2 Polish Beatification Processes Move Ahead

Cardinal Wyszynski and Father Popelusko

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WARSAW, Poland, FEB. 25, 2001 (Zenit.org).- A solemn celebration here has closed the diocesan process of the cause of beatification of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski and Solidarity-linked Father Jerzy Popelusko.

The first was primate of Poland for more than 30 years; he died in 1981. The second was the priest responsible for the chaplains of the Solidarity labor union; he died at the hands of the secret police in October 1984.

Both processes now go to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which must continue the research that might lead to the Pope´s proclamation of their beatification.

Cardinal Jozef Glemp told Vatican Radio that his predecessor, who was decisive in the election of Karol Wojtyla to the papacy, is regarded in his country as «the greatest primate in Polish history.»

«He led the Church in Poland for 30 years, during the harsh years of the Communist regime,» Cardinal Glemp said. «From 1953 to 1956 he lost his liberty. Without trial, he was subjected to arrest in a convent, where he elaborated his great pastoral plan.»

Father Popelusko served the Solidarity union, which played a decisive role in the fall of the Communist regime in Poland and throughout Eastern Europe. His homilies delivered in Warsaw at Masses for the Homeland were famous; they attracted people from all over Poland.

«His preaching was always profound and based on the catechism and the Holy Father´s teachings,» Cardinal Glemp said on Vatican Radio. «For him, truth was fundamental. Without truth, we cannot pursue the liberty we desire.»

The cardinal added: «I remember the day when four very serious men, who were not of the regime, came with Father Popelusko, to try to save his life. The people perceived there was danger. They asked me to send him to study in Rome.»

The primate continued: «I myself said to him: ´If you wish, I will send you to Rome.´ However, he answered: ´No, the people trust me. If my superiors order me, I will obey and go.´ I could not ask him to leave Warsaw. If I had done so, it would have been said that I collaborated with the regime. It was a tragic situation. Everything had to be left in the hands of Divine Providence.»

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