WHAT HAVE WE GOT FROM THE HERITAGE OF THE PRIMATE OF THE MILLENNIUM
What was and is common for the three persons about whom we have heard a lot in the last months and weeks: saint John Paul II and saint John XXIII as well as God’s servant Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński? There are a lot of common things, including their mutual friendship
Important investigations were taken by Fr. Dr. Jerzy Jastrzębski from the Higher Metropolitan Seminary in Warsaw. He suggests looking at the three persons: St. John Paul II, St. John XXIII and cardinal Stefan Wyszyński from the perspective of love and justice. These are just them who, in his opinion, belong to the most characteristic features of those great people.
Each of them was, on the one hand, a sensitive, merciful and warm-hearted man, but, on the other hand, a fair, that is, persistent man, brave, with clearly determined relations with God, himself and other people. – If we were to find the common denominator for this friendship, we could point out that its milestone could be theology of the earthly reality reminding that although salvation is mainly grace, God expects us to cooperate with grace, that is, engage in the matters of this world – emphasizes Fr. Dr. Jastrzębski.
They all three were engaged. And cardinal Wyszyński often reminded that the man is a bodily-spiritual being. Living on the earth, he is getting mature to Heaven, but ‘it is necessary to remember that Christ came to the earth, that he left the Church for us on the earth and nobody will enter the Heaven who has not gone through this earth. On this earth we are supposed to become saints, become better and from this earth we will go to Heaven; not in any other way, only from this earth’ – said the Primate in 1958.
Immersed in the world
When we look carefully at cardinal Wyszyński and saint Popes, we will find much evidence that each of them was spirited but also very engaged in the world in which he lived. – Cardinal Wyszyński, on the one hand, left such deep words in the ‘Prison’s notes’, and he was also interested in the Catholic social teaching – notes Fr. Dr Jastrzębski. – He testified it during his imprisonment in Stoczek Klasztorny when he noted down: ‘Wasn’t only me in this house who has studied the ‘Capital’ by Marx three times, starting still in the Seminary…’. As a result of these studies there were many warnings against communism and the famous sentence that one cannot be both a good Catholic and a real socialist. The Primate of the Millennium was deeply immersed in God, but also deeply immersed in the world surrounding him.
The same feature of personality characterized John XXIII. It is not difficult to notice his deep rooting in God, good spiritual work. – It is astonishing that the Saint Pope was not only a good expert in matters of this world. He was also an excellent Vatican diplomat – says Fr. Dr. Jastrzębski. It is proven by his actions during the Second World War, when he was helping the Jews, among the others, from the Balcans Germany, Slovakia or he contributed to the abolition of embargo of the English for food supply for starving Greece. But also later, when he undertook the initiation of Church reforms through summoning the Second Vatican Council.
– And he could have said: I am too old, I am 77, let my successor carry out reforms – notes Fr. Jastrzębski. However he behaved differently, he remembered very well that we go to Heaven through the earth and that God will judge us about ‘how we utilize the earth subjected to us’.
Divine and human
St. John Paul thought in a similar spirit. Everybody could see that even during great celebrations he experienced a mysterious unity with God which was seen on his face. – Who of us does not remember his meditation in silence in the cathedral at Wawel, when even TV presenters became silent because they decided that praying Pope does not need any comments – Fr. Jastrzębski notes.
This Successor of St. Peter, engrossed in prayer, was not, however, detached from life. He had his eyes fixed at Heaven but he also trod on the ground. That is why he was courageous to warn against starting a war in the Persian Bay. And, therefore, he set off into the first foreign pilgrimage to Mexico, endangered by the theology of liberation. Therefore, finally, he reprimanded Poles that the nation which kills its own children, is the nation without the future.
Each of the recalled three hierarchs was a man skillfully connecting care about Divine and human matters. Each of them perfectly understood that love is expressed through justice, that is, fulfilling duties towards God, oneself and other people. Each of them taught that love must be merciful and also fair. It is not abstract – it is particular. That is why, among the others, in the tradition of the Church there appeared a catalogue of merciful deeds concerning the body and the soul. Anyway this principle concerns many spheres of life.
There will be ‘notes’
Presentation of deliberations of Fr. Dr. Jerzy Jarzębski was an important element of the session entitled: What have we got from the heritage of the Primate Wyszyński’ which was held on 28 May this year, on the 33rd anniversary of the death of Primate of the Millennium, in the House of Warsaw Archbishops. And the most important information was the announcement of cardinal Kazimierz Nycz about the publication of the ‘Notes’ by cardinal Wyszyński, ‘Pro memoria’ – the notes which the Primate had been making for years and every day.
Cardinal Nycz referred to the speech of Ewa Czaczkowska, who describing spheres of cardinal Wyszyński requiring further investigations, mentioned among the others, the issue connected with care about the Catholics from the Soviet Union (he had special permission from the Holy See but also his informers thanks to whom he was elaborating reports about the situation of the Catholics in the East), regretting that the ‘Notes’ are known only in fragments and were available to only some investigators.
– I have talked with many people for three years, also many bishops about the critical scientific preparation and gradual publication of the ‘Notes’- said cardinal Nycz. – It is necessary and this session also confirmed it. It concerns the fact that historians could work on the basis of particular sources, so that everyone would have an equal access to them. I slowly create a group of serious historians – it is time to do it.
Time for a saint
Fr. Gabriel Bartoszewski OFMCap, a vice postulator of the process of cardinal Wyszyński informed in an interesting speech, on what phase the beatification process is and whether there is a chance to canonize the Primate of the Millennium on the 1050th anniversary of the baptism of Poland. The simplest answer is: it is not known because this is a complicated process.
– I am glad that Fr. Gabriel behaved diplomatically and did not say directly when this beatification would take place, because it is still unknown. We should not decide thoughtlessly about dates – said cardinal Nycz.
The process begun in 1989 at the diocesan phase was finished in 2001, and acts were sent to the Holy See. Over 60 witnesses were heard. After a few years, however, these works have been slowed. Testimonies of witnesses, works of the Primate must be elaborated – given to the theological censorship, it is necessary to investigate documents about life and work of the candidate for altars. It is also necessary to consider notes and analyze the virtues of the future blessed who should be acknowledged as heroic.
As Fr. Bartoszewski informed, there also have appeared new documents concerning cardinal Wyszyński, among the others, materials saying about the arrest. What next? After positive verdict of the Consistory the prefect of the Congregation for Canonization Issues will present results of findings to Pope Francis and when a decree about heroism of virtues is edited, it will be possible to analyze the documents about the miraculous healing through the intercession of God’s servant. And later translation into Italian. So, a lot of patience is needed. – It is a lot of work but let’s hope, remembering that time is coming for every saint – added Fr. Bartoszewski.