In Poland, New Wave of Charges Against Roman Catholic Clerics
The New York Times Reported that:
KRAKOW, Poland, Jan. 9 — Poland was convulsed in finger-pointing and recrimination on Tuesday as more allegations of former secret-police collaborators among the Roman Catholic clergy members spilled onto the country’s front pages, sullying an institution that for decades was considered spotless in its fight against Communism.
And the stream of disclosures now promises to become a torrent: here in Krakow, the Rev. Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski is preparing to publish a book that will identify 39 priests whose names he found in Krakow’s secret police files, three of whom are now bishops in the Polish church.
Perhaps the most explosive assertion by people in the church is that the taint of collaboration was known for decades but kept quiet out of respect for — or perhaps even at the behest of — the Polish-born Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005.
“The church didn’t want to hurt the pope, but actually, more harm was done by keeping silent,” Father Zaleski, 50, said in an interview at the hilltop compound of a charity he runs outside Krakow.
The sudden focus on the fallibility of a church thought to be heroically anti-Communist followed the Vatican’s choice of Bishop Stanislaw Wielgus as archbishop of Warsaw despite clear signals of his ties to Poland’s secret police. Bishop Wielgus resigned Sunday after admitting his secret past.
“There is a sort of unholy alliance in Poland that has been present for many years, but is fully visible only recently, that is based on a culture of mendacity,” said Andrzej Zybertowicz, professor of sociology at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, the heart of the Polish church’s most conservative camp.
He argued that there were three elements of this alliance: former members of the secret police and the Communist Party who are now active in business and politics; apologists who wanted to forgive and forget past collaboration; and an influential part of the hierarchy of the Polish church.
Collaboration in the clergy is not unique to Poland. Church officials across the Communist world were commonly bent to ignoble service. Some of that has come to light as Eastern bloc countries have peered into their secret police archives.
But Poland is unique in that the church remained stronger there than elsewhere in the Communist world. That was largely because Poland’s primate at the time, Archbishop Stefan Wyszynski, agreed to cooperate with the Communist authorities, preaching compromise — up to a point, beyond which he said the faithful should not yield.
The complete story may be found here: