Bogusław Wróblewski: It’s Been 40 Years… / 7
“Akcent” editor-in-chief presents the content and structure of a new volume devoted to the personality and literary output of Karol Wojtyła – John Paul II. The volume’s title is: “Karol Wojtyła – a poet, dramatist, philosopher”. Editors of “Akcent” are convinced that the pope’s experience of creating literature had a significant influence on the course of his exceptional pontificate and – generally – on the course of events in Europe at the end of the 20th century.
Jan Twardowski: poems / 9
Wacław Oszajca: The Word, Its Hypostasis and Sacramentality / 11
The term “hypostatic union” comes from the philosophical-theological dictionary. It serves theologians to clarify the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and thus the basis of the Christian doctrine. While reciting the Creed and confessing our faith (and confession is something intimate), we use such specialist terms. In the sermon delivered in 1987 in Cracow, John Paul II spoke about the word of Jesus Christ being the expression of an eyewitness, since only Jesus saw the Father and wanted to tell us about this vision. Immediately an insurmountable difficulty arises. By definition, the divine reality cannot be accommodated in human reality. Therefore, the Pope, as a priest, theologian and poet, and, what follows, other theologians and poets wanting to talk about the unthinkable, the unimaginable and the unsaid, are still looking for a language – a word that would help in other words reveal the invisible and the unheard of in what is visible and easy to hear.
Jerzy W. Gałkowski: His Universities / 17
Karol Wojtyła – John Paul II was directly associated with three universities: the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, the Roman “Angelicum” and the Catholic University of Lublin. In his work he combined scholarly, didactic and educational activities. Wojtyła was an excellent lecturer. He showed the vital meaning of the problems discussed and through the mode of Socratic questions he helped to solve the most difficult philosophical and existential problems. As the basic tasks of the university, the Pope indicated “searching for the truth in all fields and passing it through teaching,” creating culture, integrating knowledge, social service, “defending man, his rights and freedoms.” “Education must always strive to make a person more mature, which means helping a person master to perfection and fully realize all his abilities and talents.” By analyzing deeds, Wojtyła showed what a person is, how he acts and how he makes his decisions. He emphasized the essential meaning of inner experience as a starting point for philosophizing. Man as the creator of his fate is also the actor-subject and object-component of his actions, and thanks to his conscience, the good and the truth are united.
Abp Józef Życiński: An Obliging Presence / 25
Archbishop Józef Życiński (1948-2011) indicated the crucial components of the teaching of John Paul II. The invisible world of grace cannot be obscured by pragmatism, in which the effectiveness of action and immediate success would become more important than religious, spiritual and moral values. Human dignity is a central value which cannot be subordinated to any political allies or party feuds. Solidarity must be more important than a fight. The Church’s dialogue with contemporary culture results from an attitude of respect, openness and mutual trust. When it comes to the representatives of other churches and religions, this dialogue should encompass the sense of community of values.
Wacław Oszajca: poems / 27
Alfred Wierzbicki: Poets of the Human Interior / 32
As a philosopher, Karol Wojtyła believed that the reflection on a man must begin with astonishment. As a Pope and theologian, he proclaimed that the Gospel is a great amazement at the dignity of a man. And as a poet – taking a rare route rooted in the mysticism of the poetic work of Saint John of the Cross – he evoked in his poems the depth of the supernatural life of a human soul. The reading of Wojtyła’s poetic texts allows us to grasp the central role of the human interior in his thinking. The man who is endowed with inner life – a conscious and a free being – is fulfilled only through a transformation in interpersonal love when he finds his unity with God. Wojtyła is interested in a man seeking God in himself and finding himself in the communion with God. He creates a philosophical and theological lyric poetry that is able to express the experience of the Mystery. The poetry of John Paul II, like the poetry of Saint John of the Cross, embodies a man in his spiritual integrity, seeks the sense of human existence between the Beginning and the End. It is a poetry of faith.
Tadeusz Kwiatkowski: Among Teachers and Friends / 41
Tadeusz Kwiatkowski – professor emeritus and the Head of the Department of History of Early Philosophy and History of Logic at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University – looks back on his meetings with Karol Wojtyła, who was one of his teachers and friends at the Catholic University of Lublin. The future Pope highly valued both metaphysics and logic, and he had great respect for Plato. He was characterized by methodological pluralism, which was a much more general attitude, also manifested in his later commitment to the cause of ecumenism. In addition, Karol Wojtyła in his teaching, like Socrates, attacked only appearances and never the people. His dialectic was always full of friendly care and friendship. He could tell students in a very convincing and personal way that to know and be able to learn meant a lot more than they had thought. At the same time, the protreptic part, or encouragement, was an important element of his art of teaching. He bestowed his students and colleagues with real friendship and kindheartedly engaged in their affairs.
Zygmunt Ficek: poems / 50
Adam Boniecki: A Writer and a Philosopher / 53
Reflections of priest Adam Boniecki focus on the role which Karol Wojtyła as John Paul II attributed to humanistic culture and to artists. The Pope saw a great threat to humanity in the disruption of the balance between the technological and humanistic factors. This asymmetry is expressed in treating technological development as an end in itself, in applying to it only economic criteria and using it to gain or retain power. In the opinion of John Paul II, only humanistic culture can protect humanity from the dangerous consequences of disturbing this balance. That is why in the world dominated by the cult of technological effectiveness, the Pope expected the balance to be restored by the “people of culture.” In the Letter to Artists he stated that talent (“God’s spark”) is a duty and an obligation for the artist. He called for the reestablishment of cooperation with the Church and encouraged the rediscovery of the deep spiritual and religious dimensions of art. He expressed the conviction that “Beauty is the key to the mystery and the call of transcendence.”
Agnieszka Kurnik: In the Eyes of Literary Scholars / 56
The analysis of the reception of the literary output of Karol Wojtyła based on the works by literary critics and scholars, published in Poland after 1989. Their authors are primarily literary scholars, though the reflection on the poetry and dramaturgy of the Polish Pope is often undertaken by the specialists of other disciplines: first of all theology, philosophy, cultural anthropology and sociology. Studies of the literary heritage of Karol Wojtyła conducted over recent years by various institutions in Poland reveal how vivid and important his literary works remain in the minds of the readers. The author of the article demonstrates the “double-track” fate of the reception of Wojtyła’s work and presents various ways of reading it – from synthetic to analytical, with particular emphasis on the distinctive style of Pope’s poetry and the appeals to the Romantic and post-Romantic tradition. Above all, however, the deep relationship of Wojtyła’s literary works with the Bible is underlined, which testifies to the fact that the author remains in the circle of the Word of creation – Logos.
Dejan Aleksić: poems / 71
Wacław Oszajca: Triptych of the Turn of the Centuries / 75
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, three books appeared which correspond with each other in an extraordinary way. These are: the volume of Czesław Miłosz’s poems Druga przestrzeń (2002, The Second Space) containing the work Traktat teologiczny (Theological Treatise); Karol Wojtyła’s poem Tryptyk rzymski (2003, The Roman Triptych) and Leszek Kołakowski’s essay Jezus ośmieszony (2014, Jesus Ridiculed). The question about the “absolute point of reference,” namely Jesus Christ, can be considered as the motif connecting these works. All three authors find God in Jesus, although Kołakowski also notes that we cannot “give »evidence« for divinity.” Considering these similarities, it is advisable to treat these works as a kind of a triptych, in which the poem of the Pope would constitute the central part, and whose background and key to the analysis would be Michelangelo’s fresco of The Last Judgment from the Sistine chapel, evoked in the Triptych authored by Wojtyła.
Sławomir Jacek Żurek: Christian-Jewish Dialogue in the Words of John Paul II and in the Teaching of the Church between 1978-2005 / 86
The pontificate of John Paul II (1978-2005) was a breakthrough time for the Christian-Jewish dialogue. All the activities undertaken at that time constituted the implementation of the vision of Christianity determined by the Declaration on the Church’s Attitude to Non-Christian Religions “Nostra aetate” of the Second Vatican Council (1965). John Paul II was the author of two groundbreaking texts of a prayer for Jews (1998 and 2000). Moreover, the Pope was the second bishop of Rome after Saint Peter to cross the thresholds of the synagogue (1986), and during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2000 he held historical meetings with: the chief rabbis of Israel; representatives of the Israeli authorities; survivors from the Holocaust and the Jewish community by the Western Wall. During this period, on the Pope’s initiative, a document on the extermination of Jews titled We Remember: Reflections on Shoah (1998) was drawn. Also the new Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992) is full of records about Judaism and Jews and their fundamental significance for Christianity. John Paul II was also the originator of the Day of Judaism in the Catholic Church (January 17, 1998).
Artur Chlewiński: poems / 97
Zofia Zarębianka: Karol Wojtyła – Czesław Miłosz. Invisible Affinities / 100
An overview of various analogies, concurrent ideas and similarities between the works of Karol Wojtyła and the poetry of Czesław Miłosz. The first part describes their personal relations manifested both in their encounters, as well as in their correspondence and texts dedicated to John Paul II written by Miłosz. In the second part, some surprising connections between the works of both artists are revealed, appearing at the level of axiology, references to the Bible, and also through a similar approach to the literary and philosophical tradition as well as the meditative course of their poems.
Roman Dzwonkowski: John Paul II and Polonia and Poles Abroad (1979-2003) / 106
During his pontificate, John Paul II repeatedly – both during the audiences in the Vatican and while visiting other countries – directed his words directly to the Polish diaspora and the Poles living abroad. While discussing a number of topics related to the difficulties experienced by the people detached from the country of birth, he emphasized, among others, the need to cultivate native tradition while showing respect for the “new homeland.” The Pope called for respecting the principles of Christian faith and encouraged active engagement in a new society. He also appealed for raising children in accordance with the Polish tradition and Catholic values. Papal diagnoses are still valid in the times of globalization witnessing the crisis of values and problems related to the mass migration.
Józef Tischner: Death of a Man / 119
After the death of God, announced by Frederic Nietzsche at the end of the 19th century, there came the time in the 20th century to announce the death of a man. The primary responsibility for this act was attributed to French structuralism. The question about a man and his humanity is not the basic concern of contemporary philosophers. According to Tischner, the reason for this is the “gradual disappearance of the experience of what is unique and human in us – the experience of human humanity.” The author concludes that the time has come for the question about the essence of a man to return to the center of our attention. In his opinion, being a man means to keep your humanity as your own good, that is, to treat this good as your essence. Humanity is presented here as a task – the one which is the closest and which is still far away. That is why a man is a dramatic entity. Nothing defines a man in humanity as much as drama. To understand a man, one must understand his drama.
Krzysztof Guzowski: Philosopher-Personalist / 125
Karol Wojtyła is one of the most famous personalists in the world. Personalism as a maximalist philosophical concept with a praxeological and social dimension became a barrier to totalitarian ideologies since it replaced all fragmentary theories which reduced the truth about a man to only one aspect. Wojtyła, thanks to his method of “hermeneutics of a person through a deed,” showed that knowledge about a man should be derived from his own direct experience, and not from any objective theory. A man as a person is not only one of the topics of human thought. Knowing human existence allows us to discover all the rules governing reality, especially those with the ethical dimension. The starting point of Wojtyła’s “realistic personalism” is the real person, his carnal-subject life and creative dynamism. Personalism is therefore a theory which has become a foundation for many scientific and socio-practical solutions.
Paweł J. Smoczyński: Karol Wojtyła as a Theoretician of Ethics / 133
An article about the ethical thought of Karol Wojtyła from the period of his active participation in academic life. According to Wojtyła, the primary role of “knowledge-making” in ethics is the experience of morality, and the basic task of ethical theory is to explain the facts of experience. Moral experience comes from a simple fact that every person practices and experiences good and evil. Karol Wojtyła’s ethics is an example of Christian ethics. The natural realism of ethics, which is closely related to the realism of cognition through reason, in Christian ethics changes into a distinctive supernatural realism. For reality is captured by reason enlightened by faith and thanks to it the reason is able to accept the image of reality affirmed by Revelation. Christian ethics maintains that moral norms, analogically to all created laws, come from the Creator, yet the origin of the vast majority of these norms is natural – a man simply acknowledges them through his reason. Good and evil are the inner qualities of human acts. An act – as a morally engaged activity – assumes the existence of a person. In this sense, ethics is a science about deeds, which implies the existence of a person – a human being as a person. The importance of moral values is mainly based on the fact that a man, as a person, through good or evil deeds becomes good or bad himself.
