Bird’s Eye View of the News
Behind a sly smile, the intent to destroy Catholic militancy
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.
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
The publication of this document in L'Osservatore Romano confers an official character to it
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 was promoted from director of La Civiltà Cattolica to be in charge of John Paul II's trips
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].
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
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.
Posted December 28, 2012