Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski has sidestepped once again a showdown between the moderates and hard-liners in Poland's Communist Party. The meeting of the party's Central Committee this week contented itself instead with a warning to extremes in the party and to obstreperous elements in the Roman Catholic Church.
The report delivered by General Jaruzelski on behalf of the Politburo was largely mild and conciliatory in tone, touching on many areas the Soviets have consistently viewed with disfavor.
Outspoken clerics were warned that opposition from the pulpit would not be disregarded. But Jaruzelski was positive about Pope John Paul II's pending visit and expressed confidence in cooperation with the church in many social and moral areas.
A signal that firmer controls were to be imposed on the printed news media was the only notable concession to recent Soviet criticisms of Poland's conduct of its own affairs.
The report was conciliatory toward private farmers and other social groups whose support - or at least goodwill - Jaruzelski and the moderates around him perceive as essential to the state's recovery program.
The report castigated divisions and ''fractional activity'' upsetting party unity. This admonition seemed aimed primarily at the Soviet-inclined hard-liners , who have recently become quite active.
Any clear-cut definitions - or the oft-rumored ''showdown'' - has been left for a later day. Such an ideological stocktaking has been expected ever since martial law was eased six months ago.
There seem to be two reasons for this latest delay:
* The visit of Pope John Paul II, now only two weeks away. The Pope's visit will have considerable influence on the prospects for social harmony in Poland.