REPRESSIVE ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE COMMUNIST AUTHORITIES AGAINST MALE ORDERS IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF POLAND (Dzialania represyjne wladz komunistycznych wobec zakonow meskich w PRL)
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Male orders in Poland were perceived by the communists as a disciplined and well-organised army of the Church. The orders' influential power in Polish society was enormous and it did bother the communist authorities which wanted to hold a monopoly in ruling the people's souls. They accordingly took all measures to have the orders eliminated from the social life. The authorities publicly explained their hostile attitude toward orders by pointing out to their apparently hostile attitude toward the 'people's authority' and negative perception of socialist transformations taking place in the country. Orders were accused on a regular basis of managing ideological and propaganda influences being hostile to the People's Republic. Friars were accused of organising intelligence networks and practising espionage, including against the clergy itself. In the early years of the People's Republic, the authorities' policy against orders aimed at having them subject to the totalitarian state, or simply liquidated. The authorities did their best to overlook the orders' religious functions as this was not part of their proper area of interest. What they took into account was the orders' social activities as seen in a general context. The communists accordingly started limiting the orders' activities by applying a series of repressive measures against them, such as deprival of a financial base otherwise being indispensable for conduct of their statutory activity. This was committed under the majesty of the law, with the regulations often being bent, using brutal and primitive methods. The order restricting policies endeavoured to: inhibit the increase of the numerical force of friars; diminish the number of houses of male orders; reduce order-managed education, acquisition of proprietary rights, pastoral activities as well as charity-oriented, publishing and social activities. This purpose was served by inspections of order-held sites, fiscal policies, taking over of realties, etc. Administrative, political and propaganda methods were used by the communists to bring about the goal. In order to intimidate and break that 'hermetic' ecclesial order, the 'people's authority' went as far as applying repressive measures: condemnatory verdicts, imprisonment, high fine amounts; preventive forewarning conversations; interrogations and warnings, detentions, controls or inspections, searches and confiscations as well removals and displacements into another area, arresting, show trials, or surveillances. Several order members were blackmailed, accused upon false premises, sentenced to long years of imprisonment, or merely murdered. Friars were falling victim to assaults and beating performed by 'unknown perpetrators'. As part of fighting the orders, in order to debilitate their activity amongst the faithful, the authorities made use of their inner discords. Repressive measures were applied by the communist authorities against orders, with varying strength and using various methods; the social opinion had all that presented as means of defence of the state against aggression of the Church.
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