Fr. Inf. Ireneusz Skubiś talks with Archbishop Wacław Depo, the Metropolitan of Częstochowa, a new chairman of the Council of Polish Episcopal Conference for Media

Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ: - I cordially congratulate Archbishop on the election into the significant post in the Polish Church – the chairman of the Polish Episcopal Conference for Media...

ARCHBISHOP WACŁAW DEPO: - Thank you very much for your being with me in the beginning of my new task.

- Today in Poland a lot is happening and everything is subjected to a wide watching, also in the Church. Certainly, we are dealing not only with those who are looking at the Church in a friendly way. What thoughts has Priest accepted the post with, which he was given by the Polish Episcopal Conference and what will be the most important in the action of the new chairman of this socially important Council?

- I would like to repeat what I said in December 2011, standing at the threshold of my pastoral ministry in the Church of Częstochowa, that I accept this election with amazement of faith and in obedience of faith to the Church. Giving this leadership in this Council to me, which is the expression of trustfulness of co-brothers in the Episcopate, is a great gift but also a great obligation. I am aware of the burden of this task – maybe all of us, not only in the Church, are standing, facing a kind of a dramatic struggle for the truth. In this spirit I also see the statement of the Pope Benedict XVI who stated that the notion of the Church as the fighting Church – ‘Ecclesia militans’ – is not fashionable today, but in fact we understand more that it is real. At present we meet with more and more forms of violence and manipulation. The most dangerous lie is the one which pretends to be the truth or the evil pretending the good. In this way some fundamental matters are breached, which concern both our society and the Church. Therefore, in the threshold of my new task I want ask for a prayer for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, so that we would be able to remember, through the truth and the testimony to the truth what Christ has left for us, who he is for us as a redeemer.

- Here one remembers the words of Lord Jesus: ‘...the truth will free you’ (J8.32). How would Your Excellency comment on the fact that the truth has a freeing power and what significance has it for the society?

- We can surely see that everybody, not only bishops or the Church in the hierarchical meaning, must be responsible for proclaiming the truth and we should join in the work of search for it through supporting and promoting Catholic newspapers, radio or television. Therefore the restrictions which we experience are a kind of injustice. Here we must again return to a task very emphasized by John Paul II that the Church must not leave the man whose life is connected with Christ – even if the man is not aware of it. Therefore, on time or not, we must get to people with the truth. For, the truth is not only news for us, even good news about the redemption. The truth is personal to us, revealed in Christ. And therefore I also remind all the time to myself and others that Christianity is not only the religion of the Holy Book, given and written religious news but it is the religion of the Person. And this reference to the Person of Christ as the only mediator between God and the man is our continuous task, especially the task of a bishop.

- It is very convergent with the attitude of Archbishop as a theologian who – starting from your academic works – says about a great truth that Christ Redemptor hominis is the centre of everything, including what is the subject of a journalist writing about the truth.

- I remember the sentence quoted from the Gospel of St. John and which was also said by John Paul II, in respond to the question of Andre Frossarda, which sentence he would choose from the whole Gospel if he was to say as one sentence. Frossard was thinking that it would be this sentence: ‘Love one another, because love comes from God’. But the Pope said after a while: ‘You will get to know the truth, and the truth will free you’. But in the sense: Get to know Christ because he is the only one who frees the man from his infirmity, from his weaknesses, sin and death. And we must still remember that there is no other redeemer, there is no other name in which we could be redeemed. Those who deprive themselves of it, unfortunately, today – let’s say it straightforward – deprive themselves of the sense of life, especially the sense of life in the future.

- What actions will Excellency undertake towards our media, first of all, the Catholic ones, because we have about 40 diocesan and religious radio stations, there is great Radio Maryja, broadcast not only in Poland but also all over the world, we have the Television ‘Trwam’, and there are also Catholic programs in the public television and radio.

- Certainly, I would like to invite everybody, who wants only to serve the truth – and not only evangelical truth, but also the truth in the social or national life – to the cooperation. We see that one of the treacherous methods which are today used by the power of evil in the fight for controlling over human mind is a continuous propaganda of lie and not reacting to the evil which is happening in our public or social life. As we know, it is also juggling with half-truths. Therefore, my task is going to be a fight against the tendency falsifying the truth about the Catholic Church or about the Gospel, the tendency which is inoculated in human minds. I repeat once more: I invite everybody into the space of the truth which is Christ. There is no other way for us, than in Christ. There is no real freedom without this truth which He reveals, but there is only the captivity of the mind and later also of the lifestyle.

- Today it is said about the so-called creeping manipulation, which does not happen by itself but it is caused by some environments whose spirit is contradictory with the spirit of the Gospel, with the spirit of the very Lord Jesus. How does Archbishop see the pastoral ministry of media, not only of Catholic journalists, but generally the pastoral ministry of media people?

- I recall myself an excellent sentence of St. Augustyn who said that one must win through the very truth but not destroy the man of an opposite opinion or a different worldview. Here love towards the enemies must be a field of meeting for us. In this way we read the suggestions of Benedict XVI concerning the so-called the areopagus of pagans. It is not all about deprecating people who do not believe, but about suggesting them the field of meeting through a dialogue. However, the dialogue must not mean a compromise with the truth but it should be a basic principle of the meeting. We are to get to the truth from reading the truth, but not meet with one another to blur the truth or miss the truth.

- Now Archbishop will be able to realize pastoral aspects within the actions of the Council of the Polish Episcopal Conference for Media. We experience a great openness of Archbishop, therefore, today, we are courageous to ask how, as journalists we, will be able to plan our works in cooperation with the Episcopal Conference with the new chairman of the Council for Media.

- I will refer again to the beautiful sentence of John Paul II, said in Wroclaw where I was elected for the post of the chairman of the Council. The Holy Father emphasizes: Truth – trustfulness – community. We know that the individual man is not able to win a fight for the truth. He must raise trustfulness through the truth, as the Pope said, step by step, millimetre by millimetre, in order to renew what has been ruined, what has been chosen as opposite. Please, note that in the years of ‘Solidarity’ we used to win through calling for the truth, so that we could stand in solidarity later in the defence of civil rights and human rights. It was until then when we understood that this common admitting to the truth gave us strength. Therefore we must connect this all. Truth – trustfulness – community.
I invite everybody, Catholic and non-catholic journalists to meetings, to the cooperation. The Episcopal Conference will surely come towards them, among the others, through pastoral programmes of the Church, which are being weakly passed to the faithful now, step by step. At present we are preparing for the Year of Faith. We will surely hear about it but what does the ‘Year of Faith’ mean? What is new evangelisation? Is it only a new way of proclaiming the Gospel? No. Everybody must make a basic effort in order to come nearer – that is personally: through his mind, heart, body and spirit – to Christ. For Christ is present among us. He walks our roads, only we live in the mentality as if He was somewhere far away, beside us; whereas He is in the Church, in the sacramental life of the Church. And these proposals which the Church is still showing to people are an obligation for the cooperation.

- I think that today in the Catholic media there is great power. Catholic newspapers are beautiful and interesting, radio stations have also local range and build communities in particular environments – and everything is favourable to proclaiming the Gospel. As Catholic journalists, we would like to feel more the good and caring hand of the Church, Polish bishops, so that they would make their attitude more warm-hearted attitude towards Catholic media. For, many people are working today on diminishing our position, to make us more distant from people or even deride at us.

- I support this sentence with all my heart. I would like to emphasize once again one very important element uniting, which is the cult of Mary for us and Jasna Góra which, saying the words of Lechoń, presents itself in every Polish house and every Polish heart. And, therefore, I will quote the words of another triad of the Pope, that we must trust the wisdom of the nation, which builds on the Gospel, on the cross and on the cult to God’s Mother. We are to recognize and confirm the truth about the mystery of the Embodiment of God’s Son through Mary because she is the first witness of this mystery – God’s entering into the life of people and later the mystery of the Redemption for which He came, that is the love, which, despite being overcome on the cross, wins through the Resurrection. And we must show this program anew with great eagerness either on the screens of the Catholic television or in radio, or on the pages of our newspapers.

- When in 1992 the Instruction ‘Aetatis novae’ appeared in the Commission of Media of the Polish Episcopal Conference, a project of pastoral ministry through media was created, which would teach the faithful how to use media, in order to create one’s attitude towards what is heard on radio, television and what is read in newspapers. Also Bishop Jan Chrapek was engaged in it later. Today I would like to remind about it and also ask, especially on behalf of Catholic journalists, for a program of pastoral ministry through media for Polish parishes, for priests and for a letter of the Episcopate to the faithful in the matter of Catholic media, including weeklies, in order to remind that Catholic newspapers are important assistant for a parish priest and also bishop.

- Thank you for this reminder and I take it as an obligation. I would like to note and emphasize that every message of the Pope on the Day of Media shows us newer and newer dimensions of these tasks and the need for a testimony. For example, in the last message the role of Internet in the evangelism process was strongly emphasized. We cannot omit what is used by our youth or our children every day to get information. I mean that the reality should be recognised, according to the truth but not virtually created and sooner or later used as a kind of a lie or a form of ruling over people. Therefore, connecting the tasks of both Catholic publishing houses and other mass media also with Internet is our another very important obligation.

- Thank you, Archbishop for the opinion and I wish success in this important work for the Church and the nation.

- And I thank you for today’s meeting ‘on the hot’, just after my election and I wish joy in Who we are serving to and so that as many people as possible would have the use of the invitation for the relationship with Christ. God bless you!


"Niedziela" 27/2012

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: