Poland's state radio broadcast Sunday mass live on September the 21st for the first time since the communists took power 36 years ago.
GV & SV Church in Warsaw (2 shots)
GV & SV PAN Truck with radio equipment (3 shots)
SV INTERIOR Man setting up microphone
SV PULL BACK GV PAN Bishop reading and service taking place (5 shots)
GV Bishop celebrating mass and congregation (4 shots)
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Background: Poland's state radio broadcast Sunday mass live on September the 21st for the first time since the communists took power 36 years ago. Roman Catholics said the beginning of transmissions was a victory for the church.
SYNOPSIS: The service was transmitted from Warsaw's Holy Cross Church. Most of Poland's 36-million people are Roman Catholics, giving the church enormous influence. Its prestige was bolstered further when Polish cardinal Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul the Second, in 1978. The radio mass was transmitted over stations throughout Poland including those which reach into parts of the Soviet Ukraine and Byelorussia.
The church in Poland enjoys more freedom and more privileges than in any other Soviet bloc country. Alone in communist Eastern Europe, Poland has a Catholic University and even chaplains in the army.
The sermon was read by bishop Jerzy Modzelewski who called on his congregation to pray for church access to all mass media, not only the radio. Meanwhile priests in churches throughout Poland read out a communique from the country's bishops attacking the Polish mass media for what they called disseminating dishonest propaganda, propagating erroneous moral principles and bringing immorality into every Polish home. Bishop Modzelewski summarised the content of the communique but considerably softened its tone in an apparent gesture of conciliation to his hosts on state radio and to opinion across the border with the Soviet Union.
Correspondents say the Polish Catholic church sees itself as a moral alternative to the communist party whose position has been weakened by a summer of labour unrest resulting in unprecedented concessions to workers, including the right to set up free trade unions. The right to religious transmissions is also among the concessions.