Don´t Be Intimidated by Media, Bishops Are Told

Address of Polish Archbishop Jozef Michalik

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 5, 2001 ( Bishops at the synod here are being faulted for not making use of the media to evangelize effectively in the world.

Polish Latin-rite Archbishop Jozef Michalik of Przemysl warned that the «fear of being judged on TV or even in newspapers must not paralyze us. The truth does not bow to the mass media.»

«One must appreciate their work and role in society, but we must not seek popularity at any cost,» he told the synod participants Thursday. «Today, there is need for unity of thought and courage [on the part] of all bishops of the Church to teach the truth of the faith and [uncover] lies,» in order to effectively «protect those weak and oppressed.»

Archbishop Michalik continued: «A bishop´s conscience and heart cannot be conditioned by public opinion. For years I have been amazed at the determination of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, now John Paul II, in defending the weakest» — the unborn.

«The fight for life is just one of the numerous problems for which we ask courage from the shepherd,» he said.

He also warned that bishops must defend the value «of the word,» which he said is losing its role of communicating the truth because of manipulation.

By way of advice, the archbishop suggested the example of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, primate of Poland, who at the time of the Communist repression encouraged Polish priests «to proclaim the Gospel with simple words, not insisting on the form, but on the value of the evangelic message.»

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