01/08/2007, 00.00
VATICAN – POLAND

Vatican denounces “strange alliance” against church after Wielgus resignation

The resignation of the archbishop of Warsaw was “an adequate solution” to the crisis but it seems that former and current enemies want to use documents of the secret services to weaken the Polish Church.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The resignation of Mgr Stanislaw Wielgus from his new post as archbishop of Warsaw is an “adequate solution” to the “confusion” created in Poland by accusations about his past collaboration with the secret services of the regime. But the resignation is also a new phase in the “war” declared against the Polish Church by a “strange alliance” that unites one-time Communists and “other adversaries” that could be the nationalists.

 

This was the gist of a statement released yesterday by the director of the Vatican press office, Fr Federico Lombardi, about the resignation of Mgr Wielgus whose “conduct in past years during the communist regime in Poland gravely compromised his authority, also towards the faithful”. However there is more to what happened than a mere personal episode that sparked “confusion” among the faithful and that was concluded – at least for now. A wider issue is at stake here that regards the entire Polish church. “The case of Mgr Wieglus is not the first and probably not the last case of an attack against a church official based on documentation from the services of the past regime,” said Fr Lombardi. “There is endless material and in seeking to assess its value and to draw credible conclusions, we must not forget that this is a product of officials from an oppressive and blackmailing regime.”

 

Cardinal Joseph Glemp in Warsaw was tougher and more explicit. “Wieglus was judged on the basis of copies of copies of pieces of paper,” said Cardinal Glemp, referring to papers published in the media that were found at the Institute of National Memory (IPN) that has the archives of the secret police. Warmly applauded by the faithful present in Warsaw Cathedral, the cardinal continued: “We do not like such trials because they are not real. So it is difficult for us to take the IPN seriously today. It is too difficult and too dirty.” In a nutshell, “to understand the past, it is not enough just to know about the documents in their possession.”

 

Going by the criticisms made by Cardinal Glemp, the references made by Fr Lombardi in the rest of his statement become clearer: “Many years after the end of the communist regime, now that the great and unassailable figure of John Paul II has gone, the wave of attacks against the Catholic Church in Poland, rather than a sincere quest for transparency and truth, has many aspects of a strange alliance between the persecutors of the past and its other adversaries and a vendetta on the part of those who had persecuted it in the past and were defeated by faith and the desire for freedom of the Polish people.”

 

On 25 May last year, during his trip to Poland, Benedict XVI referred to the compromise of some priests with the Communist regime – already in the news – cautioned people to “guard against arrogantly passing judgment against the preceding generation.”

 

In the closing words of Fr Lombardi, one could discern what seemed practically like a warning to the new “strange alliance”: the Polish church is not alone and the entire church should show it solidarity. The director of the press office said: “This is a time of great suffering for a Church to which we owe very much and which we love, which has given us pastors of the greatness of Cardinal Wyszynski and especially Pope John Paul II. The universal Church should feel in spiritual solidarity with the Church that is in Poland and should accompany it with prayer and encouragement so that it may recover its serenity soon.”

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See also
Pope accepts resignation of Warsaw archbishop
07/01/2007
Special meeting of Polish bishops after the Wielgus affair
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Fr. Lombardi: Benedict XVI’s resignation "a truly incisive decision in the History of the Church"
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