WARSAW, JUNE 13 -- Two emissaries of communist leader Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski met with Pope John Paul II today in the wake of a major antigovernment demonstration in Gdansk and forceful endorsements by the pope of the outlawed Solidarity trade union.
It was not immediately known whether the meeting had been requested by the pope or by Gen. Jaruzelski, or what was discussed.
But Polish church sources said the two government emissaries, who flew to see the pope this morning in the southern city of Czestochowa, may have been arranging for another private encounter between the pontiff and the head of the government.
Senior Polish church officials who divulged the meeting would say only that it had lasted 10 minutes. They declined to discuss the content of the meeting, which came one day after more than 10,000 pro-Solidarity demonstrators marched through the streets of Gdansk and clashed with riot police.
The two emissaries were Kazimierz Barcikowski, a Politburo member and head of a mixed commission that coordinates church-state relations, which have been strained, and Stanislaw Ciosek, a senior party official who in the past has held negotiations with church and Solidarity leaders, according to church sources.
Jerzy Urban, the Polish government spokesman, tonight refused to confirm or deny that the two officials had met with the pope. But he did admit that the two men had been present in Czestochowa this morning and that they had talked with "church officials."
Asked whether the officials had complained to the church about the pope's strong statements against the nation's communist system and in support of Solidarity, Urban insisted, "I don't have anything to say" on the matter.
"Don't make a sensation out of this," Urban said. "This is a normal thing for state officials to meet with the church."
On arriving here Monday for his third papal trip home, the pope met in private with Jaruzelski for 70 minutes, though neither the government nor the church has said what was discussed.
Since then, the pope has issued a series of strong calls for reform of Poland's political system and respect for Solidarity and its ideals. The government has not yet responded to the declarations but has deployed thousands of police in places where the pope has appeared, censored his remarks in the state-run press and strictly limited television coverage.
Poland's communist regime and the Vatican have been holding protracted talks on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Warsaw, sought by Jaruzelski, and the granting of official legal status for the Polish Roman Catholic church. Before the pope's visit, senior church officials said the agreements could be reached later this year if the pope's visit proceeded smoothly.
John Paul's symbolic support for the opposition continued today as the pontiff toured the industrial city of Lodz and met tonight with more than 1,000 Polish artists and intellectuals in a Warsaw church.
The pope told the audience, which included leading Solidarity activists as well as journalists, writers, filmmakers, lawyers and others from a broad range of opposition, church and independent circles, that he "rejoiced" over the church's shelter and support for independent cultural activity.
During the past five years, many artists and writers have boycotted official media, theaters and galleries and turned to the church for help in disseminating their work. The church's support for these groups has been a frequent cause of conflict with communist authorities and sometimes has appeared to create tensions between the relatively conservative Polish primate, Cardinal Jozef Glemp, and activist priests involved in the cultural movement.
"I rejoice that intellectuals, artists, men and women of culture, find in the church the dimension of freedom which they sometimes do not find elsewhere," the pope declared, speaking in the historic Church of the Holy Cross where the heart of Polish composer Frederic Chopin is buried.
On Sunday the pope is to pray at the grave of slain pro-Solidarity priest Jerzy Popieluszko before celebrating a huge outdoor mass in downtown Warsaw. Jaruzelski is to see the pope off at Okecie airport on Sunday afternoon, and church sources said any new private meeting could take place there.