Religion, art, metaphysics…
Tomasz Dostatni: Wojtyła Re-read … [Karol Wojtyła „Elementarz etyczny” (“Ethics Primer”)]; Paweł Panas: On the Literary Works of Karol Wojtyła [Zofia Zarębianka „Spotkanie w Słowie. O twórczości literackiej Karola Wojtyły” (“Encounter in a Word. On the Literature of Karol Wojtyła”)]; Józef Franciszek Fert: A New Way into the World of the Bible [Biblia Aramejska. Targum Neofiti 1. Księga Rodzaju. Tom I, Biblia Aramejska. Targum Neofiti 1. Księga Wyjścia. Tom II (The Aramaic Bible. Targum Neofiti 1. Genesis. Volume I, The Aramaic Bible. Targum Neofiti 1. Book of Exodus. Volume II)]; Rafał Pastwa: Certainty of Faith in the “Liquid” World [Archbishop Stanisław Budzik: „Spotkania z Katechizmem Kościoła Katolickiego” – cz. I „Wierzę w Boga Ojca”, cz. II „Ufam Synowi Bożemu”, cz. III „Kocham dzieło Ducha Świętego” (“Meetings with the Catechism of the Catholic Church” – part I “I Believe in God the Father”, part II “I Trust in the Son of God”, part III “I Love the Works of the Holy Spirit”)]; Piotr Sendecki: Professor Leszek Mądzik – A Jubilee [„Artes Liberales. Teatr – sztuka – media. Księga jubileuszowa dedykowana Profesorowi Leszkowi Mądzikowi” (“Artes Liberales. Theater – Art – Media. A Jubilee Book Dedicated to Professor Leszek Mądzik”)]; Józef Franciszek Fert: Let’s Talk. Let’s Go Together. Pope Francis on Building Bridges [Pope Francis, Dominique Wolton „Otwieranie drzwi. Rozmowy o Kościele i o świecie” (“Opening the Door. Conversations about the Church and the World”)]; Monika Gabryś-Sławińska: Jacek Tacik and His Discovering the Truth [Jacek Tacik „Zamach. Jan Paweł II – 13 maja 1981. Spisek. Śledztwo. Spowiedź” (“Assasination. John Paul II – May 13, 1981. Conspiracy. Investigation. Confession”)] / 142
Reviews of recently published scholarly, essayistic and documentary publications devoted to the figure of John Paul II, as well as religious and metaphysical themes in art.
Poets, poets …
Ewa Kołodziejczyk: Mustard Seed [Jan Polkowski „Gdy Bóg się waha. Poezje 1977-2017” (“When God hesitates. Poetry 1977-2017”)]; Jerzy Sikora: Warning Against Extermination [Krzysztof Koehler „Kraj Gerazeńczyków” (“The Land of Jerash”)]; Agnieszka Reszczyk: In Search of Depth [Alfred Marek Wierzbicki „Ulica Bernardyńska”, „76 wierszy” (“Bernardyńska Street”, “76 Poems”)]; Urszula Gierszon: “If We Say a Word …” [Stefan Jurkowski „Spacer do siebie” (“A Walk to Yourself”)]; Ewa Dunaj: “Two Needles of a Pine”, “Bird’s Feather” [Maciej Bieszczad „Pogrzeby wróbli” (“Funerals of the Sparrows”)]; Jadwiga Mizińska:“Ja de [I go]”? [Aleksandra Zińczuk “JA DE”]; Jan Wolski: Joyful Passer-by [Leszek A. Moczulski „Nuty od Franciszka” (“Notes from Francis”)] / 170
Discussions of the latest books of poetry written by literary scholars and critics. They contain detailed analyzes and characterize the most popular currents and literary phenomena.
