Artur Stelmasiak talks with archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, the Chair of the Polish Episcopal Conference

ARTUR STELMASIAK: - What is Archbishop going to take to the synod in Rome?

ARCHBISHOP STANISLAWGADECKI: - At the synod, I will represent the whole Polish Episcopate. I am taking a document which has been prepared on the basis of surveys carried out in all dioceses. I also have many opinions and tips which I received from the Council for Family of the Polish Episcopal Conference.

- Archbishop has got prepared so as to take a voice on behalf of the Polish Church at the synod. Are these opinions of only bishops and clergy?

- No. I gained opinions of nearly all pro-life and pro-family movements, associations. These are not only church or Catholic organizations, because I would like to represent everyone at the synod, who care about the good of the family.

- What will the extraordinary session of the synod deal exactly with?

- The first phase is devoted to the diagnosis of the contemporary family. We will also reflect on what the Christian family should be like, so that it could survive in the contemporary world. Another point will be a reflection on what the Church can do to improve the situation of families in the world and in particular countries.

- Sociologist studies show a kind of schizophrenics of Poles. On the one hand, families collapse more and more frequently, but on the other hand, we declare that family values are the most important for us.

- Yes, that is true. The family is in the first place among other values. Poles can speak negatively about everything, but never about the family. Indeed, all young people want to set up a happy and beautiful family.

- So, it is not so bad with our young generation?

- The desire is strong and we have got something to base on. However, it must be said clearly that today nearly all family values are questioned - marriage, having children, permanent family. The Church should go out towards people's expectations and do everything in these difficult times, in order to help in realizing the human desire for the family happiness.

- The Church has got a tested 'recipe' for the family happiness. Why don't people want to use it?

- Firstly, people do not know the teaching of the Church about the family. So, the situation is similar to the lack of knowledge about the Holy Scripture. It is like the lack of knowledge about the Gospel is the lack of knowledge about Christ, as well as the lack of knowledge about the teaching of the Church about the family is the lack of knowledge about the essence of the marriage sacrament.
Another difficulty is a mad attack on all values. Please, note TV serials which show a perverted picture of the family. This is the world in which betrayals, no chastity and divorces are a legal norm of behaviour. If a man lives in the anti-family culture, after some time, he starts following the shown kinds of behaviour.

- The pronouncement of cardinal Walter Kasper about the Eucharist for people living in non-sacramental couples given during a consistory, aroused a lot of debates. Should we expect any changes in the teaching of the Church?

- This is a marginal opinion in the Church. And although the problem of non-sacramental marriages will be discussed at the synod, it will not dominate the debates. Synod is going to deal with whole life of the family, and the matter of divorced people is only a small part of this reality. Besides, the teaching of St. John Paul II, to whom the synod refers, in this issue is clear and does not bring any doubts.

- But the attitude of some bishops is not so explicit. Won't the synod follow their opinion?

- There are opinions that it will be necessary to modify interpretations of the teaching of the Church, because the situation has diametrically changed. Most people of the Church, however, think that it is necessary to act even in opposition. The more the society is ill, the more it needs a real medicament.

- Does Archbishop expect any new pastoral tips after the synod?

- It is only the first phase of the synod. Now in Rome only the Chairs of Episcopates and secular auditors will be having debates. Our task is elaborating a starting point for further discussion on the family. Only when we meet in a bigger group next year, we will put a dot above the 'I'.

- The Synod is a clear signal for the world that the Church opts for the family.

- The Church has always opted for the family, because it has to. For, faith is passed in a community, and the most human community is the family. It is the family which is the natural environment for our development. If the family collapses, also all other forms of information and teaching faith are becoming unsteady.


„Niedziela” 40/2014

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