Protection of children and young people, as well as the pastoral agenda for the years 2019/2020, were the principal topics of the plenary meeting of the Polish Bishops’ Conference. The bishops convened in Wałbrzych, Diocese of Świdnica, on June 13-14, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the diocese. Metropolitan Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was a guest of the meeting. He conducted a study day and shared his experience.
Archbishop Scicluna of Malta was invited by the Polish Bishops’ Conference last year to share his expertise on the protection of children and young people against sexual abuse by the clergy. Apart from the meeting with Archbishop Scicluna, the bishops heard a report of Primate of Poland, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, e.g. on the system of prevention and assistance to victims of abuse. Moreover, Fr. Prof. Piotr Majer discussed the implementation of the Motu Proprio issued by Pope Francis: Vos estis lux mundi, in operation in the Catholic Church since June 1, 2019.
The bishops moreover discussed topical questions concerning the Polish Bishops’ Conference and pastoral care. On the first day of the meeting, the bishops elected Secretary General of the Polish Bishops’ Conference. Bishop Artur Grzegorz Miziński was re-elected in the first vote for his second five-year term, while Fr. Jarosław Mrówczyński will for one more term serve as his deputy. Furthermore, the bishops discussed the pastoral program of the Church in Poland for the 2019-2022 period, carried out under the motto “The Eucharist Gives Life”.
Pastoral outreach to families and the protection of personal data in the Church were some of the other issues raised during the debates. The bishops noted many precious family-friendly initiatives which protect human life from the moment of conception to natural death. In the communiqué adopted at the conclusion of the meeting, Polish bishops thanked the lay faithful for the organization of and mass turn-out during Marches for Life and the Family. Furthermore, they warned against the promotion of ideologies inimical to natural law and Christian values and against the attempts at introducing such ideologies to schools under the guise of sexual education. The bishops expressed their concern about the increasing brutalization of social life and recent acts of sacrilege.
The bishops moreover addressed the question of accompanying the pilgrims leaving for the Holy Land. In addition, they were introduced to the results of studies indicating a substantial positive impact of limiting commercial trade on Sundays on Poles’ family ties. Polish bishops stressed the importance of women in the life of the Church and encouraged participation in pastoral initiatives dedicated to women in dioceses and parishes.