The Soviet press bluntly accused the Polish Roman Catholic Church today of inspiring and "funding" opponents of the martial-law government of Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski. It was the sharpest and most direct attack on the Polish church since the outbreak of unrest in Poland.
Diplomatic observers said the broadside in the weekly Literaturnaya Gazeta was unlike anything seen in the Soviet media during more than two years of turmoil in Poland. It said the church was directly linked to the counterrevolutionary underground that is urging Poles to strike and commit sabotage and that is calling "even for an armed uprising."
The article, which took nearly a full page, came on the eve of the scheduled meeting in the Polish capital Thursday of Warsaw Pact defense ministers and appeared to reflect Soviet alarm about the course of events in Poland.
Thus far, the Soviets have been cautious in their infrequent criticism of the Polish church, presumably assuming that it would play a moderating role in the crisis.
Diplomats here suggested that the attack on the church also reflected Moscow's continued pressure on Jaruzelski for a more vigorous action against antigovernment forces and possible dissatisfaction with his policy toward the church. They noted that the Soviet press recently carried Jaruzelski's criticism of the church in a speech Oct. 9 but avoided mentioning his desire for improved church-state relations and conciliatory remarks addressed to the Catholics.
Today's dispatch gave a generally gloomy picture of the situation in Poland, indicating among other things that a majority of Polish intellectuals were not supporting the military government and that many of them have fallen prey to "antisocialist intoxication."
Moscow's attack on the church said that priests were inciting their parishioners, who were leaving churches "electrified" and turned into "political hooligans." Clergymen themselves were alleged to have taken part in demonstrations during which "acts of real vandalism" were perpetrated.
"When the thugs, instigated in the churches, are detained and made to compensate for the damage they have caused, it is the church that provides the funds. Thus the Catholic Church gives to fascist youths the right to impunity and is funding counterrevolution," the paper said.
Deriding the church's preaching, it said that "it is apparently through honoring the commandment of 'love thy neighbor' and being guided by the so-called Western civilization that people throw stones through the windows of a hospital in Czestochowa, overturn streetcars in Warsaw or set fire to newsstands in Gdansk."
Until now, the Soviet media had ignored outbursts of unrest in Poland following the abolition of the independent trade union Solidarity two weeks ago. But Soviet readers were given the impression today of a Poland in the throes of social and political turmoil in which the Communist Party is facing a long and uphill struggle to win support of the population.