GIFT AND TASK
Fr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik talks with archbishop Wacław Depo- the metropolitan of Częstochowa and the chairman of the Council for Mass Media of the Polish Episcopal Conference
FR. PAWEŁ RYTEL-ANDRIANIK: – It was the first time when Archbishop had participated in the visit ‘Ad limina apostolrum’. Could Archbishop share his experiences with us?
ARCHBISHOP WACŁAW DEPO: - I am very grateful to God for these meetings at the apostolic tombs and with pope Francis, and, indeed, it was a gift for me to participate in this visit. It must be seen in the categories of a task of this year, which the Church in Poland is experiencing under the motto: ‘I believe in God’s Son’. Our faith in Jesus as a Redeemer is connected with faith in the Church and today the proclaimed motto: ‘Jesus – yes, the Church – no’ is on daily basis and not only in Western Europe but also in Poland. And it means that the Church is not understood in the categories of faith but a purely human institution. Here we can complement these forms of the article of faith, get convinced that faith in Jesus is also faith in the Church, that there is not the Church without Christ.
– When visiting various congregations and saying that Archbishop is from Częstochowa, does Archbishop perceive that this place is also close to those who work in Vatican?
– The first grace which I received when entering the meeting in the Congregation for God’s Cult and Sacrament Discipline, was the image of Our Lady of Częstochowa on the main wall on the right. I smiled that She had already preceded me there: I was there for the first time She had already been present there in our beloved image. On 5 February we were in the Papal Council for Pastoral Ministry for Health Service and there also appeared this accent of Mary and Jasna Góra thanks to archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski. Wherever we are, we see Her signs. On the same day, for example, in the Basilica of St. John in Lateran we saw Our Lady of Częstochowa in a side chapel. Mary’s cult is the soul of the Polish Catholicism and it must be acknowledged not only as heritage but multiplied by our way of trustfulness to God.
– Archbishop on behalf of the Polish Episcopal Conference is responsible for Catholic media. There has already been a meeting in the Papal Council for Mass Media. What message has been passed?
– The meeting with archbishop Claudio Maria Cellim, who presides this council was very constructive. We gave a report which concerned matters defined as a gift for the Church. There are, among the others, diocesan Catholic radio stations subordinated directly to bishops which with 19 places in Poland pass the truth connected with the evangelization and serve the missionary work of the Church. But it is also necessary to emphasize their significance for permanent formation of our believers.
Archbishop Celli also presented us with various statistics connected with social portals. Facebook, Twitter or generally Internet are a whole area to gain. In the net the freedom of choice of a particular radio station or a place depends on every man. And, therefore, here it is necessary to strengthen – what I always emphasize and will always emphasize – our prayer to the Holy Spirit. We should rely not only on our discernment but we should also ask for the light of the Holy Spirit in what we read, in what we watch so that we would be able to filter it. We must as the question: is it true, is it good and is it necessary? These are the sieves which should be considered when a man fulfills himself a particular content or a picture, and later he passes it to others. If we treat it only in the category of ‘consumption’ of this material, we may not discern where the truth is and where the lie is, where the good is and where the evil is.
We also considered the media formation connected with studies at universities such as the Catholic University of Lublin, University of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, or Papal University of John Paul II in Kraków and in the University of Social and Media Culture in Toruń.
In every place where we meet, the value and the task of Radio Maria and Television Trwam are emphasized,. There is a constant question what Poland would be like, what its inner form would be like today, if there was not this Catholic mass media. Here it is not all about dividing people into the better and the worse ones, but about the fact that everybody can use this mass media. However, we can see a kind of injustice towards the Father the Founder of these mass media who is still being strongly attacked – in satires, in these or other references. When his person is shown, it is a negative image. No one sees the whole of his evangelical works – radio, television, ‘Our Journal’ or the University of Social and Media Culture. It is the good which forms generations, which takes freedom and truth into its hands. Therefore, let’s thank God that we can develop and get prepared more professionally for ministry not for manipulation.
– We are in Rome, in the heart of Christianity. And pope Francis still says about peripheries. The Catholic weekly ‘Niedziela’ is - as the Chief Editor says – a vicar for a parish priest and spreads from the Baltic Sea to the peaks of the mountains. Certainly, it reaches also peripheries. What would Archbishop like to say readers of ‘Niedziela’?
– This emphasis that ‘Niedziela’ is an additional vicar for a parish priest or an additional auxiliary bishop for a bishop the Ordinary is right because it overcomes the darkness of propositions of massed secular publications of various political options. We are aware that Catholic publications are in the minority but every Catholic should ask the question: What do I do not to remain in the darkness? Our ‘Niedziela’ and other newspapers, including radio and television – are gifts which we should take into our hands. I remember the statement of St. Edyta Stein who said that God’s grace is something concrete, and I want concrete hands take it. I would say in this way: the next edition of the weekly ‘Niedziela’ or the next radio or television programmes are graces of a moment which passes – this is Christ who comes with this grace. And one day, we will be personally responsible for this gift if we have not wasted it – both people working in mass media and also their receivers.
– Does Archbishop like the Italian cuisine?
– I must admit that I prefer Polish cuisine, though. I accept the Italian cuisine only when I am here, in Italy and I do not quite like frutti di mare. I am impressed by the hospitality of Polish homes and Polish priests who welcome us here – either in the Institute or Collegium, and also in other places.