Report calls on priests to confess to collaborating with Communists

By on October 1, 2006

Warsaw
Poland’s Roman Catholic bishops have published a report about their church’s infiltration by the secret police under communist rule, calling on priests who were informers to confess their guilt but also warning against “condemnation and revenge.”  

“Collaborating with the church’s enemies is a public sin,” said the Warsaw-based Bishops Conference. “We do not, however, intend to condemn or name anyone, only to recall principles which are binding always and everywhere on everyone who believes in Christ and belongs to his church.”

Meanwhile, in Romania, another European nation subject to communist rule after the Second World War, President Traian Basescu said he would support the opening of secret police files on his country’s Orthodox clergy. This followed calls by the government minister for culture and religious affairs, Adrian Iorgulescu, for the public naming of collaborators from the church.   

A spokesperson for the Romanian Orthodox Church’s Bucharest patriarchate told the Agence France-Presse news agency his church had already admitted its infiltration by communist agents and was not against “the opening of archives dealing with priests.”

The 3,000-word Polish report noted that a clear majority of Catholic clergy had proved “worthy servants of Christ,” in some cases paying with their lives under communist rule, which lasted in Poland from 1947 to 1989.

Presenting the report, the Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, former personal secretary to Pope John Paul II, said he believed it would be better if incriminated priests also resigned their posts and retired from public life.

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