ON GUARD AT THE CONFESSION OF ST. PETER
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
The resignation of the Holy Father Benedict XVI from holding the papal office raises a lot of controversies and comments. However, the comments are dictated not so much by good intentions but malicious speculations or insinuations.
We are surprised by audacity of people who do not hesitate to express insinuations or malicious opinions. This attitude raises a pity. Comments connected with the abdication of the Holy Father open our eyes to the attitude of the world towards the pope, the Holy See and the Church. For some time, the attack at the Church has been something normal or ordinary. In many countries of the world, media undertake issues whose aim is to humiliate the Church.
It is most painful from the dearest people
It is not difficult to be astonished that attacks at the Church are often done by journalists of Catholic provenance. Many of those who write insulting texts, expressing offensive words, belonged to their parishes not long time ago, attended catechesis, attended the Holy Mass. Those people found the sense of life in faith, in religion. Among them there are also those who joined in priestly or religious ranks, and for some time they held Church offices. At present they became the loudest accusers of the Church. They are willingly invited to radio and TV programs where they become the most important commentators of events happening in the Church. They are people who used to serve in liturgical robes to their believers not long time ago, and today, having the status of laymen, they are attacking the Church and everything which is connected with it.
How sad phenomenon it is! Let’s imagine a married couple after divorce, judged by one of the parties. It is impossible to recognize the opinion only of one of these parties. People who left priesthood or religious order, are attacking the Church and their superiors. They say that the institution is bad, and has only stains and dirt.
Why are you persecuting me?
Bad emotions around the Church are somehow still re-raised. In many groups journalists are returning to the unsuitable way of treating the Church all the time, and some programs are aimed at teasing the Church. A scene comes to my mind in which suffering Jesus is being slapped and who is asking a servant slapping him: why are you slapping me? And I would like to ask everybody who were in ministry to God and said prayers of the Church not long time ago, and today they are slapping Jesus: Why are you slapping Me? Why are you slapping the Church, which is Christ going through history? Whether somebody wants it or not, this is the truth, this is the reality.
We must not keep silent about it, we must speak about it to Catholic believers. They often support atheistic programs, but atheistic newspapers, contribute to the growth of viewers of atheistic programs. How different would the situation be, if the Catholics said to the editors of newspapers specialized in destroying the opinion about the Church: Do not insult my Church, nor values which are dear and valuable for me, adding that they do not buy this kind of newspapers and do not bring them into their homes.
Whereas the more unfriendliness there is towards the Church in particular cases, the more dirt is manifested, the more malicious comments are expressed on this issue, the more people say that this is a good medium, which must be followed and considered, because it is aimed against ‘the black’, against the Church, the pope.
A weak memory
So, it is worth reminding song of the Lent, which we refer to suffering Christ: ‘People, my people, what have I done to you?’. What has the Church done badly, for example, in Poland? What did it do badly during 50 years of the communist regime? What crimes were done by our Church at the times of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, Cardinal Karol Wojtyła in Cracow? The Church was standing in the position defending civil freedoms, came to talk with dignitaries of parties and reminded that people had bad lives and difficult life conditions. The representatives of the communist authority were often surprised by the visit of the Primate. He did not complain that priests had bad lives, but he only used to say about people’s poverty and difficulties. These talks were experienced very deeply by the late Cardinal Józef Glemp when he appealed about issues essential for our nation. In those times people found care and support among priests, in monasteries, in presbyteries. As an academic priest I hosted people from the opposition, inviting them to give conferences, for which they received salaries, thanks to which they could survive the time more easily when they were unemployed. Today just these oppositionists often take important and lucrative positions and they do not boast about it in order to express a little gratitude for everything which they received from the Church at that time. (One of bishops wrote a letter, asking for employing a man who had been interned, it would be a great help for him and his family. I employed him. Today it seems that people have short and weak memory). How many things has the Polish Church done to save the Jews? How many Polish believers put their lives and lives of their families in danger, experienced even execution, death – were murdered by the Nazis because they had engaged in saving this nation. Some Jews express much gratitude, visit their saviors, are applying for rewards for Poles. Also among the Jews there are some opinions that there is no gratitude from them for everything which Poles did for those poor people. we would like texts of Mr. Jan T. Gross to consider the actions of heroic Poles who devoted their lives and put their families in danger of death, in order to save Jews.
