Tekst jest traktowany jako integralna całość, można go cytować, ale zgodnie z prawem z podaniem źródła, tzn. autora książki i jej tytułu, osoby udzielające wywiadu, no i tłumacza amatora:). Tłumaczenie jest moje (z pomocą Google Translate), dlatego jest pewnie w nim dużo błędów:), pro publico bono, całkowicie bez wynagrodzenia.
Jewish woman is the Catholic patron of Europe
with fr. Jerzy Witek and Maria Kromp-Kropiowska
When did you start dealing with the promotion of intellectual achievements and the spiritual heritage of Saint Edith Stein?
Ks. Jerzy Witek: When as a young priest I came to the parish of Saint. Michael, I knew very little about Edith Stein. When I started to work as parish priest and to meet pilgrimages coming to us, and I began to get to know her and her work. A thought arose at that time to bring to life the society of her name, which would popularize her person and what she left behind.
We have been in existence for more than twenty-five years. Earlier, we operated at the church of Saint Michael, with whom Edyta Stein was very much connected after her conversion. Whenever she came to her mother, she came to the local church for the first morning Holy Mass at 5:30 in the morning.
Every ninth day of the month - because Edyta was murdered on August 9, 1942 - we meet up with a dozen or so people for prayer. Unfortunately, this Isn’t much. The Society has had its highs and great successes. Years ago, we thought that we would direct the Catholic Church to new paths and everything would be beautiful. Currently, however, we are in a little crisis. Fewer and fewer people want to get involved in our business. We need resources and competent and substantive people who would join in the popularization of our extraordinary saint from Wroclaw, who fascinated so much Saint Pope John Paul II. The existence of the Society of Edith Stein certainly reflects her life. It is in this life because I know the present suffering and the cross, but also the glory, splendor and meaning of the cross. As Edyta Stein said: "Who puts the cross on us, can make this burden sweet and light."
Is the Society of Edith Stein cooperates with Jews?
J.W.: We had several meetings with the Jews. In 2010, Suzanne Batzdorff and Lotte Sachs, niece of Edith Stein came to us. At that time, when Marian Gołębiewski was the Archbishop of Wrocław, Suzanne Batzdorff, daughter of Erna, sister of Edith Stein, who is now 95 years old, said then that the Jews feel that they still don’t have a home, they don’t have a homeland and it is a great suffering for them. She said yes, despite the fact that Jews have after all Israel.
There are also Jews with who we do joint projects. We had a meeting with prof. Jan Grosfeld, member of the Neocatechumenal Way and the Polish Council of Christians and Jews. He spoke at this meeting about the existence of Judaism in the Catholic Church.
How did Edyta Stein's path to Christianity look like?
J.W .: Edyta Stein was born in a Jewish family as the eleventh child of Zygmunt and Augusta née Courant. Her mother was a strong spiritual woman and radical in her faith. As soon as she could look after the faith of her children and raise them in a climate of Judaism.
Maria Kromp-Kropiowska: When Edyta Stein was born on Yom Kippur in 1891, her mother, Augusta - as the literature says - saw the hand of God over her newly born child. Yom Kippur is a day of reconciliation, when the nation acknowledges its nothingness to accept the mercy of God. Mother Edith Stein knew that this is a special event and that God watches over her daughter's life and leads her.
J.W .: In the life of Edyta Stein there were many difficult and humiliating events. When, on the centenary of Schiller's death, children were given prizes in 1905, she was omitted only because she was a Jew, not including her knowledge and work effort. She always had to collide with the reality in which people who were of Jewish origin were discriminated. It wasn’t the most traumatic and tragic event for her. Such is the suicide of her uncle because of bankruptcy. It left a big mark on her. It caused that she didn’t see the sense of her presence in Judaism any more. At the age of fourteen, she declared that she was an atheist.
M.K.K .: This deep crisis of faith which hit her then caused that, consciously and in full freedom - as she claimed - she ceased to pray. Her innate intelligence urged her to seek the truth. Devoted completely to this idea, he studies philosophy and psychology in Wrocław. She looks for a necessary respite in places conducive to meditation. One of them was Ostrów Tumski. She felt the simplicity, sublimity and calmness of this place. The innate tact was holding her back - as she herself mentions - before entering these churches, first of all because the services were just taking place, and she didn’t want to disturb the prayers.
