Permanent Council of the Polish Bishops’ Conference on the Synod, the war in Ukraine, and the fall parliamentary elections (Communiqué following the meeting)

03-05-2023
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The Synod of Bishops and the final document of the European Synodal Meeting, the war in Ukraine, and preparations for the fall parliamentary elections were the main topics of the meeting of the Permanent Council of the Polish Bishops’ Conference. The bishops debated on May 2, the eve of the solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Queen of Poland, at Jasna Góra.

Bishops at the Permanent Council reviewed the final document of the European synodal meeting held in early February in Prague. ”It is a collection of insights gained, through the synodal process, by local Church communities of our continent. It also reveals the tensions and questions facing local Churches in Europe. The document is an encouragement to look at the Church on our continent in its diversity, beginning with the great Latin and Eastern traditions that compose it, to listening to one another at the local level, which teaches us that we can be united in diversity,” they wrote.

The ongoing war in Ukraine was another topic of the meeting. Members of the Permanent Council renewed their appeal for prayer for the cessation of hostilities in Ukraine and peace for this tormented nation. They also asked „for continued support for all who are in need and affected by the war”. The bishops also thanked  Caritas Poland, diocesan centers of Caritas, and other Catholic relief organizations “for their efforts and endeavors for the benefit of our brothers and sisters, victims of this senseless war”.

At the meeting, the bishops reviewed the implementation of the pastoral program for the current year, whose motto is „I believe in the Church of Christ.” They pointed out that “the deepening crisis of faith, together with the accompanying secularization and materialism of life, is a great challenge for the Church community today. They are causing an increase in the indifference of the faithful, giving rise to a crisis of all authority, and calling into question the system of values on which Poland, Europe, and the Western world were founded”.

Members of the Permanent Council also referred to the fall parliamentary elections. „In times when political rivalry is sometimes viewed as a ruthless power game, the bishops emphasize that, according to the social teaching of the Church, politics, at its core, ought to be a vocation to the love of neighbor, expressed in the service for the right to life, human dignity, freedom, justice, solidarity, and family rights, ” they stated in the Communique. The bishops called for social dialogue and the pursuit of the true good of our homeland. They also asked all participants in the election campaign to refrain from instrumentalizing the Church.

Press Office of the Polish Bishops Conference

The complete text of the Communique follows:

 

Communiqué of the Permanent Council of the Polish Bishops’ Conference
after the meeting on Jasna Góra
on May 2, 2023

The Permanent Council of the Polish Bishops’ Conference met at Jasna Góra, on May 2, 2023, the eve of the solemnity of Our Lady Queen of Poland. The meeting, presided over by Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, was devoted to preparations for the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops and the current pastoral affairs of the Church in Poland.

  1. The Permanent Council reviewed the final document of the European Synodal Meeting held in Prague last February, in preparation for the upcoming Synod of Bishops scheduled to take place at the Vatican this October. It is a collection of insights gained, through the synodal process, by local Church communities of our continent. It also reveals the tensions and questions facing local Churches in Europe. The document is an encouragement to look at the Church on our continent in its diversity, beginning with the great Latin and Eastern traditions that compose it, to listening to one another at the local level, which teaches us that we can be united in diversity. This diversity, present in history, culture, tradition, social and religious life, is a great wealth. In this spirit, the Church in Poland wants to share with sisters and brothers from all over the world our experience of faith, which has shaped and strengthened our nation for more than a thousand years.
  2. With continued concern, the bishops are observing current events beyond our eastern border. They renew their appeal for prayer for the cessation of hostilities in Ukraine and peace for this tormented nation. While the face of this tragic war, as well as the scope and forms of assistance to refugees, have changed since the outbreak of the war, all the time those who remain in Ukraine and those who have left, continue to need our prayers and material assistance. The Permanent Council appeals for continued support for all who are in need and affected by the war. It also thanks Caritas Poland, diocesan centers of Caritas, and other Catholic relief organizations for their efforts and endeavors for the benefit of our brothers and sisters, victims of this senseless war.
  3. The Permanent Council examined the implementation of the pastoral program for the current year, whose motto is „I believe in the Church of Christ.” It pointed out that the deepening crisis of faith, together with the accompanying secularization and materialism of life, is a great challenge for the Church community today. They are causing an increase in the indifference of the faithful, giving rise to a crisis of all authority, and calling into question the system of values on which Poland, Europe, and the Western world were founded. The bishops encourage priests and the faithful to deepen their personal relationship with God, without which a person sinks into egoism and closes himself off to transcendence.
  4. Preparations for this fall’s parliamentary elections have been underway in Poland for several weeks. Respecting the „legitimate autonomy of the democratic order,” the Permanent Council expresses its conviction that regardless of deep differences and divisions, Polish politics can and should maintain a prudent concern for the common good. In times when political rivalry is sometimes viewed as a ruthless power game, the bishops emphasize that, according to the social teaching of the Church, politics, at its core, ought to be a vocation to the love of neighbor, expressed in the service for the right to life, human dignity, freedom, justice, solidarity, and family rights. The bishops, therefore, call for social dialogue and the pursuit of the true good of our homeland. They also ask all participants in the election campaign to refrain from instrumentalizing the Church.
  5. Through the intercession of Our Lady Queen of Poland, before her Jasna Gora icon, the bishops ask God for the gift of faith and hope for people of goodwill in our homeland. They embrace in prayer all Compatriots at home and abroad and bestow on them their pastoral benediction.

Permanent Council of the Polish Bishops’ Conference

May 2, 2023

Translated by Sr. Amata Nowaszewska / Office for Foreign Communication of the Polish Bishops’ Conference