Anna Cichobłazińska talks with archbishop Marek Jędraszewski, the metropolitan of Łódź, the vice-chairperson of the Polish Episcopal Conference, a member of the Vatican Congregation of Catholic Education

ANNA CICHOBŁAZIŃSKA: – Archbishop, Poland is in a particular geopolitical situation, within European structures, in which law concerning all citizens is created. The last statement connected with EU gender ideology programs force us to ask a question about responsibility of our representatives in the structures of the European Union, European Parliament for law made there. After all, many people admit to their faith. How to understand it?

ARCHBISHOP MAREK JEDRASZEWSKI: – Before I answer Your question, I will refer to a meeting in Trewira, which took place a dozen years ago, in 1998. At that time I was a young bishop. I was asked by bishop Piotr Libera, the general Secretary of the Polish Episcopal Conference at that time, to participate in the symposium held just in this old beautiful city, remembering the Roman times, among the others of Ambrozy, Helena, Konstancujsz and Constantine the Great. The symposium was devoted to the problem of widening Europe by countries of the former Ostblock. It was still before finalization of talks about accession of Poland to the European Union. There was not the Constitution of the European Union yet in its present form, and the situation of membership of Poland looked different than today. We were joining the Union which soon after changed the rules of the game. At that time I said in a wide report (the second report was by cardinal Walter Kasper, bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, and later appointed by John Paul II to Rome), that the current situation reminds a situation of Poland from before a thousand years. At that time Mieszko I had a dilemma: join the structures of the western world of that time under the condition of accepting baptism, so, under the condition of religious character, or not. It was a political decision. I will add that here I do not want to exclude his motivation of religious character. There are such historic works which say that Mieszko I got to know Christianity at one moment of his life and he started to believe in God. His decision about accepting baptism was undertaken despite the elites of the country of Polan, elites which were pagan and on whom he somehow imposed Christianity for personal reasons of religious character. So, the decision of Mieszko I reminded the situation and the decision of Constantine the Great in this respect, who, through the Edict of Milan granted believers of Christian religion the citizen right in the Roman Empire, putting the end to persecutions of the Christians lasting for nearly three centuries, and also giving a new course of history of Europe and the world. His decision resulted from a religious vision which he had at night before a battle with Maksencjusz at Mulwijski bridge, the vision in which he saw the cross in the sky and the inscription under it: ‘You will win in this sign’. I do not exclude that a similar situation of religious character could have had place in the case of Mieszko I, which is very important also in the light of forthcoming 1050th anniversary of the baptism of Poland. He was an excellent ruler. He was given the conditions: he could join the structures of civilization and western culture if he and his country accepted baptism.

– And he accepted it with great consequences of this decision…

– Yes. Thanks to it he became one of those powerful rulers of Europe who used to meet with an emperor to make decisions about its shape. As a result, Poland became a foothold of Christian missions going further to the east – to the Prussians…Now, returning to this symposium in Trewira, from which I started answering your previous question. I said: at present thousand years after Mieszko’s decision, joining the European structures, we return to our place in Europe. Nobody puts any conditions of ideological character to us, under which we have this membership, which has belonged to us for over a thousand years, and which was lost after decisions made in Jalta in 1945, and now gained. Today I am not so naïve and some statements in this respect should be formulated very carefully. However, it is true that I do not know what conditions were presented to Polish negotiators at that time, as it concerns opening up of Poland to some ideologies of liberal and neo Marxist character. And, after all, they were very strong and influential in the West after the year 1968. They also decided and they still decide about the ideological shape of the European Union. It turned out to be so in the first years of XXI century. John Paul II supported the accession of Poland to the European Union, thinking that it would become a spark of new Christian powers, which would change the image of Europe. Whereas now, it turns out that we are more and more dependent on the EU law which in its ideology is often anti-Christian in which there is no place for God, starting with the European constitution. It is reflected in particular EU programs which in their contents are truly leftist and which are entering Poland through the back door, like the program of sexualization of pre-school children. The Polish country accepts them – if not directly, then indirectly. There are questions if it must accept them – on what principles, which does not oblige us to it from the legal point of view and, if we have any strength to oppose to it. Strength as the Polish country, but also strength which is represented by Polish parliamentarians in the European Parliament.

