Page 10, 15th January 1982

15th January 1982
Page 10
Page 10, 15th January 1982 — 'Let us preserve hope; process of renewal has begun'

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Organisations: United Nations
Locations: Jerusalem, Warsaw


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'Let us preserve hope; process of renewal has begun'

BELOVED sisters and brothers, the Holy Day of Epiphany or manifestation of the Lord as it is presented by liturgical texts makes us aware not only of the ideal of the Church's universality, concentrated in the Light which is Christ, but also the idea of the community of all peoples of the world. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, who saw glorious Jerusalem, and riches flowing to it from abroad, multitude of camels (words indistinct) show that that dream of mankind about the great family of nations (as received).

The dreams continue to persist among mankind and have found diverse organisational forms. Today, we are at the stage of the UN, which has the task of coordinating aspirations and the defence of peace and justice among nations, the organisation which continues to be the hope of mankind and at the same time a sign of weakness, because what can the UN achieve in the face of real international threats? Some of those threats are in the shape of an internal break up of many nations, others come from deep and sharp tensions between hostile nations and blocs within the world of unity, the Pope teaches in his message to mark the 15th World Day of Peace.

Evangelical universality, despite being far from full realisation, nevertheless has placed us in the family of nations. Not only the language of technology is understood, because we are able to use apparatus regardless of who manufactured it, provision of telecommunications, and road regulations are common throughout the world, not to mention cultural achievements, which have become the property of mankind. More and more there comes to the fore the feeling of human solidarity, mainly demonstrated by food aid. Earthquakes, epidemics, floods, martial law, evoke among people a wave of compassion from which comes selfless aid.

In our hardships we are experiencing a great deal of charitable aid which is born primarily from a Christian sense of love for one's neighbour. I fear that we are not sufficiently aware of the nameless sacrifices made by people outside Poland in order to help us. The food aid most frequently organised has its prayerful preparation. A agreat many people are praying for Poland. Expressions of community in prayer are being sent by the bishops of the whole world, with a special position being occupied by the French and Italian Episcopates. Mrs Senator Fanfani who is present here, is an example of the brotherly feelings being shown us by the Italians. Thanks to the sense of community with other nations, we do not feel ourselves isolated in our need and in our afflictions. What are these afflictions of ours? I draw attention to three afflictions which call for the definition of a personal moral attitude. They are: martial law: the internment of many persons, which is being prolonged: and dismissals from work for ideological reasons.

The state of martial law. A state of martial law brings with it the necessity for moral

reflection-. On the day that state was introduced I appealed fervently for the maintaining of calm, so as not to allow the shedding of fraternal blood. This could not be avoided altogether. We are pained by the fact that several miners were killed and that there were other deaths, which occurred indirectly in connection with the introduction of martial law. We thank God that there was no more head-on clash.

The appeal for respect for the life of every Pole, for no one to be put in danger of losing his life and the life of others is binding in conscience on every Pole and even more so on every Catholic. A Catholic is not permitted to react to force with force, or with preparing revenge. There are other Gospel ways of reacting to a wrong than endangering life through a quick temper. A quick temper may bring revenge and that revenge more revenge. Revenge is the worse way of setting wrongs right.

There is yet another moral problem linked with the state of martial law: impatience. Many people ask: how is it that we are constantly hearing about the returning stabilisation, about calm, about a lack of strikes and in spite of this, instead of alleviation of social rigours, they seem to have got more acute. This observation gives rise to impatience. This is understandable because, after all, we are expecting calm and normalisation. What can be done, however, when the facts do not fulfil our expectations? Let us ask ourselves what are the lessons of history. For Warsaw a state of martial law is nothing new. Martial law was proclaimed for the first time on 14 October 1861. All churches in Warsaw were closed. It was the new Archbishop, God's servant (rferlinski), who restored the churches to their use as places of worship, but even that did not calm the surging crowds and led to the tragedy of the January Uprising and to the expulsion by the authorities of the blessed Archbishop, who, after 16 months' work in Warsaw, never returned to it alive. The second state of martial law was introduced on 10 November 1905. It was not lifted until the outbreak of the first world war. I will not embark on an analysis of the situation of those times. Suffice it to recall that, in our national coming to maturity, we have experiences which should teach us patience.

Let us move on to the moral problems connected with internment. Allow me to share with you my personal observations made during my pastoral visit to the prison for women in Olszynka Grochowska, where the women who have been interned are accommodated.

As teleptiones were not functioning I was unable to notify anyone about my arrival in advance. The prison administration conducted itself courteously. I was able to visit all the cells. I heard confessions from some of the women and I was able to celebrate Holy Mass in a corridor for everybody. I realise that not all the places of internment are of the Warsaw standard. information has been received that difficulties are being placed in the way of priests on pastoral visits. The regulations binding the internees are severe. Much depends on the cultural standards and humanity of the warders and on the inmates themselves. Guards, on the whole, are better disposed to prisoners who have already been convicted and are resigned to and adjusted to life in prison, than to rebellious, interned intelligentsia.

