DAILY CATHOLIC     MONDAY     June 14, 1999     vol. 10, no. 114

THE POPE IN POLAND

On-going coverage of the Holy Father's marathon trip to his homeland

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POPE MEETS WITH POLISH PRESIDENT

Day in Warsaw included Greek Catholic Liturgy and Meeting with Jews

          WARSAW, JUN 11 (ZENIT).- Today John Paul II had the busiest schedule of official engagements so far in his marathon through Poland. The morning began with a courtesy call on president Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former communist of the Jaruzelski regime, who is now a Social Democrat. The meeting took place in the presidential palace.

          "These are extraordinary moments because the Pope is an extraordinary figure. Our talks are very open and sincere. We, spoke above all, about the situation in Poland and the world. The Holy Father is not just a figure of the Church; he is always very well informed on national and international issues. The meetings we have had are not courtesy talks but times to address fundamental issues," Kwasniewski clarified.

          Afterwards, the Pope had a historic encounter with the Polish Parliament, where he addressed the problem of liberty as a "gift" and a "task." (Cf. ZE99061102.)

          The Holy Father left the Parliament building after considerable delay. The popemobile was then submerged in the sea of humanity awaiting him on the capital's streets while he traveled the three kilometers to the Church of the Basilian priests of the Byzantine rite, where he celebrated a solemn Mass in memory of the Greek Catholic martyrs, victims of the Tsarist and later communist repression.

          The Holy Father had lunch with the Polish bishops. During his address, the Pope said "this visit in a certain sense is the crowning of the others."

          In the afternoon, John Paul II spent time in prayer at the Warsaw monument honoring the 300,000 Jews of the city's ghetto who were deported and exterminated during the Holocaust. The rabbi of Warsaw and the president of the Polish Jewish community joined him for the event. Their meeting made possible dialogue between the two religions. Later, the Pope visited the monument in memory of all those deported to Siberia, from the time of the Tsars until Stalin.

          The Holy Father then went to Warsaw's Cathedral, where he presided over the conclusion of the second national plenary synod. From the Cathedral he went to the University, where he blessed the library's new headquarters. ZE99061103

FIRST PAPAL ADDRESS IN NATIONAL PARLIAMENT

Appeals for Union of Entire European Continent

          WARSAW, JUN 11 (ZENIT).- John Paul II's visit to Poland continued to day with a historic address to the national Parliament. This is the only time in history that a Pope has been invited into the chambers of a legislative body. Both houses of the Polish Parliament were present, as well as representatives from the executive and judicial branches.

          In greeting the Pope, the presidents of both chambers referred to him as a person who "has contributed to return liberty to the nation."

          The issue of liberty was the Pope's chosen topic. He spoke about it as both a "gift" and a "task."

    Restored Liberty

          The Pope spoke first about "liberty as a gift." He recalled the prayer on the day of Pentecost in Warsaw during his first visit to Poland twenty years ago, when he prayed to the Spirit for the renewal of the land. "I thank the Lord of history for the changes which have taken place in Poland, for the witness of dignity and spiritual strength of all those who, in those difficult days, were one in their concern for human rights, in their sense that the life of our nation could be better, could be more human."

          The role of Solidarnosc in the transformation of Poland was reaffirmed with great clarity and effectiveness by the Holy Father. "We are all conscious that this meeting today in the Parliament would not have been possible had there not been the resolute protest of Polish workers on the Baltic coast in the unforgettable August of 1980. It would not have been possible without 'Solidarnosc,' which chose the way of peaceful struggle for the rights of man and of the nation."

          The Pope went on to say that " 'Solidarnosc' also adopted the principle - how universally accepted then! - that "there is no freedom without solidarity": without solidarity with others, the solidarity which overcomes all kinds of barriers of class, ideology, culture and even geography, as the memory of our Eastern neighbors could show."

    New Europe Truncated

          John Paul II pointed out that the "events of ten years ago in Poland created an historic opportunity for the continent of Europe, having abandoned ideological barriers once and for all, to find again the path toward unity." He recalled how on numerous occasions he has spoken of this plan for Europe, which he generally describes with the metaphor of the 'two lungs' with which Europe should breathe, bringing together the traditions of East and West. But, "instead of the expected joining of spirits, we are seeing new divisions and new conflicts."

          "Such a situation implies for politicians, as also for people of learning and culture, and for all Christians, an urgent need for new initiatives which might serve the integration of Europe," the Pontiff said.

    Liberty as Task

          Consequently, at this time liberty must be conceived as a responsibility, as it is necessary to construct a "just legal system, the foundation of which must always and everywhere be the human person, the full truth about man, his inalienable rights and the rights of the whole community that is the nation."

          The Holy Father added, "the exercise of political authority, whether in the community or in the institutions of the State, ought to be a generous service to man and to society, not a pursuit of gain by individuals or groups, disregarding the common good of the nation as a whole."

