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Monday, May 02, 2005
Hejmo denies being collaborator in Poland's communist era.

WARSAW, POland - A polish priest at the Vatican was accused Wednesday of collaborating with the communist era secret police when Pope John Paul II was inspiring his countrymen to resist the Soviet backed regime.

The Rev. Konrad Stanislaw Hejmo, a Dominican priest, acknowledged late Wednesday he had shared reports that he wrote for Polish Church officicials with an acquaintance, a Pole who live in Germany, but said he did not suspect the man might have been a spy.

The accusation originated with Leon Kieres, head of the National Remembrance Institute that guards communist era police files. At a news conference Wednesday, he said Hejmo "was a secret collaborator of the Polish secret service under the names Hejnal and Dominik."

Hejmo, 69, was an ever present figure at John Paul's public events, leading Polish pilgrims around and taking groups up to see the pope.

He had extensive contacts with Poles who visited Rome, and had arranged housing for Polish refugees who had fled the communist regime.

Hejmo told reporters outside his villa in Rome that he had been making written reports on church matters for Polish cnhurch officials and shared the reports with an acquaintance introuced to him by other priests as someone interested in church affairs.

'Convincing and shocking'

"I have never been a secrect collaborator", Hejmo said. "I can blame myself for being naive. This man came, we helped and on top of it I took his family around Rome ... I partly feel a victim of this situation now".

Hejmo said he had only just learned the man, whom he did not name, might have been an intelligence agent, Hejmo said the man has since died.

Hejmo's Dominican superior, the Rev. Maciej Zieba, told reporters at the news confernce he had seen the files, which he called 'convincing and shocking'.

(Associated Press/ Monika Scislowska)
posted by infraternam meam @ 9:03 PM  
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