Freedom of Association in the People's Republic of Poland and Its Restriction with Regard to the Roman Catholic Church
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The right to associate in modern democracies is regarded as one of the personal liberties. It underlies the free operation of various types of organizations and associations, including those established out of religious inspiration. However, it was not the case in the People's Republic of Poland (PRP) in the years 1945-1989 when the Communist Party held sway over the country, and the dominant political system was rested on the materialist ideology of Marxism-Leninism. Discussing the issue of freedom of association in the PRP and its restrictions with regard to Church-led organizations, it is therefore necessary to highlight its ideological foundations. Hence, the main body of discussion is preceded by the explanation of the difference between the concept of the right to freedom of association adopted in modern democracies and that of socialist countries. Next, the author outlines the relations between the communist regime and the Roman Catholic Church and its organizations. The communist authorities' anti-religious activities driven by the prevailing ideology led to the elimination of almost all the Church-led organizations. Legal measures were not the only methods adopted in this struggle, the regime also resorted to other means of effacing Catholic organizations from public life. The study is largely based on the archival material sourced from the Polish state and Church archives.
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