Friday, 5 January 2007

Witchhunt in Poland

As I mentioned recently, the Polish government, led by the Kaczynski brothers, has gone all out against communists and homosexuals.

It seemed that because of the facts that 95% of Polish are Catholic and that Law and Justice, the Kaczynskis' party, is very conservative and based its electoral success on Catholic values that members of the Church would not be worried by the government's attempts to "cleanse" the country.

When you open Pandorra's box, however, things have a tendancy to go pear shaped and out of your control. This is how, about a month ago, Gazeta Polska, published allegations that the upcoming Archbishop of Warsaw, Stanislaw Wielgus, had been an informer for SB, the security services, for 22 years during the communist era.

Rzeczpospolita (a very prominent paper in Poland) and other publications claim to have found Mr Wielgus's file in the archives of the communist secret police, which have yielded evidence exposing several prominent priests as former collaborators and led investigators to conclude that about one-in-10 Polish clergymen passed information to the security services.

While he denies the allegations, Wielgus is due to be sworn in in one of the highest offices of the Polish catholic church this week-end and is under great pressure to withdraw or at least to postpone the ceremony. Although the Vatican is still supporting its nominee for the position, it has launched an investigation with the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), which is responsible for dealing with the country's communist past. This can not but be an embarrassment for the Chruch which takes great pride in the fact that John Paul II, the former Pope, of Polish origin, had a role in the end of the communist block.


Further (unrelated) bad news for the Catholic Church come from the US where the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane has agreed to pay at least $48 million to people molested by priests, as a part of a deal to emerge from bankruptcy. The diocese filed for bankruptcy protection in 2004, citing claims by abuse victims of about $81.3 million, against assets of $11 million.

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1 comment:

  1. I'm in touch with Szymon Niemiec - the 28 years old Polish LGBT activist and photographer who'se autobiography has just been published (see link). I thought you might be interested in it?

    Let me know if you want to contact him, maybe even to direct him to your blog?


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