CATHOLICS SAY: STOP ATHEISM!
ANNA WYSZYŃSKA AND KATARZYNA WOYNAROWSKA
We must be faithful to what lies at the base of common Europe, and this is Christianity – said archbishop Wacław Depo – metropolitan of Częstochowa during the Nationwide Congress of Catholics: ‘Stop atheism’, which was held under his patronage on 16 June this year at Jasna Góra
Organizers of this event were: Parliamentarian Team for Counteracting Atheism of Poland, the Catholic Weekly ‘Sunday’ and the Catholic Action of Częstochowa Archdiocese. An honourable participant of the Congress was to be Cardinal Stanisaw Nagy SCJ, who died on 5 June 2013, just before the meeting at Jasna Góra. He managed to leave us a special testament, a rich introducing word, prepared for this Congress.
Europe, what happened with you?
The common thought of pronouncements was care about the future of Poland, in which, despite of regained freedom, there is a wide action of atheism destroying Christian morality and pushing aside the cross and other religious symbols on the margin. Catholics must claim for respect for religion, the Church and Christian values on their own. It is necessary to build the civilian society, aware of its rights and possibilities.
– We are grateful, as Pauline fathers, that we can host such an honourable group of people, undertaking a fight for the heritage of the nation based on the Gospel and Christian values – said Father Sebastian Matecki, sub-prior of Jasna Góra.
After Credo confessed by all participants, Fr. Inf. Ireneusz Skubiś said: We confess our faith in God, which is a key to life, to our life decisions. Referring to the latest history, he reminded that after free elections in 1989, it seemed that we could freely practice the Christian faith. – While we notice, that we are subjected to a big attack of atheism – emphasized the speaker. He added that three political groups have appeared, which are conducting a fight against faith. Priests, bishops and the Church are ridiculed, Catholic moral norms are being presented in a bad light. Trends of suggested legal changes are dangerous: introducing sexual education for children at the age of four, sanctioning homosexual couples with a possibility of children adoption. Catholics can counteract these tendencies, claiming for religion freedom in the parliamentary forum, as well as law-making, judicial and educational forums. As the nation of baptized people, we cannot thoughtlessly adopt dangerous atheistic trends, coming, among the others, from the UNO structures and the European Union. We must know how to use rights belonging to free citizens, and concerning religion freedom. – We must know how to use our freedom, and then everything will be in our hands – emphasized Fr. Skubiś.
Testament of Cardinal
A great impression on the gathered was made by the message of cardinal Stanisław Nagy, read out by Jerzy Zelnik. In his last reflection, Cardinal wrote about the cross, its significance for every baptised person, honour it deserves, and attacks on this sign of Christ’s passion and God’s love to the man. ‘We must learn the knowledge about the cross well, and know how to use it in life’ – wrote Cardinal. He recalled the person of blessed John Paul II who, while wandering throughout continents, made the cross a symbol of the World Youth’s Days and appealed to us, not to allow for insulting the cross in the private and social life. ‘After the Lisbon treaty it is possible to expect that Europe would be eradicated from what is the most valuable for us, from Christianity’ – noted Cardinal. He also wrote in his message that the decision of the tribunal from Strasburg about removing the cross from one of Italian schools had to be understood as a danger, because such verdicts, made under the guise of freedom, in fact impose a muzzle of captivity on the majority of the society. Another example is eliminating the word Christianity from the European constitution. Tearing away the cross from the soul of Europe is a suicide. John Paul II warned that false understanding democracy may change into its deficit and even in totalitarianism. Catholics cannot peacefully look at irresponsible legislation concerning both politics and culture, as well as spiritual sphere. Cardinal Nagy recalled the words of John Paul II: ‘I am asking you not to despise of the love which is the supreme and which was expressed through the cross, and without which human life does not have a root or a sense’. Cardinal Nagy wrote: ‘Let’s be witnesses of this love in a mild but definite way, clearly, explicitly, bravely, respecting rights of others, but also powerfully and consequently, demanding the respect for our rights. We have a full right to live our faith. The right which nobody can take away from us’. The remind sounded grimly like a memento, that everybody, who, being dressed up in robes of a defender of human rights, was fighting against the cross, finally turned out to be a tyrant.
A replay of history
– The communist authority rejected Christianity radically – the chairman Jarosław Kaczyński reminded in his pronouncement. Analysing the situation of the Church in Poland after the year 1945, he noted that after the war the Church in Poland was a significant force, so the attack was being conducted in phases. The fact that in our country there were not any attempts of eliminating the Church radically in the same way as in communist countries, was caused by a big social resistance, memorable pronouncements of Catholics among the others, in Częstochowa, Kraśnik, Nowa Huta, Przemyśl, Toruń and Zielona Góra. The fight against the Church was conducted in an elastic way, but consequently and any concessions were alleged.
– Today we are witnesses of the most powerful attack on the Church and values. There is an attack on , among the others, matters such fundamental as life defence, presence of religion and the Church in the public space – emphasized the chairman of the Law and Justice party. He added that in this attack leftist influences had been strengthened by liberal sphere.
Also the MP Andrzej Jaworski referred to historical conditions, who reminded that the French Revolution, proclaiming freedom, equality and brotherhood, in fact caused imprisonment and killing priests, liquidation of education and other institutions run by the Church. The parliamentarian appealed to undertake a fight against atheism for the sake of our children, in, defence of values, on which our culture and our nationality have been built for ages. Unfortunately, the voice of the society is ignored. The example for it are 2.5 million signatures in the matter of the Television Trwam or a few hundred thousand participants of the protest march ‘Poland, wake up !’. However, we cannot give up.
