I was just reading the latest edition of the new magazine from Roger McCaffrey (interestingly, a friend of the late Lord Muggs the Great).
Titled, perhaps somewhat magniloquently, The Traditionalist, the magazine has only produced two issues so far, and I paid little attention to the last one. But the Summer 09 issue has a long and quite riveting article about the life and career of Cardinal Casaroli, Paul VI's Secretary of State and the author of the Vatican's Ostpolitik policies.
One of the things I get emails about occasionally is the distinction I make between Catholicism and Novusordoism. What makes a Trad different from a Novus Ordo Conservative? I have said for years it is not really about the Mass or the liturgy. Here is an example of what I mean below. Mindszenty was a Catholic. Casaroli was a Novusordoist, like his mentor Paul VI.
What is amazing about it is the frankness with which Casaroli admitted the betrayal by the pope and by himself of such giants as Mindszenty and the lesser-known Beran in Czechoslovakia.
The article was written by Wilton Wynn, who was Time Magazine's Vatican correspondent and later bureau chief and described as the "dean" of English-language Rome correspondents. In the first half, he discusses being thrown into the world of Vatican and Italian politics in the early 60s (before there was a Vatican press office) and being expected to more or less make it up as he went along, becoming an "expert" on Vatican affairs by the hardest possible methods.
But it really heats up when he starts relating Casaroli's experiences in the first person, working, presumably from tapes or notes of his conversations with him.
That Wynn is not one of us is made abundantly clear by a single note about Giovanni Battista Montini's early career.
In the 'fifties when Pope Paul was still Giovanni Battista Montini, he was appointed archbishop of Milan, the biggest diocese in Europe. Almost everyone who knew anything about the Vatican assumed he would be the next pope, succeeding his old mentor, Pius XII. But for some strange reason, Pius neglected to make Montini a cardinal (even though for 600 years archbishops of Milan had been made cardinals). And so, when Pius died in late 1958 and all the world's cardinals were summoned to a conclave in Rome to choose a successor, Montini was not among those present.
...'for some strange reason'...maybe it was because Pius knew him.
Anyway the good bits are later, as Casaroli describes his first trip to the Eastern Bloc, and the days when Ostpolitik was born, and the era of rapprochement between the Catholic Church and Communism started. April 1963.
Casaroli spoke to Mindszenty in a combination of Latin and English, since the Italian did not speak Hungarian and the Cardinal did not speak enough German.
Casaroli found Mindszenty absolutely uncompromising, preferring prison [in the American Legation in Budapest] to making a deal with the Communists. He considered himself legally the acting head of the Hungarian state; under the pre-communist constitution
meaning the actual legal constitution of the country. The assumption here is telling; that both Wynn and the Vatican in the early 60s under Paul VI, and presumably John XXIII, believed that the communist regimes in Hungary and elsewhere were the legitimate governments that had legally supplanted the previous states. This assumption and acceptance of communism as anything other than a criminal gang of thugs bent on the destruction of the legitimate state and natural ruling bodies as well as the Christian culture of Europe, was and still is the essential error of most of the Church's diplomacy. It is to Ostpolitik that we can look for the origins of the Vatican's current love affair with Obama, et al.
the Primate of the Catholic Church acted as head of state in the absence of the king or his regent. He even referred to himself as the "Prince Primate".
which was in fact his actual title. Mindszenty was the head of state. It was a fact established by the constitution. But, as will be revealed, it was too inconvenient a fact for both the Americans and the Vatican who were both anxious to establish relations with the previously mentioned gang of thugs.
To him, it was unthinkable to negotiate with the regime; he obviously still hoped for another World War in which the Americans would destroy the Communist empire.
Now here is an interesting point. I was raised in a heavily leftist-influenced cultural environment and was given to believe, mostly through media propaganda, that a world war was the very worst possible thing that could happen. It is interesting that both Mindszenty and later Beran are shown to have been hoping for exactly that. And, as it was later revealed, had there been a nuclear exchange between the US and allies and the Soviets, the US would have won neatly and in very little time. It certainly would not have been the apocalypse we were led by the leftist-controlled media to believe.
He went into a rage at any hint that the Americans might raise the level of their Legation to that of Embassy. And he was furious when he learned that the United States and Canada had sent surplus wheat to the Hungarians, an act which, he told Casaroli, would only help the regime, not the people. The pope's envoy was a shrewd enough diplomat to know that he must treat softly with that irascible old man and not press him too obviously.
There it is. For his loyalty to the Faith and to his country, for his refusal, with supernaturally heroic steadfastness after imprisonment and torture, to compromise with a brutal and patently evil illegal regime that had destroyed his country, he was regarded by his own Church as "an irascible old man".
One who had to be gently cozened and coddled along, and finally bullied, into giving up his position as the last bastion of freedom and the Truth of Christ in Hungary. So that Paul and Casaroli could replace him with someone who would be more friendly to the same evil thugs. More compliant. Easier to get along with. A player.