Poland's Roman Catholic bishops have accused the country's communist controlled press, radio and television of promoting 'godless ideology' and 'total dictatorship'.
Poland's Roman Catholic bishops have accused the country's communist controlled press, radio and television of promoting 'godless ideology' and 'total dictatorship'. The attack came in the form of a pastoral letter read from pulpits of Roman Catholic churches on Sunday (18 September) throughout Poland. But it is just another example of the continuing and often bitter dispute between church and state, and has become public while the Polish Roman Catholic Primate, Stefan Wyszynski, 76, recovers from an operation which was first thought to be serious.
SYNOPSIS: This was the scene that greeted Cardinal Stefan Wysznski when he arrived at Rome Central Station in November, 1968. It was the first time in three years that the Polish Government had allowed him to leave his country: A sanction imposed for allegedly interfering in political affairs.
Warsaw, Poland, the headquarters of the Communist Party which has ruled since the end of the second World War.
1975, and Polish Communist leader, Edward Gierek, casts his vote in an election that confirmed the confidence he enjoyed from his party congress. Mr. Gierek took over the reins of power in 1970 in a time of serious economic unrest. It appears such a time has come again.
Representing a "technocrat" rather than a party idealist, Mr. Gierek, met the then US President Gerald Ford for talks described as "another re-affirmation of international detente."
In 1975, French President Giscard D'Estaing went with the Polish leader to view the horrors of the never forgotten Auschwitz concentration camp.
And thus the central protagonists in the often bitter struggle between church and state. On the one hand, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, who heads the Roman Catholic Church with an estimated following of 28-million countrymen, or more than 80 per cent of Poland's population. These old churches are being rebuilt by followers, perhaps a symbol of the growing strength of the religious institution.
Even after more than 30 years of Communist rule, the church still attracts young and old.
Part of the original agreement between Cardinal Wyszynski and party leader, Gierek, was that the church would not directly touch on political matters.
But by merely being a large organised body dedicated to a spiritual doctrine which is the antithesis of Marxism, the church is also regarded by many to be a political opposition. In worsening economic conditions, it could attract even more support.