Vatican II Behind the Iron Curtain


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VATICAN II
BEHIND THE
IRON
CURTAIN
e Catholic University of America Press
Washington, D.C.
VATICAN II
BEHIND THE
IRON
CURTAIN
 . 



Copyright © 
e Catholic University of America Press
All rights reserved
e paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements
of American National Standards for Information Science—Perma-
nence of Paper for Printed Library Materials,  .–.
Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Kosicki, Piotr H., – editor.
Title: Vatican II behind the Iron Curtain / edited by Piotr H. Kosicki.
Description: Washington, D.C. : Catholic University of America
Press, . | Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identiers:  \r | \f \r (cloth : alk.
paper)
Subjects:  : Vatican Council (nd : –\n : Basilica di
San Pietro in Vaticano) | Catholic Church—Foreign relations—
Communist countries. | Communist countries—Foreign relations—
Catholic Church.
Classication:  \f\t  .\b\n  |  /.\n—dc
 record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/\r
CONTENTS
Abbreviations

Introduction

Kosicki

One
atican II and the Cold War

ald P. Fogarty

Two
atican II and Hungary


ree
atican II and Yugoslavia

\r\r
Four
atican II and Czechoslovakia

elak

Five
atican II and Poland

Kosicki

Bibliography
Contributors
Index
ABBREVIATIONS
AN

rchiwum Akt Nowych (Archive of Modern Records,
Warsaw)

rhiv Bosna i Hercegovine (Archives of Bosnia and
Hercegovina, Sarajevo)
IPN

rchiwum Instytutu Pamici Narodowej (Archives of
the Institute of National Remembrance, Warsaw)
J

rhiv Jugoslavije (Archives of Yugoslavia, Belgrade)
SP

rchivio di Stato di Parma (State Archive of Parma)
UKUL

rchiwum Uniwersyteckie Katolickiego Uniwersytetu
Lubelskiego im. Jana Pawa II (University Archives of
the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin)
J

iskupska konferencija Jugoslavije (Bishops’
Conference of Yugoslavia)

iuro Udostpniania (Bureau for Provision and
Archivization of Documents)
hSS

hrzecijaskie Stowarzyszenie Spoeczne (Christian
Social Association)
IA

entral Intelligence Agency
DKO
ílo Koncilové Obnovy
(Work of Conciliar Renewal)
R

man Democratic Republic
GB

omitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (Committee
for State Security)
PR
abinet Predsednika Republike (Cabinet of the
President of the Republic)
MHKD


írové Hnutí Katolického Duchovenstva (Peace
Movement of Catholic Clergy)
ABBREVIATIONS

ember of Parliament
SA

pen Society Archives (Budapest)
R

olska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza (Polish United
Workers’ Party)
C

oman Catholic Church
KVP

epublika Komisija za Odnose s Vjerskim Zajednicame
(Republic Commission for Relations with Religious
Communities)
V

avezno Izvršno Vijee (Federal Executive Council of
Yugoslavia)
J

avez Komunista Jugoslavije
(League of Communists
of Yugoslavia)
ASS

elegrafnoye Agentstvo Sovetskogo Soyuza (Telegraph
Agency of the Soviet Union)
B-a

prava Dravne Bezbednosti (Directorate of State
Security)
SSR

on of Soviet Socialist Republics
NS
bor na Obranu Nespravedliv Stíhaných (Committee
for the Defense of the Unjustly Persecuted)
VATICAN II
BEHIND THE
IRON
CURTAIN
INTRODUCTION
Piotr H. Kosicki
e announcement of the Council aroused great interest and great
hope. It seemed that, after the stiing regime of Pius XII, the win
dows were at last being opened; one could breathe. e Church was
being given its chance. One was becoming open to dialogue. Little
by little, these hopes became shrouded in a ne lm of dust.
ves Congar, OP, Council expert, re ecting on preparations
for the First Session
Roughly near the Palazzo della Cancellaria we stop at a small pizzeria
to nourish ourselves with hot pizza and red wine and to share our
impressions of the city and the news of the Kennedy tragedy. e
evenings in this city are long, and it’s warm; everything is encourag
ing us to continue our stroll through the ever-more tranquil streets
and beautiful cul-de-sacs. Holding me back is the lone thought that
I have yet to take several dierent buses to return to the dormitory
where I am staying, which is far away.
ab\nocki, Polish Catholic journalist, after a long
day covering Council fathers’ reactions to news of the
On January \n, \n, the recently elected Pope John XXIII an
nounced plans for an ecumenical council “to proclaim the truth”
and “to reanimate the faith of Christians.”
Charged with the
Epigraphs are from Yves Congar, OP,
My Journal of the Council
, trans. Mary John
Ronayne and Mary Cecily Boulding (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, ), \n;
and Janusz Zabocki,
Dzienniki
, vol. ,
–
(Warsaw: IPN-KZpNP, ), ;
author’s translation.
. Xavier Rynne [Francis X. Murphy],
Vatican Council II
(New York: Farrar,
Straus, and Giroux, ), –.

