“First of all we wish to say to Pope Francis that we devote serious and profound attention to his teachings and to his words. And we would like to bring to Rome with humility the image of a Church that in Poland evangelizes and is near the last”. The AdLlimina visit of the Polish bishops at the Vatican, begun on Saturday, will continue until 8 February. Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, archbishop of Warsaw, spoke of the climate experienced by the bishops in the last few days. Their country, just like all of Europe, is facing the challenges brought about by the crisis, (although macroeconomic figures for Poland register positive trends), and by the growing gap separating the rich and the poor. “We bring to Rome – said the archbishop of Warsaw – a Church which has at heart the problems of the families. We will say to the Pope that we look forward with confidence and anticipation to these two Synods on the family planned for the biennium 2014-2015”. What do you expect from the Synod on the family? “Most of all, we expect an exchange of opinions with world Churches; an exchange on the preparation of young couples to the sacrament of marriage, their openness to life and children’s education. There are two fundamental problems that are dear to the Polish Church: there are plenty of married couples who separate, which leads to the problem of the failure of many marriages and demographic decrease, while the birth rate in Poland is among the lowest in Europe”. Today, what does Poland need the most? “Undoubtedly after almost 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent new political situation, today the Church in Poland feels the need for a rebuilding of the values that come from the Gospel and the natural law. Capitalism has certainly brought good things. Contemporary Poland cannot be compared to the way it was 25 years ago. But it cannot be denied that with capitalism we have begun to witness a differentiation between the different regions of the country and among the people. This has widened the gap between regions and cities, particularly between the East and the north of the country and between the rich and poor, with a growing number of people who find it hard to access education, healthcare and public services. And this is definitely a concern of our government, but also a major concern of the Church, which is doing all it can so that nobody may be rejected from society, exposed to risk of severe poverty”. This responds to Pope Francis’ invitation to combat the culture of rejection… What effect is this Pope having in Poland? “The welcome of Pope Francis in Poland is similar to what is happening in Italy, where Wednesday audiences and Sunday angelus prayers are always packed with faithful. In Poland the people are very fond of this pope. They appreciate the way in which the Holy Father is carrying out his pontificate and his Petrine ministry. They appreciate above all his humility, his simplicity and the direct contact with people”. And for the Polish Church?”For the Polish Church this pontificate is a thrust. It teaches us that we mustn’t wait for people to come to Church. We have to go our and meet people where they live. This is important also in Poland, since even though our churches are full, it is essential to go out and evangelize. We all need to be evangelized, even the evangelizers themselves, since if our faith in Christ isn’t constantly renewed we risk loosing it and we will no longer be able to evangelize”. Poland is the homeland of a great Pope, John Paul II. Could it be said that Francis has helped Poland overcome the nostalgia of Wojtyla?”It’s a partly provocative question which I will answer as follows: with the same nostalgia we are awaiting the canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII, also because for those my age, the figure of John XXIII is felt as very close, considering all that he has done for the Church when he opened the Second Vatican Council. And Pope Francis doesn’t conceal this nostalgia but rather helps be reminded of the importance of these two Popes. I think that today’s reception of Pope Francis by the Polish people is similar and comparable to the welcome given to John Paul II in 1978″.
Bishops' ad limina visit under way. Interview with card. Nycz " "