          The Pope received a standing ovation at the end of his address; all those present broke into a spontaneous rendition of the national anthem. ZE99061102

POPE REVEALS SECRET TO BUILD CIVILIZATION OF LOVE

Centenary of Humanity's Consecration to Sacred Heart

          WARSAW, JUN 11 (ZENIT).- John Paul II emphasized the extraordinary current importance of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in two documents written for the day dedicated to the greatest symbol of God's love for humanity.

          The first document commemorates the centenary of the consecration of humanity to the Heart of Jesus by Leo XIII on June 11, 1899. Today, the Pope signed the text in Warsaw.

          The second document is directed to Bishop Louis-Marie Billé, president of the French Episcopal Conference, on the occasion of the solemn celebration of the Sacred Heart at the shrine of Paray-le-Monial, a small town near Lyon where today thousands of pilgrims from all over France and other countries will congregate. It was in this town that St. Mary Margaret Alacoque had the vision that led to the institution of this devotion.

          In the message on the centenary of the consecration, the Holy Father explained that "from the Heart of the Son of God who died on the cross flows the perennial source of life, which gives hope to every man. From the Heart of the crucified Christ the new humanity is born, redeemed from sin. The man of 2000 needs the Heart of Christ to know God and to know himself, and to build the civilization of love."

          "While we prepare to celebrate the Great Jubilee of 2000, this centenary helps us to contemplate our humanity with hope, and to enter the third millennium illuminated by the light of the mystery of Christ," he added.

          The pontifical message sent to the pilgrims at the shrine of Saint Mary Margaret Alacoque recalls that a century ago, while consecrating humanity to the Heart of Jesus, Leo XIII "asked the Lord to be King of all the faithful, including those who have abandoned him and those who do not know him."

          The message to the pilgrims of Paray-le-Monial continues by recalling that "every soul that rises to God, also raises the world and mysteriously contributes to the salvation freely offered by the Heavenly Father."

          John Paul II concluded by inviting all the faithful to continue with their devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, "adapting it to our time" so that they will "not fail to receive its unfathomable riches." ZE99061105

POLISH RABBI APPEALS TO POPE ON AUSCHWITZ CROSS

          WARSAW (CWNews.com) - A leading Polish rabbi on Friday personally appealed to Pope John Paul II to call for the removal of a cross erected outside the Auschwitz Nazi death camp memorializing Catholic victims of the Nazis, as well as marking the Holy Father's visit to the site in 1979 to pray.

          Rabbi Menachem Joskowicz acknowledged the Polish government's and Catholic Church's efforts to remove hundreds of small crosses planted at the site by grassroots groups over the past year to prevent the removal of the original, large cross. But he said the remaining cross should also be removed, despite popular support for its presence. "I would like to ask the Pope to urge his people to take the last cross out of the camp so that Jews who come here can say their final prayer before dying," Joskowicz told the Holy Father when they met during ceremonies at the Polish parliament.

          A Vatican spokesman said the Pope would not intervene in what was a local matter, and Archbishop Tadeusz Goclowski said the country's bishops support keeping the 26-foot cross. "The position of the episcopate is clear," said Archbishop Goclowski. "The Papal cross yes, other crosses no."

          Jewish groups object to the presence of a Christian symbol at a site where more than 1 million Jews were killed, but Catholic groups contend that the cross is a fitting memorial for the thousands of Christians also killed in the camps by the Nazis.

HISTORIC PAPAL ADDRESS TO POLISH PARLIAMENT

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- In a historic address to the Polish parliament on June 11, Pope John Paul II expressed his joy at being able to appear at the place where "laws are formed on a durable basis for the functioning of a democratic state, within a sovereign society."

          The Pope's address--his first formal appearance before a national legislature--was a sign of John Paul's delight that a free and independent legislature was now functioning in his homeland, after years of Communist domination. Former Polish President Lech Walesa remarked to reporters, "Once we could not sing "God Bless Poland even in the churches, and now we are singing it in the parliament itself!"

          "It is not easy to build a new democratic order," the Holy Father told the lawmakers. He said that all effective laws must be based on two fundamental principles: "the promotion of the dignity of the person," and "the pursuit of the common good."

          "The concrete form in which freedom and democracy appear will depend on you," the Pope reminded his audience. He added that freedom is not only a gift" but also a "duty," and must be used in a responsible manner. He cautioned against the misguided belief that democratic pluralism must entail a form of "ethical relativism," warning that "a democracy without values can easily be transformed into an open or disguised form of totalitarianism."

          The Holy See has always hoped for the entry of Poland into the European Union, the Pontiff continued. "Poland has every right to participate n the general process of development in the world and particularly in Europe," he said. He argued that Poland's unique spiritual and culture heritage makes the country an important part of the European community.

          The Pope received warm and sustained applause at the end of his address, and the lawmakers burst into a chorus of the traditional Polish song, "Sto Lat" ("May You Live 100 Years") before receiving his parting blessing.