TR H. KOSICKI
aggiornamento
, or updating, of the Roman Catholic Church, what
became known as the Second Vatican Council soon took on an
almost mythical stature—inside and outside the Catholic faith.
Opening on October , , and closing on December , \n,
the Council included four sessions that hosted a total of close to
, bishops.²
Entire bookshelves’ worth of memoirs, theological commen
taries, and historical studies have recapitulated the major achieve
ments of Vatican II, from introducing the vernacular liturgy to
engineering the Catholic Church’s embrace of modernity, Juda
ism, ecumenism, and the laity. Called as an “ecumenical” council,
Vatican II was, by denition, concerned with the “unity of the
Church.” Among the many tasks this implied for Council fathers
was redress of the eleventh-century Great Schism between Latin
Christianity and Eastern Orthodoxy.
is alone would require a
Herculean eort, yet it would be only one of many transformative
projects to grace the Council’s agenda.
Neither Catholic nor secular commentators have been bashful
about expressing their admiration for Vatican II’s achievements.
José Casanova has credited it with “the transformation of the Cath
olic church from a state-centered to a society-centered institution.”
Meanwhile, Brian Porter-Szcs has described the Council as the
site “where the word
modernity
itself was o cially rehabilitated.”
. By Melissa J. Wilde’s count, “approximately , bishops voted on any one
vote, but over the four years of the Council almost , bishops participated because
of illness, death, and replacement”; Wilde, “How Culture Mattered at Vatican II: Colle
giality Trumps Authority in the Council’s Social Movement Organizations,”
American
Sociological Review
, no.  (): \n\r\r.
. For example, Augustin Bea, “e Council and Christian Unity,”
Furrow
,
no.  (): –. “[W]e wish to study together what the Council can do, in the
present situation, to promote the unity of all those who, by baptism, are joined to
Christ”; ibid., .
. José Casanova,
Public Religions in the Modern World
(Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, ), \r.
\n. Brian Porter-Szcs,
Faith and Fatherland: Catholicism, Modernity, and Poland
(New York: Oxford University Press, ), .
INTRODUCTION
Based on responses to questionnaires circulated to dioceses
and Catholic organizations all over the world in \n and , pre
paratory commissions assembled working documents. Although
the four sessions that followed the Council’s launching in Octo
ber  began with these schemata, the Council fathers quickly
broadened their agenda. Dissent emerged within the bishops’
ranks, and opposing factions called on the expertise of
periti
—re-
nowned theologians and philosophers invited to participate in
the Council.€
Over the course of four years, two-month stretches of de
bate were separated by nine-month “intersessions,” during which
ideas percolated, factions negotiated, and debates played out
among Catholics at the parish, diocesan, and national levels. Spe
cially appointed commissions and subcommissions of Council
fathers drafted working conciliar schemata, revised as the Coun
cil unfolded. Bishops deliberated and ultimately produced a nal
corpus of documents for which the phrase “Vatican II” has be
come a metonym.
e Council’s prolic textual output alone makes it unprece
dented in the history of Christianity. Vatican II is responsible for
thirty-ve volumes of
acta
in addition to the nineteen volumes
produced by its preparatory commissions, compared to just sev
enteen altogether produced by the Council of Trent four hundred
years earlier. Vatican II yielded sixteen nal documents, whose
total pagination is almost double the length of the nal editions
left by Trent.
As John W. O’Malley has put it, “Vatican II thus
. As John W. O’Malley describes the mood at the First Session, “just as the
Council of Trent and Vatican I had mandated revision and emendation of liturgi
cal texts, experts were now unanimously convinced that, while holding fast to the
liturgical tradition of the church, similar changes in texts and rites were needed ‘to
accommodate them to the ethos and needs of our day.’ e
aggiornamento
theme
was clear”; O’Malley,
What Happened at Vatican II
(Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press
of Harvard University Press, ), .
\r. O’Malley, “Vatican II: Did Anything Happen?” in
Vatican II: Did Anything Hap
pen?
ed. David G. Schultenover (New York: Continuum, \r), .

