Dozen Polish bishops linked to secret police

About twelve current Polish bishops had ties to Poland's communist era secret police, a special bishops commission has concluded, but file documents failed to show the scope or intensity of any cooperation by the bishops with security services.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Poland's Catholic bishops asked the special church commission to review their files in January, after a scandal in which Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus of Warsaw resigned just before his installation over disclosures he had cooperated with the former secret police.

Other prominent clergy have also resigned over similar allegations.

After six months of work, 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.'" One was registered as an "agent" of the intelligence service.

Archbishop Slawoj Leszek Glodz, reading from a statement, 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.

He said there was no evidence in the archives that the dozen bishops had signed written agreements to collaborate with the secret police. He said that, unlike other informants, clergy were not required to provide such signatures.

Historians, however, discovered such documents signed by Wielgus.

The secret police labelled other bishops as "candidates" for collaboration, Glodz said. In such cases, security agents gathered material on a person in the hope of recruiting him as an informant. Glodz described such activities as a "form of repression."

There was no evidence of any ties between the rest of Poland's bishops and the secret police, Glodz said, adding that the commission's initial report would be forwarded to the Vatican for evaluation. The commission was expected to finish a full report later this year.

Church officials and historians say that, while the church was a pillar of resistance, about 10 percent to 15 percent of Poland's priests were pressured into cooperating with the secret police.

Polish church reports secret police ties (Houston Chronicle, 29/6/07)
Polish Church unveils informers (BBC News, 29/6/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Stanislaw Wielgus (Wikipedia)

Pope finds his Nycz (CathNews, 5/3/07)
Benedict blesses Wielgus and encourages return to ministry (CathNews, 21/2/07)
Truth hurts, Polish bishops admit (CathNews, 15/1/07)
Russian Catholics warn against rush to judgment as Polish bishops meet (CathNews, 10/1/07)
Wielgus misled Pope by failure to disclose communist-era links: reports (CathNews, 9/1/07)
New Warsaw Archbishop resigns over collaboration allegations (CathNews, 8/1/07)
Polish Cardinal says sorry over "super spy" slur (CathNews, 15/11/06)
Polish spies in John Paul II assassination attempt (CathNews, 13/10/06)
Cardinal claims Vatican priests spied on John Paul II (CathNews, 6/9/06)

29 Jun 2007