Spiritual and temporal
Sm,-Both Mr. Douglas Hyde and Mr. J. Giertych-my Polish compatriot-are right in their respective comments on the socalled agreement, or better, the declaration agreed, between the Catholic Hierarchy and the Communist Government in Poland. The Church has been under a terrible pressure in Poland and the declaration is to be viewed and assessed accordingly. On the other hand, the Polish Hierarchy did not surrender in essentialibus to the Communist State and actually scored some points not negligible, one hopes, in the protracted struggle to come.
But. I fail to see the point in one passage of your own article in the latest issue of THE CATHOLIC HERALD. and namely that the Polish Church, undertaking in the declaration to oppose "revisionist activity on the part of the German clergy," committed herself politically by pledging " the spiritual in the service of a highly disputed and highly complex temporal concern." Surely, the commitment of•the Polish Hierarchy is conditional on whether the German Hierarchy pledges the spiritual in the service of the temporal. Otherwise the commitment of the Polish Hierarchy cannot be invoked bona fide and put into effect.
Besides, what are the Polish Bishops to tell their sorely tried flock condemned. as it were. by the East to forfeit their spiritual inheritance? That the West condemns them to lose their temporal sustenance as well? I do not intend to go into merits and demerits of the territorial dispute in question, but 1 cannot help indicating that Germany on her own historical soil remains a great nation, larger in terms of land and stronger in terms of population and industrial capacity than Great Britain, and Poland mutilated in the east and refused the right to develop in the west, in the territories wrested from her by Prussia gradually through the centuries, has no choice but the extinction as a national entity. I wonder what advantage the Polish Bishops possibly see in that Poland's doom either for Christendom or the world at large.
M. E. ROJEK.
50 Creffield Road, London, W.5.
[That is precisely the point. In so delicate and difficult a question any public " pledges" seem dangerous and liable to rnisunderstanding. As problems arise, the respective ecclesiastical authorities would surely wish to be free to solve them as they judge in the best interests of the "spiritual," and, if possible, cooperatively. Editor, C.1/.]
Sue-May I thank you, in the name of this Association, for the heading and the article entitled Poland's Bishops Need our Prayers. Never was there a time when it was more necessary to stress, as you have done, our responsibility to our Catholic fellows behind the Iron Curtain and the spiritual power at our disposal. Prayers, fervent and convinced prayers, are almost equally needed by those in name free, who are in exile.
Unfortunately, the present numbers of the members of this Association, which was founded and exists exactly to stimulate and concentrate such a crusade of prayer, is an unhappy testimony to the apparent degree to which, as yet, too few have felt the urgency of your call.
Never was a time when the active expression of Catholic solidarity was more essential: and, each of us, we are indeed failing to fulfil a primary duty if we fail to act individually on your knowledge that we have in our two hands and hearts a means before which any Iron Curtain is powerless, from which no human being is iso lated.
MARGOT R. ADAMSON (Hon. Secretary, The Anglo-Polish Catholic Association).
51 Eaton Place, London, S.W.1.