Pope John Paul II sent a high-ranking Vatican diplomatic team to Poland yesterday in an effort to reaffirm contact with the powerful Roman Catholic Church in his homeland and to determine whether the Holy See can play a negotiating role in the Polish crisis.
Archbishop Luigi Poggi, a papal representative with special responsibilities for Eastern Europe, and another Vatican diplomat flew to Vienna yesterday and left there by train last night for Warsaw. A Polish Embassy official in Vienna told reporters that the two would be permitted to enter Poland despite the general ban on travel to that country.
The pope's diplomatic initiative came as Poland's Roman Catholic primate, Archbishop Jozef Glemp, moved to prevent bloodshed with an impassioned message that is to be read in churches throughout Poland today.
A text of Glemp's message was obtained by ANSA, the Italian news agency, and was broadcast yesterday by the Polish-language service of Vatican Radio, a decision that almost certainly meant the message had the pope's approval.
"Brothers," it began, "I know the rage that has been smoldering for a long time in our country and that has now grown stronger."
Glemp expressed the "deep pain and compassion" of Poland's bishops for the situation of the Polish people under the martial law declared a week ago.
At a meeting Tuesday, he said, the bishops had "examined this problem" and decided that "we are powerless in the face of passions and evil but we believe, despite this, that everything is in the hands of God and the Holy Virgin."
"We kneel before God to implore Him that there should not be bloodshed, since our nation has never known civil and fratricidal strifes," Glemp said.
"We beg you, in God's name, not to raise a hand full of hate against one another. Keep calm, do not cause our country to fall into a greater misfortune. Only self-control and the maintenance of calm can save the country and the church, which is carrying out its mission in the country."
Pope John Paul, who visited Poland in 1979 and is tentatively scheduled to go there again next spring, is immensely popular with the people of that predominantly Catholic country and had long experience, as archbishop of Krakow, in dealing with Communist Party officials. He also met earlier this year with Lech Walesa, the Solidarity union leader who is now reportedly in detention.
Church sources told The Associated Press in Rome that the Vatican was in a unique position to help fashion a compromise between the strikers and the Polish government. While these sources did not elaborate, AP said, some analysts said the new military government in Warsaw and Solidarity leaders have asked for the Vatican's intervention.
Poggi is accompanied by Msgr. Janusz Bolonek, a Polish-born Vatican diplomat who served in Washington from 1975 to 1977 at the office of the apostolic delegate.
The trip reportedly was arranged through Kazimierz Szablewski, the Polish government's representative to the Vatican.
A spokesman for the Polish Embassy in Vienna told United Press International, "I can only confirm that the archbishop will be able to proceed to Poland as planned. They will have no problems at the border."
As he boarded the train in Vienna last night, Poggi told reporters, "It will be a trip to seek contacts and to gather information."
The Vatican diplomats are traveling on the Chopin Express, the same train that in recent months brought thousands of refugees out of Poland and in recent days has been bringing travelers with eyewitness accounts of the crackdown by the military authorities.
Despite its lack of communications with Poland, the Vatican has taken an active role the past week in attempting to focus diplomatic attention on the situation.
Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, the Vatican secretary of state, met with President Reagan here last week to discuss Poland. Earlier in the week a member of the Pontifical Science Academy met with Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev as part of the Vatican's campaign against nuclear missile proliferation, and he reportedly also discussed Poland with the Soviet ruler.
Casaroli, in a statement Friday, said the church's role in attempting to deal with the Polish crisis "is certainly one of moderation . . . to avoid the worst, but at the same time to be clear in affirming certain rights and principles."