THE Holy Father does not name the Pax movement but makes an obvious reference to the "Progressive" Catholics who seek to reconcile the principles of the Com. munist regime with those of the Church.
He speaks of them as sponsors of novelty who denude the Christian religion of its truth and basic principles. They seek, he says, " to enter the fold not by the gate but in other ways."
" It is for us a matter of bitter grief," the Holy Father adds, " that by word of mouth and Press propaganda they seek to contaminate the teachings of Christian doctrine with false maxims and opinions That are not only spread about but in various ways actually imposed."
In his Sunday Times articles Mr. Graham Greene speaks of the "Clerical-Lay Catholic National Front Activists," of which the keystone is Mr. Boleslaw Piasecki's
Pax movement. (These are the " Progressives.'') Pax, says Mr. Greene, is a cadre
of some 350 laymen. They are surrounded by many fellow-travellers-many of genuine sincerity "
—including several thousand priests. (These are sometimes called the " Patriot Priests.")
Mr. Greene asserts that Pax is opposed by the majority of Polish Catholics. who claim that the movement is Russian-inspired and was a clever attempt to divide the
If that was the intention of the Pax leaders, he says. "they have dismally failed, Pax has very little importance in the Catholic life of Poland."
The Church goes on without it and " congregations prefer for Mass or confession the churches which are served by a priest who is not a Patriot."
Mr. Greene's observations say much for the solidity of Polish Catholicism when it is recalled that the Communist regime seeks to control all the dioceses through " stooge " Vicars-General, elected by Patriot priests.
The Church in Poland, says Mr, Greene, really represents the country and the Communist has to tread with care.
The churches are filled—not
always, he adds, for religious motives. " but as a little gesture of independence." Nevertheless, he asserts, " the number of communicants (and a man will not go to Communion as a political act) has grown enormously,"
The fellow-travellers of Pax include many sincere patriots, Mr. Greene explains, anxious to take part In their country's social reform.
In fairness to them he points out that " we have no Auschwitz to remember," that the Poles cannot forget their 6,000,000 dead. that "German rearmament to these people---Catholics as well as Cornmunists—is a betrayal. No crimes have been committed by Communists equal to what Poland has suffered from Germany."
But Mr. Greene found that no followers of Pax could answer directly the simple question: At what point will you warn the Government that if they go farther you will cease your collaboration and close down your presses?"
Cardinal Wyszynski's arrest, he says, lies on the conscience of many Pax followers but less on that of their leaders. He adds: " I presented Mr. Piasecki with an open letter addressed to the Cardinal, begging the favour of an audience and promising I would make no mention of our meeting in the Press. I asked to receive even a refusal in his own hand, but no reply came."
Cardinal Wyszynski is now released from prison and is confined in a convent near the Russian frontier, says Mr. Greene.
Controversy has arisen as the result of Mr. Greene's criticisms of Vatican policy which, he says, " seems directed as much against the Catholic people of Poland as against the Communist Government."
He refers to Vatican recognition of an emigre ambassador. the appointment of a " German cleric" to the Bishopric of Breslau in Poland's Western Territories. and the Roman Curia's habit of addressing letters to " Germania " when writing to Western Territory administrators.
All this. he argues, hurts the pride of the Poles and blocks the possibility of a bargain with the Polish Government which might result in the reinstatement of the deposed Cardinal.
The Western -Territories were carved out of Germany and given to Poland by the Potsdam Agreement. The majority of the peoples there are Polish hut. of course. while the territory juridically helongett to Germany the ecclesiastical authorities were German.
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