5 January 2007 - Archbishop Wielgus's statement

+ Stanislaw Wielgus

Referring to the information in the media about my collaboration with the communist secret police, the SB, and the intelligence services of the Polish People's Republic I want to state the following: As a young priest, working in the Lublin pastoral ministry, I was attacked by the SB that kept me under surveillance and persecuted me for my work with the youth. They attacked me in 'Kurier Lubelski' [Lublin Courier] and 'Fakty i Mysli' [Facts and Thoughts] published in March 1965 as an enemy of the Polish People's Republic. After those publications I was summoned to the Office for Religious Affairs but I did not go there. Several days later the Financial Department in Lublin imposed high payment on me. A tax collector visited me many times for several years. Because I was poor his visits were not successful, as a matter of fact in the years 1965-68 I was a student of philosophy at the Catholic University of Lublin.
In 1967 I wanted to go to East Germany within the framework of Catholic students' exchange between Poland and East Germany, which was organized by the church authorities. Therefore, I went to the passport office. A secret police officer spoke to me accusing me of criticizing the authorities of the Polish People's Republic during the sermons I preached. As evidence the officer played a fragment of one of my sermons, which actually contained such criticism. He threatened that if I continued preaching I would suffer the consequences. However, after some time I received a suitable document and I could go to East Germany. Later the secret police officer visited me at various occasions. There were several visits. I never signed any declaration of collaboration with the SB and I never regarded myself as a SB collaborator. During the visits I spoke only about general issues, about the international situation, the economic situation in the country, etc. I strongly protest against the false opinion that I informed the SB about the workers of the KUL, the Curia or priests of the Lublin Diocese and about some alleged personal conflicts at the KUL or the Curia. I did not give wrong descriptions of any priest and worker of the KUL. There is no evidence except the officer's words. I remember that once he asked me what my environment spoke about the death of Pyjas. I said that all my acquaintances thought he had been murdered by the militia. In that moment the officer bridled at me and violently proved how mistaken I was. In spite of the officer's opinion, which was published, I never gave him any materials about anybody. I eavesdropped nobody and I made no recordings. Then I had no idea how to use a take recorder. The description of me in the SB materials diverges from the truth so much that I would never apply it to me if it were anonymous. Since I was ascribed features and skills I did not have, for example knowledge of Spanish or having written numerous international publications or secular way of living, etc. This is a clear desire to overestimate the importance of me in order to boast of how important contact the SB officer had. But actually I was not an important or unique person. I lived peacefully on the margins of the university life. The opinion of the officer contains obvious lies about my work at the KUL. I was not an adjunct but a worker-documentalist working in a team (with another person) in the Department of History of Culture in the Middle Ages. I did not lecture at the university. I worked so much that I did not attend any large meetings at the university or in the diocese. I preached a lot in the Diocese of Lublin. It is not true that I gave my opinions about the moods concerning the events of March 1968 and December of 1970, which the officer wrote about. I was not in Lublin in March as for the whole month I gave retreats in several country parishes in the Diocese of Lublin and I did not meet any officer. From the beginning of December until the middle of January 1970 I had pneumonia and I only contacted my family. It is false to suggest that I talked cynically about the so-called 'black Internationale'. That is a lie that I acquired a flat with the help of the secret services. Since the diocese did not have flats for the priests who did not work in the parish the church authorities permitted me to join a private housing association like any other person in those times. I paid a suitable contribution and after four or five years of waiting I received a ca. 35 square metre flat.
It is not true that the secret police inspired me to apply for a scholarship in Germany. I began the application procedure in 1973 after having read the university announcement. I fulfilled the requirements and I applied to the German Consulate in order to avoid censorship. When I applied for a passport in Lublin I was informed that I had to go to Warsaw and was given some address there (I do not remember it now). I went to my bishop, Piotr Kalwa, and asked him what to do. He told me that my research was important to the Church and I could go for the meeting but I should act with due caution. I went there in September 1973. Two officers of the intelligence services talked to me. They told me that I would receive a passport if I contacted Ost-Europa-Institut in Munich. I told them that I would try to establish a contact with the Institute. For a few hours I was instructed how to pass the information I would gain, to whom write a postcard and where to go for a meeting. Then they left me alone so that I would write what I was going to do in Munich. So I wrote about my desires and research plans for which I needed to stay in Munich. My statement is in the materials of the intelligence services. At that time I did not sign any declaration of collaboration with the intelligence services. I never wanted to fulfil the task I was given. I did not make any concrete steps to realize it. Staying in Munich I had no contacts with Poles. The next attack of the intelligence services was in 1977 and was connected with my research visit to Sweden. Again, I neither signed anything nor I took any steps, which the intelligence services expected. My next trip to Munich in 1978 was the worst one. Then I met a very brutal officer of the intelligence services who by shouts and threats inclined me to sign a declaration of collaboration with the intelligence services. That was a moment of my weakness. I always regretted that I did not give up the visit. The intelligence services expected me to contact the Free Europe Radio. I did not establish any contacts. I never visited the radio. I never talked to any of its workers. On the occasion of my stay in the St Barbara's parish I spoke to Fr Kirschke only once and for several minutes at the most (and not twice as the report falsely states) about my pastoral work in the German parish where I lived. The pseudonyms, mentioned in the materials, were given by the officers. The digressions about my plans for a long term stay abroad for intelligence purposes are absurd. I never thought about that. I accomplished my scientific purposes in those hard times, which today young people cannot imagine, following my ways that I strictly determined with my ecclesiastical and university authorities. Nothing more. I did not accomplish any intelligence plans. The officer confirmed that in the materials about my collaboration, 'Evaluating the whole affair I think that 'Grey' did not fulfil the tasks that he had accepted to do before his trip abroad. He was passive and very cautious as far as the detailed tasks are concerned: no clues, complete passiveness to make contacts with the people who were in our focus; he ignored the task to uncover the nationalist Ukrainian centres in Munich, etc'.
On the basis of the materials one can conclude that wrong intentions and wrong attitudes towards the Church were ascribed to me. That is a lie. There is no documentation to support that except the words of the officer who saw the whole matter and me in his own way. I have never betrayed Christ and his Church, neither in my deeds, nor my words, nor my intentions. I have never harmed anyone with my deeds and words. I do not want to excuse myself. I know that I should not have maintained any relations with the services of the Polish People's Republic. I very much regret that I made international visits that caused these contacts at all. In those days I thought that my duty was to conduct valuable scientific research and studying for the good of the Church.

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl