The price of silence

Marek Jurek

Summer holidays are almost over. But they were not careless for all people. It is hard to believe how often during the several summer weeks there was news about crimes of anti-Christian hatred in South Korea, Nigeria, Pakistan, India and Cuba. Priests, Catholic activists or simple, poor people, enduring in their faith, have been murdered. When the world remains silent one can hear only the Pope. In his mission intentions the Holy Father appealed for prayer for the persecuted Christians. Prayer has always a key meaning. Even the best organisational plans are in vain without it. The world and history are in God’s hands. But it is action that must be the natural prolongation and first of all confirmation of prayer. Without action words are hypocrisy. As Fr Jacek Woroniecki, O.P., wrote, ‘Certain superiority of Christian life over prayer is that it can have the whole supernatural value of prayer whereas prayer cannot have the whole value of active Christian life… from a deed of love of your neighbour, e.g. feeding the hungry, one can do something equal to prayer by an act of love whereas there is no way to feed the hungry with prayer alone.’ When the Christian world prays the leaders of Christian nations should act. And we should demand that from them because the obligations of common good have no optional character and no ‘pluralism’ can dispense from them. But the West remains silent. And so does our country. But silence has its own price and meaning. Silence means consent. Last October, before the session of the European Council, during the period of the most intense anti-Christian crimes in India, I appealed for support of the actions of solidarity at the summit of the European Union. Support because the initiative was taken by the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Franco Frattini. Therefore, it was enough to continue this theme. But the theme was abandoned. And the matters were not extraordinary at all. As I wrote in ‘Niedziela’ then I want to repeat it in the name of responsibility – ‘relatively simple and non-controversial political actions, which require only moral imagination and good will, would be effective. Above all, the European Council should unanimously, according to the Treaty on European Union, recognise the actions for the cause of human rights in India as subject of its common foreign politics. Having this title Javier Solana, the high EU representative for foreign affairs, should fly to New Delhi on an information mission to ask on behalf of the European countries a couple of simple questions... India has a government chosen in elections and has been proud of its democratic tradition since the proclamation of independence. Therefore, as far as contacts with India are concerned one should refer to the principles that this country has accepted. Solana should also fly to New York to address on behalf of the European Union the UN Secretary General urging him to undertake parallel actions for the cause of human rights. The mission itself should incline the Indian government to react to the activities of the radical anti-Christian groups.’ Since we should expect from governments first of all responsibility and endurance in the realisation of selected strategies of solidarity; demonstrations are needed only when other means are not effective. In fact, demonstrations are also needed but this is a field of social action. However, in our streets we can see more frequently manifestations of support for the Tibetan Buddhists or the Chechenian Muslims than Christians who are simply our brothers. That appeal, presented in ‘Niedziela’ and in the open letter to the President and Prime Minister, which had been written earlier, had no repercussions and consequences in spite of the fact that the Senate spoke about it as well. However, the leaders of our country do not want to break the compact front of the European indifference. In the meantime, in the world the persecutions of Christians do not decrease but increase. And if politicians do not understand the language of responsibility, realism and imagination should tell them that solidarity could also bring benefits. God always rewards good. For Poland placing Christian solidarity as the priority of the agenda of the policy of human rights is above all an excellent occasion to build our readable political identity and moral position in the European Union. And for the European Union it is an occasion to build its internal identity and external ‘soft power’ in the world. That should be understood by everyone except for the people and environments that are completely alienated from Christian civilisation and except for those who have no courage to think independently.

"Niedziela" 35/2009

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