by our Rome correspondent AN 81 year old traditionalist Brazilian Catholic bought two entire pages of a leading Italian daily newspaper this week to denounce the Vatican's ostpolitik and the current reforms in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe.
Plinio Correa de Oliveira, Professor Emeritus of the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, spent over £90,000 to condemn Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroijka and the Vatican's closer relations with the Soviet Union.
Believed close to rebel traditionalist Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, excommunicated two years ago for nominating his own bishops, de Oliveira described the Vatican's ostpolitik as a type of "surrender" to the Kremlin.
He also said Vatican Council II was guilty of not condemning Communism which was still the world's greatest threat.
His initiative, which coincided with the opening of the Italian Communist Party annual congress, is being interpreted as a personal attack on Pope John Paul II. The only hope for the Catholic Church, according to de Oliveira, is Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, hardline Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.