Marcin Przeciszewski, the head of the Catholic Information Agency, was asked why there are no such strong figures in the Polish church anymore. “Both Cardinal Wyszyński and John Paul II are figured unsurpassed in their spiritual, intellectual and pastoral dimensions,” he assessed.
“They are great personalities that were created by those conditions. As far as the authority of Cardinal Wyszynski is concerned, for example, he owed it to many functions in the Church that he held and thanks to which he could be a real leader of the Church in Poland. At the same time, he was the Primate, the Chairman of the Episcopate, he was also a papal legate because there was no Apostolic Nuncio then, and he had additional special powers granted by the Pope concerning the Western territories and the care for Catholics in the Soviet Union,” - he said.
“It can be said that no successive episcopal leader after Wyszynski had such possibilities of exercising power. They are simply one of many bishops. The function of the chairman of the episcopate is simply coordinating the work of the structure we call the Polish Episcopal Conference, while the function of the primate separated chairman is a purely titular function. Nowadays it is not so easy to build a similar authority,” - the interlocutor added.
Marcin Przeciszewski emphasized that the specificity of those times had a great influence on the authority of these figures.
“The Church was repressed, persecuted by the communist regime, so naturally, everyone gathered around the central figure of Cardinal Wyszyński, the Primate of Poland. Whereas at the moment, in times of freedom, the Church is very pluralistic, although it is of course uniform in the doctrinal sense. There is no need for such unity in every action as there was then," he said.
The head of KAI (Catholic Information Agency – editor’s note) assessed that currently there is no need to have one such strong figure.
“The number of believers we have in Poland is the result of two centuries of recent history. Both in the 19th century, when, as they say, "the Church was the fatherland", and in the 20th century, when the Church stood up for every citizen. It is only thanks to these two hundred years of the Church's role that the number of believers is so high. This great grace of faith don’t have to depend on one particular strong authority or lack thereof," he concluded.
Source: Poland Daily 24, niezależna.pl