VOICES FROM VATICAN
‘Niedziela’ was accompanying Polish bishops during the visit ‘Ad limina apostolorum’ giving reports on pages of their newspapers and on Internet on website www.niedziela.pl about the meetings of particular bishops’ groups with the pope Francis and visits in Vatican offices, and, first of all, prayer meetings at the tombs of the Apostles and in Roman basilicas. We publish fragments of bishops’ statements which were collected by Fr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik from ‘Niedziela’
IN PATERNAL ATMOSPHERE
Archbishop Józef Kowalczyk, primate of Poland
I am glad that the Holy Father creates the paternal atmosphere like John Paul II used to do it. Without any distance, without stress, without Byzantium-like style. When I was introducing the group, the Holy Father said: ‘Sit down, let’s sit peacefully, we have nothing to be nervous about or be emotional. We speak about particular things which interest us’. The Holy father asked about the catechesis of adults and administering the sacrament of reconciliation. He also admitted that his presenting mercifulness is connected with sister Faustyna Kowalska. The Pope also thanked me, the Primate of Poland, for the gift of the Polish Pope for the whole world.
IN THE ATMOSPHERE OF HONESTY
Archbishop Józef Michalik, the chairman of the Polish Episcopal Conference
Pope Francis creates the atmosphere of honesty, closeness and direct contact, he listens willingly, asks questions concerning both the life of priests, convents and the life of the Church in Poland. He shared his remarks with us about difficulties and problems of the outer world and he finished the meeting with a very interesting statement that today the world is ill and deeply hurt, we see attacks on morality, we see the crisis of families and inter-human relationships. He also spoke about the fact that it is necessary to proclaim Divine Mercifulness to people.
SO THAT WE WOULD BE WITNESSES OF JESUS IN TODAY’S WORLD
Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, Kraków
Today, at the tomb of the Apostle Peter, at the tombs of the blessed and soon the saint Successors of Peter – John XXIII and John Paul II, we renew our personal faith. We renew our personal desire and promise of serving to Jesus Christ and His matter for which He had come onto the earth. Let’s pray for those who hold the authority in our country, so that they would govern in a wise way ,in the spirit of service. Let’s pray for Europe so that it would remain faithful to its Christian roots. Let’s pray for our brotherly Ukrainian nation.
POPE FRANCIS LEARNT A LOT FROM POLISH SAINTS
Bishop Wojciech Polak, the secretary of the Polish Episcopal Conference
Our meeting with the Holy Father was in a very brotherly atmosphere. Having greeted every bishop the Holy Father first listened to a report of the Priest Primate concerning this part of Poland, from which we had arrived as the first group of bishops, that is, from the metropolis of Gniezno, Poznań and Łódź and the Greek-Catholic. Later a talk started. First the Pope spoke very cordially about the testimony of Poles’ faith, he also pointed to the testimony of the saints. He emphasized that Poland is the country in which the saints are an example for others. And later there was a talk about many aspects which had had been presented by the Primate Józef Kowalczyk in his speech. The Holy Father asked about the catechesis of adults, he also asked about administering the sacrament of reconciliation and repentance and if many people use these sacraments in Poland. He, certainly, mentioned the formation of priests to administer this sacrament. The Holy Father said that he owed a lot to the saints, especially he had learnt a lot from sister Faustyna Kowalska. Pope Francis mentioned that she is an important person for him, because he inspired his bishop call with the message of Divine mercifulness.
IN THE SENSE OF BROTHERHOOD
Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski, Łódź
Our meeting with the Holy Father was full of much cordiality and sense of brotherhood. One could feel that brothers in episcopate, responsible for their dioceses, had arrived to the Holy Father. However, it is a meeting which is inscribed in the common reflection on the situation of the Church in the whole world, and, certainly in reference to the situation of the Church in Poland, presented very widely in the introductory report of the Primate.
CHRIST’S CHURCH WILL LAST TILL THE END OF THE WORLD
Bishop Wiesław Mering
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi is a cardinal really living with the matters of culture, wanting to save what is the most important in culture, that is, in our understanding –Christian values. Priest Cardinal was answering our persistent questions with much calmness and this calmness filled in us. We left this meeting in the Papal Council for Culture as if we were stronger, with more hope that these leftist trends would appear but they would also disappear sooner or later. Whereas Christ’s Church will last till the end of the world.
