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Polish Bishops' Commission reveals ties of about a dozen bishops to communist-era government

.- A special Church commission disclosed on Wednesday that about a dozen bishops, who are still living, had ties to Poland’s communist-era secret police.

The commission said that among Poland's 132 bishops, “about a dozen were registered by the security services of communist Poland as ‘secret collaborators’ or ‘operational contacts’ and one was registered as an “agent” of the intelligence service,” reported The Associated Press.

The secret police labeled other bishops as “candidates.” In such cases, security agents gathered material on a person in the hope of recruiting him as an informant.

This news comes at a time when Polish Catholics are still reeling from the shock of discovering that some of its clergy, previously known for their resistance to communism, had ties to the repressive government.

In order to uncover the extent of the connections between the clergy and the security services, the country’s bishops created a commission to investigate. The bishops asked the special commission to review the communist-era files in January, after Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus of Warsaw resigned before his installation over disclosures he had cooperated with the former secret police.

Other prominent clergy have also resigned over similar allegations. This issue is believed to have compromised a minority of clergy, about 10 percent, reported the AP.

But Archbishop Slawoj Leszek Glodz warned at a press conference that the documents do not provide an accurate picture of the extent of cooperation between the bishops and the secret police.

Reading from a statement, he told reporters the documents in the secret police archives “are incomplete and chaotic” and “do not allow to reliably determine the scope, intensity or harm” of any cooperation by the bishops with the security services, reported the AP.

He said there was no evidence that the 12 bishops had signed agreements to collaborate with the secret police. He said, unlike other informants, clergy were not required to provide such signatures. Historians, however, discovered such documents signed by Wielgus.

The archbishop said the report would be forwarded to the Vatican for evaluation.


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April 24, 2014

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