Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Folha de S. Paulo, April 21, 1974
The Folha de S. Paulo published a summary of the recent address by the Holy Father Paul VI to the new Chilean ambassador, Hector Riesle, who presented his credentials to the Pope.
The Supreme Pontiff is not unaware of how Catholics throughout the world are increasingly disconcerted and apprehensive over his detente with countries under Communist rule. That was a propitious occasion for H.H. to remedy such a situation. It would suffice for him to express to the diplomat his joy at seeing the Chilean nation liberated from the yoke of a government that led it to a twofold ruin: (1) spiritual ruin, by virtue of President Allende’s atheist and Marxist inspiration; 2) material ruin, as a result of the overthrow of two pillars of economic normality, that is, free initiative and private property. Such words by the Holy Father would have, at the same time, made clear that his sacred and supreme authority disowned the pro-Marxist conduct of Cardinal Silva Henriquez, Archbishop of Santiago.
However, it seems that the speech by the Sovereign Pontiff contained nothing similar to these words, which would be so natural on the lips of a Pope. I even highlight from the papal address a phrase that sounds very different. In it the Holy Father augurs for the Chilean people “a fraternity that, overcoming animosities and resentments, and excluding revenge, involves the reestablishment of an authentic and reciprocal understanding through effective and sincere reconciliation.”
At first reading these wishes may please. However, if well analyzed, they will raise eyebrows. In a country deeply divided between two huge blocs, communist and anticommunist, the August Pontiff seems to think possible the dawn of an age of harmony in which, while both sides stick to their respective convictions, “animosities,” “resentments” and “revenge” will cease.
Now, at its very essence communist doctrine and methodology allow no sincere “brotherhood” with the adversary. Communists wave against the latter a continuing warfare fueled by hatred and fought with all the resources of propaganda and violence, making revenge for the “oppressed classes” the leitmotiv of their action. Faced with such an adversary, Catholics can and undoubtedly should act with Christian elevation, but one that does not exclude firmness. But it is impossible for them to obtain a “genuine understanding” from communists, let alone “effective and sincere reconciliation.”
As long as there are Catholics on one side and communists on the other, the latter will necessarily impose a struggle. And Catholics will have to accept this fight fearlessly in whatever field they are attacked.
It is not difficult to see how the aforementioned words by Pope Paul VI tend to reproduce in Chile’s internal politics reconciliation between Catholics and Communists analogous to that which the Holy See has been trying to obtain with communist nations in the diplomatic field. Both are based on the presupposition that communism has no hatred and no vengefulness: an unreal communism that could not exist even in the world of utopia, as it would be a… non-communist communism.
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These words by the Holy Father indicate to Chilean Catholics a goal and a style of action that demobilize them psychologically before an implacable adversary that never demobilizes. In the concrete order of events, accepting such goal and such style would lead to catastrophe for Catholics and victory for Chilean Communists.
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Just for Chileans? Chilean communism is only a part of international communism. By presenting the psychology of Chilean Communists under such optimistic light these words by the Holy Father will produce, everywhere they are published, an effect analogous to the one they have produced in Chile. And that will happen even in Brazil, where, if terrorists are becoming scarce it would be naive to imagine that the number of “non-violent communists” is dwindling in their main strongholds -- sacristies and rectories.
Therefore, by making this commentary on the words of the August Head of Christendom, I am defending my country. I am defending Christendom. And in so doing I try to preserve for the Pontiff himself an influence that his strategy is stealing from him by the day.
In this act of resistance to Paul VI's policy there are no other psychological components but love, fidelity, and dedication. Since the Pope is the monarch of Holy Church, my gesture means defending the kingdom for the benefit of the King even if, to do so, I should incur his displeasure.
It seems to me that no man could take his dedication any further.