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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

"The Pontiff would like to see a Europe of solidarity"

Interview by the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda was published by AgenSIR on November 10, 2015. 

 

“Indeed, my vision of Europe is very similar to that of the Pope”: Polish president Andrzej Duda, received yesterday in Papal audience, shared the highlights of the meeting marked by evident satisfaction. “It was a beautiful experience – he confided – Pope Francis is a person that transmits goodness”. The Head of State, accompanied by family members, presented the Pope with a painting of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, the Pope conveyed his wish to visit the Shrine of Jasna Gora on the occasion of his visit to Poland next year for WYD 2016.

 

Mr. President, have you spoken with the Pope about Europe’s future? How do you see the future of the continent?

 

“The Pontiff would like to see a Europe of solidarity: solidarity within goodness. Pope Francis encourages others to do what is good. During our meeting he said that the world, as well as Europe, needs to recover traditional values. Furthermore, there should be more humaneness in Europe, and more solidarity. Profit should not be the underlying element, critical to Europe’s optimal performance.

 

The European Union must not be reduced to an area nurturing the clash of material interests. Man and individual needs are more important than anything else.

 

This includes all men and women in situations of need, those who are unsuccessful in life… For this reason the Pope strongly underlines the urgent need for mercy and of helping our neighbour”.

 

I imagine you must have spoken with the Pope about the situation in Poland, on the aftermath of the national elections won by the Conservative party Law and Justice, which also you are a member of. What is the role of Poland in today’s Europe?


“I spoke to the Pope about the situation in Poland first of all in the framework of the WYD2016 in my Country. The Holy Father said he wishes to visit not only Krakow but also the Marian shrine of Jasna Gora in Czestochowa and the museum of Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp. However nothing has been defined yet.

 

Moreover, preparations in Poland are at a good point and cause no concern.

 

As regards the role of Poland in Europe I agree with the Pope that Poland should reiterate the value of solidarity in Europe. Pope Francis knows the history of the Solidarnosc movement – the first free trade union in a country ruled by the communist regime – very well, and he considers the values that Poland can contribute to European integration of great import. Today, unlike the times of Solidarnosc, we no longer need to fight for a free and sovereign Poland, but we must always look after our sovereignty and our democracy, since they were not given to us once and forever. They require constant care. That’s why we must be relentless in our commitment for the preservation of our sovereignty, understood in the right way. To do this it is very important to maintain a moral and ethical rectitude in order not to cross the limits of personal freedom at the expense of others. And we must not forget important historical figures like St. John Paul II and Ronald Reagan who have changed history and who allowed today’s Poland to be increasingly closer to the great Western democracies, although their standard of living is different and higher that our country’s”.

 

During your meeting with Francis, and then with Cardinal Parolin, have you addressed the issue of the ongoing world conflicts and the refugee-problem?


“For the Holy Father and his collaborators, and for myself, the achievement of lasting peace in Ukraine is beyond question. We must not permit the continuation of latent conflict: it is absolutely necessary to achieve peace.

 

As for the question of refugees, we must be open: if someone wants to come to us and needs help it is our duty to grant that help.

 

But nobody has the right to force people and tell them to go where they don’t want to be, to stay in one country rather than another, or to leave. The people of Poland must remember that it is not admissible to deny help to those in a state of need”.

 

Anna T. Kowalewska

 

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