Religion: No Longer Poles Apart

The Vatican establishes a historic toehold in the Soviet bloc

The step would have been unthinkable a few decades ago, when Poland's Communist bosses did not hesitate to put Roman Catholic Primate Stefan Wyszynski under house arrest, imprison hundreds of priests and nuns, or confiscate scores of schools and convents. But last week all that was swept aside with a long-awaited, historic announcement. Resuming a "noble tradition of many centuries," the Holy See and Poland have re-established diplomatic relations, declared the official church communique, delicately omitting mention of less-than-noble events during the protracted ecclesiastical cold war with the nation's leaders that began in 1945.

The pact gives the Vatican its first...

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