Monday, January 08, 2007

NCR - National Catholic Reporter

Have you noticed this week's NCR? Most of their online articles this week are only available to NCR subscribers...hmmm.

Yet there are a couple of articles available and this one is quite informative and a most recent entry/report on the resignation of Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus from the Archdiocese of Warsaw, Poland, from John Allen-Archbishop of Warsaw resigns, Weigel warns of future 'blackmail'

Polish sources told NCR today that further revelations about the penetration of security forces into the Polish church during the Communist era are expected, including the possible release of a dossier on another sitting Polish bishop as early as next week.

American Catholic writer George Weigel, who teaches regularly in Poland and has extensive contacts in the Polish church, said the Wielgus episode illustrates the need for the church to deal with this chapter of its past.

"It has the responsibility to make a full public record using these materials in a responsible way," Weigel said in an interview with NCR this morning. "Otherwise, it will be open to media exaggerations and distortions, and perhaps international blackmail."

By that, Weigel said he meant the manipulation of similar revelations by forces which have an interest in undermining the moral authority of the Polish Catholic church.

Whoa...this is a intriguing story of espionage...

Under the codenames “Adam” and “Gray,” Wielgus apparently was recruited as a young professor of medieval philosophy in 1973, documents produced from Polish archives this week show, and had contacts with the security forces over the next three decades. Wielgus signed a form promising to collaborate. According to media reports, he received special training, was allowed to travel abroad in exchange for intelligence reports, and provided analyses of his colleagues as well as members of the Polish hierarchy.


Benedict will want to proceed cautiously to make sure his next pick doesn’t have a similar set of skeletons in his closet, and that may be a complicated process, according to Tomasz Pompowski, an editor with DZIENNIK, an influential Polish newspaper, who has followed the Wielgus case closely.

Pompowski told NCR that he’s aware of 20 cases involving alleged collaboration by current bishops, who were recruited earlier in their clerical careers and groomed as they moved up the system. Pompowski said the degree of collaboration varies from case to case, but some involve allegations at least as serious as those surrounding Wielgus.

The Polish church has long been aware that it’s sitting on a “time bomb” with regard to Communist-era collaborators, Pompowski said, but it avoided confronting these issues during the last years of Pope John Paul II’s papacy for fear of burdening the beloved Polish pope in his twilight.

Wielgus has insisted that he never caused anyone harm, and that he went along with the security forces largely so that he could pursue his academic career, believing that his capacity to travel internationally was important for the church during an age of enforced isolation from the outside world.

Nevertheless, Wielgus has acknowledged that “the fact of my involvement has harmed the Church.”

Polish sources say the policy under both the late Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski of Warsaw and Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Cracow, later Pope John Paul II, was that any contact with the security forces should be avoided if at all possible, and immediately reported in writing to ecclesiastical superiors. Wojtyla, for example, insisted on having witnesses present for such meetings, even for the most delicate discussions.

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