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Since the controversy over Archbishop Lenga has hit the English speaking world, and since the controversy is based in Poland, your humble blogger has decided to translate a post from the Catholic blog fronda.pl (see here) which provides the background to this incident.
But before we get to the fronda.pl post, CONTEXT is very important.
This blogger follows Poland and the Polish Church partly due to a… shall we call it a commercial interest and partly due to a personal interest, namely as a Catholic of Polish descent.
Having said the above, the reason that the Polish Church as the subject matter of posts doesn’t appear too often on this humble blog is due to several reasons. Among the most important of those is what can be called the Achilles Heel of the Polish Catholic Church which is the fact that it never went through a “de-Nazification” process after the fall of communism.
Now this PHENOMENON of a sullied national Church has been ongoing since 1989.
What appeared to be a comfortable arrangement for the Polish hierarchy in 1989, i.e. forgive and forget, has come back to haunt them time and time again.
Usually the instigators of the blackmail, because that is what the Polish hierarchy is dealing with, comes at the hands of the domestic political class who draws much of their funding from either the Russians or the Germans. To be precise, that part of the Polish political class that is in essence the soft power assets of the neighboring continental powers.
And just as was the case with Michael Coreleone who famously complained that “just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in”, the same film clip has been replaying itself out over the last 20+ years in the Polish Church.
However, what appears to be different this time is that the current Polish government, a government that is one who is trying to break free of these historical German/Russian influences, has won reelection decisively last year and set off a panic wave among the former ruling elites. These elites are beginning to lose control over the population (and more importantly, the Polish institutions – of which the courts are the most important), are beginning to look at the “structural problems” behind their demise.
And the structural problems that these former elites have identified, just as the Prussians, Russians, communists before them, is the problem of an independent Polish Catholic Church. To this end, these folks, i.e. these former pseudo elites have launched a hybrid WAR on the Catholic Church over the past two election cycles.
When this WAR started, needless to say, the dirty laundry of the Polish Catholic heirarchy was and presently is being hung out for all to see.
The case of Bp. Mering and Archbishop Lenga is just the latest manifestation of this “dirty laundry hanging out” operation and the DIRTY WAR on the Polish Catholic Church.
Keeping this in mind, below is the post from fronda.pl, one of the Catholic news sources that this humble blogger regularly visits on all things Polish Catholic Church.
Most of the files of priests who cooperated with the Fourth Department of the SB (Ed note: “Służba Bezpieczeństwa” is the KGB equivalent during Poland’s communist occupation) were destroyed in 1989-1990. Part of the truth about TW priests (“Tajne Współpracownicy” are the Secret Informants) can be found, however, in the intelligence files of the Polish People’s Republic (Department I). There you can find information not only about agent’s work abroad, but also at home.
Fr. Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski, who has been researching the cooperation of priests with SB for many, says:
– Department I files, due to the destruction of the majority of Department IV files, are the most valuable source of information about clerics cooperating with the security service.
We can read about TW “Lucjan” (pseudonym of Secret Informant) folder:
– Wiesław Mering remained in the operational interest of the IV Department in Gdańsk since May 1975. He was selected as a candidate for recruitment, taking into account the fact that he maintains extensive contacts with priests of the diocese of Chełmno studying at Catholic universities and the academic staff of Catholic universities.
– During this period he (+Mering) provided the service (KGB) with valuable information about the situation in the Chełm diocese and diocese, as well as about the academic staff of the Seminary in Pelplin. On November 9, 1976, the process of acquiring Wiesław Mering by a conscious choice of nickname and willingness to continue meetings and further information on topics of interest to the SB were completed.
The same document indicates that Fr. Mering was not forced to cooperate with the Security Service and signed the commitment voluntarily, but in the circle of interests of the intelligence, Fr. Mering found himself due to a scholarship in France. So – according to the file – it (his cooperation) was also used during his stay abroad by the Intelligence Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Polish People’s Republic, although the leading officer wrote that he did not take his statement in writing.
The cooperation with the KGB of Bishop Mering was confirmed by Father Henryk Jankowski, who researched documents about himself in 2006.
Bishop Mering declared then:
– I’ve never signed any cooperation documents. I did not cooperate, but if there is a report signed by me saying that I was harming someone or taking money from the security service, I am at your disposal. (Ed note: It is a common defense of communist era informants that even if they did cooperate, that they “did not harm anyone”.)
In turn, Jan Żaryn from the IPN (Polish institution that houses the communist era archives) believes:
– If someone chooses a nickname, accepts gifts and agrees to secret meetings, there is no doubt that SB considers him as his collaborator
Bishop Mering did not find time to give an interview or a short statement to Rzeczpospolita.
In turn explains Fr. Michał Czajkowski, priests disclosed as being Secret Informants, usually explained that they did not sign anything.
mp / Republic