STOP ATHEISATION – NOT FOR EVERYBODY?
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
The editorial office of the Catholic Weekly ‘Sunday’, the Parliamentary Team for Counteracting Atheisation and the Department of the Catholic Action of Częstochowa organized the Nationwide Congress of Catholics: ‘Stop atheisation’. The organization of the Congress was joined also by the team ‘Kruk’ from Cracow and the editorial team ‘Sieć’. The idea was born in the parliamentary team which is working under the supervision of the parliamentarian Andrzej Jaworski. The editorial team of ‘Sunday’ joined the initiative because, similarly as many other people in Poland, we notice that in our country there appeared a dangerous wave of not only atheism but also atheisation. It is visible all the time in our public life, we are witnesses of wide-ranging activities ridiculing the Church, holy sacraments, faith; we see it both in the so-called informative transmission, as well as in many pronouncements of public people, and also on the area of the so-called culture (theatre, cabarets, art installations), where even blasphemy scenes are not avoided. We also observe judicial verdicts which often acquit those, who affront God’s name. Indeed, here there are legal regulations, but forums are rather given to circumstances favoring blasphemers. We live in a country, where most people are Catholics, baptized people and we also feel somehow intimidated with our faith or discredited. Nearly all the time hierarchs, clergy and laymen are being attacked in media. What is more, some of the weeklies made anti-Catholicism, anti-ecclesiastics their banner and – to great astonishment –there are still widely read!
The need of getting out of a shadow
So, right decisions for organizing a congress against atheisation were strong and sufficient. For some time, the Parliamentary Team for Counteracting Atheisation, to which everyone who wants, can belong, as I was told, has been working on it. Also members of the Civic Platform, the Polish Peasant Party and others can belong to it. So, one cannot make an allegation that it is a team of one political party, because ideas are more general and they absolutely do not concern one political party – members of the Law and Justice party. Moreover, as other people are concerned, who could have participate in the congress against atheisation, the issue was open and there were not any obstacles for anybody to join it.
The editorial office of ‘Sunday’ and the Catholic Action in Częstochowa, as well as ‘Biały Kruk’ from Cracow and the editorial office of ‘Sieć’ also joined the matter, because it is extremely important. The proposal of organizing the congress was well-accepted by cardinal Stanisław Nagy, and the metropolitan of Częstochowa archbishop Wacław Depo also had a positive attitude towards this matter, and the Holy Mass which he celebrated at the end of the congress, and his interesting pronouncements met with great applause from the participants of the event.
The congress was attended by representatives of the ‘Sunday’, the Catholic Action and the Parliamentary Team for Counteracting Atheisation, and basically, everybody who wanted to speak could do it. Personally, I asked participants to make the congress have not the character of a political party, but sound as an equivalent pronouncement of everybody who had participated in it. So, it happened so, although, finally, some people wanted to be among congress speakers, but it had already been impossible for organizational reasons.
‘Are you beating me because I am doing good’ (see J.18.23)
The message of the Nationwide Congress of Catholics revealed the topic: ‘Stop atheisation!’ in very particular situations and systems, which is exceptionally valuable and points out to the necessity of other such meetings. So, I was surprised by some reactions of some environments, as we say - the rightist ones, which, in their comments, attacked the congress, accusing it of party membership. As it is seen, it is something bad for some journalists when a political party wants to deal with such a serious social problem, which is an open fight against Christianity, and when it gains the support of the Church here.
Following this way of understanding – it is a bad thing that the Law and Justice party opted for Christian values, for normality. So, other weapons were aimed against some activists of the Law and Justice party, a kind of a war started, destroying some surnames. Certainly, also ‘Sunday’ was accused, as if it had succumbed to the Law and Justice party and became a magazine belonging to a political party.
