Polish authorities showed the first public signs of strain and inpatience with Pope John Paul II's visit today as the pontiff returned to his former diocese and received the most tumultuous welcome of the trip.
Early in the day, a Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman expressed surprise about the number of political comments in the pope's sermons thus far. "I did not expect so much," the official, Stefan Staniszewski, said at a news conference.
But he withheld specific criticism of the pope's comments, and another official insisted to reporters that the government is "generally satisfied" with the way the trip has gone.
Nonetheless, it is apparent that officials have been taken aback by the directness of the pope's repeated call for greater religious freedom in Poland and elsewhere in communist Eastern Europe.
Diplomatic sources believe Polish authorities deliberately are withholding rejoinders while the pope is in the country but plan an ideological counteroffensive when he leaves.
In Czestochowa, plainclothes security officials roughed up a priest and two American photographers who walked into the path of a papal caravan, the first such reported incident in the first days of massive crowds that otherwise continue to be trouble-free.The incident today, although relatively minor, showed that police patience with the crowds may be wearing thin.
This evening as the pope of Krakow streamed toward the meadow where the pope's helicopter was to land about 75 police vehicles jammed with militiamen from all over the country proceeded down the main throughfare of the city, a marked contrast to the discreet presence of police at previous stops on the trip.
As the convoy passed a high-rise complex of university dormitories, students hung out of virtually every window and jeered the policemen with whistles and catcalls - another unusual sight for an authoritarian country such as this.
Outside the city, reporters saw roadblocks manned by militia where cars heading for Krakow were being turned back unless the passengers had tickets for events involving the pope or could prove they were residents of the city. Even the wife of an American diplomat said she had been required to show proof of her identity to get past the checkpoint.
The presence of these overt obstacles tends to confirm the complaints of some priests that many Polish Catholics were being prevented from seeing the pope.
Still, the crowd that massed tonight in Krakow was enormous. People stood a dozen or more deep along the travel route through the city in spite of a cold rain. In contrast to the reverential welcome in Warsaw Saturday, the people of Krakow cheered loudly and sang as the papal vehicle, bathed in spotlights moved past them behind a heavy police escort.
Groups gathered on slanting rooftops, holding on to chimineys for support to catch a glimpse of the beaming, red-robed pope.
Many in the crowds ran along the route to keep up with the pope until he reached his destination, Wawel Cathedral, where John Paul presided for 20 years as archbishop of Krakow.
"I especially greet you" the pope said in his arrival statement to the people of Krakow. "You are so close to me. Because of the separation to which the Lord has called me, I feel even closer to you."
The homecoming had a strongly personal quality. "He was our archbishop," said a delighted attendant at a downtown garage. "Last October he went off with a small suitcase, two rolls, a toothbrush and some pocket change and now look at the way he comes back here."
It was Oct. 16 that the then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyla was unexpectedly selected as the first non-Italian pope in five centuries and the first Polish pope ever.
Despite the great excitement the pope's arrial in Krakow was generated, the local television coverage that had been expected here and provided at other stops was lacking. Only sparse film clips of events earlier in the day were shown on the evening news.
The pope spent most of his day in Czestochowa at Jasna Gora, site of the Black Madonna shrine. Among other religious ceremonies, he celebrated mass for the miners of Upper Silesia, the one part of the country from which the government has barred him.
At the end of the service, the pope presented his vestments to the bishop from the region. The bishop said that the garments would be kept for the pontiff until the time he is able to visit there. CAPTION: Picture, Pope John Paul waves bouquet to crowd greeting his arrival at Krakow. UPI