– Making law in it….

– And here there is another problem. A few months ago in ‘Gość Niedzielny’ there appeared an interview with the chief of the Christian Democrats in the European Parliament, Joseph Daul, the chairperson of the European People’s Party since 2013. The interview shows that it is difficult to speak about real Christian Democrats in the European Parliament. These are rather representatives of some political parties which, despite its name ‘Christian-democratic party’ or ‘people’s party’, rejected Christianity, in fact, long time ago. Their representatives do not see, for example, any moral problem in abortion or euthanasia. They do not see that anthropology is connected with Christianity, that is a kind of vision of the human being if we consider the world of values. This international party of Christian Democrats within the European Parliament includes also the Civic Platform, which in its programs and attitudes, is hardly considered as a Christian-democratic party. So, what EU law can be made by these people? This is again a rhetoric question. Here we find an answer to why it is happening so in Europe and also in our country. Here there is a big confusion of matter, first in reference to what it means to be Christian democrats in the West, and next, what it means to take place in the European Parliament under the name of the Christian-democratic party, if there are many votes in so many important issues for Christianity, as if one was from the purely liberal or socialistic party. Naturally, it entails the question who really represents the Polish nation, being mostly Christian, in the European Parliament.

– But the social knowledge on this issue is very little…

– That is true. There is lack of knowledge concerning Christian anthropology. There is also lack of education about political life in the best sense of this word, that is, very few people pursues politics as a care about the common welfare in the dimension of social and national life. In this context there are such unfashionable terms as, for example, patriotism or history. As the nation and country we are losing historic politics, starting with school, as well as on the level of international relationships. For example, we cannot enforce from German press to stop write about ‘Polish’ concentration camps. It is also bad in Poland. How to explain the situation that many inhabitants from Łódź, also priests, do not know what he concentration camp for Polish children was, in which a dozen thousand of them were killed? Beside Łódź on the area of the whole Third Reich there was not a similar concentration camp created only for children. Tragedy of memory loss is being done in our eyes. Tragedy of separating us from our roots and creating thoughtless electoral mass which will follow every flashy motto.
On the anniversary of another tragic event for Łódź – shooting and burning alive over 1500 Poles in the prison in Radogoszcza at night of 17 and 18 January 1945, a dozen hours before the entrance of the Red Army – I had sanctified a remembrance table in the cathedral in Łódź. Exactly at the same time the youth getting prepared for the secondary school leaving examination was having fun in the centre of the city. One of local newspapers informed with triumph: ‘Even the bad weather did not spoil the secondary school graduates their fun. As usually, they were dancing polonaise on Piotrowska street’. What they were doing was approved by the stewards of the city present in this event. And this date should be inscribed in the calendar of Łódź as a day of particular reflection and seriousness. The city authorities, headteachers of schools and teachers decided that it would be better to have fun on this day…

– We cannot learn on the basis of painful experiences. We are still making the same mistakes which touch our children…

– Because it is not completely true that history is the teacher of life. We have had so many hard lessons and hardly have we drawn any conclusions from it from the future. We are contaminated by the original sin. However, we must want to learn but in order to want to learn, we must know history.

– And we must be open to knowledge, not only base on a sentence of uncertain authorities.

– After all, the people in the government do not mean reliable knowledge at all, nor a wise citizen, but only a citizen who will easily succumb to propaganda. Its mechanisms are more and more subtle, and, unfortunately, more and more effective. How far it is to those methods which in the 30s of the last century were used by Hitler or Stalin. And they achieved through propaganda really a lot.


"Niedziela" 20/2014

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