From a Special Correspondent
ONLY the naive will be misled by the recent " International Conference of Catholics " in Poland into thinking that the so-called " progressive " Catholics there are anything but tools of the Communists—though some of the " progressives " may be in good faith while thinking confusedly.
The conference celebrated the 10th anniversary of the founding of Pax, a body of priests and laymen co-operating with the Communist regime. Catholics from the West were invited, and one Catholic writer, Mr. John Todd, went from England.
The celebrations synchronised with an announcement from Warsaw that Cardinal Wyszynski, the imprisoned Primate, has been transferred to a monastery near Sanok in southern Poland.
It is believed that His Eminence is still under police supervision and confined to the monastery grounds, though he has been allowed to receive members of the Hierarchy and some of his relatives. Even at Sanok he is still near the Russian frontier.
The Pax conference sent a telegram to the Holy Father expressing " filial obedience."
But what are the facts?
A paper recently published by the Polish Institute of Catholic Action in Great Britain points out that the movement of " progressive " Catholics is all part of the anti-religious campaign, in accordance with the policy of ostensible religious toleration patterned by Kruschev in Moscow.
These " progressives" have formulated what they call the doctrine of functionalism. In this system the Catholic Church can find a place in the new Socialist (i.e., Communist) society provided it proves its usefulness in serving the Communist cause.
In other words, functionalism demands the collaboration of Catholics with a system which openly claims the destruction of religion as one of its principal and invariable aims.
While professing loyalty to the Holy See in matters of faith and morals which are " under ecclesiastical jurisdiction." it remains
determined to retain complete independence of opinion on social and political questions.
.,In particular, we shall continue to defend the truth of socialist (i.e., Communist) principles in the social and economic structure of society."
This statement comes fom an Ideological Report published by the " progressives " in July. Since Communism has been condemned by the Church. the contradiction in terms is obvious.
The London publication of the Polish Institute of Catholic Action goes on to explain how all the dioceses in Poland are subject to secular control.
The people are " insulated " from their Bishops by the appointment of Vicars General and Chapter Vicars elected by groups of collaborating clergy and given official status by the Government's Office for Religious Affairs.
Control of the dioceses is in their hands and they take orders from the head office in Warsaw of the National Front Committee to which all groups of progressive" Catholics are now subject.
From this committee emanate
instructions for " progressive" sermons, it publishes new prayer books, and it even controls religious art. Theological faculties in all universities have been suppressed and replaced by the Communist controlled Academy of Catholic Theology at Bielany, which has scant respect for Canon Law.
The majority of the Polish people boycon the " progressive" movement. Only a small minority of about 200 priests are concerned in it.
Piasecki, a president of Pax, has
had his book "Essential Problems" condemned by the Holy See, together with the " progressive " weekly review " Today and Tomorrow."
The " progressives " pretend that the ban is not operative because the Polish Hierachy has not promulgated it. But they know perfectly well that the condemnation appeared in the Ada Apo.stolicae Sedis, the Holy See's official bulletin.