Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Glemp rebukes Polish leaders

In a letter to the Polish parliament, the Roman Catholic Church in Poland condemned new curbs on civil liberties under the limited suspension of martial law.

It was the church's sharpest rebuke to the government since the first days of martial law a year ago, Monitor correspondent Eric Bourne reports.

About these ads

The Dec. 16 letter, signed by Catholic Archbishop Jozef Glemp, cited a regulation binding workers to their place of employment unless authorized by their boss to leave.

The rule was described as tantamount ''to the tying of the peasant to the land in feudal times.'' This and the threat to both workers and students engaging in what the regulation calls ''protest activities of sowing discord'' could only lead to a form of ''psychological terror'' providing a pretext for ''unjust and arbitrary decisions.''

The toughness of the bishop's letter came as some suprise. It is thought to have been dictated by the more militant members of the church hierarchy who have sometimes viewed their primate as too lenient in his attitude toward the military regime and its appeals for national ''unity.'' An example was his recent appeal to the majority of Polish actors to drop a boycott of state-run radio and TV.

The Sejm (parliament) voted unanimously Dec. 17 in favor of measures to suspend martial law, but give authorities power to crush political dissent. Sunday the Polish Council of State ordered the suspension of martial law Dec. 31 .

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.