George Weigel: Formerly Secret Documents Reveal Pope John Paul II’s Anti-Communist Strategy

A U.S. biographer of the late pope has now provided particulars of what he describes as the full-scale war by communism against the Catholic Church, and Pope John Paul’s astute and successful counter-strategy.

The Polish pope displayed political savvy and “a shrewdness that combined steadiness of strategic vision with tactical flexibility,” George Weigel told an audience of seminarians, diplomats and Vatican officials at the Pontifical North American College Jan. 9.

One of Pope John Paul’s moves, Weigel said, was to appoint as his own secretary of state Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, the architect of the Vatican’s “Ostpolitik” efforts to reach workable compromises with communist regimes.

By doing so, the late pope “created tactical advantages for the church: As the pope preached moral revolution over the heads of communist regimes, speaking directly to their people, Casaroli continued his diplomacy, thus denying the communists the opportunity to charge that the church had reneged on its commitment to dialogue,” Weigel said.

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