"The extent to which the communist secret police controlled Karol Wojtyla’s actions was incredible," says Polish historian Marek Lasota, reports Vatican Insider. Lasota lives among mounds of letters accumulated by the communist regime and kept in the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), where he is head of the Krakow section. After years of patient research, he has gathered a number of reports and dossiers on Wojtyla.
Lasota’s “Karol Wojtyla spiato” (Spying on Karol Wojtyla), comes out in Italian in just a few days. The book is a collection of the regime’s secret documents on the pope who passed away in 2005. In an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa the scholar also revealed the names of some collaborationist priests whom he mentions in the book.
“During the communist era, authorities saw all priests as enemies of the people and the party – Lasota explains – and they were placed under surveillance by the political police, the “Bezpieca”. Wojtyla had been under surveillance since 1946.
This intensified in 1958 when he became Auxiliary Bishop of Krakow. As an archbishop in the ‘60s, he was considered a dangerous political opponent. This is why he was ferociously monitored in everything he did.”
One of the documents presented in the book is particularly striking. It contains 98 questions which spies who kept an eye on the future pope had to answer: attention was paid to every minute detail of his daily life. From the time at which he got up in the morning to his morning activities and the order in which these took place; from how frequently he shaved to the “cosmetics” he used.
There were questions about his habits in the office, which documents he took home with him, whether he took the keys to his desk with him, what he talked about at lunch, whether he “liked playing bridge or other card games, or chess” and with whom he played, whether he smoked or whether he liked alcoholic drinks (“how much does he drink and how often”).
The worrying extent of the spying was revealed as the historian delved deeper into the “Bezpieka” archives: “It is estimated – he stated – that about ten per cent of the Polish clergy had collaborated with the communists in some form of other. Wojtyla was surrounded by a number of priests who collaborated with the secret police, passing on information about him.”
FULL STORY Polish historian reveals JPII was spied on by priests around him (Vatican Insider)