WARSAW parishioners have called off a hunger strike staged in protest against the transfer of a radical priest, while government agents have been busy exploiting splits in Church organisation the affair has exposed.
Fr Nfleczyslaw Nowak, curate of St Joseph's church and chaplain to the Ursus tractor factory was sent to a country parish by Cardinal Glemp after the authorities had put him on a list of priests held to be meddling in politics.
The parishioners opposed the move, shouted down church officials and sent a petition to Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, who during Cardinal Glennp's absence is the country's senior churchman. Cardinal Gimp is on a tour of Polish communities in Brazil and Argentina until March 12.
Now the hunger strikers have agreed to suspend their action until they can get a definitive reply from Cardinal Glemp. Fr Nowak himself urged the parishioners to call off their hunger strike.
Fr Nowak was concerned about the effects of the action on the unity of the Church.
The latest incident is the sharpest reflection on the conciliatory attitude of Cardinal Glemp to the government, which many ordinary churchgoers feel looks too much like collaboration. Cardinal Glemp is also far less approachable than Cardinal Mac hars ki.
One of Cardinal Glemp's priorities recently has been the negotiation of the Churchsponsored fund for private farmers in Poland.
An accord with the government on that issue would need to be achieved before diplomatic relations could be secured between Poland and the Holy See.
Last month the Vatican's special emmissary, Archbishop Luigi Poggi, spent ten days in Poland, announcing as the prime motive for his visit the normalisation of diplomatic relations.
He met My Adam Lopatka, the religious affairs minister, from whose office the notorious list of 69 suspect priests Including Fr Novak, emanated.
During the visit the man from the Polish Bishops' Conference responsible for relations with the state, Archbishop Bronisiaw Dabrowski, was away in Rome.
He is still awaiting a government response to Church proposals for a new legal status for the Catholic Church in Poland.