The second anniversary of the pontificate of Pope Francis and the themes of the 368th plenary meeting of the Conference of the Polish Episcopate - Marriage, Help for persecuted Christians, bishops’ pilgrimage to Dachau - were the subject of the press conference which summed up the two-day meeting.
The General Secretary of the Polish Episcopate, Bishop Arthur Miziński spoke of the themes of the 368th KEP plenary meeting. The bishops heard five speeches to do with the family from a philosophical, theological, canon law perspective. The speeches highlighted that which is unchanging in Church teaching – the holiness, indissolubility and durability of marriage, which is a sacrament in the Catholic Church. The issue of divorced persons in new non-sacramental unions was discussed. This issue, much discussed in the media, raised the hopes of these people, however the Church looks to the voice, revealed and recorded in the pages of the Gospel and the revealing of marriage in the light of God’s revelation, regardless of the voice of the world – stressed bishop Mizinski.
The Secretary General of the Episcopate assured that the Church recognises the plight of people who can not have children, and shows compassion to marriages affected the problem. He emphasised that the method “in vitro” is not part of the treatment of infertility, but a completely different proposition, which is subject to moral judgment. And from the point of view of the moral teaching of the Church, “in vitro” fertilisation in humans is unacceptable.
The Church, therefore, will never agree to a moral compromise in this matter. Nevertheless, as stated by the General Secretary of the Espicate – in accordance with the teaching of the St John Paul expressed in the encyclical "Evangelium Vitae", when the hundred percent defence of Christian principles in legislation is not possible, catholics are obliged to aim to establish such laws that will be as close as possible to this teaching.
Therefore, recognising the need for regulation in this sphere, the Church reminds Catholic parliamentarians who participate in the legislative process, that they should strive to achieve the best possible law which would protect the good of the conceived child and the stability of the family, which should be the only environment in which a child can be conceived.
The General Secretary of the Episcopate stressed that the what matters to the Church is that it should not be utilitarian motives or other issues which prevail in the law that is proposed by the government which would decide that proposed law/bill would be extremely liberal, even compared to European Legislation. “We therefore appeal that, human life is protected from this initial moment, which is the moment of conception, to acknowledge both the good of the parents and of the child – he stressed.
The bishop added that it is worth remembering that there are other possible solutions to the tragedy of infertility, through adoption.
Bishop Mizinski, referring to the main theme of the bishops’ meeting, which is the proposal to grant Holy Communion to those divorced and living in new unions, said that the Church recognises the difficult plight of these people, but its position is expressed in seeking the Revealed Word which is written in the pages of the Gospel. “It is the revealing of Marriage in the light of Divine Revelation and not listening to the voice of the world to adapt the Gospel and Church Teaching to the changing cultural attitudes” he explained.
Also taking part in the conference were auxiliary Bishop Basil Yakobo of the Chaldean Rite and Fr Douglas Dawood, who were kidnapped by Islamic terrorists. The latter was tortured by his captors, but was able to survive.
Fr Dawood spoke about the tragic situation of the Christians in Iraq. “We are here not to complain, but to testify, that we profess one faith – said the priest. He spoke about the emigration of the Christians and about how hard it was take care of the refugees. He stressed, that thanks to the aid of Christians from around the world, the children did not have a missing year in their education.
The priest showed the shirt in which he was kidnapped, when they knocked out his teeth, broke his nose and bones. “Please help save my people” – appealed the priest.
Journalists, present at the conference, asked about the possibility of granting Holy Communion to the divorced. Archbishop Jędraszewski assured that the Polish Episcopate answer will remain faithful to the teaching of John Paul II, formulated in the Apostolic Exhortation "Familiaris Consortio". The Łódź Metropolitan also rejected the suggestion that the Pope Francis wants to liberalise this teaching, but rather encourages open discussion of the Synod Fathers, and does not seek to change the doctrinal principles. However, doctrine cannot be separated from pastoral care. - The Holy Father is not the creator of the principles that govern the Church – reminded Archbishop Jędraszewski. - He is not the creator of the doctrine, but its first guardian together with the whole episcopate.
The Łódź Metrropolitan also referred to the complaints of the feminist, to do with the sermon of abp Michalik. Responding to a journalist’s question he stated that it cannot be ruled out that in the future, themes of sermons would be played out in the law courts. He referred to the Pope Benedict XVI’s formulation about the dictatorship of the minorities. Every word, also that spoken in sacred environments, which is objected to by someone, will be the subject of court hearings. One can imagine such situations, but I hope it will not get to this and that the principle guaranteed by the Concordat and the Constitution of the separation of the Church and the State will be maintained of necessary co-operation between two autonomous entities having many common areas of common ground.
Archbishop Jedraszewski spoke also about Professor Chazan, who appealed the decsion of removing him as director of the Holy Family Hospital. Showing solidarity with him, is showing solidarity to the children already conceived, whose life someone wants to take – said the Łódź Metropolitan. The Church defends Life.