AS DEMONSTRATORS clashed with military police in Poland this week, the Pope repeated his wish to carry out his planned visit to his native land in August.
But although the Pope said he felt it was a duty to attend celebrations of the 600th anniversary of the shrine of Our Lady of Jasna Gora at Czestochowa, he called on the Polish government to create "adequate conditions" in the country, if the visit was not to be postponed.
Speaking to a Polish congregation at open-air Mass in the Vatican gardens, the Pope said that meeting these conditions was a matter of the prestige of Poland and the honour of the 1,000-yearold nation.
The Mass marked the anniversary of both the Czestochowa shrine and the Polish constitution of 1791. The promulgation of the constitution, the Pope said, was "an enormous event".
"The constitution shapes the life of our nation, even when it is under foreign domination or under another system," he said.
He also referred to the banned trade union, Solidarity, saying that he was still convinced that it would eventually help to shape the Polish nation.
"I am thinking of my road to Jasna Gora," he said. "I have thought of it for long and I want to take that road."
Doubts about the Pope's visit to Poland were raised last week by Archbishop Jozef Glemp, Primate of Poland, who announced that the visit could be delayed because of the continuing martial law in the country. But after the Polish Government's decision to release 1,000 detainees and relax martial law, the Archbishop said that this could pave the way for the visit.
During the rioting in Warsaw earlier this week, police and security forces used tear gas on sonic 10,000 supporters of Solidarity. The demonstrators had gathered outside St John's Cathedral in the Old Town with the intention of marching to Victory Square in commemoration of the late Primate, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski. Police decided to disperse the crowd, and even fired tear gas into the Capuchin church in Midowa as the marchers retreated in panic.