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Wherever there is Communism there
is persecution ... of Catholics
by Catholic collaborators!

by James W. Bannister, B.A., LL.B.

In January we were treated to the spectacle of Bishop Stanislaw Wielgus announcing his resignation as Archbishop of Warsaw, a position to which he had been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI only a few weeks before. The Holy Father demanded that Bishop Wielgus resign after investigators accused him of collaborating with and possibly (according to the official statements) spying for Poland's former Communist government.

Apparently Bishop Wielgus was not the only one! Not long afterwards came news of the investigation of other members of the Catholic clergy in Poland. It appears that the Polish Church is riddled with Communist collaborators and sympathizers who have not been rooted out almost two decades after the apparent collapse of the Soviet Union.

These misguided or malicious Churchmen are still in their positions, even though they, like Bishop Wielgus, are plainly making common cause with the Communists — the enemies of the God‑given rights of mankind and enemies of God’s Church — the Roman Catholic Church.

Poland was not the only country in which the Catholic Church was — and is still — persecuted by the Communists. Recently I wrote about the persecution of the Church in China, where the true Church has been forced underground and thousands of Catholics loyal to Rome have been jailed and murdered.

Yet Vatican officials are trying to establish a "dialogue" with the despotic Communist dictatorship, hoping to "normalize diplomatic relations", which must of necessity mean selling out the underground Church and recognizing the Communist puppet "Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association".

It's the same in Vietnam, where the Communist rulers allow the practice of religion only to the extent that it suits them. Yet the Pope has just (on January 25th) received the Prime Minister of that country — and the head of its "Commission for Religious Affairs" — in a private audience which was followed by a closed‑door meeting with Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State.

Last week Catholic news agencies published a statement from the Czech Episcopal Conference reminding us that under the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, the Catholic Church was a victim of persecution, just as She was in Poland. This statement followed accusations in the media that Czech clergymen had collaborated with the Communist regime ... just as in Poland.

The Czech bishops recalled that when the Communists came to power in 1948, they promptly decided to put an end to all religious activity they could not control, just as in Poland, China, Vietnam and every other country that has come under Communist rule!

Bishops and priests were arrested, and replaced by clergy chosen by the Communist Party. Religious and devout lay people were persecuted. Convents and monasteries were closed and Church properties were confiscated. The teaching of the catechism was banned in schools. This is the fate of countries in which the errors of Russia become state policy!

Miroslav Cardinal Vlk, Archbishop of Prague, was quoted as saying that the reason for the collaboration of the suspect clergymen was, in most cases, the pressure used by the police. "Many have told me," he said, "that they did not have the strength to resist, that they weren't heroes, that they were afraid."

Fair enough. But the problem is, even though the Soviet‑backed régime is no longer in power, the collaborators remain in their positions. The Czech bishops' conference admitted that those who persecuted and tortured their victims, and those who collaborated with them, are still sitting in Parliament and official offices throughout the country as members of the still‑powerful Communist Party.

The Czech bishops say they have "updated the files" of the priests accused of collaborating with the Communist secret police. Some who held important posts in the Church have had to resign. And some have participated in a 1990 pilgrimage of repentance to the Shrine of Velehrad. So that's all right then!

Still, in the Czech Republic, in Slovakia, in Poland, in former Iron Curtain countries — perhaps even in the Vatican itself — there remain others who have not resigned, who have not repented, who see no problem with serving both the Church and the Communist Party.

Pope Paul VI told us that the smoke of Satan has entered the Church. Much of that smoke has a distinctly Communist red tinge. We must pray harder than ever that those who are truly loyal to God and His Holy Catholic Church may succeed in their efforts to identify, expose and drive out of the Church those who are loyal to the devil's own political system — godless Communism!