Well, I answer Dear Misters Accusers that ‘Sunday’ did not succumb any party option. The fact that Christian and Catholic ideas correlate with a party option, is not either a mistake or a support this or another parliamentary fraction. Even if these opinions were not completely consistent with the Catholic teaching in all details, it seems that we should consider segments of a good will, which serve to the work of evangelization. We say then: good – and that’s it. I would not like to comment on many attack on the ‘Sunday’ and other co-organizers of the congress, because they do not deserve an answer. And the fact that the ‘Sunday’ once stopped the text of Paweł Milcarek, about which he caused a veritable quarrel, is something normal in the media reality. After all, in all magazines in the world, every day, thousands of articles are stopped, if the editorial office has justified reasons. In the case of no admission of the text of Paweł Milcarek for publication, it was about the fact that the author wanted to assign a bad will to the Law and Justice party, when it concerns some voting which did not take place in this way how he had imagined. It happened that I asked a few parliamentarians of the Law and Justice party why they had not taken part in voting which decided about the bad result. They explained that somebody was abroad, somebody else was ill – so, not a bad will, but circumstances caused the situation that not everybody could be present at that time. Indeed, the case was lost but it is not the reason for making a pre-electoral action out of it against the Law and Justice party – a column of Paweł Milcarek discrediting the Law and Justice party had been sent to the editorial office short time before the parliamentary elections. We thought we had to be fair here. Regardless to it, the author of the column accused us of sustaining the decision of stopping the text.
Carefully with these authorities
I am only astonished by the fact that although so much time passed, this one case is still being undertaken as an element of an alleged censorship which is used by the ‘Sunday’. It is a strange allegation, made against the weekly by the rightist environment. I do not quite know what the authors of the text mean, who would like to destroy the opinion about the ‘Sunday’ – as I understand it so. However, the ‘Sunday’ is trying to maintain its Catholicity, although Mr. Niesiołowski, who used to be our author years ago, is able to say with his typical erudition that it is not a Catholic newspaper. Nevertheless, that is interesting for what kind of ‘Sunday’ he used to write his articles. I thank Priest Professor from Łódź, who warned me against the admission of texts of Mr. Niesiołowski for publication. And I would only like to say to Mr. Prof. Niesiołowski that, luckily, he is not a decision-maker in what is Catholic and what is not. The Catholicity of the ‘Sunday’ is determined by the Church and bishops, whereas Professor should express his opinion on the topics in which he is a specialist.
Unfortunately, some alleged authorities of Catholicity appeared in our country. It seems to some people that if an author can proclaim correct Catholic thesis in a TV program, if some environments take on the character of Catholicity, so they are its indicators at once. The Church has its own criteria here, its authorities which constitute it. Therefore, the Catholicity of the ‘Sunday’ was not determined either by a parliamentarian, or anybody from ‘fronda’ or anybody from ‘Rzeczpospolita’ or any other blog. Because – as it is seen – there are environments which would like to destroy the opinion of our distinguished Catholic weekly in the Church; they are aiming at ‘rendering it harmless’ in actions, as they have already done it towards some people effectively.
Do not destroy a good will of people
We must defend ourselves against these attacks, especially that atheistic actions are calculated to attack people of good will, and the good name of the environment which is ecclesiastical and is functioning on the basis of the Catholic social teaching. These are conclusions which we find after the Nationwide Congress of Catholics ‘Stop atheisation!’. It had a lot of excellent pronouncements, some of them are going to be published because they deserve it and there will also be a possibility to listen to them online. The congress also paid a tribute to the late cardinal Stanisław Nagy. He said a good word to us, somehow from a grave – his excellent pronouncement was read out by Jerzy Zelnik. It was called by Jarosław Kaczyński as a word leading to the congress. I was glad about it personally, because cardinal Nagy was a great authority, God’s man looking up at blessed John Paul II, but also carefully observing the Polish religious-national and political scene. Accepting the patronage over the congress against atheisation by him is also a testimony, that he noticed a need of wider reflection on the Polish situation in such a way so that it would be a message for actions for the whole Catholic society and actions of the polish Episcopate. I am also personally grateful to Priest Cardinal for the last phone call on 3 June this year about 6 pm (he died on 5June in the morning), in which he expressed his joy at undertaking such an important initiative. Cardinal Nagy will also remain the main witness of this congress and I think that his most obstinate enemies are not able to question the greatness and righteousness of the message of this great man of the Church, whose deep reflection was a light for organizers of the meeting of the Polish Catholics thinking over how to counteract the atheisation of Poland.