In the Sejm on the resolution on defending the good name of St. John Paul II
During the Thursday debate on the resolution on defending the good name of St. John Paul II, PiS deputies expressed their opposition to “unjust and harmful actions” intended to destroy the authority of the pope. The opposition pointed out that the Sejm is not a “court, neither a defender nor an advocate” and that archival research and historical work are needed.
On Thursday, the second reading of the draft resolution on the defense of the good name of St. John Paul II. The report of the Culture and Media Committee on MPs’ draft resolutions on defending the good name of St. John Paul II (PiS) and on the commemoration of Saint John Paul II (PSL). Earlier, at the meeting of the Committee, it was decided that the draft resolution proposed by the PiS club would be the leading draft. The Commission adopted it with amendments to its content. During the debate, rapporteur Zdzisław Sipiera (PiS) reminded that the parliamentary culture committee was working on two drafts of this resolution. “The proposal and draft resolution of PiS deputies clearly articulated the element of disagreement with what is happening and the attack that is being carried out in Poland today. The application of the PSL club emphasized the merits and greatness of John Paul II rather than referring to what is happening at the moment,” he explained.
“We, as the Committee on Culture and Media, adopted the unified text by acclamation. It contains what is most dangerous today, i.e. the answer that we, as Poles, will not allow ourselves to be imposed a version in which there will be any doubt (…) Today, I hope that the majority of the Sejm will respond to the brazen attacks on John Paul II and we will express it by adopting this resolution a concrete signal – we will not allow such sanctity to be tarnished!” Sipier emphasized.
Urszula Rusecka, representing the PiS club, noted that recently we have been dealing with “an unprecedented media, aggressive attack on Pope John Paul II, our compatriot, a saint (…) The attack on the Pope as an important figure for our nation, for the Polish Church and the Church in world. An attack on man, but also or above all on his teaching, especially as the pope of the family. An attack on his enormous output, a powerful heritage contained in words, letters, documents and encyclicals,” she said.
She added that in this resolution, PiS “expresses its strong opposition to unjust and harmful actions aimed at deliberately and planned attacking John Paul II, destroying his authority, creating a different, new, false image of the pope. It will cause him not to be respected and his teachings to be groundless,” Rusecka said. She also appealed “to all Poles in the country and in the world, to the entire JPII generation, to believers and non-believers who love and respect the great legacy and merits of the great pope, to take all actions to defend our outstanding compatriot.”
Paweł Kowal (KO) stressed that there are figures in the history of the nation and state of particular importance who “organize our collective consciousness”. “From this tribune, I would like to ask you, I am addressing those who are so eager to get up today, what have you done with this political message of John Paul II, which was delivered from here in 1997 (…) It is not enough to stand up and applaud, you have to show with your testimony that which side are you on?” he said.
“Listen to the Polish Episcopate about the situation in the Archdiocese of Krakow, which is mentioned in the press articles. What we need is archival research and solid historical work, not your crocodile tears. You want to enroll John Paul II in PiS today, you don’t want to defend him, your actions serve no good (…) You are Pharisees and that’s why we will not join your action,’ said Kowal.
In the opinion of Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus (Left), the Sejm is “not a court, neither a defender nor an advocate”. “On the one hand, you defend Karol Wojtyła, but on the other hand, you accuse free media journalists (…) You cannot accuse journalists who give voice to the victims in their reportage,” she pointed out. “This resolution accuses independent and free journalism, undermines their reliability and credibility, and at the same time excludes critical analysis of the Church (…) We, as the Left, never attack either faith or believers, but we always repeat that the Church is the only institution which systematically hides pedophile priests by moving them from parish to parish. You cannot remain indifferent to something that priests also talk about,” said the MP.
According to Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz from the Polish Coalition, John Paul II restored “faith, hope and love, gave a chance for a free Poland, (…) for democracy, gave a chance for justice.” “There would be no free Poland, there would be no free Europe and there would be no free world without John Paul II (…) And this must not be forgotten, because this is our heritage, this is our foundation, this is what the state is built on” – he noticed.
