POLAND AND THE POLICY OF THE HOLY SEE TOWARDS THE FREE CITY OF GDANSK (NEGOTIATIONS ABOUT THE CONCORDAT AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF POLISH PERSONAL PARISHES IN GDANSK)
The titular question concerns the efforts made by the Senate of the Free City of Gdansk to sign a concordat with the Holy See while omitting Poland (an issue brought into play upon two occasions). The stand represented by Pope Pius XI and his secretaries of state, cardinals Pietro Gasparri and Eugenio Paccelli, came as a great surprise to the Polish authorities, similarly to the attitude of the nuntios accredited to Warsaw. Upon numerous occasions, Vatican diplomacy proposed an ambiguous interpretation of the Polish rights to represent the Free City on the international arena. The accomplishment of the concordat did not resolve the Church affiliation of Gdansk (and its vicinity). Already in 1920, both the Gdansk Senate and the representatives of the Catholic Centre Party proposed establishing a separate Gdansk diocese, although opinions among the German catholics and clergy remained divided. The number of supporters of including the controversial territory into the diocese of Warmia was considerable, but on 22 April 1922 the Pope created an apostolic administrature dependent directly on the See and composed of part of the diocese of Chelmno and Warmia; he also appointed Bishop Edward O' Rourke as administrator, although the latter felt uncomfortable holding this post from the very beginning of his term in office. Those Germans who were displeased with the papal decision demanded a separate diocese. In 1925, already after the concordat with Poland had been signed, the rights of the nuntio were expanded so as to embrace the territory of the Free City of Gdansk. German pressure, however, proved decisive - on 30 December the Pope established the diocese of Gdansk, and on 2 January 1926 he nominated O' Rourke - an undecided, wavering and frequently opportunistic personality - its bishop ordinary. In this fashion, the interests of the German catholics became protected. The attitude of the Holy See towards the Polish catholics, however, left much to be desired despite the fact that they did not resign from their endeavours for Polish churches, and an increase of the number of Polish services and pastoral work which could be conducted in Polish personal parishes, especially in view of the fact that up to 1930 about 40 000 Polish catholics had at their disposal only a single church. This situation, highly unfavourable for the Polish side, was additionally complicated by a concordat with the Third Reich, signed in 1933. At the beginning of 1935, the Gdansk Senate had still not resigned from a separate concordat agreement, but its efforts did not produce positive results. The question of Polish personal parishes was once again considered in 1935-1937, and remained unresolved by the papacy until the outbreak of the war.
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