On the last Sunday of every month, following Cardinal-Primate Péter Erdő’s unique, personal like introductory speech, Radio Kossuth broadcasts portrait interviews with the IEC guest speakers. This Sunday Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki was talking about the improvement of his faith life and the dominant chapters, locations that of. The influence of the community Stanisław Gądecki had belonged to as a child and later as a young person meant a crucial factor when deciding on his future vocation. “Looking back to my life path, I’m convinced that I’ve had a touch for the clergy since the beginning of time. Serving as an altar boy, the Holy Sacrament, confession, and the way of the sacraments, somehow everything was circling around the Church. Far more than around any other institution.” - as he recalled these times.
The Archbishop has also been the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference since 2014. The challenges, the burdens that came along with his duty helped him a lot to understand and to become even more familiar with all the struggles of the clergy’s prominent members who had to stand up to a dictatorial system. He also talked about his visits to the graves of both József Mindszenty and the Croatian Alojzije Stepinac. He was of the view that given their mentality and their creed they were very close to each other.
“They both were absolutely loyal to the Catholic discipline and the Catholic teaching. Cardinal Mindszenty was an extraordinary person, since, in response to the communism and the communist government’s one-party system, he set up an ecclesiastical one-party system, to be more specific: no bishop had the right to make a statement on political and social matters, only the Cardinal was allowed to speak. Thanks to this he was able to maintain a certain balance. And many listened to him.”
“That time we were totally unaware of all this, and after a long time only, when we were more and more involved in various clerical issues, did we realize what he had gone through and what a great pressure he had been under. And I’m not only thinking of his years in prison, but for the afterwards, when he needed to face a permanent, so-called communist resistance. And he had to put up with that.” - added Archbishop Gądecki.
On the elimination of the Christian self-awareness
The talks touched on Cardinal Wyszyński as well. He was the one having negotiations with the communist authorities, standing up for the Church against the aims of the oppressive power. The Polish Cardinal encouraged Stanisław Gądecki to begin his studies in Rome. In the interview Gądecki also broached the impacts that the election of Pope John Paul II triggered on the Polish political processes. The Archbishop underlined that it was the Polish Pope who began to explain the Christian anthropology in an approach that was far closer to the people than any of the other theological essays.
The threat of secularization
Alike to the communist era, Church leaders still have many challenges to cope with, as it has unravelled from the interview. The Archbishop is of the view that an increase in secularisation is to be expected. “It seems to me that both the Polish and the foreign left-wing forces are focusing on developing a second Ireland from us. Alike it has been done earlier in the very strong Catholic Ireland, just to cut out Christianity from the Polish self- awareness.” – said the Archbishop.
“An intensive brainwashing is going on”
Stanisław Gądecki illustrated everything he experiences with his usual openness. “A Church focused, extended and intensive brainwashing may have its results. Poland is going through in such a period. Thus our foremost necessity is having courage.” – said the Archbishop, then added: “As a first step we should encourage Polish people.” He even moved further: “More than 92 percent of the Polish people have been baptized, but this does not mean that the majority is courageous. Most of them are just nodding at the Church, and let’s say, are happy of having someone who takes care and protects this Catholic teaching, but they would not take it personally. Current protests that have appeared following the decision of the Polish Constitutional Court, make it very clear that the entire teaching does not really mean anything for most of the people.”
Another issue has also been raised by the Archbishop, the protection of life that is completely incomprehensible for this minority. “It is obvious for them of having an abortion on request, at any time and under any circumstances. And this clearly illustrates the situation that despite all the school Bible lessons and the preaching, this cultural-media push is extremely strong. Moreover these pushy steps are pouring out non only through the television broadcasts, but via the smartphone-virtual world as well. In turn, people pick all these as being sharp-witted, since they can have access to the news.” – stated Stanisław Gądecki. He is of the opinion that Polish people are permanently confused by news, movies and television series. He explained alike: “Our situation is far worse than it has ever been in the time of the Apostles. In those days the entire world was religious, everyone had his own God.”
On the cultural Catholicism
The Archbishop shared his thoughts on the so-called cultural Catholicism. “This is a sort of Catholicism, the person is physically present in the church, but nothing is drawn from, thus leaves and remains the same as before.” – was explained in the interview.
Stanisław Gądecki also put up the very obvious question, also an issue of the interview, how the Church has to handle this phenomena. A conclusion has been made: “It cannot be said that the cultural Catholicism is a sort of garbage and should be expelled from the churches, so that only saints are left in, who would not be too many.” He also added that the Eucharistic Congress has a special position to make the mind work on the Eucharist’s life-giving role in Christian people’s life. The Archbishop spoke about the left-wing’s dangerous impacts on the culture, and that evangelization is our top priority duty, since the Church’s deepest meanings hide within the Evangelization.
Photo: Zita Merényi, Magyar Kurír