A painful context
We must realize the conditions in which the Holy Father Benedict XVI worked, and notice a tremendous fight against the Church and struggles with which the Pope had to cope in his work. During his pontificate the persecutions against the Church were getting stronger. Neo-liberal trends started shouting. It is not about economic but philosophical liberalism which wants to cause a revolution against Christianity and Divine Revelation. This is a revolution whose purpose is to destroy philosophical basis of human existence. It aims at transforming a dictionary of terms for atheistic philosophy, which wants to eliminate Christian values. It is an attack against life, an attack against those who defend life from the conception till the natural death. During the times of blessed John Paul II there were voices against life – the so-called death civilization: abortion, euthanasia, lack of respect of marriage and family, marriages (partner couples) of people of the same sex. Far-reaching suggestions observed today in the proceedings of the atheistic president of France and his supporters. This all got stronger at the times of Benedict XVI. These actions of atheists have an impact on political, legal and state structures. It is an attempt to destroy the previous moral order and this attempt is very dangerous for the whole civilization. The pioneers of the new philosophy want to create a new society, new family: without father or mother and through giving birth ‘on glass’, as we say about the in vitro method, set up new methods which would overthrow the reality for which a marriage is a community of a man and a woman, creating an atmosphere of ordinary human home.
Attacking the Divine order is still going on. The gender revolution aims at contortion of this everything which is still normality today, although the normality is quite weakened. Forces which appeared against the Church and Christianity, have powerful means. We do not deal with Christians of live faith. They often betray God, faith, stand in ranks which are hostile to God. They cannot understand the meaning of the Gospel which is and can become the sense of their lives, gives answers to questions concerning the purpose and sense of life. It is possible that the big acceleration which took place in the last years, caused the lack of more reflection among people, the lack of moral and ethical sense, which caused rejection of God in many cases.
Hope dies the last
Benedict XVI was confronting himself with this all. He defended human values in an extremely beautiful, wise and precise way, and also what is brought by the natural law, biology and the Divine revelation. The Holy Father abdicates but he is leaving important matters behind, which the man, the Church and his successor are going to face up to.
The world’s youth meetings with the participation of John Paul II and Benedict XVI show that there are big crowds of young people who stand near Christ, near the Gospel. Therefore, it is necessary for the Church to come down off the mountains, gathered its strength and create the unity which is built by every pope and under his presidency it should resist the gender revolution. The Church gathered at the pope can do great works. Bishops, priests and religious orders – everybody must realize that they must stand near Christ’s vicar very strongly and he is supposed to be the Pontifex for the whole Church – the supreme Priest who unites the Church with God in the Only Trinity.
We must stand on the guard at the Confession of St. Peter and pray for a good pope – a helmsman of Peter’s boat. This great commitment for bishops, especially for priests, who gather God’s people in their dioceses. It is the way of teaching God’s people that they are supposed to stand for the great defense of God’s law, morality, Decalogue. No priest can say today that these are not his matters. The Divine Kingdom is endangered by satan, is suffering from the violence from dark powers. And therefore it should become a challenge for us.
Together with Benedict XVI we are waiting for a new pope, a new Successor of St. Peter. We will be looking at the unusual and clear eyes of the Holy Father who enjoys the blessing of Jesus Christ: ‘The blessed of clear hearts as they will see God’ (Mt 5.8).
Pope Benedict XVI understands the signs of time for the Church with his look of clear heart. He will surely have a grace of intercession in his prayer to Christ for a good pope as his successor. We will be waiting for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and will be praying together in the Cardinals’ Collegium. The Holy Father gives us hope that Lord will come and reveal his will. Lord will strengthen his Church.