Lechosław Lameński: On the Monuments of the Nineteenth Century, Metal in the Sculpture of the Twentieth Century and the Works of Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz / 195
Throughout Europe in the 19th century and in the first years of the 20th century the great monumental compositions enjoyed great popularity. The twentieth century is also the period of dissemination of metal as a sculptural material (not only in monumental sculpture), in which the Spanish, English and American authors played an important role. In Poland, Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz (1919-2005) – an original and versatile artist, known primarily for abstract spatial compositions – was the first sculptor who appreciated the wide array of possibilities offered by the new material. Jarnuszkiewicz is the author of the popular and widely recognized monument of Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński in the courtyard of the Catholic University of Lublin. In the last period of his life Jarnuszkiewicz increased his efforts to make his works saturated with mystical elements and straightforward references to the sphere of sacrum. Jarnuszkiewicz was also a highly respected and recognized educator. For 35 years, he had led a popular sculpture studio at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.
Bolesław Taborski: “Jeremy” by Karol Wojtyła / 204
An article about the drama Jeremiasz (Jeremiah) authored by Karol Wojtyła. The key theme is the fall and rebirth of the nation. The source of the defeat suffered at the hands of external enemies is attributed to the moral decline of the country. This central thought is emphasized on two levels: in the biblical thread and in the sermon of Father Peter, which also goes back to the biblical examples. The main character of the drama is Father Peter Skarga – a Jesuit, court preacher of King Sigismund III Vaza and enthusiast of obedience to the Church and the state. Like the prophet Jeremiah some centuries ago, Skarga urged to restore moral and social customs and fight against injustice, lies and impunity. And, like Jeremiah, he did not find many followers of his teachings – the only one was the Grand Hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski, a great knight and an unyielding moral model, known for proclaiming that “an avenger will be made of our bones.” According to Taborski, the most Polish of Karol Wojtyła’s plays can be understood as a metaphor for the victory of the forces of good over the forces of evil in the arena of politics or history.
Leszek Teusz: Let Love Shape You. “The Brother of Our God” / 213
An article on the drama written by Karol Wojtyła, Brat naszego Boga (The Brother of Our God). The prototype of the main character was Adam Chmielowski – painter, Franciscan friar, founder of the Congregation of the Albertine Brothers and Sisters, insurgent and saint of the Catholic Church, known for helping the poor and the homeless. Wojtyła was intrigued by the problem experienced by this character: the artist who abandoned art and gave up life in the artistic environment, retreating from the fame awaiting him in the art world to devote everything to God’s love and service to his fellow men. In a sense, it was also a problem of Wojtyła himself. Writing this drama, he attempted to penetrate into the mechanisms of spiritual inner struggles of an extraordinary man and showed the process of his growth towards holiness. Adam, the protagonist, sees in the person of Christ a real model of mercy – an attitude that a person can imitate. The strength that builds up an ethical personality is love. Based on the highest order of God’s Love, individual love introduces order into a human psyche, while at the same time acts as a force which dynamizes the spiritual order of a man. “To let love shape you” is to live in truth and freedom. Wojtyła’s story of Adam is the story of a man striving to achieve the fullness of faith and love.
Janusz S. Pasierb: Before the Film “The Jeweller’s Shop”/ 222
Rev. Janusz Stanisław Pasierb (1929-1993) – professor, poet, essayist, historian, cultural scholar, author of several hundred publications, since 1982 the Honorary Prelate of His Holiness – also acted as a consultant in the screening of Karol Wojtyła’s play Przed sklepem jubilera (The Jeweller’s Shop). In the sketch he presents the main problems he had to deal with while cooperating with the Vatican Commission for the Letters of Karol Wojtyła. The Jeweller’s Shop is not only a religious text, but also a poetic one. The producers, driven mainly by commercial reasons, claimed that the film would not bear such religious message. Pasierb, however, perseveringly postulated that without this message, the film would not make any sense at all. Skilful translation of words of poetic meditation written thirty years before into suggestive images and dialogues that would sound natural and credible to modern audiences created another vast challenge.
Andrzej Luter: Pope on Screen / 225
A review of films related to the figure of Karol Wojtyła. They were created both during the pontificate of John Paul II and after his death. They have different artistic value, and – according to the author of the article – the best among them are From a Far Country (1981) directed by Krzysztof Zanussi and John Paul II (2005) by John Kent Harrison. Most of this type of productions is illustrative and popularizing, which is reflected, inter alia, in historical, theological and psychological simplifications, rather clichéd dialogues or excessive manipulation of pathos. However, these deficiencies are often counterbalanced by excellent acting creations and interesting interventions of a director. Certainly, the intentions of the creators who strive to reach their audiences from different cultural backgrounds with different historical and personal experiences have to be appreciated.
