Bishops and Red leaders to discuss relations
THE setting up of a committee of Bishops and Communist officials to study Church-State problems in Poland may lead to greater freedom for Catholics in that Red-ruled nation, say reports reaching Berlin.
The committee, it is stated, was appointed after talks between representatives of the Hierarchy and the new regime led by Mr. Gomulka.
Its members are said to be Bishop Klepact of Lodz, Bishop Choromanski, Auxiliary of Warsaw, the Minister of Health, Mr. Sztachelski, and Mr. Morawski, a member of the Politburo of the United Workers' (Communist) Party.
The committee's formation, following the release of Cardinal Wyszsrisky, has been interpreted in Berlin as further evidence of the Gomulka regime's desire for national unity.
incessant demands of Polish Catholics for greater freedom, especially those made during the anti-Soviet demonstrations t hat preceded 001111lIka.5 rise to power. are said to have convinced Mr. Gomulka that concessions have to he made to Catholics if his regime is to gain any popular support.
The committees formation was announced by Warsaw Radio
station. Earlier. another broadcast admitted that the arrest of Cardinal Wyszs risks in 1953 was a mistake.
"Church-State relations had become so tense by 1953." it said " that the authorities decided to isolate the Cardinal from public affairs, "Unfortunately, that decision did not settle anything. It only inflamed an already tense situation. No clear accusations against the Cardinal \sere brought forward during the three years. "It was thought that by condemning him to silence disputed matters between Church and State would be solved.
"The result was the opposite. His silence grew into a legend."
What problems the committee of Bishops and Communists will discuss has. not been stated. Reports from Poland, however, indicate that the most pressing item on its agenda will he the repeal of the decree of February 9, 1953, which gave the Government power to ail-prove all Church appointments and thus to interfere in the internal administration of the Church.
Other major issues facing Catholics in Poland include religious education and the restoration of the Catholic Press, now controlled by the pro-regime " progressive Catholics."
An indication that the Government may permit religious instruction in schools is the recent release of Bishop Adamski of Katowice. Bishop Adamski was arrested in 1953 after he had urged Catholic parents to protest against the Government's failure to keep its promise to permit the teaching of religion. The Government is believed to be considering dissolving the Catholic Progressive Organisation —known as Pex—led by Boleslaw Piasecki, author of a book condemned last year by the Holy See. Piasecki has been expelled from the Polish Writers' Association, which is believed to indicate his loss of Government support.
This is an important factor as some have believed that Gomulka might have tried to use Piasecki as a means of dividing Catholics at the present time. Np one has even begun to assume that Mr. Gomulka is ceasing to he a Communist or is willing to co-operate with the Church for other than his own ends.
If hopes have been increasing that Poland and the Church may gradually attain more freedom. they are based on the fact that Mr. Gomulka has been placed in a position where the only alternatives are his complete subjection to Soviet Russia or an independence which will force him to make concessions to Polish nationalism and to the intense Faith of Catholic Poland.