“And you can’t close your eyes to what’s wrong. Pedophilia is a heinous crime, it just needs to be investigated. Has the church hierarchy done everything today – no, it needs to do more. Has the state done everything – no, it needs to do more. Should archives be open – yes. All this needs to be studied, but historians, in the context of history, the moment and what is happening. And make amends and apologize and humble myself. (…) We will stand on the side of values, we will stand on the side of memory, we will stand on the side of the greatness and holiness of John Paul II,” he added.
Robert Winnicki stressed that the Confederation would support the resolution because they know “what role John Paul II played in Polish history.” “We know that John Paul II is one of the greatest heroes of our history, one of the greatest figures who helped Poles save their freedom, identity and sovereignty in the dark times of communism,” he stressed.
“At the same time, we want to say that the adoption of this resolution does not mean our support for the style in which the Catholic Church operates today, for the way the hierarchy behaves (…) We are talking about a huge disappointment with the Church, which for the last 30 years has not understood he did not learn his lessons and did not undertake reforms so as not to follow the path of the Church in the West. We stand here as defenders of the historical figure of the great Pole John Paul II” – said the MP.
According to Paweł Zalewski (Polska2050), the debate is taking place “in the shadow of the harm that priests have done to young people, children, when their harm should be the most important thing today.” As he said, the most important thing is to expect that “the Church will compensate morally, but also materially.”
“John Paul II spoke about the dignity of every human being, that was the great message of his pontificate, and about the truth. If we think about dignity and truth today, we have to get to that point, show the facts that the media are talking about today, but show them in a historical context. That’s what historians are for, it’s a great task for the Church to reveal its archives (…) A strong nation is the one that can stand up for the truth and deal with it honestly, decently and with dignity,” he pointed out.
Stanisław Bukowiec (Agreement) emphasized that “pedophilia as one of the most heinous crimes should be severely punished, and there is no justification for covering up such cases.” “However, the accusations against John Paul II are based on one-sided, fragmentary and biased sources, such as the archives of the communist secret police (…) Therefore, the demand that this case should be the subject of work by an impartial commission of historians should be considered right” – he assessed, expressing his conviction that its findings will prove the groundlessness of the allegations against the pope.
According to Joanna Senyszyn (Democratic Left), this is an “exclusively political” resolution. “The project promoters dress up in the feathers of the defenders of John Paul II in the hope that this will be a new dividing line for the citizens of the Republic of Poland (…) The Sejm is not the body authorized to decide the guilt of specific people, because that is what the courts are for. The Circle of the Democratic Left is against this political, lying resolution. You must always remember that child abuse is a crime and it is also a crime to hide pedophiles, which the Catholic Church does institutionally,” she said.
Artur Dziambor (the Freedom Party), addressing the PiS deputies, said that “they panicked and are destroying the memory of John Paul II at the moment” and that they want the deputies to “pass something that is supposed to be a counter to the reportage in one of the TV stations, instead of giving it to historians.” “With this resolution, you want this to become a political matter, you want the memory of John Paul II to become a political matter and you want to hug this memory. This is despicable (…) You are not historians, you should not be a court,” he added.
After discussion, in the voting block, the Sejm adopted a resolution on defending the good name of St. John Paul II
271 deputies voted for the resolution, 43 were against, 4 deputies abstained from voting. 142 deputies did not vote.
The resolution was supported by 227 members of the PiS club, no one was against and no one abstained from voting; one MP did not vote.
One member of the KO club, Joanna Fabisiak, was in favor of the resolution; no one was against, no one abstained. 125 deputies of the KO club did not take part in the vote. (PAP)
authors: Olga Łozińska, Katarzyna Krzykowska, Anna Kondek-Dyoniziak