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John Paul II shaking hands with Communist General Jaruzelski

JPII supporting the Communist regime in Poland - 1983

Above, a close up of the meeting between John Paul II and General Jaruzelski, Secretary of the Polish Communist Party, on June 23, 1983, at Wawel Royal Castle, Krakow.

John Paul II did not go to Poland (June 14-23, 1983) to raise the indignation of masses against Communism - as today the media inappropriately insists - but to calm them down in order to maintain the regime in power.

Here is some evidence taken from the media of the time.

Since 1980, the stability of the government was challenged. Martial law was in effect from 1981 to contain the growing dissatisfaction against the regime; countless persons were in jail. Regardless, the manifestations continued: "It is the people who shout, who enter the streets to at least vent their rage," commented G. F. Sudercosk in an article for Il Tempo, a newspaper in Rome (June 15, 1983).

The government welcomed the visit of John Paul II, who came to settle down the masses: "The Pope comes as a priest who brings comfort to a sick man, not as a physician who can cure," declared a functionary close to General Jaruzelski. He continued: "The nation is divided by a wall of hatred .... If the Pope could soften this hatred, Poland could begin to hope again and the people could again begin to live" (Il Tempo, June 15, 1983).

Regarding the meeting of JPII and Jaruzelski at Wawel Royal Castle, the government spokesman stated that "the meeting between the Pontiff and the General constituted the apex of the whole visit" (La Stampa, June 24, 1983).

Italian newspaper La Stampa continued its analysis of the visit: "Let us bear in mind just the symbolic aspects for Poland: At Poland's Wawel Castle of the Kings, King Wojtyla transferred the powers and honors of Vice-King to General Jaruzelski before returning to Rome .... During their meeting, the Pope and Jaruzelski offered the image of convergence, expressed - as the joint communiqué says - in 'the hope that the trip will have a favorable influence on the peaceful and positive development of social life in Poland, Europe, and the world" (La Stampa, June 24, 1983).

Jose Maria Carrascal, correspondent to ABC newspaper of Madrid, summarized the effects of the Pope's trip: "John Paul II did not go to Poland to tell his Polish fellows to rebel, but rather to pacify them. And he went to seek a more important role for the Church in Communist society." (ABC, June 29, 1983)

La Stampa, June 24, 1983


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Posted September 10, 2006

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