MANILA, Nov. 29, 2012—A breath of fresh air: Here’s a prominent Western political figure acknowledging the wisdom of the Church and calling for “proper consciousness” when it comes to responsible parenthood.
According to Lech Walesa – the former president of Poland who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 for his role in the downfall of communism in Europe – his country’s approach was not to impose the use of “condoms and other items” on couples.
Walesa made the remarks following a lecture at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), where he was awarded the title “honorary professor” for liberating Poland from Soviet rule.
The Polish hero said he yields to the wisdom of the Church’s constant teaching on the sanctity of human life, declaring himself “an old-day Catholic” and “the faithful son of the Catholic Church.”
While the central European nation had tried to check population growth, “In Poland, we do it through proper consciousness and proper education. It has to be responsible motherhood or parenthood,” he said.
In 1994, Walesa vetoed an abortion bill passed by Poland’s legislature, saying he would rather resign than be an instrument in the legalization of abortion.
“The Polish Church is always conscious of such and is appealing that it will be the responsibility and proper education that will lead to proper birth control. It has to come out from the conscience, not from imposing condoms and other items,” Walesa said.
In Manila’s pontifical university last Tuesday, Walesa was cited by the rector, Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, OP, for drawing strength from his Catholic faith amid Poland’s quest for democracy.
Walesa credits his compatriot, Karol Wojtyla, Blessed John Paul II. The Polish pontiff’s landmark visit to Poland a year after his 1978 election to the papacy ignited the Polish democracy movement. The Pope’s words still resonate today: “Be not afraid! Change the face of the earth!”
John Paul II’s words awakened the Poles, and millions joined Walesa’s Solidarity, the political force that eventually brought down the Iron Curtain.
Recalling how the Poles succeeded despite Soviet nuclear strength, Walesa encouraged the youth to make their democracies work. Idealism is not romanticism, he said.
“I was looking for 10 years for some people to join me and I found only around 10. The rest didn’t want to get engaged, they were afraid. When the heaven gave us John Paul II, in a year, I had 10 million members! And you can have the same chance. Start working and all the rest will come,” he said.
Democratic societies should listen to the Church, Walesa said.
“Today we do not know how in democracy we can put everything in the right place. Young democracy is not playing together well and has a lot of doubts. Intellectually, they cannot match the intellect of the Church. That’s why democracy is afraid of the Church and they do not know how to behave properly. My revolution in Poland… Poland would not be ever free without the Church,” he said.
“We have to understand a simple truth. There is no collision here. The Church, based on thousands of years of preparation here, and rules of wisdom, is preparing us for the future.” (JB Serrano)