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The Episcopate on the current affairs of the Church in Poland (statement after the session)

Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference / 11.03.2021
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Catechesis in schools, the situation of families, the matters of the Saint Joseph Foundation, the involvement of lay people in the affairs of the Church and the document on the formation of priests in Poland – these were the main issues raised during 388 Plenary Meeting of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, which ended today in Warsaw.


At the beginning of the Plenary Assembly, the bishops wrote to Pope Francis on the 8th anniversary of his election to the See of Peter, thanking him “for the many and precious fruits of his pontificate, restoring hope to the Church and to the world”.

One of the main themes of the Plenary Assembly was the family and the year of the Family “Amoris Laetitia” proclaimed by the Pope. The bishops also thanked all those involved in caring for the protection of human life from conception to natural death. At the same time, they encouraged “to support mothers and fathers who accept the gift of new life, guided by the commandment of love for God and neighbor”.

The bishops thanked all those “who, while fulfilling the vocation to the apostolate received in baptism, through faithful prayer, Christian life and creative commitment to the matters of the Church, bear a clear witness to Christ”. At the same time, they recalled that only those initiatives, both clergy and laity, undertaken in union with the pastors, would bring good to the Church.

The bishops adopted the amendments introduced in the general decree The Way of Formation of Priests in Poland.Ratio institutionis sacerdotalis pro Polonia, which sets out new rules for priestly formation in Poland. The date of entry into force of the decree will be determined by the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, after obtaining the approval of the Holy See.

During the Plenary Meeting Archbishop Wojciech Polak, Delegate of the Polish Bishops’ Conference for the Protection of minors, presented a report on the activities of the system of protection of minors, and of assistance to victims of sexual abuse, built by the Church in Poland. “The development and strengthening of this system has to serve the declaration adopted by the Plenary Assembly on cooperation between the Polish Bishops’ Conference and the Conference of Major Superiors of Male Orders in Poland as part of the activities of the Saint Joseph Foundation. It will enable the Church to act in solidarity for the benefit of the wronged and the protection of minors” – we read in the release.

The bishops recalled the essence of the Lenten period that we are experiencing today, which “is a special occasion for all for personal conversion. It is also to prepare us for the joyful celebration of Easter”. The bishops encouraged the faithful to take part in the Sunday Eucharist and to profit of the sacrament of penance with the necessary care for health and safety during the pandemic.

Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference

episkopat.pl

We publish the full text of the statement:

On March 11, 2021, under the leadership of Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, was held in Warsaw the 388 Plenary Meeting of the Polish Bishops’ Conference. Due to the prevailing pandemic, it was significantly shortened and organized with strict observance of the rules of sanitary safety.

1.       The bishops wrote a letter to Pope Francis on the occasion of the upcoming 8th anniversary of his election to the See of Peter. In it they thank him for the many and precious fruits of the pontificate, which restore hope to the Church and the world. They express in particular gratitude for the Gospel message addressed to the entire human family during the historic pilgrimage to Iraq, and for the proclamation of the St. Joseph Year and the Apostolic Letter ‘Patris corde’. The bishops also express their desire to join in the Year of the Family announced on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

2.       The family was one of the main topics discussed during the Plenary Assembly. The announced Year of the Family “Amoris Laetitia” sets out clear pastoral priorities. Bishops encourage pastors, consecrated persons and lay faithful to be even more active in promoting “the joy of love lived in families”(Amoris Laetitia, No. 1). Preparation for the sacrament of marriage, strengthening families with the strength of God, promoting and supporting married and family communities, and accompanying and helping those who are experiencing problems, should permeate the entire saving ministry of the Church. The bishops also thanked all those involved in caring for the protection of human life from conception to natural death. At the same time, they encouraged to support mothers and fathers who accept the gift of new life, guided by the commandment of love for God and neighbor. All manifestations of human kindness are important, as well as pastoral, medical, psychological and economic care.

3.       Personal conversion of every believer, often emphasized by Pope Francis, was at the center of reflection on the current situation of the Church in Poland. Bishops appreciate the various initiatives of clergy and laity whose real purpose is the renewal of the Church. The bishops thanked all those who, while fulfilling the vocation to the apostolate received in baptism, through faithful prayer, Christian life and creative commitment to the matters of the Church, bear a clear witness to Christ. They remind us that only those initiatives, both clergy and laity that will be undertaken in union with the pastors, will bring good to the Church. In addition, the bishops point out that a comprehensive reflection should be made on the need to read the Christian message in our time.

4.       The bishops adopted the amendments introduced in the general decree The Way of Formation of Priests in Poland.Ratio institutionis sacerdotalis pro Polonia, which sets out new rules for priestly formation in Poland. The amendments to the text of the decree take into account the comments submitted by the Congregation for Clergy and Congregation for Catholic Education. The date of entry into force of the decree will be determined by the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, after obtaining the approval (recognitio) of the Holy See.

5.       The bishops heard the report of Archbishop Wojciech Polak, Delegate of the Polish Bishops’ Conference for Protection of Minors, from the activities of the system of child and youth protection and assistance to victims of sexual abuse built by the Church in Poland, at the local and national level. The development and strengthening of this system has to serve the declaration adopted by the Plenary Assembly on cooperation between the Polish Bishops’ Conference and the Conference of Major Superiors of Male Orders in Poland as part of the activities of the Saint Joseph Foundation. It will enable the Church to act in solidarity for the benefit of the wronged and the protection of minors. It was also reminded that in order to effectively combat sexual crimes against minors, the Church in Poland, guided by the constitutional and concordat principle of autonomy and cooperation for the good of man and the common good, undertakes cooperation with state authorities.

6.       The shepherds of the Catholic Church in Poland, present at the Plenary Meeting, recall the importance of the Lenten period that we are experiencing today. This time is a special occasion for all for personal conversion. It is also to prepare us for the joyful celebration of Easter. The bishops encouraged the faithful to take part in the Sunday Eucharist and to profit of the sacrament of penance with the necessary care for health and safety during the pandemic. Recommending all compatriots to the special intercession and protection of St. Joseph, give the Poles in Poland and abroad pastoral blessing.

It was signed by the shepherds of the Catholic Church in Poland who were present at 388 Plenary Meeting of the Polish Bishops’ Conference

Warsaw, March 11, 2021

Translated by Marina Olmo
Office for Foreign Communication of the Polish Bishops’ Conference