Vatican conversations; Catholi cippointments in Germany; and the outines of. a constructive plan put forward ly a Catholic ex-Chancellor of the Gernan Republic are recent examples of .enewed Catholic diplomatic and political ictivity in Central Europe.
They are described by our Diplomatic Correspon'ent and their significance assessed. There is no conpiracy or plot, but an inevitable Catholic agreement on undamental principles which can only result in action g understood and appreciated by the Occupying Powers.
From Our Diplomatic Correspondent
There are signs of a renewal of 7.atholic diplomatic activity in 7.,urope. In many quarters it is ealised that the most effective bulwark tgainst the spread of Communism as sell as against anarchy and collapse s to be found in the Church and in tatesmen known to rest their funda'rental convictions on Christian moral
loctrine And it is evident that in error tracts ot Europe the faith of the -work wilt in present disturbed condiions more readily respond to such eadersbip than to the competing mlitical gangs.
Al the same time a warning must ,c given. There is no organised Cathoic " plot," such as Communists and Freemasons love to uncover. Catholic political response is always an ad hoc affair, arising from a variety of causes and favourable local conditions, and very often it is far less important than it may seem.
Thus great play might be made of the fact that the Holy Father has recently seen a number of prominent Catholic and Austrian figures. He has seen Dr. von Schuschnigg and the latter has had a number o' conversations at the Vatican. He has seen Prince Rupprccht and Dr Schmidt, ex-Mayor of Vienna. He is also reported to have sent a delegation of three clerics. Mgr. Carroll. Fr. Boland and Abbe Rodhains to study the repatriation of prisoners of wa. in Germany. The ex-German Minister remains at the Vatican as a guest. The Papal Nuncio remains in Germany. Meanwhile there are the normal German contacts, Mgr. Kaas and Fr. Schmoll.
All this could be given a sinister political interpretation. and, coupled with the Holy Sec's ministry of charity towards Germany and Germans, it is more than enough to arouse the worst suspicions of Moscow.
Yet the truth is that these contacts are largely accidental. Dr. Schusch nigg and Dr. Schmidt have just been released from Imprisonment. Prince Rupprccht pays a courtesy visit. The Holy Father's vital and continuous non-political interest in the fate of prisoners of war must naturally prompt personal enquiries into the present problems.
Nevertheless it is obviously true that there can be no clear-cut division between such spiritual or personal relationships and the politicpl problems of the hoer in their wide sense. It is likewise true that all Catholic figures' of importance share a common moral outlook and values. Hence accidentally any contacts must have their bearing on the development of affairs.
Thus, without any deect relationship, one would wive a similarity of views on fundamentals between Schuschnigg at the Vatican and Friedrich Schaeffer appointed by the Americans President or Prime Minister of Bavaria. Schaeffer was head of the Catholic People's Party. Among the Ministers he has appointed is Dr. Hipp for Education and Religion, another prominent Catholic forced out of politics in 1933.
In the Rhine Military Province, Dr. Hans Fuchs has been made President. He is a former member of the Centre Party, and held a similar post before the Nazis came. Ile enjoys the fullest confidence of the great majority of the people in his province.
In a recent interview in Switzerland Dr..Wirth, a former Chancellor of the Republic and a member of the Centre Party, said: " We cannot think of renewing Europe after the immense catastrophe unless we think of it in terms of a spiritual renewal. Just now the major currents on the Continent are in the direction of radicalism," he continues. "In the face