Under the influence of Dr. Moskiewicz, she began to read the book of the great German philosopher Edmund Husserl Logische Untersuchungen. She didn’t know then that the phenomenology that so impressed her, based on Catholicism and Saint Tomas from Aquinas. Then she wrote her doctoral dissertation under Husserl. All the time you can see in this sequence of events that Edith Stein was led by the hand of God almighty. All the people whom she met on her way were pushing her towards him. God gave her everything to help her. He wanted her to grow in faith, she could be baptized and she became a saint. At that time, Edith Stein fell in love with Polish philosophy, Roman Ingarden, then Hans Lippsie - without reciprocity on the part of both. Her wounded and empty heart could now be filled with another love.
J.W .: In 1917, after the death of her friend, the philosopher Adolf Reinach, Edyta was asked by his wife to put in order her husband's scientific heritage. She visited the widow and saw how this evangelical person approached her great loss with peace and faith. In how she experienced her husband's death, Edith Stein saw the cross of Jesus Christ for the first time. "This was my first encounter with the cross and God's power that he gives to those who carry it. For the first time in my life I saw the Church in his victory over the sting of death. At that moment, my unbelief broke down and Christ appeared in the mystery of the cross, "wrote Edyta Stein.
In 1920, Edyta Stein went to Bad Bergzabern to her friend, Jadwiga Conrad-Martius. There, he reaches at random into the library and goes to the autobiography of Teresa the Great - Life of Saint Teresa of Avila. She was so fascinated and preoccupied that she reads her all night long. When dawn comes and dawns, he closes this book and says that it is a true. Then it goes quickly. She buys books related to Catholicism and meets with clergy who direct her faith. On January 1, 1922, she was baptized in the Catholic Church. She realizes that it would be easier for her if she chose Protestantism, but it is in Catholicism that she finds the right path to Jesus.
M.K.K .: Her confessor and friend, Jesuit Father Erich Przywara SJ, asked her to translate the texts of blessed J.H. Newman and Saint Thomas Aquinas. He then said that these translations allowed her to fully assimilate the Catholic tradition. As it explains something and chews on, as Israel chewed Torah, you can learn a lot: Edyta has become a Catholic in the full sense of the word.
J.W .: She was sure that her place is with Jesus Christ. She felt that only with him could she fully exist. On the last day before she move to Carmel in Cologne Edith Stein's stay in Wrocław, to spent time with her mother Augusta. Then they went together to the synagogue. It was a huge suffering for her mother. When they returned from the synagogue to Michaeli Strasse they didn’t talk to each other at all, they were silent. Edith Stein recalls that she didn’t sleep all night. For Augusta, her daughter's decision to join the convent was a huge blow. At one point, she asked Edyta why she considered Jesus as God. Edith Stein told her that she couldn’t do otherwise because in Jesus she saw God Yahweh. Edith Stein's conversion was very individual. She admits it herself. She found God in Jesus, who supports and guides her. She says that when she looks at her life, she does not see any ortuity. All this is by the will of God.
She joined Carmel, and therefore the convent, which was created on Mount Carmel. It was there that the ancestor of the Carmelite convent, one of the greatest Jewish prophets of the Old Testament, Elijah, sacrificed to God and that's where He appeared. At the foot of this mountain is the plain where Israel's victory over the enemy took place.
In Carmel, Edith Stein took the name of Teresa Benedykta of the Cross. The name she chose meant love for the cross, another man and her nation.
I think that Edith Stein's choice of Carmel is something very symbolic. One can find many people of Jewish origin among the most remarkable Carmelites. The Carmelite convent under the name of the Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, for example, was cofounded by French twin brothers with Jewish roots, Joseph and Augustine Lehmanns.. Angelo from Jerusalem, Saint John from the Cross, Saint Teresa from Ávila, Hermann Cohen, Elias Friedman, Daniel Rufeisen and Stella Zylbersztajn had a Jewish origin. In addition to personal relationships, or the genesis of the convent itself, which you have already mentioned, there are also symbolic relations between Carmel and the Jewish world. In the end, it is the Monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Saints' Observations, which was located near the former German concentration camp of Auschwitz, disturbed Jews so much that they forced its removal on the Polish church. Luckily located near the German concentration camp in Dachau Monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Most Holy Blood, for now it still functions in its place.