WE GAINED A LOT FROM THE PURE SOURCE OF THE CHURCH
Bishop Andrzej Jeż, Tarnów
We are very happy with auxiliary bishops that we could – following the thought of John Paul II from ‘Roman triptych’ – return nearly up to the stream, to the source of apostolic succession, meeting not with the very Holy Father Francis, the successor of St. Peter. We could gain a lot from the pure source of the Church, because the closer it is to the source, the cleaner water is. It is important that we experienced paternal welcome as if the Holy Father embraced us.
CHURCH IN POLAND PRAYS FOR THE POPE
Archbishop Stanisław Budzik, Lublin
We had an occasion to participate in the general audience on Wednesday. The Holy Father welcomed the delegation of the Episcopate very cordially and expressed his hope that this visit would bring good and rich fruits for the Church in Poland. We had already had an occasion to talk to him and assure about our prayer. The Holy Father really needs our prayer. I assured him that the Church in Lublin prays in his intention, also the Church in Poland supports him in prayer and I think that also the fruits of this visit ‘Ad limina apostolorum’ depend on this prayer.
CLOSE TO BELIEVERS
Archbishop Józef Kupny, Wrocław
Pope Francis, with his pontificate, introduces the style of the Latin-American Church in which it is important to be close to believers, come out to people. He notes that artificial and untrue is contrasting Polish bishops to the pope. This problem does not concern only Poland. He helped us realize the fact that it is similar in other countries. Whereas at the tombs of the Apostles we experience every day the fact that we are unity. The attempts to contrast Francis with his predecessors are illegitimate. When we look at the teaching of the last popes, we notice that the teaching of Francis is very similar: God is in his centre, and the fact of getting to know Christ and life with Him is the source of great joy.
ABOUT EXORCISMS AND SACRAMENT OF REPENTANCE
Bishop Stefan Regmunt, Zielona Góra, Gorzów
Exorcisms and sacrament of reconciliation – are only a few of issues discussed by bishops in the Congregation for God’s Cult and Sacrament Discipline. Today we see a more frequent phenomenon based on praxis of exorcisms administered before the Holy Mass. There were also discussions about issues of sacrament of reconciliation, that during a confession there are often attempts of including third parties in it, who prepare those who have not had a long contact with the sacrament of repentance. The Cardinal Prefect said that there are so-called inner matters for which we should not allow any third parties. Whereas, as far as it is concerned, further preparation, pointing to some matters connected with the essence of the sacrament, then the third parties can participate in it. But it cannot be opening the conscience of somebody - it can only be done by people entitled to administer the sacrament of repentance.
PREPARE THE WORLD YOUTH DAYS WELL
Bishop Damian Muskus, Kraków
During the general audience I asked the Holy Father for blessing for me and everybody who are engaged in organizing the World Youth Days in 2016 in Kraków. The Holy Father gave this blessing with great joy and told me in the end: ‘Preparibene’ (Prepare it well), with a big smile and hope that the World Youth Days in Kraków will be well-prepared and, first of all, will bring blessed fruits.
THE MATTER OF BEATIFICATION OF THE ULMÓW FAMILY
Bishop Mieczysław Cisło, Lublin
Today, as the chairman of the Episcopal Council for Religious Dialogue, I and other bishops participated in a meeting with cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran. Within the meeting I presented the matter of the beatification process of the Ulmów family from the diocese of Przemyśl. Somebody denounced them, which resulted in killing eight people, including a pregnant mother, by the Germans. At the moment there is a beatification process on the level of the Congregation of Canonization Matters. I asked cardinal Tauran to support this matter – he is responsible for an interreligious dialogue. In fact cardinal Kurt Koch, the chairman of the Papal Council for Supporting Christians’ Unity is responsible for a dialogue with Judaism, but the activity of these two Vatican institutions somehow overlaps. I visited cardinal Koch last year during a meeting of the responsible in the Episcopal Conference and there I also touched on the issue of Poles saving the Jews in extraordinary circumstances. In Poland helping the Jews was subject to death penalty. It was not only a threat but in many cases executions were done. Therefore, I thank Fr. prof. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik for documentation of this problem.
