep to the Decalogue, and love to God and another man in it.
We must claim for this voice, especially in the Year of Fr. Piotr Skarga – a great patriot and a great priest of the Polish Church about which Cardinal Alexander Kakowski said: ‘As much as St. Paul is somebody for Christianity, Fr. Piotr Skarga is somebody for Poland’. And let’s pray that the prime minister of the government would be the prime minister of the Polish government, the president of the Polish Republic – our president, and a minister – a Polish minister; that our self-government would not decide about important matters only during its presidency and for its party. There is an objective order of things, there is a principle of the inner rightfulness about which our conscience reminds. And we should remember about it.