[HE POPE has presented a distorted picture of Poland and given "shocking" publicity to the outlawed Solidarity union movement in a recent address to Polish pilgrims, Poland's Communist Party claimed last week.
An article in the Communist Party weekly, Polityka, said "The Pope's statement made the shocking and groundless claim that the whole nation is made up either of followers of the Pope or of those who support a handful of his murderers".
The article appeared in the wake of the release by the Director of the Office for Religious Affairs in Warsaw, Mr Wolowicz, of a series of directives to regional directors on ways of limiting the influence exercised by the Catholic ChUrch in Poland.
The Director's pronouncement stated that public emphasis should be placed on divisions of policy between the Polish Primate, Cardinal Glemp, and the Pope; that clear distinction should be drawn between 'good' and 'bad' priests; that permission to build new churches should be refused and current work on church buildings brought to a halt; that the development of the Catholic press should be firmly controlled, print-runs decreased and permission for new publications refused; and that the Catholic periodicals should be gradually withdrawn from circulation.
The directives suggest that the authorities are taking a tougher line towards the Church in Poland than other official pronouncements during the last four years have indicated.
Materials published in 1981 sought to emphasize the "dialogue" and "co-operation" between Church and State, although.it was also stated at the time that "Church publications must be impeded, but it must look as though technical problems such as paper shortages and lack of printing presses are to blame."
The latest issue of Poland's Catholic Review has been published in greatly reduced numbers, due to a sudden unexplained decrease in paper supply. Following an editorial statement that unless the situation improves the magazine will have to be withdrawn from circulation, there is speculation that the Polish authorities have begun a consistently applied policy intended to undermine the Catholic press in Poland.
• ALLEGATIONS THAT a Catholic priest was tortured with cigarette burns by an assailant in Poland's southern city of Krakow are being investigated by police, an Interior Ministry spokesman said this week.
The attack on Fr Tadeusz Zaleski was reported to the Polish Episcopate in Warsaw by Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, who asked for a formal complaint to be made.
The Cardinal said that Fr Zaleski suffered second degree burns on the face, chest and hands in the attack at his home, after he had attended Easter church ceremonies on Saturday.