HOW THE HOLY FATHER SERVED TO A GUEST FROM GDAŃSK
Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź, Gdańsk
When I was finishing my presentation, the Holy Father told me: ‘Would Your Excellency like to drink some water, because your throat is ailing…’. I answered: Yes, please. And the Holy Father jumped off his seat – I followed him – he went to another end of the room, opened a door of a cupboard and took out a bottle of water. He picked up a plastic mug, gave it to me and both of us went back through the hall to the place of the meeting with bishops. I said: - Thank you, Holy Father for this Samaritan glass of water. We were treated in a paternal way by the Holy Father. Finally, we sang this Polish song: ‘How happy whole Poland is/where the glory of Mary is blooming./ From the Baltic sea to the peaks of the mountains/ our country is covered by Her coat./ Our Lady, the Queen of Poland,/Oh our Lady, Our Lady of Częstochowa’. And I said to the Holy Father: ‘There are still five more verses, but we will leave it for another time’.
THIS IS NOT CONTROL, BUT EXCHANGE OF GIFTS
Bishop Antoni Pacyfik Dydycz, Drohiczyn
This visit is – both for the ‘headquarters’ and for the space in which this all is being done – a refreshing exchange of gifts, not control which we might imagine. We are bringing these gifts to you, from all Catholics in Polish dioceses. Because a bishops is not coming for this visit from himself but from all people: from the youth, from children and from this youth who looks at the Church in various ways, from parents, from the healthy and the ill, from farmers and workers, from nuns, from priests – so that, via the Holy See, he could share it with the whole Christian Church.
WITH PEOPLE EVERY DAY
Bishop Wiesław Lechowicz, Tarnów
The Holy Father has shared our care about Polish emigrants living abroad. In this context, the Pope recalled the history of the emigrants who died in waters of the coast of Lampedus. He also gave an example of archbishop Konrad Krajewski who had been accompanying rescuers for the whole day with great devotion, in pulling out bodies of the drowned and blessing them. This example of accompanying and being in such tragic moments encouraged all rescuers and police officers to come to the holy confession. The Holy Father used this example in order to show that priests should accompany people in each circumstance of our life. By the way, I would like to thank editors of ‘Niedziela’ that they are interested in the issue connected with pastoral ministry among polish emigrants. There are often article on the pages of ‘Niedziela’ which are connected with the pastoral ministry of the Polish emigration or with the life of Poles and Polish Diaspora abroad.
IN VATICAN THEY KNOW OUR PROBLEMS
Bishop Roman Pindel, Bielsko-Biała
Pope Francis knows very well what problems of emigrants are because as he noted himself, he comes from the family of Italian emigrants. The Pope grew up in Argentina but his grandmother cultivated Italian language and religiousness. I mentioned problems about which I know are worrying Poles being abroad and it was seen that Pope knew it from autopsy, from his own experience or experience of the Italians who also for economic reasons have been travelling abroad for some time.
VOICES OF BISHOPS ARRIVED FROM VATICAN THANKS TO ‘NIEDZIELA’
Archbishop Wacław Depo, Częstochowa
I would like to thank the editor-in-chief of ‘Niedziela’ Fr. inf. Ireneusz Skubiś for the idea of sending Fr. Paweł to Rome. His contact with all Polish bishops from Poland who had arrived here with the visit ‘Ad limina apostolorum’, photographic reports and interviews broaden the spectrum of seeing this event. ‘Niedziela’ is a newspaper which has had a strong voice for many years in forming consciences and showing the reality of the Church. Therefore, I think that these interviews are very needed even by bishops to show a wide panorama of the Church. Certainly, the editions of ‘Niedziela’, of whom there are 19, present events from particular diocesan territories but it seems to me that the visit ‘Ad limina apostolorum’ showed that ‘Niedziela’ is one of the main newspapers which reliably pass the teaching of bishops. In the Council for Mass Media, speaking about the role of Catholic newspapers, I showed ‘Niedziela’ in the first place. Although there are difficult challenges in this respect, ‘Niedziela’ has its important place and an important mission to fulfill.
The comments were collected by Fr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik/‘Niedziela’