Friday, January 05, 2007

How many more where he came from?

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Particularly people with whom I disagree. So, when I heard that one of the Polish Archbishops was accused of having worked for the secret police of the communist government that tried to destroy the Church, my reaction was to disbelieve the report. And I had good grounds for disbelieving – the journalists who’d reported this failed to provide any evidence that such collaboration had taken place. But that was a week ago. Today, the archbishop’s secret files have been made public and they include signed statements from him agreeing to spy for the communist secret police:
The Roman Catholic Church in Poland says the new archbishop of Warsaw was a collaborator with the former communist regime, amid an escalating row.
And this is the guy who is supposed to effectively head the Polish Church and who had earlier been the rector of the Catholic university at which JP2 had taught. Thus far, he has not said a word but, at this point it looks very much like either him stepping down (perhaps with a push from the Vatican) or, less likely, the Vatican stepping in and officially removing him. If he stays in a position of authority within the Church he will be a massive liability to it given that it holds its powerful position in Poland to a great degree due to the role it was seen to play in the opposition to Communist rule (a role which, as I always point out to people, it did not play due to any qualms about communism’s stance on human rights but due to its atheism; after all, the whole Church in Spain collaborated with the Fascists).
Another thing that I always say is that these kinds of scandals are nothing for an atheist to be happy about. While they might get people to move away from one Church, they do nothing to diminish the need people feel for religion, so they are only likely to get people to join other, possibly more dangerous, religious groups.

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