Magazine Claims Evidence Of Polish Anti-Church Plan
MILAN, Italy (AP) _ An Italian magazine said Tuesday it had obtained a secret Polish government document outlining measures for curbing the vast influence of the Roman Catholic Church in the pope’s homeland.
The conservative Catholic weekly Il Sabato said the document was issued by the Polish government’s Office of Religious Affairs in December and circulated to its provincial branches.
In a news release before publication, scheduled for Wednesday, the magazine said government officials were advised to play off statements by Polish-born Pope John Paul II against those of Cardinal Jozef Glemp, the Polish primate; to to block permission for new churches, and to reduce the circulation of church publications.
It said the document was provided by a highly reliable source whose identity it was keeping confidential for his security.
The head of the Office of Religious Affairs, Adam Lopatka, has said the Polish government will not tolerate outspoken priests and warned that those who are judged to have broken the law will face arrest.
At a news conference Monday, Glemp accused the state-run media of a ″malicious″ campaign against the church and defended the murdered pro- Solidarity priest, the Rev. Jerzy Popieluszko, against allegations that he engaged in anti-state activities. Four secret police officers were convicted last week in the priest’s kidnap-murder.
Polish government spokesman Jerzy Urban denied Glemp’s allegation Tuesday and said that, on the contrary, said some militant priests were acting ″viciously″ against the Communist system.
At the Vatican, John Paul briefly discussed events in his homeland during an audience with hundreds of Polish pilgrims.
Referring to the death of Popieluzsko, the pontiff said he hoped it would ″contribute to strengthening the church and the nation within the church.″
″It’s not easy to be a Pole,″ he said. ″But what it takes has a value. ... Therefore, it can be said that it is worth being a Pole.″