Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
The Failure of Detente
and the Vatican Policy
"Folha de São Paulo", February 18, 1980
In my last article I promised to publish the twelve impostures with which, according to Jean-Francois Revel in L'Express, January 26, 1980, Russia managed to engage the West in the process of “detente”. As proposed, however, I will enunciate them adapted in such a way as to show how they fit the propositions of the Vatican Ostpolitik.
After each Soviet imposture is my commentary, preceded by a dash.
1. The communist governments are no longer taking religious persecution to its last consequences. To a certain extent everywhere, and most notably in Poland, they tolerate some churches being open, allow the ecclesiastical hierarchy to discharge minimal fragments of its ministry, permit the formation of seminarians, etc. Such governments are “respectful” of this status quo. Consequently, when they persecute the Church in all fields without suppressing these residual religious liberties, the Catholics must be understanding. For all this does not exceed the limits of the less than total persecution they had stipulated. ― This is a false theory. One cannot expect the communists to respect such limits out of mere benevolence. These shreds of concessions made to the Church in Eastern Europe demobilized the anti communist campaign which Catholics had mounted all over the world. This was a priceless factor favoring communist infiltration throughout the West.
2. The communist governments' atheistic offensive failed to achieve the total extirpation of the name of God from the souls of the people. Therefore these governments began a policy of concessions toward religion. Now if the Catholics of the West want this policy to continue, they must stop their anticommunist polemics. ― This calamitous error of silencing anti-communist polemics by Catholics has been favoring the expansion of historical materialism among the free peoples without it being impeded by a reaction from the greatest spiritual power in the world.
3. The moral and ideological bankruptcy of Communism will finally turn all the peoples away from it. Some ten years ago Brzezinski signed an article in the New Leader entitled “Communism Is Dead.” ― Many Catholics also supposed that, if not dead, the communist jackal was at least moribund. They began to chuck it under its chin to make sure they would be in good positions to pick up the pieces when it died. Now their fingers are caught in its teeth.
4. Nationalistic brands of Communism are going to be established everywhere and limit Soviet influence in the world. Titoism will become generalized. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, The New York Times prophecied that Vietnamese Communism would rapidly run anti Soviet. “No comment,” said Revel. ― The Vatican Ostpolitik believed in the therapeutical virtues of Eurocommunism. And there it is, dead. No comment, I also say.
5. There will be a convergence between the economic systems of the East and the West. The whole contemporary world tends toward political and economic unity. ― The “fall of ideological barriers” between communists and Catholics is a reflection of this tendency and an indispensable condition for achieving this unity. So the process of unification was started ... by the Catholics, who let innumerable barriers fall. The communists, however, in spite of their fireworks celebrating “detente,” kept those on their side standing.
6. East West contacts must be broadened and multiplied as much as possible. As Lloyd George said in 1922, “The moderating influence of commerce (and many hoped, of ideological contacts as well) would lead more certainly than any other method to the end of the ferocity, banditry and brutality of Bolshevism.” ― The Catholics believed in the miraculous effects of this sovereign balm. But now we have religious persecution in Czechoslovakia, denounced some days ago in an official communiqué of the Society of Jesus in Rome.
7. The conflict between China and Russia will replace the one between the democratic societies and Soviet totalitarianism. The two communist giants will destroy each other. ― We Catholics wanted to imagine that we could cross our arms. That was a mere pretext for the inertias of cowardice and sloth.
8. Eurocommunism marks the end of the “World Communist Church” and constitutes a challenge to Russia. ― Same commentary. Euro communism is now a political leftover that nobody takes seriously anymore.
9. Moslems in the Soviet Union constitute an explosive force within the communist system. Moscow will be forced to come to terms with the Islamic countries of the Middle East. ― Catholics can, therefore, hope that Mohammedan fervor will oblige the Kremlin to grant Muslims more ample religious liberties which may eventually be extended to them without their having to pay the cost of effort and struggle against Communism. Same commentary.
Points 10, 11 and 12 of Revel's article, strictly political, cannot be easily transposed to the religious field. Revel's listing, by the way, was apparently only a set of examples. At any rate, the transposition of his examples to the Catholic realm included only a few of the frauds. They arc innumerable. The progressives spread torrents of such deceptions all over the world with a zeal comparable only to that of the TFP in unmasking them.
What can be done in the Catholic camp to bring an end to this catastrophe whose unchecked progress would slay the Church if She were mortal? Words coming from the lips of just one man would suffice. From the successor of him to whom it was said: “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her” (Matt., 16 18).
Whether everything in the Catholic world stands or collapses, depends, in the final analysis, on him. On his choice.
Oh how we beseech Our Lady, the Mediatrix of all graces, that continuing in the long and arduous path on which he was taken some first steps, he may reach the culminating moment when he says the right word to overthrow the walls of Error, of Evil and of the Hideous, and to raise those of the True, the Good and the Subllime.