Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview
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with binding rules for practicing catholics and the preaching clergy. These messages included "national revival through God and Fatherland," "protection for the unborn, marriage and the family," "the education of youth in the Christian spirit," "the cultivation of national virtues of patriotism, courage and loyalty." The communist government did not challenge Wyszynski directly after the celebrations. Both the state and the church were concerned by growing public indifference to ideological messages. Thus, an understanding between state and church developed. Although the communists did not give up their efforts to turn society into supporters of Marxism-Leninism, they accepted the fact that the church would remain an important part of Polish everyday life. In the early 1960s, Gomulka's government began a subtle effort to divide the church from within. It encouraged laymen's associations such as PAX (see PAX) to challenge the hierarchy and created an Association of Atheists that sponsored sessions for children in the schools. It also organized a group called "peace priests," who were openly antagonistic to the hierarchy and preached cooperation with the communist party. Eventually, all these efforts were relegated to the background. Wyszynski died in peace and was replaced by Jozef Glemp (see Glemp, Jozef Cardinal) as primate of Poland.


Krziwicki Herbert, and Ziemba Walter J., trans. The Prison Notes of Stefan Cardinal Wyszynszki ( London, 1985); Monticone Roland C., The Catholic Church in Communist Poland, 1945-1985: Forty Years of Church-State Relations ( Boulder, CO, 1986); Wyszynski Cardinal Stefan , A Strong Man Armed. Speeches ( New York, 1968).

ZNAK (A Catholic Organization in Communist Poland). This group emerged in Cracow in 1945-1946. It gathered around a sophisticated monthly publication called ZNAK. It cooperated with another periodical, Tygodnik Powszechny, and the two journals became a source of orientation for Catholic intellectuals. In time, the contributors and editors developed a common political outlook. This included the conviction that the communists were in Poland indefinitely, and some form of accommodation would have to be found with them in order to preserve Polish Catholicism. In 1951, ZNAK was closed down by the censors. In 1953, Tygodnik Powszechny followed.

After Wladislaw Gomulka's (see Gomulka, Wladislaw) return to power in December 1956, both periodicals were revived. Five members of their editorial boards were "elected" as parliamentary deputies. In exchange, the episcopate gave lukewarm support for the election of the candidates of the Polish United Workers party. ZNAK was accepted by the communists as one of the laymen's groups representing Catholics, but the rival PAX organization (see PAX) also enjoyed Communist acceptance.

ZNAK's ideology was based on an unconditional acceptance of the doctrines of the church, and there was no doubt in the minds of the members that Marxism and Catholicism could never be compatible. This, however, did not exclude the possibility of cooperation in practical matters if it could be achieved without compromising


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