DAILY CATHOLIC     MONDAY     May 17, 1999     vol. 10, no. 95

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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Bishops Denounce Anti-Clericalism on Public Television

          WARSAW, MAY 13 (ZENIT).- Just when media around the world are repeating the often-heard clichés of the "fragile-looking Pope," the "bent-over by disease and fatigue Pontiff," John Paul II is again defying the odds and preparing to embark on the longest journey ever to his native Poland.

          On June 5, he will visit the country of his birth for the seventh time. In a recent pastoral letter, the Polish bishops pointed out that the visit is linked to two very important anniversaries: the millennium of the canonization of Saint Adalbert, and the sixth centenary of Saint Eduvigis, queen of Poland.

          The bishops have organized a series of prayer vigils, which began on April 30, for protection for this papal pilgrimage which will last twelve days -- John Paul II's longest trip to his country as Pontiff. During the pilgrimage, the Pope will visit twelve cities.

          The Episcopal Commission responsible for the papal visit considers this a unique opportunity to renew the "sense of community," as well as the role of the laity in the Church. The latter's work is indispensable, for "the Church to fulfill its own mission," the Commission reported.

          According to observers close to the preparation of the visit, this trip will be an important occasion to speak to the Catholic faithful about the need of them being informed and active participants in the cultural circles of their day, giving public testimony of their beliefs and, in the words of the preparatory Commission, to abandon the "false opinion that faith in Christ is a private affair."

          Public witness to faith is one of the great challenges for the Church in Poland, especially in the media. During a recent homily, before a large group of deputies, at the Marian shrine of Jasna Gora, Bishop Adam Lepa, who is responsible for the media, denounced the anticlericalism and moral materialism which still have great sway in the media, -- a legacy of the communist system.

          Bishop Lepa spoke severely against the public television channel "TVP," and said that the directors of the network have given time to cover the papal visit as a special favor when, in fact, it should be a real obligation, as it is one of the most important events in the country this year. ZE99051304

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.

May 17, 1999       volume 10, no. 95


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