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Diplomacy of Pastoral Letters.
Diplomacy of Pastoral Letters


"The letter to the German bishops was signed by 34 participants on November 18th 1965. The signing took place during the Second Vatican Council. The letter started with an invitation to Poland for the anniversary celebrations and included a summary of the history of Polish-German relations since the rule of Otto III. The authors decisively assessed 19th century German policy towards Poland, especially the period covering the Second World War. They pointed out the victims, millions of murdered Jews and Poles and brought up the issue of material damage to Poland in great detail. Characteristically, the bishops made a special gesture: they invoked the memory of the victims among Hitler’s opponents – both Christians and communists."

"On June 18th 2005, at the 332nd plenary convention of the Conference of Poland’s Episcopate, a common letter on forgiveness and reconciliation was signed by Polish and Ukrainian bishops. The document’s Polish patrons were Primate Glemp and the chair of the Episcopate, Józef Michalik. The Ukrainian patrons included the leader of the Greek Catholic Church, the greater archbishop of Lviv and Cardinal Liubomyr Husar. On June 26th 2005, the letter was publically announced at a ceremony in Lviv. Its message was straightforward, stating: “Let us move above our political views and historical disputes, above our church observances, and even above our nationalities – Polish and Ukrainian.” These words framed the bloody Polish-Ukrainian conflict in a strictly religious, maybe even “final” perspective. Moreover, the context of the letter’s signing was special as it was issued just two months after the passing of John Paul II on April 2nd 2005 and after the Eucharistic Congress in Poland. These two events determined the religious message of the letter. Glemp and Husar didn’t just issue a document. They also decided to make a public sign of peace during the ceremony in Warsaw. It was witnessed by thousands of attendees."

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