WARSAW, Poland — A Polish priest at the Vatican was accused Wednesday of collaborating with the communist-era secret police during the 1980s when Pope John Paul II was inspiring his countrymen to resist the Soviet-backed regime.

The Rev. Konrad Stanislaw Hejmo, a Dominican, acknowledged late Wednesday he had shared reports that he wrote for Polish church officials with an acquaintance, a Pole who lived in Germany, but said he did not suspect the man might have been a spy.

The accusations originated with Leon Kieres, head of the National Remembrance Institute that guards communist-era police files. At a news conference Wednesday he said Hejmo "was a secret collaborator of the Polish secret services under the names Hejnal and Dominik."

Kieres did not provide details or documentary evidence, saying they would be published in May. He said more documents about spying on church figures would be published later this year in a book by a historian given special access to documents at the state-run institute.

Hejmo, 69, was close to the pope's entourage, but not a member of the pontiff's inner circle. He was an ever-present figure at John Paul's public events, leading Polish pilgrims around and taking selected groups up to see the pope.

He had extensive contacts with Poles who visited Rome, and had arranged housing and other assistance for Polish refugees who had fled the communist regime, according to Poland's Catholic Information Agency news service.

Hejmo told reporters outside his villa in an upscale section of Rome late Wednesday that he had been making written reports on church matters for Polish church officials and shared the reports with an acquaintance introduced to him by other priests as someone interested in church affairs.

"I have never been a secret collaborator," Hejmo said. "I can blame myself for being naive. This man came, we helped and on top of it I took his family around Rome . . . I partly feel a victim of this situation now."

Hejmo said he had only just learned that the man, whom he did not name, might have been an intelligence agent. Hejmo said the acquaintance has since died.

Earlier, Polish state television had reported that Hejmo denied the allegations, and it broadcast audio of a phone interview in which he said, "There could have been some recordings tied, glued together. ... It is hard for me to say now, I am not really aware now what this is."

It was not clear what recordings he referred to.

Hejmo's Dominican superior, the Rev. Maciej Zieba, told reporters at the news conference he had seen the files, which he called "convincing and shocking."

The Vatican said it had no comment.

Andrzej Paczkowski, a historian at the institute, said the files contain some 700 pages and cover the 1980s and earlier years. But he said Hejmo was not a "very important person."

Observers and church officials warned against passing a hasty judgment.

"We are still not sure of the type of the cooperation, whether he was simply talking about the Holy Father with the secret services or was actually providing secret information on him," Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek told The Associated Press. "If he was providing information, then this would be a very sad truth."

Hejmo had been widely quoted about the pope's condition in the news media in the days leading up to John Paul's death on April 2. He has served at the Vatican since 1979, after being recommended by the late Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, leader of Poland's church at the time.

Polish-born John Paul, elected pope in 1978, would have been of great interest to the communist secret police because of his role in inspiring the Solidarity trade union opposition to the communist regime, which collapsed in 1989.

The release of communist-era information has created turmoil in Poland recently with the leak of an index to files in the custody of the remembrance institute. That list, which was posted on the Internet, created controversy and confusion because it names both people who informed and people who were spied on without distinguishing between them.

In another prominent case, the spokeswoman for the first post-communist government, Malgorzata Niezabitowska, has gone to court seeking a ruling that she was not a collaborator. A colleague at a communist-era underground newspaper has alleged she denounced other journalists.

Accusations of collaboration are a serious matter in Poland, where many see cooperation with the Soviet-backed government as shameful.

Earlier this month, Kieres said he had recognized the taped voice of a clergyman who was secretly telling agents of Poland's communist secret services about Pope John Paul. He said the news would have been "painful" to the pope.

In 1998, the former East German spy chief said his agency had planted a mole in the Vatican. Ex-Stasi chief Markus Wolf told Italian television that the mole, a German Benedictine monk who worked in the science offices, supplied information on Vatican foreign policy.