“The attack on John Paul II is an attack on what is beautiful and durable in Poland, what grew up and was protected in the most difficult times by the Church, an attack on the spiritual identity of our nation” – Archbishop Józef Michalik, Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Przemyśl said in his homily delivered during the solemn Holy Mass at the end of the First Papal March. On April 2, on the 18th anniversary of John Paul II departure to the House of the Holy Father, marches in honor of St. John Paul II went through many Polish cities.
The Warsaw March went through Marszałkowska, Królewska and Krakowskie Przedmieście Streets to Plac Zamkowy, where in the nearby St. John the Baptist ended with the Holy Mass concelebrated by Archbishop Józef Michalik.
The participants of the March carried papal flags and a reliquary with the relics of this great saint. The relics were assisted by reconstruction groups as well as the Knights of St. John Paul II. The event was preceded by a rosary prayer led by the Institute of Schuman’s Thought and a litany to St. John Paul II.
“The Church founded by the Lord, i.e. the Apostles and all the baptized, has a great duty to protect and demand that people do not waste Christ’s indications and do not destroy the fruits of His saving Passion. This is an important, very important existential task of the Church also today and that is why we are today here, in front of this altar, and that is why we are taking part in the manifestation in defense of the truth about a man who devoted his whole life to serving God and people, about a man who went through life doing good, and millions of people looking at him for decades were not wrong, were not naive until today, when we witness how the so-called “researchers” enlightened by the acts of the communist police agents “discovered” that this archbishop, according to the informer, sometimes accidental, and even more often poor, because he was forced or even paid, allegedly did not fulfill his duties” Archbishop Józef Michalik said in his homily.
“John Paul II does not need defense. We need it to arouse and defend the conviction that it is worth being good, that the truth about man must be defended” – he added. He pointed out that Fr. card. Wojtyła was always sought after by people, because “they discovered wisdom in him and found help on their life paths”.
“He helped others not only as a university professor, but especially as a priest and bishop. He was a pioneer on a church-wide scale, when he promoted initiatives involving the laity in greater, also evangelizing, responsibility for the Church of living faith. And seeing the advancing crisis of marital and family fidelity as the first in Poland founded the Institute of Family Life in Krakow, recruiting world-renowned experts to cooperate, who then devoted their scientific careers in the difficult communist years, defending the right to life from the moment of conception, contrary to official propaganda – he recalled this great saint.
“Saint John Paul II, already as pope, throughout the years of his pontificate, preached catechesis on a new, original, scientifically deepened theology of the human body and human dignity, which cannot be understood without Christ, i.e. without the supernatural dimension” – he recalled his merits. “John Paul II was a tireless defender of human life, the one conceived under the mother’s womb and that threatened by the egotism of the spouses or the immorality of the totalitarian powers. That is why, after the publication of some encyclicals, protests from the east and west, from Moscow and Washington, immediately appeared on his desk, because preaching truth is often unmasking hidden, ideological interests and intentions. This pope had the courage to repeatedly warn against the fact that even today there are active structures of evil in the world, that is, entire organized, strategic systems that must be courageously faced by building structures of truth, good and reason. It is these people who still cannot forgive him for making demands on himself and others for morality in his personal and social life” – he noted.
The senior metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Przemyśl pointed out that “our pope revealed the poet’s sensitivity and the courage of a giant in defense of truth and justice through his entire life. He was not silent in the face of evil, which is indicated by documents not always immediately accepted in public space”.
“Today we have come to a time when some noisy anti-religious media agencies want to decide what and how to deal with matters of conscience, not all of them, fortunately, but many journalists. We can see that today the ancient rules about the presumption of innocence, or the hearing of the accused in court, have often ceased to apply. Today, innocence must be proven. The humanitarian principle said that if the dead cannot defend themselves, de mortuis aut bene aut nihil, i.e. one speaks of the dead either well or not at all” – he did not hide his bitterness.
“How did it happen that for many years, in front of the eyes of the whole world, we went to this Pope of ours to meet in him true humanity, true holiness, which was missing in ourselves, and we considered it an honor to stay or be photographed with him, and today, suddenly, the denunciation of a secret, manipulated informer from the communist era is to become a model of behavior for us?” – he wondered. “To accuse this pope today on the basis of testimonies extorted from weak, sinful people by equally demoralized functionaries of an inhuman system, is like looking for an accusation and saying that someone is to blame for the earthquake of a few weeks ago, because a house built a hundred years ago did not have today’s foreseen necessary technical safeguards” – he noticed. In the opinion of the Metropolitan of Przemyśl, the purpose of these activities is to look for stones to “hit the Church, which is and will be a force”.
Archbishop Michalik pointed out that John Paul II has become a sign of opposition today – “a holy man, because he is inconvenient, does not fit into the dark and sinful traps of misunderstood modernity, because his teaching, his behavior, his life, which has never been consent to evil – never he would not accept sin in his own life and in the lives of others”.
“An attack on John Paul II is an attack on what is beautiful and durable in Poland, what grew up and was protected in the most difficult times by the Church, an attack on the spiritual identity of our nation” – the hierarch said.
He quoted Ralph Martin, who noted that “currently the fight is particularly fierce in Poland” as left-wing circles, including LGBTQ, demand that Poland be punished for sticking to values, adding that “some Western commentators describe it as an ideological hurricane”. “The stakes are very high, which is being fought for in Poland, perhaps one of the last significant Catholic strongholds in Europe” – he said after Ralph Martin.
“Today, Poland needs the unity of all its compatriots, including those living in exile, also parliamentarians, and not citizens of Targowica who are concerned about their own, personal interest or the interest of their own group, party. It needs authorities, people with visions of the future, and such an authority has been, is and should remain The Church and its holy teachers. Saint John Paul II, Blessed Primate Wyszyński and other holy shepherds will remain the authority for us and for the whole Church” – the priest pointed out. “Our authorities will always be the Cursed Soldiers, not the UB members, their murderers. Our heroes will be the Ulmas and all those who saved Jews during the war, not the informers who betrayed them” – he said. He emphasized that Poland now needs a Church firmly rooted in faith.