NEWS:  December 28, 2012
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Bird’s Eye View of the News

Atila Sinke Guimarães
DESTRUCTION OF CATHOLIC MILITANCY BY JOHN XXIII -   The revels of the 50th anniversary of the Council continue to be a good source supplying indisputable evidence of how John XXIII was a determinant instrument to destroy Catholic militancy in the Church. Today I will quote from an article published in L’Osservatore Romano on October 19, 2012 (p. 5). Its author is Giovanni Sale, and he summarizes an article in La Civiltà Cattolica, the main organ of the Jesuits that is said to have every issue edited by the Vatican Secretariat of State before being released to the public. This article is based directly on the diary of Fr. Roberto Tucci, director of La Civiltà at that time.

John XXIII in a train

Behind a sly smile, the intent to destroy Catholic militancy

Fr. Tucci played an important role at the Council as a participant in the commission that redacted Gaudium et spes. Together with Msgr. Achile Glorieux and Fr. Bernard Häring, they concealed the petition of 213 Bishops calling for the Council to condemn Communism. (1) Thus, that petition was not presented to the vote of the Assembly and the word Communism never appeared in Vatican II’s final documents. By means of this trick, the promise of John XXIII and Paul VI not to condemn Communism at that gathering (see here & here) was shamefully and duly kept. After the Council, Tucci held different positions at the Vatican, was placed in charge of planning the papal trips. and finally was made a cardinal in 2001 by JPII.

It seems to me that the following document is fundamental to explain two important things:
  • How John XXIII deliberately acted to destroy the militant character of the Church;

  • How he broke to pieces the anti-communist fight in the Church and replaced it with an open collaboration with the enemies of the Church.
The publication of this article in the principal organ of the Vatican - L’Osservatore Romano - confers to it an official character. It is, therefore, an important document for Catholics to have in their fight against Progressivism. For this reason, my translation of its main parts below is in blue, so that my reader does not confuse the article with my commentaries, which will be in black.

For the reader’s convenience, I am providing a readable photocopy of the full article in Italian here, so that he may compare the translation with the Italian original and keep both in his files. Since the text is self explanatory, only at the end will I write some concluding words. The subtitles and bold text are mine.

The article describes the Pope’s displeasure over Fr. Messineo’s criticism of the pro-socialist politics of Giorgio La Pira, who was then the mayor of Florence and a member of the Christian Democratic Party. The main excerpts follow:

How militant behavior was forbidden

formal publication of the document

The publication of this document in L'Osservatore Romano confers an official character to it

At a December 30, 1961 audience, John XXIII expressed to the director of Civiltà Cattolica his bitterness and dissatisfaction over an article by Fr. Antonio Messineo. In that piece, which had been assigned to him by the Holy Office, Messineo wrote against Giorgio La Pira’s political positions, which he considered too indulgent or naively optimistic regarding the left. “One should not write things like that against a practicing Catholic,” the Pope told Tucci,“even if he (La Pira) is somewhat bizarre and at times without sound doctrine.”

One month earlier, the new Secretary of State Card. Amleto Giovanni Cicognani (who replaced Tardini) also expressed disappointment with Fr. Messineo’s article and forbade it to be published in the magazine. Card. Cicognani also said that he disapproved of some approaches of Card. Alfredo Ottavinani, the pro-secretary of the Congregation of the Holy Office, “who loves blows and attacks, without taking into consideration that the Holy Father has clearly manifested that this is not his tone and that a highly placed person must adapt himself to the approach characteristic of this pontificate. The Cardinal added that he personally believed that the Pope’s method was the best one.”

A Pope friendly to Communism

In that same audience, the Pope complained of criticisms made in some ecclesiastical milieus about his response to the inaugural message sent to him by the President of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev. He [the Pope] added: “The Pope is not a naïve; he knew very well that Khrushchev’s gesture was dictated by political propaganda aims, but it would have been an unjustified act of discourtesy not to respond to it; the answer was measured. The Holy Father is guided by good sense and a pastoral sense.”

