[opening remarks] Holy Mass for the Fatherland on February 28 1982 was celebrated by Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko. In place of the homily he read to the congregation in the Church of St. Stanislaus Kostka the Declaration of Polish Bishops.
We gather in the name of Jesus Christ. We gather to place our prayers at Christ’s altar and with them everything that we are experiencing, at this moment, in the life of our Nation. We especially include in our prayers those whom the martial law has touched most painfully. We take in all those deprived of their freedom, those arrested, retained, deprived of work, and their families. We also include all those who serve the injustice and the lies.
[declarations of Polish Bishops and the Primate]
The Church always stands on the side of truth. The Church is always on the side of those who are harmed. Today, the Church stands on the side of those who have been deprived of freedom, whose consciences are being attacked. The Church stands today on the side of workers’ solidarity, on the side of working people who are frequently put into the same category as criminals. On December 15th, last year, Polish Bishops said the following ¹”
Chief Episcopal Council of Poland gathering in the time of martial law, based on the available information of the situation in Poland – directs to the faithful of Catholic Church, words of support, unity and brotherly sympathy. Our pain of the entire nation terrorized by military power. Many members of the union movement have been interned. Interment is widening and affecting workers as well as people of culture and learning and students. (…) The uncertainty and impotence of the working world causes increased emotions, bitterness and hate, to the point of determination. (…) The dramatic decision of the authorities to impose martial law on our country is a blow to the expectations and hopes that, through nation-wide understanding, one can resolve the existing problems of our country. (…) We wish the Church and the people to concentrate on the following goals.
The release of those interned and establishing for them acceptable living conditions. We are aware of many cases of abused, of placing people without warm closing in freezing quarters.
The re-activation of labor unions, especially “Solidarity”, as per their statutes, and this includes the enabling the Leader and the Committee to function freely. The union “Solidarity” which defends the rights of working people is vital to the return of equilibrium in public life…
And on January 6 of the current year (1982) on the day of the Epiphany of Our Lord, the Primate said: