Source: Gazeta Wyborcza of 15 March 2007
Author: Katarzyna Wisniewska
A regulation protecting life from the moment of conception should be included in the Constitution – says the Episcopate. This is the first joint statement of bishops in the Constitution-row.
Bishops voice in the debate about the Constitution amendments came as a surprise – that subject was not included in the agenda of the Episcopate proceedings. They stated that they support unambiguously the undertaken actions aiming to guarantee the protection of life since conception.
‘The dignity and inviolability of human life since conception until the natural death comes out from natural law, which had always been the subject of the Church’s teachings, and is what the God’s Servant John Paul II had always reminded about’ – the bishops have written.
– ‘Respect for the dignity of human being from conception to natural death is a test for our humanity: will we show the sacrifice for love, or egoism? Human dignity is not connected with religion – emphatically commented archbishop Józef Michalik.
The chairman of the Polish Episcopal Conference had already made it clear before, that he supports the change in constitution. In an unprecedented letter to the to the Speaker of Sejm, in October 2006, prior to the parliamentary debate on constitutional protection of the unborn, he asked the MPs to “put aside all political motives and respect the highest virtue of rightful conscience, which makes “thou shalt not kill” one of the indications constructing our humanity’.
The discussion about the Constitution has begun in September 2006, when the League of Polish Families Party (LPR) has issued a project of supplementing the Article 38. The project is supported by a part of Law and Justice Party (PiS) and Selfderence (Samoobrona) MPs.
However the bishops distance themselves from the ongoing rows surrounding the issue of changing the Constitution. Thy did not say which Article in their opinion should be changed: Article 30 about the dignity of man, or Article 38 about the protection of human life.
– ‘We avoid political matters in this debate. We do not want to sympathise with any of the parties. We sympathise with the ideals of protecting life’ – pointed out archbishop Michalik.
– ‘Does constitution not give enough protection for human life? Cannot it stay as it is?’ – we asked archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź.
– ‘We do not interfere with editing. And anyway this is MPs initiative‘ – replied archbishop avoiding direct answer.
However not all the bishops think that the Constitution needs changing.
– I am convinced that at this moment the Constitution definitely protects life sufficient. – said not so long ago archbishop Tadeusz Gocłowski in an interview for TOK FM radio.
Episcopate objects the row be solved in a referendum (which Democratic Left Alliance, SLD, wants). – ‘Moral dilemmas concerning human life cannot be solved that way’.
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