POPE VISITS MONUMENT TO HOLOCAUST VICTIMS

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- In Warsaw on June 11, Pope John Paul II visited a monument to the Jewish victims of the Nazi regime.

          During ceremonies at the memorial, which is located in the heart of the city, the Pope shared friendly greetings with leaders of the local Jewish community, including Rabbi Menachem Joskowicz, Earlier in the day--while the Pope was addressing the Polish parliament--the rabbi had sparked a controversy when he called upon the Pope to remove a cross from the grounds outside the former concentration camp at Auschwitz.

          That cross, which commemorates a papal visit to Auschwitz in 1979, has been the focus of a series of disputes in recent months. When some Jewish activists called for its removal, a grassroots coalition of Catholic activists responded by planting scores of small crosses around the same grounds. After a series of heated debates, and the intervention of the Polish government those small crosses were removed before this year's papal visit to Poland. But Bishop Tadeusz Goclowski, the president of the Polish bishops' conference, told reporters that the bishops want the one tall cross commemorating the papal visit to remain in place.

HOLY FATHER URGES BISHOPS TO PRESERVE TRANSMISSION OF THE DEPOSIT OF FAITH

          VATICAN CITY, 12 (NE) Pope John Paul II highlighted yesterday the "main pastoral duty of the Bishops: To preserve the unerring transmission of the deposit of faith." In a speech to the Polish bishops given during his visit to the residency of the Cardinal Primate of Poland, the Pontiff also invited to a "systematic and comprehensive Catechesis," essential for the "deepening and strengthening of faith in people's hearts."

          The Holy Father also called attention on the necessity to look after priests and seminarians, as well as to make an active pastoral with the youth. "If the young people are to fulfil the hope placed in them, they must be taught to draw strength from direct contact with God in the liturgy and the holy sacraments, in Sacred Scripture, from the life and apostolic work of the Church," he stated.

          The Pope's speech warned as well that the "stability and unity of family are today seriously threatened. You must oppose this danger, working with all people of good will to form a favorable environment for the strengthening of family," he added. "May families know that the Church is close to them, respects them and supports them in their efforts to maintain their identity, stability and holiness. This I ask of you as Pastors in a special way."

          Some hours before, at midday, the Holy Father visited the Church of the Basilian Fathers, Greek-Catholics of Byzantine rite, to whom he entreated to preserve their tradition, faithful to the witness of their forebears. "Zealously guard your tradition as a unique spiritual patrimony (...) Remember the great witness of fidelity to Christ, to the Church and to the Successor of Peter borne by your confreres. They preferred to lose their lives rather than be separated from the Apostolic See. Their sufferings and martyrdom are an inexhaustible source of grace for your Church now and in the future," he said.

POPE WARNS AGAINST ETHICAL RELATIVISM IN MEETING WITH POLISH PARLIAMENT

          VATICAN CITY, 12 (NE) Yesterday morning, Pope John Paul II visited the Polish parliament. It was the first time ever in his pontificate that he addressed a national parliament. Before this, the Pope paid a courtesy visit to Poland's President Aleksander Kwasniewski and blessed a monument dedicated to those who died in World War II.

          The 560 members of the Polish Parliament, to whom the Pope addressed, received the Holy Father with a long applause. "A political community, he stated, cannot be seen as independent of ethical principles" at the risk of "denying the fundamental rights of the human person." The Holy Father also warned against the dangers of an "alliance between democracy and ethical relativism, that removes any sure moral reference point from political and social life, and on a deeper level make the acknowledgement of truth impossible."

          The Pontiff recalled the role the Church had defending human dignity in Poland during so difficult times such as that of the postwar period. He also expressed the firm intention of the Church to "help in setting upon solid ethical foundations the life of society and, as part of it, the legal system which regulates it."

          He also stated that "if the need arises (there must be) a warning against the dangers that can come from reductive visions of the essence and calling of man and of his dignity."

CENTENNIAL OF CONSECRATION OF HUMANITY TO SACRED HEART OF JESUS CELEBRATED

          ROME, 12 (NE) Yesterday, June 11, upon celebrating the liturgical feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an important anniversary related to this commemoration also took place. A century ago, June 11, 1899, Pope Leo XIII consecrated mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a solemn ceremony carried out in Rome, and that was afterwards repeated in dioceses along the world.

          The consecration "represents an extraordinarily important step in the Church's journey, and it remains appropriate to renew it annually on the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus," Pope John Paul II writes in his letter on occasion of the centenary of this consecration of the human race, instituted by Pope Leo XIII in the encyclical 'Annum Sacrum' of May 25, 1899.

          Through the encyclical Annum Sacrum, the Pontiff established that in the whole world the feast be celebrated as a "public and solemn" act of consecration of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

          The devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was already celebrated in some parts of the world in the twelfth century, was especially promoted by St. Mary Alacoque in the seventeenth century.

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

June 14, 1999       volume 10, no. 114
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