Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
“Vatican Ostpolitik Favors Moscow”
Folha de S. Paulo, June 9, 1974
The stand taken by the TFPs on the Vatican policy of rapprochement with communist governments is drawing expressions of solidarity much more widespread than I had imagined. This is fully explicable, as our people are both profoundly Catholic and radically anticommunist.
However, next to the fully explicable stands the paradoxical. And the paradox is that while so many applaud us, very few raise their voices in public to join us. I will not go into an analysis of the causes of this paradox. It exists, and we need to take it into account.
As result from both normal and paradoxical reactions, I have felt obliged to keep returning to the subject. On the one hand, because the echo I find invites me to do so, and on the other, mainly because I am almost the only one to speak out. So here I am again in this Resistance which gives me heartache but which I must carry on.
* * *
Today I offer the reader a statement of major importance on the subject. I transcribe excerpts from an article on the Vatican Ostpolitik by a leading German Catholic. He is Dr. Bernhard Vogel, President of the Central Committee of German Catholics and Minister of Culture of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate (Berliner Morgenpost, April 28, 1974). The article is titled “The Ostpolitik of the Vatican Favors Moscow.”
Dr. Vogel writes:
“The fact can no longer be ignored: Vatican Ostpolitik is under the crossfire of criticism. It is becoming ever clearer in the eyes of specialists that it brings no improvement to the situation of the Church in communist states but reinforces Moscow’s position in its game to dominate Europe.
“In this context, the general communiqué on Casaroli’s visit to Poland is very enlightening. It states that the Holy See's delegation expressed high regard for the “constructive contribution to the normalization of relations in Europe and to peace in world.” In diplomatic language, this is more than a commonplace. One should keep in mind that this applause was given to a government whose representatives at Helsinki’s Conference on Security and Cooperation, severely criticized, at the behest of the Communist bloc, Western countries’ demands for freedom of expression and information.
“If this document still says that both sides affirm ‘their keen interest in the consolidation of the process of detente around the world’ and express the desire ‘that this process assumes a truly universal character’ this means adopting a language that expresses the content and specific goals of communist politics.
“This fact becomes even clearer in the part of the communiqué in which the Polish side calls the Holy See’s efforts invaluable, ‘imbued with goodwill to stimulate peaceful coexistence among nations and justice in international relations.’ In vain would anyone look through the document to find a mention of fundamental principles such as freedom and human rights.
“In view of occurrences such as the Mindszenty ‘affair’, the appointment of bishops in Czechoslovakia and rumors about negotiations to establish a nunciature in East Berlin there is a fear that the Vatican is still hoping to obtain a thaw for the Church in Eastern countries in exchange for accepting the Soviet conceptions on normalization of relations in Europe and for refraining from sufficiently emphasizing moral and religious positions that cannot be renounced.
“Needless to say, it is not for us here a question of condemning negotiations and treaties as such. But they need ... to avoid all appearance that the Church is accommodating to a system which, before and after, has only known lack of freedom, exploitation and oppression and sees the fight against religion as a primordial task.”