It was also in Dachau that the Germans murdered the Dutch Carmelite, Titus Brandsma, who was there for opposing anti-Jewish regulations. Brandsa was beatified by Pope John Paul II, who valued the Carmelite spirit so much that some even claimed to have a Carmelite soul. As the Pope once mentioned, as a boy he attended Holy Mass in Wadowice to the Monastery of the Discalced Carmelites. Karmel seems to be a kind of bridge between the world of Jews and the Christian world. Of course, many people are against the existence of such a bridge. In any case, those Jews who have accepted Jesus and bound themselves with Carmel often become a problem for other Jews, because they are an example that you can follow Jesus. They are also a living testimony of great faith in Christ.
M.K.K .: All Jews who have converted to Catholicism give their lives the example that their faith is more solid and well-established than ours because it has a solid foundation. We, who come to the Church at once and learn a catechism, receive the sacraments, and then we just start to look where we came from, we go to the foundation that the Jews already have. We are first baptized, and only later we seek our roots in our older brothers in faith.
J.W .: It can be said that there is so much Jewish faith as there are individual Jews. We in Europe have everything a bit bureaucratic. There is the dean, the bishop, the official structure, etc., and there pure faith in the living God emanates from the heart and soul of every Jew. This shows how the Jews are original and true in all of this. Israel is strong with God.
What was Edith Stein's relationship with the Jews?
J.W .: When we look at Edith Stein's life and the persecution and suffering she experienced, we are ready to accept that she was going to the death for Jesus in full consciousness. When she goes to the white house in which she was later gassed, she says to her sister, Róża, who followed her in her footsteps and baptized: "Let's go, we are going for the nation". She went to death being fully aware of the suffering of the Jewish people, with which she identified. In her last will, which is also a letter to her superior mother, she agrees to his death and accepts the destiny of her Jewish brothers and sisters. She goes to death like Christ.
M.K.K .: She went to death not only for her people, but for all of us.
Did Edith Stein want to convert other Jews to faith in Christ?
J.W .: There are various ways to reach God and the paths of salvation are different. We as the Church, of course, emphasize that the only Savior is Jesus, the son of God Yahweh. However, I didn’t meet with any aspirations of Edith Stein, that she would want to convert Jews from Judaism to Christianity.
As I became a parish priest in the parish of Saint. Michael, we created, in cooperation with the Church in Cologne and various other German and Polish environments, the chapel of Edith Stein. When it wasn’t yet finished, the first pilgrimage came to us from Poznań. In a memorial book, the high school student from Poznań was the first to sign up. Because Edith Stein was still blessed at that time, he wrote: "Blessed Edith Stein, patron of people seeking the truth, pray for us." These words have remained in me, because they are a reflection of what Edith Stein said, because she wrote that "whoever seeks the truth, he seeks God, even if he does not realize it." The concept of truth is very broad. John Paul II said: "Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross finally understood that the love of Christ and human freedom are with each other laced, because there is an inner bond between love and truth. She didn’t see a contradiction between seeking the truth and expressing it through love, on the contrary, she understood that truth and love are invoking each other".
In 1989, in the Apostolic Letter on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, Pope John Paul II wrote: " I would like to repeat here with all firmness that hostility or hatred of Judaism is completely in conflict with the Christian vision of human dignity". During the Catholic-Jewish symposium in Paris, in 2002, the Pope said: "Jews and Christians are connected to each other and should live the culture of dialogue, which the philosopher Martin Buber speaks of." The Pope thus referred to the ward of the Polish gymnasium of Franciszek Józef, co-creator of the philosophy of dialogue, who penetrated into Christian-Judaic relations. Is it precisely because of the need to conduct a Judaic-Christian dialogue and the desire to show all Catholics that "hatred for Judaism remains in total contradiction with the Christian vision of human dignity", John Paul II decided to establish St. Edyta Stein as patron of Europe?
