Page 10, 19th April 1963

19th April 1963
Page 10
Page 10, 19th April 1963 — ENCYCLICAL ACCLAIMED

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Locations: Moscow, Rome, Milan, Washington, Paris


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(Continued from Page 1) ing, once Communist propaganda has worked upon them hard enough.

Refugee priests are particularly anxious about the effects this propaganda may have on the Communists' techniques of poisoning the minds of the young. This, they feel, is a factor sometimes overlooked by the _Holy See.

Left-wing papers have greeted the Encyclical with wild enthusiasm. The Communist newspaper gave it three columns on the front page. But Die Presse has warned that Pope John has "far broader horizons than the intellectuals or the left who would claim him ae their own".

The paper sees the Encyclical as marking the end of the CounterReformation. The Pope, it says. is now urging men to go beyond ideologies and to think for themselves.

In the Catholic weekly paper Die Furche. Professor Friedrich Heer has stated that, according to Mgr Leber, formerly Pope Pius Xll's secretary, the Russians approached Pope Pius for the establishment of diplomatic relations as long ago as 1945-48; that Pope Pius was wholly favourable: and that the Russians later backed down.

Professor Heet also asserts that much of the thought and writing of the late Cardinal Suharcl of Paris was of a piece with what Pope John is saying now, and that. in all these circumstances, the present Pope's thought is not so revolutionary after all, but has been growing within the Church, added:

Commentators are pointing out. of course. that the Encyclical needs to he read very carefully-which rarely happens—if it is to he properly understood. In this respect. special reference is made to Pope John's lengthy insistence on the freedom of the individual, which rules out all question of any weakening of softening towards the errors of Communism.


'A great offensive'


THE secular press in this country gave the Encyclical the full treatment. The Daily Worker used a column long report of it as a front page splash. The Times spoke of the Pope's "attempt to develop a new approach to Communism".

The Daily Worker's main strap line described the Encyclical as a "moving appeal on eve of Aldermaston march". The Daily Herald called it "the mast politically charged document ever issued from the Vatican" and a "historic message to the world'.

The Daily Express saw the Encyclical as "a great Catholic offensive" to remove nuclear fear from the minds of men, and as an appeal "to basic human decency".

Of the Pope's attitude towards the Communists. Donald McLachlan. writing in the Sunday Telegraph, declared :

"The men from whom the Pope receives his advice and intelligence, the priests and laymen working in Communist controlled countries, are realists . . . in Eastern Europe over the last 15 years they have seen pledge after pledge given and broken "lf these men now feel it safe and useful for their Pope to stretch a friendly peasant hand to. Khrushchey as he battles with Mao and his supporters in the Kremlin, then we should be wise to take the signs seriously."

Of the Communist reaction to the Encyclical, the Observer chides those who see it as a kiss of death. The newspaper states: "To debate the great issues of the day in terms of such a sterile antithesis --to assume that Communists automatically discredit a view by adopting it—is both dangerous and foolish.

"It would he far better to welcome any advance towards recognising each other's common interests and to proceed on the assumption that a more humane attitude is sincere."


'A moment for history'


MMAURICE SCHUMANN, e Chairman of the French National Assembly's Foreign Affairs Committee, has stated that the encyclical has "fixed a moment for history and for eternity". The time had come, he said, to remind mankind that there is such a thing as a human family.

Generally speaking. the Encyclical has secured unprecedented coverage in the press and won applause from leaders of widely different political views. The daily papers devoted whole pages to stories and commentaries on it.

The Grand Rabbi of France specially praised the Encyclical's strong stand in defence of human rights. A Protestant spokesman said it "delights us and is a superb credit to its author".


'Crusade era over'


WELCOME in the West—propaganda in the East; that was how divided Germany reacted to the Encyclical on peace. On the day the Encyclical was issued an East German radio commentary said:

"The papal document which. as can be readily understood, has already been the subject of criticism from the most reactionary circles of the Church Hierarchy —is clearly far removed from that spirit of the 'crusade' which for so long marked the Roman Church." The commentator, broadcasting from Rome, added that the Encyclical would have a favourable influence for world peace "if statesmen who call themselves Catholics stand by it."

In West Germany the Encyclical was generally welcomed enthusiastically by press and politicians (notably the Socialist party chairman, Erich 011enhauer). In general, West German commentators tended to stress (as the Communist spokesmen in the East ignored) the Pope's insistence that peace must be based on respect for certain human rights.

Much West German press corn ment treats the poy,sibility (in the words of the independent Die Welt) of "finding a modus vivendi with Communism as a political force, if certain signs that it is beginning to retreat from its ideological and materialistic principles are confirmed."

On this, the left-wing liberal Frankfurter Rundschau commented cautiously and with a touch of scepticism: "There are political observers who see in the Encyclical an invitation to Communism to engage in a dialogue with the Church. The invitation is expressed with such caution that it can be denied at any time."

The Munich Sueddeutsche Zcitung mentioned, only to refute them, "critical voices which see recent contacts between Rome and Moscow as signs of a fateful mistake", blaming the Pope for not taking a definitely pro-Western stand in the Cold War,


Parties 'cash in


LL newspapers have hailed the Encyclical as an inspiration to the modern world, and a testimony to the enduring youthfulness of the Church. But the political parties arc each trying to claim a monopoly of its application.

Signor Fanfani and the Christian Democrats see it as approval for their policies, for their claim to be the defenders of the Church's sovereignty and the people's morals, and for their centre-left alliance with the Socialists.

The smaller Catholic parties, however, while welcoming the Encyclical, resent the imputation that the Christian Democrats contain the "good" Catholics, while the others contain the "bad" ones.

Feeling is particularly acute in view of a recent statement by the Italian Bishops calling on Catholics to show "unity" in the elections, which is generally interpreted as meaning "back the Christian Democrats".

Many Catholics are confused by the propaganda which the leftists are making out of the Encyclical, and the more conservative newspapers, while welcoming the Pope's statements. are qualifying their attitudes with warnings. The Milan paper 11 Corriere Della Sera urges that the Encyclical must not be seen as "a preface to dogmatic innovations, or a capitulation or weakening of the Church's inalienable rights."


World authority


uTHANT. Secretary-General of the U.N., spoke of "this heartening and noble call" arid said its contents were in harmony with U.N. objectives.

Asked about the Pope's call for a world authority, U Thant replied that "the effectiveness of the United Nations is definitely tied up with the idea that it should become a sovereign state."

On the subject of NATO, U Thant said he did not want to put NATO into conflict with the Encyclical, but he added that he did support the Pope's call for progressive, multilateral disarmament.


Lavish praise


THE Polish Communist paper Trybuna Ludu lavished praise on the Encyclical as "an Encyclical of peaceful coexistence" and said that believers and unbelievers alike will "accept the Pope's words as an important and desirable voice in favour of peace and understanding between nations."

The Tass agency in Moscow has issued full-length reports of the Encyclical, and the official Government paper Levesria argues that Washington will not like what the Pope says at all. It refers, in fact, to "smouldering discontent" in Washington and says that the Pope's appeal "will not reach his (Washington) parishioners", nor deflect them "from their chosen path in the armaments race".

Vatican Radio has sharply reminded the Communists, however, that the cornerstone of the Encyclical is the freedom and dignity of the individual,

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