By Our Diplomatic Correspondent rOR a paper whose tide implies being up-to-date, "Topic" has dug a surprisingly dusty story out of the cupboard. In its number dated March 24, "Topic" tells us that the Vatican, usually cautious over political changes not of its own inspiration, now considers the Common Market the work of Divine Providence. Never since the time of Spain's Charles V has a Roman Catholic political force been so strongly welded, it adds.
The gem comes at the end : "The Holy See has now set aside one day in the year in honour of the `Madonna of the Common Market', when prayers are said and candles are lit in all churches for the intervention and protection of the Virgin Mary in what is, after all, the greatest Catholic business deal in history".
As the private secretary at Archbishop's House, Westminster, had not heard of this particular initiative of the Holy See when the passage was called to his attention, it is safe to conclude that "all churches" does slot include those of the Westminster Archdiocese.
Most Catholics would of course see nothing wrong in putting such a great endeavour as the Common Market under the patronage of Our Lady, but that is a different thing from regarding it as a piece of Vatican big business.
"Topic" reaches this strange conclusion by a combination of over-simplification and peculiar statistics which are in fact flattering to the Church. The idea appears to be that France and other countries in the Common Market are to be considered as a hundred per cent. Catholic, ignoring of course the Socialists and anti-clericals like M. Speak who have played such a big part in building up "L'Europe Vatican".
It is rough on the Holy See if it cannot encourage what even its opponents regard as a good idea without having its motives impugned.