THE Vatican announced this week that it has established full diplomatic relations with Poland, and a papal nuncio will be sent to Warsaw as soon as possible.
The move comes two weeks after a letter Pope John Paul II wrote to the Polish Primate Cadinal Josef Glemp in April was made public (Catholic Herald July 7). In it the Pope expressed his desire that relations would be restored following the recent democratic elections in Poland.
The Vatican announcement follows two years of intense negotiations with Poland. These were intensified after the Polishborn pope completed a tour of his homeland in June 1987, during which he declared it was "abnormal" that diplomatic relations did not exist.
In a statement the Polish government said the decision was taken as a result. of "the glorious and centuries-old traditions of ties between Polish people and the Holy See".
Polish bishops also issued a statement in which they welcomed the restored links with "great joy", saying that a proper development of relations will influence the realisation of citizens' rights in Poland and open a new field of church activities with benefits for the whole society."
However, a number of Polish bishops have said in the past that full diplomatic relations could mean Church-State relations will be replaced by Vatican-State relations, bypassing the episcopate in Warsaw.