It is unpopular in the media to remind people of John Paul II’s firm and resolute words defending the family against attacks of the modern world called the “civilisation of death” by the Polish Pope. It is much easier for electronic media journalists to keep writing about excessively famous Wadowice kremówkas, for Catholic media journalists to emphasise the Pope’s ecumenical activity and for authors of right-wing weeklies to express opinions on papal texts about the homeland (as if Poland were more important than Jesus).
It is, therefore, worth recalling that Karol Wojtyła saw more symptoms of the civilisation of death than criminal practices of abortion and euthanasia. All of those who accepted and promoted anti-family solutions, from cohabitating persons to promoters of homosexuality, were also regarded as opponents of life by John Paul II.
Of course, the Pope’s anti-homosexual teaching was not particularly unusual. All of his documents refer to the Bible and Tradition of the Church, although it must be noted that they also take the contemporary achievements of human sciences into account. The Pope criticised, among others, the European Parliament, which adopted resolutions focusing on the promotion of homosexuality already during his pontificate. “The Parliament legalised in an unauthorised manner the deviation behaviours that contradict God’s thought; we know that the human being is prone to weaknesses, but the Parliament promotes human weaknesses in this way. It failed to acknowledged the fact that the real human right is to overcome himself, which allows him to live in accordance with upright conscience,’ said the Pope.
During one of the general audiences, being moved by the already visible efforts of the homosexual lobby in Western countries, the Pope said clearly that “a union of two men or two women cannot be regarded as a true family, and such unions cannot be granted the right to adopt orphaned children.” If anyone had doubts how to answer the currently popular question why children must not be entrusted to homosexual couples, the Holy Father stated straightforwardly: “Serious harm is done to these children, because they find two fathers or two mothers instead of one father and one mother in such a foster family.”
Only a few years ago, before the consciences of many Poles were awakened, many persons from “progressive” circles expressed indignation over the term “promotion of homosexuality”. Those who used it were accused of saying untrue things. However, the promotion of homosexuality was noticed also by John Paul II. In his address to the Roman Rota in January 1999, the Pope clearly emphasised that “incongruous is the demand to accord marital status to unions between persons of the same sex” in spite of “the unrelenting public opinion campaigns to gain the dignity of marriage” to such unions.
Recognising the huge threat posed to the family by the contemporary world, the Polish Pope proclaimed the year 1994 the Year of the Family. At that time, he wrote a letter to Catholic families entitled Gratissimam Sane (With Gratitude). In that letter, he explicitly wrote that “a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life”, which “of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children.” He stressed that “only such a union can be recognized and ratified as a marriage in society.” He also asserted very firmly on that occasion that “other interpersonal unions which do not fulfil the above conditions cannot be recognized, despite certain growing trends which represent a serious threat to the future of the family and of society itself.”
This letter is a great affirmation of the family in its traditional (which means normal) shape. The Polish Pope stressed that, among many paths, the family is “the first and the most important” one for the Church. Also in this letter, John Paul II clearly expressed his attitude to any signs of disgraceful attempts to put the family on a par with loose relationships or, to make matters worse, with relationships between persons of the same sex. The first chapter of the letter begins with a meaningful quotation from the Bible: “Male and female he created them.” Is there anything more to be said in the context of current reflections on homosexual marriages?
Referring to “modernity”, leftist circles, including those within the Church, increasingly often proclaim that twenty years after the publication of Gratissimam Sane “we are mature enough to change the approach of the teaching with regard to homosexuality.” This perfidious strategy was foreseen by John Paul II, which he expressed in the aforementioned document. He wrote that “No human society can run the risk of permissiveness in fundamental issues regarding the nature of marriage and the family! Such moral permissiveness cannot fail to damage the authentic requirements of peace and communion among people. It is thus quite understandable why the Church vigorously defends the identity of the family and encourages responsible individuals and institutions, especially political leaders and international organizations, not to yield to the temptation of a superficial and false modernity.”
All who want to remember our great compatriot only through the prism of kremówkas, ecumenical gestures or numerous pilgrimages and meetings with people should remember that John Paul II was a fighting pope. He fought the danger of the anti-family offensive. A fragment of his Letter to Families is worth dedicating to all persons who forget about this aspect of the Holy Father’s pontificate: “I speak with the power of his truth to all people of our day, so that they will come to appreciate the grandeur of the goods of marriage, family and life; so that they will come to appreciate the great danger which follows when these realities are not respected, or when the supreme values which lie at the foundation of the family and of human dignity are disregarded.”