The Church spares no effort to provide pastoral and charitable assistance. There is active in Warsaw a relief committee which organises acts of intervention with a view to securing the release of the internees; this has brought some results. The delivery of food and clothing parcels is also being organised. It is my opinion that such committees consisting of both clergy and law people are active, or at least should be active, in every diocese.

However, it is much more difficult to obtain pastoral access to persons for whom acts of indictment have been issued. We realise that charitable and pastoral assistance has only limited affect as regards the alleviation of the hardships and sufferings of the persons interned. These sufferings have accumulated greatly. I would like to go over to the moral problem of the attitude adopted in suffering. When I visited the place of internment for women in the company of two priests the wardresses, on the whole, behaved discreetly, yet in the case of three of the halls the doors that had been unbolted for us remained wide open and a uniformed woman stood on the threshold observing the inmates and the Primate. We then noticed how hostile was the attitude between these women — the ones in uniform and those in the halls. They don't know each other. They have not yet even had the chance to inflict personal wrongs on each other and their attitude is already hostile. On the one hand, the fear that the inmates are dangerous persons. On the other hand, contempt for this woman in uniform, for she represents power.

This division observed on the threshold of the prison cell spreads to broader and broader social circles and bears moral implications within itself'. We would not like to see a society divided into authorities which order and compel and subjects who are silent and hate. For after all, on the one side and on the other, are children of the same nation. In the case observed here they are wives and mothers concerned about their families. What resentment brought about this division?

Work dismissals: The majority of the questions directed to the Church concern how the citizen, and especially the Catholic, ought to behave in the face of insistence and persuasion that he sign declarations and statements with whose contents he disagrees. The demand to sign declarations with various contents, and especially about leaving Solidarity, are being extended to wider and wider circles of employees and, in cases of refusal, cause them to be dismissed from their jobs. The extraction of such statements is unethical. People have a conflict of conscience.

On the one hand, a sense of personal dignity, respect for one's own convictions, guaranteed by many documents of national and international law; and on the other hand, the sanction of unemployment and being condemned to inactivity, as well as the consciousness of depriving the country of a qualified worker, for only people with character — that is valuable people — have problems of conscience. Conscience is a very personal sanctuary. Not even God constrains the conscience. But he will judge us finally in accordance with our conscience. So in this case the Church too cannot impose its solutions.

Nevertheless, a few remarks that may be a help in solving one's own problems of conscience.

First of all I would recall the clear principle also respected by our civil code that statements of intent made under compulsion are involved. The dispositions of the code can be by-passed here, for the persuasion applied need not fall under the category of compulsion. It is a matter of dis

crimination and an ideological context. Personal honour remains, the preservation of one's dignity and one's full personality.

Can these values be sacrificed? Are there no higher values than personal honour'? To answer this question I shall quote from an address by Cardinal Wyszynski. Here are the words of the late Primate of Poland. "We hear so often the sentence: it is a beautiful and glorious thing to die for the homeland, but it is sometimes more difficult to live for the homeland. One can, in a heroic gesture, give one's life in the field of battle, but this is short duration. It is sometimes a greater heroism to live, endure, hold out for years on end and work."

I would not like to be the advocate of Wallenrodism [scheming the ruin of an enemy under the guise of loyaltyl of Machiavellianism. We have before us the homeland, a great and holy one. We cannot shape the image of the homeland within us on the basis of martial law. The image of the homeland must be shaped out of the historical wealth since the times of Mieszko I [first crowned Polish king] until the times of John Paul II. The whole of the middle of these historical brackets is filled in a manner understandable for the faithful, by the Mother of God, the Queen of Poland, whose Jasna Gora Jubilee we have started this year. The homeland in today's format means the 36,000,000 people on the Vistule and those several millions outside Poland's borders. This is the value for which it is necessary to live and make sacrifices.

In particular the younger generation needs fine people to bring them up, people of upright character. I know that I haven° right to demand heroism from anyone. The degree of moral responsibility among the public professions varies. It is my opinion that the greatest moral responsibility lies on teachers and pedagogues. Therefore, it is to you, teachers, that I direct my ardent request: do not abandon the young people. Be with them and watch over their prudence, prevent acts of madness.

My dearest ones, just as I fervently entrusted your cause, on December 13, 1981, to the Mother of God in Warsaw, thus today I renew. this plea. Let us trust Her. Our loyalty and trust constitute the greatest gift for her Jubilee. Mary teaches us faith in Jesus Christ, whosaid of Himself: have trust, I have overcome the world.

Allow me to conclude with quotation of the words of the late Primate of Polaad who, on 24 January 1981, said: 'Let us, preserve hope because the process of renewal has begun. Although, as I see it, it will be slow and difficult, although it will have is complications, nevertheless this process has begun. If not one person, then anotier will take up the torch, but the process of broadening the freedom of the people and of awakening the awareness of nationd consicence has already commenced; it ha seed cast into the ground which will yield fruit a hundredfold.

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