Later (in a February 9, 1963, audience), in another context and after the beginning of the Council, John XXIII expressed a balanced judgment on the President of the Soviet Union, describing Khrushchev as a good man - and not duplicitous as it is often said - with “good objectives,” even when he firmly holds “to principles totally opposed to ours.” In fact, Khrushchev had permitted the Catholic Bishops of the Warsaw Pact countries to come to Rome for the Council and, as a sign of good will, in accordance with the Pope’s wishes, he had permitted the release from prison of Metropolite Josyf Slipyi of the Greek-Catholic Ukrainian Church. …

Stopping La Civiltà from being the militant voice the Church

Fr. Roberto Tucci organizes JP II's travels


Fr. Roberto Tucci was promoted from director of La Civiltà Cattolica to be in charge of John Paul II's trips


Addressing the question of Italian politics, the Pope then went on to give a strong and demanding orientation to the director of the Civiltà Cattolica. Tucci stated: “The Pope desires a less emphatic line on matters of Italian politics.” Speaking specifically about the magazine, the Pope said that “it is not necessary for the Civiltà Cattolica to always intervene in every question. The Church has other means to make herself heard when she judges it necessary.” The Pope gently but decisively added that he did not appreciate the militant and intransigent spirit of the magazine and asked that it adapt itself to the style and content of the new times. Quoting a friend, the Pope said: “The good priests of the Civiltà Cattolica are always shedding tears over everything! And what have they achieved by this?” He commented, “It is necessary to see the good and the evil and not to be pessimistic about everything.” …

Catholics free to collaborate with communists

Returning to political matters, one should recall that among the Italian Catholics of the time, including the leaders of the Christian Democrats, a debate was waging about the need to at least “collaborate” with the socialists in [Pietro] Nemi’s government. This position, desired by some influential politicians including Amintore Fanfani and Aldo Moro, was strongly criticized by the president of the Italian Conference of Bishops, Card. Giuseppe Siri, and also by many Prelates of the Curia, especially the pro-secretary of the Holy Office [Card. Ottavianni].

Giorgio La Pira and Aldo Moro

In the '60s the Christian Democracy of La Pira, above left, and Aldo Moro, right, flirted with the Socialism of Nemi, below left, and the Communism of Togliatti, right

Pietro Nemi and Palmiro Togliatti
The United States administration was watching the question with great concern and pushed its ambassador in Italy to do everything possible to discourage the alliance of the government with the left. At that time, many Catholics believed that, from the ideological and political standpoint, there were not many practical differences between the position of the socialists and the communists; consequently, to accept collaboration with the former implicitly meant to admit the latter.

The Pope confided to Fr. Tucci: “It is necessary to be very wary because the politicians today, even the Christian Democrats, are trying to pull the Church to their party and thus use the Church for goals that are not always the highest … I am not an expert on this topic, but frankly I do not understand why one cannot accept a collaboration in order to achieve good things with others who have a different ideology, as long as he does not make concessions in doctrine.”

In this way, without too much compromise, the Pope implicitly permitted collaboration between Catholics and socialists in order to accomplish the common good. Doing so, he went against the judgment of highly placed Prelates. Thus, the long record of opposition between Catholics and “communists” (marked by harsh, reciprocal attacks, not to mention anachronistic acts of intolerance) that characterized the last decades of our national political history was moving toward its end.

Pushing Italy toward Communism

The realistic position of the Pope on political matters in fact facilitated the national political scenario to move toward the left. … It must be remembered that the Pontiff’s view about the delicate question of Catholics being open to the left was skillfully used - thanks to the strong commitment of the so-called progressivist press - by those who were committed to the left in order to orient the national political scenario in this direction. In fact, many Catholics, especially those more sensitive to social issues, felt free to disengage themselves from old party obligations and to vote for the left.

In the political elections of April 1963, the Christian Democrats suffered a significant defeat, dropping from 42.2% to 38% of the vote, while the communists gained about one million votes. That electoral result raised a certain panic in the Catholic world, and also among the lay allies of the Christian Democrats in the government. Many milieus, even ecclesiastic ones, attributed part of the responsibility of the communist victory to the “concessive” approach of John XXIII in political matters in those times.


We see, therefore, that John XXIII deliberately broke the militancy of the Catholic Church and opened her to Communism, her worst enemy. This effort of destruction would be continued meticulously by Paul VI, principally by his abolishing the Index of Forbidden Books and establishing theological pluralism in the Church, as I have showed elsewhere. (2)

These actions of Popes in razing the ramparts of the Church bring to mind the mysterious text of St. Paul about the kathekon (the break that restrains - 2 Thess. 2:6) that would be abolished and cause the greatest apostasy of History and the coming of the Antichrist. They also fit with the words of Our Lady at La Salette, who said that Rome would become the seat of the Antichrist.

  1. See Atila S. Guimarães, In the Murky Waters of Vatican II (Los Angeles: TIA, 2008), pp. 169-171.
  2. See Atila S. Guimarães, Animus Injuriandi I, (Los Angeles: TIA, 2010), pp. 19-22.

Posted December 28, 2012