Poland: The Angry Strangler

In the fifth week of the Roman Catholic celebration marking Poland's conversion to Christianity 1,000 years ago, the long power struggle between the church's Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski and Wladyslaw Gomulka's Communist regime was speeding toward a climax. Day after day, the cardinal heightened his challenge to the government, rallying hordes of the faithful with millennial Masses and pilgrimages, defying steel-helmeted troops armed with tear gas and burp guns. And day after dav, Gomulka's men raised the level of their blasts at Poland's outspoken prelate.

To discourage attendance at church ceremonies, Gomulka tried every petty harassment he could think of—from switching...

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