Newly unearthed documents show that Pope John Paul II was seen as the main enemy of Poland’s communist-era rulers, according to a report
The Polish-born pope was identified as the main enemy of the communist system by the 4th Department of the former Security Service (SB), public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported on Thursday, citing findings by a team of journalists who have accessed an archive of previously unknown documents in the United States.
The ill-famed 4th Department monitored and tracked opposition activists, among them journalists, lawyers, healthcare employees and industrial workers.
According to the director of Polish Radio 3, Wiktor Świetlik, the church and especially the pope as its head were seen as the biggest threats to those in power at the time.
The newly unearthed documents contain references to talks John Paul II held with the then US President Ronald Reagan, the IAR news agency reported.
John Paul II served as pope from October 16, 1978 until his death on April 2, 2005.
He was the third longest-serving pontiff in history and was declared a saint in 2014.
The files, which have been seen by journalists from Poland’s Rzeczpospolita daily and public broadcaster Polish Radio, also include records referring to Father Jerzy Popiełuszko, a charismatic Catholic priest and supporter of the Solidarity trade union movement who was killed by communist secret police in the 1980s.
Among the notes is a recommendation that Popiełuszko be “silenced,” according to Świetlik.
The files have been traced at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in Stanford, California, which holds several hundred pages of documents of the former Polish communist security service, including documents and personal notes of onetime Interior Minister Czesław Kiszczak, according to Poland’s niezalezna.pl website.