All Conversations in My Heart
Monday, May 26, 2008
  Cardinal Biffi Three

Pope Wojtyla was right about communism: the Council should not have been silent (pp. 184-186)

Communism: the Council does not address this. If one attentively scans the comprehensive index [of the Council documents], it is stunning to confront this categorical silence.

Communism was, without a doubt, the most imposing, enduring, pervasive historical phenomenon of the twentieth century; and the Council, despite having proposed a Constitution on the Church and the modern world, does not speak of it.

Beginning with its triumph in Russia in 1917, after half a century communism had succeeded in causing many tens of millions of deaths, the victims of mass terror and the most inhuman repression; and the Council does not speak of it.

Communism (for the first time in the history of human folly) had practically imposed atheism upon the populations subjected to it, as a sort of official philosophy and a paradoxical "religion of the state"; and the Council, although it addresses the case of atheists, does not speak of it.

During the same years when the ecumenical council sessions were being held, the communist prisons were still places of unspeakable sufferings and humiliations inflicted upon numerous "witnesses of the faith" (bishops, priests, devoted lay believers in Christ); and the Council does not speak of it.

This was different from the supposed silences toward the criminal aberrations of Nazism, for which even some Catholics (including some who were active at the Council) later reproached Pius XII!

During those years, although I was aware of the great anomaly of this reservation, especially on the part of an assembly that had discussed almost anything, I was not at all scandalized. On the contrary, I must say that I understood the positive aspects of this approach. And this was not so much because of the imminent possibility of negotiating with the communist regimes for permission for the bishops controlled by them to participate in the Council, but more from anticipation that any sort of official stance, even the most bland and restrained, would have unleashed even harsher persecution, thus making heavier the cross of our persecuted brothers.

In essence, everyone shared at least unconsciously the conviction that communism was a phenomenon so entrenched as to have become irreversible: this meant that one had to come to terms with things as they were, for who knows how much longer. Upon closer examination, this was also in essence the justification for Ostpolitik ("the policy of dialogue and of hoped-for understandings with the countries of the East") of the Holy See (of John XXIII and Paul VI); his policy seemed soundly realistic and historically opportune to us.

One who never shared this perspective was John Paul II (as I understood from a conversation in 1985). And he was right.

My own comment is this. "It is another act of ignorance towards fatima and her revelations and requests" Were the Bishops too busy entrenching their own power after Pius Xth's acts of Canon Law which strengthened the Church in the eyes of the world at the expense of episcopal power.
See http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/201424?eng=yChiesa

 




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