The Vatican's Position in Europe

St Peter's, Rome, 1630.

WHAT are the intentions and the goals of the Vatican in this tragic yet challenging moment when the end of the war in Europe is near and a new world is emerging from the ruins of the old? The question is being widely discussed. This paper is an attempt to describe the position of the Vatican in Europe in terms that are as close to reality as possible, and to suggest some of the problems which the Church faces. The author uses the facts and the Vatican documents which can be verified by all, and interprets them in the light of his own experience and his knowledge. The analysis is a personal contribution in no way authorized.

The problem which the question poses is complex. One cannot place in any single category the relationships between the Holy See and the various states of the world or the attitudes which can be taken by the hierarchy of each country. Nor can one thus simplify either the attitude of the ecclesiastical hierarchy as such or the positions which Catholics acting under their own responsibility think it right and necessary to take, individually or in groups. Within the Catholic Church there is a margin of freedom, large or small according to circumstances which, moving from purely religious forms to social and temporal activities, quite often permits the emergence of truly autonomous movements, especially in politics.

An example taken from actual recent events may illustrate this point to those who, being outside the discipline of the Church, believe or surmise that the Church is a kind of militant army in which only the will of the supreme head prevails. In his speech of September 1, 1944, Pope Pius XII reasserted two points of Catholic doctrine: that private property is in the sphere of natural law, and hence cannot be abolished; and that the social duties which flow from the very nature of property transcend the private good and must aim at the common good. This is the

Loading, please wait...

This article is a part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, please subscribe.

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.