BISHOPS ARE GUARDIANS OF VALUES
The march was planned on 13 December 2014 in Warsaw, on the anniversary of introducing the martial law. An invasion against bishops was initiated by those medial and political groups which one would not suspect of a neutral attitude towards the Church or objectivism towards its mission.
One clearly sees that these media and groups are unfriendly to the Church – about which everybody knows, and they do not conceal it. Indeed the attacks aimed against five priests, did not entail the good of the Church – although there were attempts to present it so – but just politics. Accusing these particular hierarchs of their political engagement, paradoxically parties’ and political business of particular groups was being realized. This is the perversity of the whole situation.
On the guard of values
Finally, at the moment of giving ‘Niedziela’ for publishing, bishops started withdrawing from the Honourable Committee of the march, somehow as a result of manipulation done by the mainstream media, to which – unfortunately – some of the Polish public opinion got succumb, refusing bishops-citizens their right to support the idea of values defence, being even a duty in reference to pastors of the Church. Bishops must stand on the guard of freedom values, which have their roots in the Gospel. Human rights also include right to freedom of speech and right to the freedom of election. In Poland not everything in this sphere is compatible with the supreme standards which has been shown by the recent events. We repeat: Bishops have a right, and even a duty to stand on the guard of human values.
Polish history is full of such examples – we are proud of them. We can just mention God’s servant cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, who was called the Primate of Millennium in respect of his wisdom and courage in his making decisions, which resulted in ordinary misunderstanding and solitude; or blessed priest Jerzy Popiełuszko, who, going against the trend in a steadfast and peaceful way, defended the truth and basic human rights… Somebody may say that this is an exaggerated analogy, that it is difficult to compare times of communistic dictatorship with Homeland independent for 25 years. Yes, that is true, but it is easy to imagine a situation that in the future in our country there may be a kind of camouflaged dictatorship, especially with the lack of full freedom of media and deepening hardships of the democratic process. Lack of values leads to it.
Let’s note that on 16 November something bad, dangerous happened, something which has not happened on such a scale for 25 years, which we cannot treat normally. For, it is impossible to explain this enormous number of unimportant votes in self-governmental election logically, which lead to the exclusion of 2.5 million citizens. And explanations of the power camp and most media connected with it, that nothing happened, are not convincing. Bishops - like all citizens – have a right to express their opinion and engage their authority.
Here this is all about rights of everybody
The public opinion believes, under the influence of political opponents, that this is Law and Justice party march. Yes, this is a march organized by this political party, but values which were written on flags of this march, are the right of everybody.
Archbishop Wacław Depo, being particular called to take care of a group of media people, as a result of his holding the function of the chairman of the Council for Mass Media of the Polish Episcopal Conference, is obliged to guard informing about the truth and also to freedom of media. And such an idea accompanied the march organized on 13 December 2014. Facing the existing circumstances and the presented idea of the organized March in Defence of Democracy and Media Freedom, it was impossible to give a positive respond to the invitation of his Honourable Committee.
Towards the power of unity through the truth
Now, I will express my reflection. When I heard the information about the brave move of archbishop Wacław Depo, I knew that it would not be forgiven to him and that he would be overwhelmed by the wave of criticism and false accusations. I strongly believe that archbishop Depo was aware of it as well as other hierarchs and that their decision had been considered carefully and made during their prayers. I was proud for these reasons and also sure that we all need such courage which is expressed by great people.
And, finally, I think that the decision about supporting the idea of march, made by the five bishops, did not lead the Church onto the path towards division, as politicians and journalists had suggested, but on contrary – it was leading towards the power of unity through the truth.