Commission to investigate persecution and collaboration of clergy during Communist Poland

A group of historians and experts has established a commission in Krakow at the request of the city’s archbishop, Cardinal-designate Stanislao Dziwisz, to investigate the role of the clergy during the Communist regime.

According to Father Robert Necek, spokesman for the archdiocese, the commission will investigate cases of collaboration by the clergy with the police agents and seek to prevent erroneous accusations against the Church.

In his decree ordering the creation of the commission, Archbishop Dziwisz said he feels “responsible for the position of religious who were faithful to their vows and to the Church, but also for the position of those who betrayed the Church for material gain or out of weakness.”  He recalled that “the entire time of the Popular Republic of Poland was one of persecution for the Church, sometimes even to the point of violence and bloodshed.  One of the most twisted methods was the effort by the Security Services to implicate religious in collaborating with the Communist system.”

The archbishop said the era was a time of struggle for freedom for the Church, and he noted that historians would have to investigate the events “taking into account their context.”

The Church in Poland carried out an important work in the area of spiritual guidance during the Communist regime, which considered the Church an enemy and used different, sometimes violent, methods to eliminate ecclesiastical authority and its influence over citizens.  One of the most renowned cases was the assassination in 1984 of Father Jerzy Popieluszko, who was tortured by security agents before he was killed.

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