WARSAW — Pope John Paul II, who backed Solidarity, said today that the people should have a greater voice in the government after Polish leader Wojciech Jaruzelski vowed to continue policies that crushed the free labor union.
At the outset of the third pilgrimage to his devoutly Roman Catholic homeland since becoming Pope in 1978, John Paul called it a "land so sorely tried."
Hundreds of thousands of people waved Polish and Vatican flags today along the route the Pope's motorcade took from the airport to the city.
The first day of this visit, however, was more subdued than his triumphal return in 1979 and the emotion-filled trip in 1983, when martial law imposed in December, 1981, still was in force.
As he descended from his "popemobile" at the Visitation Church near the Old City, about 60 people in a crowd of several thousand unfurled Solidarity banners, chanting "Democracy!" and "There is no freedom without Solidarity!"
Waves to Demonstrators
John Paul was about 50 yards away. He waved to the crowd but did not visibly acknowledge the chants. Dozens of uniformed and plainclothes policemen nearby made no attempt to disperse the group.
Supporters of Solidarity unfurled a red-and-white union banner in front of the U.S. Embassy as the motorcade passed. They included former underground leader Zbigniew Bujak.
Jaruzelski and the pontiff exchanged formal greetings in a former royal palace of the Old City.
"The turmoil has subsided," Jaruzelski said in a clear reference to Solidarity. "The flames incited by foreign powers have cleared up."
The Pope stared somberly at the floor during Jaruzelski's remarks to an audience of dozens of bishops and Communist Party officials.
'New Forms of Social Life'
Speaking in a firm voice, Jaruzelski said Poland is creating "new forms of social life" and "we will not leave that road." He added that the government will remain open to change only if party rule is not threatened.
"We are aware of divisions in our society," he acknowledged, and he mentioned the importance of the church in Poland, where 94% of the 37 million people are Catholic.
John Paul responded by demanding greater respect for human rights.
"If you want to conserve peace, remember man," he said. "Remember his rights, which are inalienable because they derive from the humanity of every person.