To a country emerging from four decades of communist censorship, Pope John Paul II warned Thursday that the newly found freedom does not give license to preach lies and hate.
Poland and other Eastern European countries where communism has fallen have been troubled by the renewal of bitter ethnic and nationalist rivalries and outbursts of anti-Semitism.John Paul, on the first visit to his homeland since the communists were toppled, said his fellow countrymen had lived for many years in a society "where the truth was not said publicly and speaking it was not allowed."
"In the renewal of Poland, the censorship department no longer exists," John Paul said during a Mass in this northeastern city populated largely by Polish postwar refugees from Lithuania and the Ukraine and their descendants.
"Prawda, Prawda (truth, truth)," the pope thundered from a tiered altar in a sports stadium, punching the air with his fist.
"The words may be made in such a way that they give the impression that they are good. This is called manipulation. We are drowning in freedom that used to be denied. There is no real freedom without truth," he said.
But he added: "Freedom of speech doesn't give that much if the word uttered is not free."