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JPII to Polish Pilgrims in 1988:
Communist Authorities Should be Trusted Not Confronted

On October 16, 1988, while receiving Polish pilgrims at the Vatican, John Paul II counseled his Polish countrymen to not confront the Communist authorities, but trust them.

At right is the front page of the October 17-18 issue of L'Osservatore Romano in which the speech is transcribed in Polish, followed by its translation in Italian. Below, we present our English translation of an excerpt of it highlighted in yellow.

The upcoming anniversary of our independence must also be viewed within the context of the experience of the last years and decades .... This independence should not be administered according to geo-political criteria, but rather the criterion of the authentic sovereignty of the nation in its own country.

There is no other way, indeed, to overcome the [Polish] economic crisis of which so much have been written and said. Certainly, there are reports that do not show the essential causes.

It is extremely important that mutual trust should exist between the authority and society. We do not achieve such trust without the sincere, courageous effort of all, founded on the common good, and pursued with seriousness on both parts regarding accords and agreements.

Motivated by their pastoral responsibility, last October 6 the Polish Bishops expressed this in the communiqué issued by the 230th General Meeting of the Bishops' Conference:

"The Bishops are closely following the initiative of the social services and representatives of state authority that tend toward finding an exit for this situation, a way of agreement and not of confrontation. ....

"The Bishops have expressed their conviction that the right of workers, above all labor workers and peasants, to freely choose and join unions will be guaranteed. Agreements on the principle questions should create grounds for a fundamental reform of the state, its structures and national economy. In this way, a process of social stabilization will begin that will help to strengthen the position in the international sphere. The Church will support actions turned toward favoring the common good."

Today I want to assure my fellow countrymen that, with them, I await that moment when analyses, reports, and declarations will be translated into concrete facts that will render secure the future of the nation.

(John Paul II, "Devo molto al retaggio della mia terra natale," L'Osservatore Romano, October 17-18, 1988, p. 8)
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Posted on September 16, 2006

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