Jerzy Bartmiński and Jarosław Cymerman on the book The Priest’s Description. Image of a Priest in Polish Culture in 21st Century / 232
A juxtaposition of two voices of literary critics dedicated to one of the recently published books of prose, poetry or criticism. The clash of different points of view and personal assessments emphasizes the multidimensionality in the publication, and launches a discussion about its meaning and value.
SEEN FROM FLORENCE
Jan Władysław Woś: Crumbs of Memories / 239
Jan Władysław Woś – historian, researcher of Polish-Italian relations, publisher of sources for the history of Poland and the history of the Church, bibliophile, collector, retired professor of Eastern European history at the universities of Pisa, Venice and Trento – writes about his meetings with John Paul II during academic symposia, congresses and parties given on various occasions. In addition, at Pope’s request prof. Woś wrote 10 articles on the subject of John III Sobieski and the the Battle of Vienna. John Paul II went on a pastoral visit to Vienna on the 300th anniversary of the battle. Five articles have been published in the press under a joint title The Decisive Event in the History of Europe. All of them were published in a book form as one of the publications of the John Paul II Foundation.
Leszek Mądzik: Encounter / 242
Tomasz Kłusek: To Express Life … A Jubilee Meeting Celebrating the 150th Volume of “Akcent” / 243
On December 14, 2017, a jubilee celebration was held in the Crown Tribunal in Lublin to mark the publication of the 150th issue of Akcent. This monographic volume was prepared in connection with the 150th anniversary of the birth of Józef Piłsudski. The volume contained numerous articles devoted to the presence of the Marshal in cultural works and in public awareness. Piłsudski’s and his close associates’ relationships with Lublin were also discussed. The meeting was attended by many distinguished guests who in their speeches emphasized the culture-forming role of Akcent. This journal, established on the wave of the events of August 1980, was able to quickly acquire the reputation of an opinion-forming periodical of a wide range, raising, among others, important issues of the cultural borderlands in Poland, Europe and the world. The ceremony was graced by a music concert.
Ludwik Gawroński: John Paul II and Music / 249
John Paul II often wrote and spoke about sacred music, which in a way connects with the “truth”, so that it can also transfer the souls from the sensual world to eternal reality through the paths of art. He indicated God as the ultimate source of all art, including musical art. He was convinced that the fundamental role in composing a musical work is played by the gift of divine inspiration, or the light of the Holy Spirit. The Pope encouraged everyone to participate in the singing during the mass. He emphasized the importance of sacred music and spoke, among others, on the subject of Gregorian chant, folk singing, and “Bogurodzica” [“Mother of God,” the oldest Polish hymn]. “Barka” [“God once stood on the shore…”] was his favorite song. During the pontificate of John Paul II, dozens of musical works devoted to him or dedicated to him were written.
Piotr Paweł Gach: The Pope’s Voice Years Later / 252
A book review of Karol Wojtyła. Noc wigilijna. Nieznane przemówienia, homilie i nagrania (Karol Wojtyła. The Night of Christmas Eve. Unknown Speeches, Homilies and Recordings), published in 2017 by the publishing house Biały Kruk. The volume contains texts by Karol Wojtyła reproduced from amateur tapes, which were recorded between 1973-1995, mostly during the meetings of the Jesuit Academic Community in Cracow. The speeches were preceded by an introduction by Janusz Kawecki and a memoir article by Jan Kowalczyk. A valuable attraction – along with numerous rare and carefully reproduced photographs – is a CD with unique recordings attached to the album. Thanks to this addition you can hear the voice of Karol Wojtyła once again.
Waldemar Michalski: A Walk with Priest Karol / 254
A recollection of a student hiking trip, in which the author – then a student of the Catholic University – took part in May 1957. One of the participants of the walk to the suburbs was the young priest Karol, lecturer of ethics – later Pope John Paul II.
Notes about authors / 256