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Jaruzelski will not attend beatification of John Paul II

Catholic World News - March 09, 2011

General Wojcciech Jaruzelski, the head of Poland’s communist government in the 1980s, will not attend the beatification of Pope John Paul II on May 1, he has announced.

Jaruzelski issued his announcement to quiet a controversy in Poland on whether or not it would be appropriate for him to attend the ceremony. The former Polish leader said that he did not want to attend the Vatican ceremony because his presence would give rise to “more sensationalistic information and tendentious intepretation.” He also mentioned that his health is not strong.

During the memorable visits by Pope John Paul II to his native Poland, when the Pontiff emerged as a leading figure in Poland’s quest for liberty, Jaruzelski stood beside him as a symbol of the repressive Communist regime. He ordered in imposition of martial law in 1981, jailing hundreds of democracy activists. Today Jaruzelski contends that he was pressured into declaring martial law in order to avoid a Russian takeover.

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