Fr. dr. Jarosław Grabowski emphasized in his pronouncement ‘The Catholic attitude towards an atheist’: - A catholic should not accept an attitude of silence or indifference to the evil, because evil must not be tolerated. A catholic cannot fall into a passive resignation, soulless fatalism or apathetic motionlessness. In contrary, his courage of faith should encourage him to oppose to evil and be in solidarity with the persecuted.
Bishop from Łomża, Tadeusz Bronakowski spoke to the participants of the Congress and stated that Poles also need the Congress in the issue ‘Stop making Poland drunk’.
Catholics can defend themselves, using legal tool for this purpose. The tools were pointed to by the Maecenas Bartosz Kownacki, who emphasized that we would find the guarantee of our rights in international conventions, provisions of the universal law and other sources. There are many examples when Catholics used to appeal to courts and procurators in situations when their right were breached.
The role of the catechesis in education was discussed by the parliamentarian Jadwiga Wiśniewska, who emphasized that the presence of religion classes at school is a sign of suitable interpretation of the principle of worldview neutrality of the country and authentic democracy, which most society can have a right to develop and express their religion. – Catechesis is the only realistic opposition to anti-pedagogical concept of the man, which in the gender ideology reaches its peak – emphasized the parliamentarian Jadwiga Wiśniewska.
Pronouncements of the parliamentarian MarzenaMachałek, the parliamentarian Małgorzata Sadurska and prof. Piotr Gliński referred to the need of activity of the Catholics, organizations created by them and building the civilian society. Speaking about the activity of citizens for the sake of the common welfare, prof. Gliński noted that the civilian sector in Poland is still an unused and wasted chance. The present crisis of democracy and authority in Poland are significantly a result of the weakness of the civilian society.
A civilian subscription
After a break, which was spent on a prayer in the Chapel of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady by most participants, or on discussions in lobbies of the Congress, the first speaker was dr. Artur Dąbrowski, a chairman of the Catholic Action of Częstochowa Archdiocese. He spoke about the unused strength which belongs to laymen and possibilities of realistic using this powerful social group.
Whereas Jacek Karnowski, an editor of the magazines ‘Sieć’ and ‘wPolityce’ persuaded that the contemporary man is what he reads. These are media which create our view of the world, therefore it is so important to create our own good media. Karnowski suggested introducing the so-called civilian subscription, which met with approving applauses. – Let’s form together our media –he said. The subscription can be based on systematic buying a few instead of one copy of a magazine and for example, distributing it to others. In this way we support the maintenance of valuable magazines in the market – he explained.
Robert Telus, the president of the Parliamentary Team of Members and Sympathizers of the Light-Life Movement, Catholic Action and the Association of Catholic Families, noted that at present the movements forming the face of the Polish Catholicism comprise 2.5 million people. Apart from that, there are sympathizers of the Radio Maryja of members of rosary groups. – This is great power able to put a dam against atheism – he claimed. Whereas, Anna Kołakowska from the Rosary Crusade appealed for a greater prayer in the intention of homeland but not only for this intention. In the opinion of the speaker it is not enough to attend marches or collect signatures under petitions, which are not considered by the authority anyway.
We must fight with the weapon of our enemies and, for example, by boycotting products of companies which ridicule or humiliate our faith in advertisements and commercials. While Tomasz Poręba, the Euro parliamentarian, explained that the European Union is treating Christianity so badly because it is in a complete contradiction with the current actions of the EU. Only uniting Christian forces can solve this process.
A passport for a Catholic
The last of speakers, prof. Krzysztof Szczerski argued that today re-evangelization of the Old Continent is necessary. In Europe there is an economic crisis because it lost its spirit, cuts itself from roots, destroys what it grew out from. And, paradoxically, this spiritual destruction is a chance for existence of people of faith anew. Similarly as St. Paul, we should not be afraid of a discussion with people thinking in a different way. We should convince them of our rightness. A new initiative is a suggestion of Prof. Szczerski, who, being afraid about the spirituality of young Poles leaving the country, suggests providing them with ‘Catholic Passports’, in which, besides the faith truths, there would also be addresses of places friendly to the Christians. During this part of the meeting, opinions were expressed also by the speakers: Jan Maria Jackowski and parliamentarians of the Law and Justice party Izzabela Kloc and Robert Telus.
It is worth supporting this home
The congress ended with the Holy Mass celebrated in the Chapel of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady, presided over by archbishop Wacław Depo. In the homily the Metropolitan of Częstochowa said, among the others, that faith is not only an invitation for cooperation with the Redeemer but it is also a method of gaining strength, in order to maintain by God. – Let’s have a look at the reality surrounding us, for example at the fact how granting concession of the Television Trwam is being manipulated, at undermining the importance of the family in the society, promoting life without God. Therefore, gathered at this Congress we say: ‘Stop atheism’. Thinking about Poland cannot depart from the reality, from processes which are in the European Union. So, we must be faithful to what lies at the base of common Europe, and this is Christianity – archbishop Depo appealed. He noted that today there is a fight about Poland and it is even stronger than at the time of the pontificate of John Paul II, who taught us that Poland is our home. And it is worth supporting this home. It does not have to be through a fight, but through a discussion, which is not meant to destroy an opponent but to gain the truth. Our today is connected with the sense of responsibility in every sphere of life. Nobody – as John Paul II used to say – can remain in passiveness. Passiveness is a fault – archbishop Depo said.
In the Chapel of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady a message of the Nationwide Congress of Catholics ‘Stop atheism’ was read, which had been signed by participants of the meeting. The text of the Message of the Congress is wholly printed on page 6. During the congress there was an announcement of establishing the Institute for Counteracting Atheism.