Relations between SPD and the Catholic Church in poland in 1980s

Małgorzata Świder
Original title: Kontakty SPD z Kościołem katolickim w Polsce. Lata 80. XX wieku
Śląski Kwartalnik Historyczny Sobótka 2011

First direct contacts between SPD activists and Polish bishops were initiated during the visit of chancellor Helmut Schmidt in Poland in 1977. A turning point in mutual relations came, however, only after the events of summer 1980, when the Church played an important consolidating and stabilizing role for internal affairs in Poland. A meaning of the Church in those days was always underlined by the German social democratic politicians. The current situation was a topic of lots of conversations between them and different partners from West and East. Within many ‘summit meetings’ they met Primate Józef Glemp and bishop Bronisław Dąbrowski. These good relations did not mean that all social democrats understood and supported activity of the Church as a political factor. Many members of SPD presented critical attitude to this question. It is a matter of fact that the Catholics were a minority among both a social democratic members of Bundestag and voters. In spite of the criticism, the role of the Church in Poland was realized and appreciated as an institution acting against political and economic destabilization.

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