J.W .: John Paul II beatified Edith Stein, he canonized, and finally in 1999 he established the patron of Europe, because he was a prophet of our time. In the homily given during canonized Mass for Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross on 11 October 1998, the Holy Father said: "Edyta Stein was a Jew and therefore, together with her sister Rosa and many other Catholics of Jewish origin, she was deported from the Netherlands to the concentration camp in Oświęcim, where together with them she died in the gas chamber. Today we remember her with deep reverence. When she was offered the option of rescuing a few days before the deportation, she replied: "Don’t do this, why should I be excluded? Isn’t justice just that I shouldn’t get any privileges from my baptism? If I can’t share the fate of my brothers and sisters, my life is kind of destroyed". Once we remember the new saint every year, we must also remember the Shoah - a terrible plan to exterminate the entire nation, whose victims were millions of our Jewish brothers and sisters. Let the Lord shine over their face and give them peace (see Lb 6, 25-26). In the name of love to God and to man, I raise my voice once more and call out from my heart: no more no ethnic community, no nation, no race anywhere in the world can fall victim to a similar crime! This cry is addressed to everyone: to all people of good will; to all believers in the eternal and just God; to all who know that they are associated with Christ, the incarnate Word. We must all join our forces. The dignity of man is at stake. There is only one human family. "
During the canonization on which Edith Stein's relatives were present, I met a girl from the United States who in 1987 was miraculously healed through her intercession. It was Teresa Benedicta McCarthy from Boston, whose parents gave names just in honor of Edith Stein's religious name, and it was she who prayed for her to heal her daughter. It was unusual to associate with a person who is a living example of the sanctity of Edith Stein.
Why, however, did the Pope from Poland set up a German Jewish patron in Europe?
J.W .: This is a very good question. For we could surely find some Europeans who have no Jewish origin and who would be equally or even more suited to Europe. Nothing, however, happens radomly.
M.K.K .: Edyta Stein is our saint patron, although some people from Wrocław say "the Jew Isn’t only a Jewess, she is also a German woman. This is supposed to be our saint?" But God wanted it and made it a saint with the help of John Paul II. God loves paradoxes and likes to turn human life 180 ° to show that we aren’t building it ourselves.
J.W .: I think that what the Pope did have a deeper meaning. This is particularly visible today in the context of the inflow of immigrants to Europe, where it is clearly visible that many people are being exploited and treated badly. Edyta Stein says: "Our love for people is a measure of our love for God. For Christians - and not just for them - there are no strangers. Christ's love knows no limits". The Pope also quoted these words on the homily of canonization John Paul II was fascinated with her. But what he didn’t manage to do was proclaim her the doctor of the Church.
Is there still a chance?
I think so.
A Jewish woman is proclaimed by the Pope a Catholic patron of Europe. Confessing Judaism, an American lawyer of Jewish origin, Joseph Weiler, defends the Great Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights against the presence of the cross in Italian public schools and states that Europe should return to its Christian roots. Do you see the hand of God in this?
J.W .: Yes, yes. In every event and in every fact, the action of God can be seen for the Jew and the Christian. It works in history through individual people. This is also how you read Jew defense of the presence of the cross in Europe.
I have been several times in Israel, including in the Christian center where John Paul II once was. It's about Domus Galilaeae on the Sea of Galilee. Something amazing is going on there. These aren’t typically proselytizing activities, but bringing Jews and Christians closer together. There are special meetings during which Jews experience the real presence of God and feel the faith of those who are in charge of the liturgy there. They often hear for the first time that God is love and reveals himself in another person and in our relationship to his neighbor. The Jews, seeing the symbols and manner of conducting the liturgy as well as hearing songs and music, decide to come there. Both rabbis and entire Jewish families come there. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Nostra aetate document, in May 2015 the initiators of the Neocatechumenal Way, Kiko Argüello, Carmen Hernandez and Fr. Mario Pezzi organized a meeting there, attended by about 120 rabbis, 400 priests, 20 bishops, 7 cardinals and lay people catechists from around the world. None of the rabbis ever interfered with the cross in the main place. After the meeting, the rabbis were even supposed to say that today we are dealing with a new spring between Judaism and Christianity.
I was also on June 23, 2013 at a concert in the parking lot in front of the Death Gate of the former German extermination camp Auschwitz II-Birkenau. It was there that Edith Stein was gassed patron of Europe. It was a very serious event. The reception of a symphony composed by Kiko Argüello Innocent suffering - The Symphony and Catechetical Celebration was by the Catholic hierarchy and the Jewish milieu was simply incredible. Now the Jews are praying and singing the song Szema Jisrael with the Catholics. This is a phenomenon that does not fit in your head. Such events, however, have their place today. This symphony was also presented to rabbis in the United States. I see great hope in all of this for a deep change.
Szema Yisrael's song resounds also during the evangelization in the squares, including Grzybowski Square in Warsaw, near which there is a Nozyk synagogue and the church of All Saints. This song is also heard in the vaults of this church, where the neocatechumenal communities exercise there liturgies and celebrate the Eucharist. And to think that once the bookshop "Antyk" was accused of selling anti-Semitic publications in the underground of this church!
We also have the neo-catechumenal communities celebrating the Eucharist.