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“Fruits of Ostpolitik”

Congress Speaks Out,
But the Vatican Is Silent

by Christopher A. Ferrara

One of the reasons Father Nicholas Gruner is facing a threat of “excommunication” from the Vatican is that his apostolate has published various articles critical of the Vatican Secretariat of State’s cherished Ostpolitik — the Vatican diplomatic policy of refraining from any condemnation or opposition of communist regimes which oppress Catholics, in favor of “dialogue” and “quiet diplomacy.” There is not the slightest evidence that this policy has accomplished anything more than the perpetuation of communist tyranny by shoring up the legitimacy of communist regimes. Indeed, have we not been told that communism began to “fall” only when John Paul II confronted it openly during his first visit to Poland as Pope?

Ostpolitik began with the Vatican’s shameful agreement to prevent the Second Vatican Council from condemning communism in exchange for the attendance of two Russian Orthodox (that is, KGB) “observers” at the Council. This pact with the devil is commonly known as the Vatican-Moscow Agreement. As a result, the Council, which supposedly met to consider “the signs of the times,” said not one word about communism — at the very height of communist oppression of the Church in the Soviet Union and China. Any Council Father who stood up to denounce communism was politely requested to sit down by Cardinal Tisserant, who had negotiated the agreement for the Vatican.

Ostpolitik continues in force today, with the Vatican refusing to issue any public condemnation of the persecution of loyal Catholics by the Red Chinese regime. Yet, as reported by Zenit.org news agency on April 28, 2001, a group of 100 United States Congressmen has issued a letter denouncing “the Good Friday arrest of Bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang, reported by the U.S.-based Cardinal Kung Foundation.” According to Zenit, “The lawmakers urged China to ‘recognize that freedom of worship and the freedom of speech are basic human rights to be protected, not silenced.’” Zenit notes that “about a dozen bishops are now held by the Communist leaders in Beijing, which broke off relations with the Vatican in 1958.”

And what is the Vatican’s response? As required by Ostpolitik, the Vatican has issued no statement condemning the arrests. Rather, the Ostpolitik diplomatic model requires the Vatican to negotiate with the Red Chinese regime and its puppet-church of schismatic bishops and priests known as the Patriotic Catholic Association (PCA). The PCA has ordained 100 bishops without a papal mandate, an offense which is supposed to carry the penalty of excommunication. The PCA issued a 1995 “pastoral letter” upholding China’s policy of contraception, sterilization and forced abortion. Yet the Vatican’s Cardinal Etchegaray recently concelebrated Mass with PCA bishops in China, at a Marian shrine stolen from the loyal Catholics who have been driven underground.

So, the Vatican sends a Cardinal to concelebrate Mass with schismatic bishops who are loyal to a diabolical communist regime, at the same time it threatens to “excommunicate” Father Gruner because he criticizes this betrayal of the Gospel.

In an interview not long before his death, Cardinal Casaroli, who implemented Ostpolitik during the reign of Paul VI, admitted that Pope Paul himself was tormented by doubt about whether he was failing to uphold the Gospel by refusing to condemn Soviet oppression of the Catholic Church. Casaroli revealed that he persuaded Pope Paul to “stay with his [Casaroli’s] policy.” [“Paul VI had doubts about Ostpolitik,” CWN news interview, Nov. 24, 1997 ] It is no wonder Paul VI had doubts. His predecessors Pius XII, Pius XI, St. Pius X, Leo XIII and Blessed Pius IX had all taught the Church cannot fail to condemn and oppose the errors of communism, and that (as Pius XI emphasized in Divini Redemptoris) Catholics cannot collaborate with communism in any endeavor whatsoever, including “world peace” or “social justice,” because communists will inevitably subvert such projects toward diabolical ends.

We must ask ourselves: How have we come to a place where the United States Congress is willing to condemn communist oppression of the Church, while the Vatican remains silent? Father Gruner’s Apostolate has not hesitated to explore this question. But Father Gruner has learned that while heresy and scandal may go largely unnoticed and unpunished by the Vatican these days, the fallible diplomatic policies of the Vatican Secretariat of State are defended as if they were sacrosanct dogma. This inversion of the sacred and the profane is at the heart of the current crisis in the Church.