TR H. KOSICKI
took greater account of the world around it than any previous
council and assumed as one of its principal tasks dialogue or con
versation with that world in order to work for a better world, not
simply a better Church.”ƒ
Following the nineteen-year ponticate of Pius XII, who had
held the reins of the Holy See through both World War II and the
start of the Cold War, the seventy-seven-year-old Angelo Cardi
nal Roncalli was expected to be no more than an
interrex
. And
yet, in the course of a reign lasting only ve years, he marked
the Church more than almost any of his predecessors. Pope Fran
cis described his icon’s in„uence thus as he canonized the “Good
Pope” on April \r, : “In convening the Council, John XXIII
showed an exquisite
openness to the Holy Spirit
. He let himself be
led, and he was for the Church a pastor, a servant-leader. is
was his great service to the Church; he was
the pope of openness
to the Spirit
Yet Francis gave this speech to honor not only John XXIII,
but also the Polish-born John Paul II, who achieved recognition
as a saint at the same time as the ponti who had called Vati
can II. ough Catholic and secular media alike at the time of the
two popes’ canonizations mostly emphasized how dierent they
were, a few voices made a case for the fundamental continuity
between them. After all, John Paul II, as both a pastor and a phi
losopher, was a product of the council that his predecessor had
called. e forty-two-year-old bishop from behind the Iron Cur
tain arrived in Rome in  as a Council father. Over the next
three years, Karol Wojtya would prove himself a living link be
tween what Pius XII had termed the “Church of Silence”
¹†—bear-
. Ibid., .
. Pope Francis, Homily for Holy Mass and Rite of Canonization of Blesseds
John XXIII and John Paul II (April \r, ), at http://w.vatican.va/content/fran
cesco/en/homilies//documents/papa-francesco_\r_omelia-canonizza
zioni.html; accessed June , . Italics in the original.
. Quoted in Jonathan Luxmoore and Jolanta Babiuch,
e Vatican and the
INTRODUCTION
ing witness to the Gospels under an openly anti-religious, Com
munist regime—and John XXIII’s Church of
aggiornamento
In his ability to bridge East and West throughout the Cold
War, Wojtya proved that the “Church of Silence” idea was inad
equate to the task of capturing the historical reality of Roman
Catholicism behind the Iron Curtain. Each Communist country
had its own way of dealing with the Catholic Church, informed
by demographics, geography, and political tradition. Everywhere,
the Church was on the receiving end of political repression. In
Czechoslovakia and Hungary, Communist regimes had, for the
most part, succeeded by the mid-s in co-opting the Church.
And yet, even there, independent Catholic thought and activism
remained. Catholics continued to pray, to go to Mass, and even to
join associations—some regime-sponsored, some not. Notwith
standing the very real state eorts to silence the Church behind
the Iron Curtain, Catholics remained active participants in the life
of the universal Church; they never became voiceless subalterns.
A substantial historiography has coalesced across national
and linguistic divides to document the Second Vatican Council.
Yet virtually no attention has been paid to the links between the
Council and the Catholic faithful who had found themselves liv
ing behind an iron curtain by the end of the s. In fact, his
torians of the modern Roman Catholic Church—even, for the
most part, those based in Central and Eastern Europe—have
dismissed out of hand the possibility that Communist countries
played a role in the Council’s story or that the Council in turn
shaped the subsequent paths of those countries.
Regrettably
Red Flag: e Struggle for the Soul of Eastern Europe
(New York: Georey Chapman,
), .
. e exceptions tend, on the other hand, to overdetermine the role of Com
munist state actors in the story. A key example is Polish historian Sawomir Cenck
iewicz’s insistence that reform-minded Catholics behind the Iron Curtain on the one
hand and Communist politicians and secret police on the other “complemented one
another in popularizing a singularly understood ‘conciliar thought’

enckiewicz,

TR H. KOSICKI
representative—and inaccurate—is the blanket assertion that
“inside these countries there was no possibility of taking part in
the changes in ecclesiology and society.”¹²
Historiographically, the result has been a narrative leap from
the show trials of Iron Curtain bishops at the turn of the s
and \ns—most notably, of Yugoslav primate Alojzije Stepinac,
Czechoslovak primate Josef Beran, and Hungarian primate
József Cardinal Mindszenty —to the election of Karol Cardinal
Wojtya to the papacy in \r. Even Vatican
Ostpolitik
—one of
the bedrocks of Paul VI’s papacy, led by the man who would be
come John Paul II’s secretary of state, Agostino Cardinal Casa
roli—has only recently been rehabilitated as a subject of inquiry.
For too long, it was consigned to the historiographical dustbin,
despite path-breaking research in the late \rs by German jour
nalist Hansjakob Stehle.¹³
It is little wonder, then, that—like the Catholic faithful of
Communist Poland in \r
—historians, too, tend to see the
election of John Paul II as something of a miraculous
deus ex
machina
rather than the logical outcome of processes in the works
for two decades by then. Brian Porter-Szcs has importantly cau
tioned against “turning actual Christians into the passive objects
of broad cultural processes and patterns, obscuring the ways in
which people built and sustained (and resisted and manipulated)
the very generalities that were said to dene them.”
Whether
“Cisi sprzymierzecy reform,”
Christianitas
, November , , at http://christian
itas.org/news/cenckiewicz-cisi-sprzymierzenscy-reform; accessed February , .
. Paul Richard Blum, “e Catholic Church in Hungary: A Case of Remodern
ization?”
Religion, State and Society
\r, no. – (): \n.
. Hansjakob Stehle,
Eastern Politics of the Vatican, –
, trans. Sandra
Smith (Athens: Ohio University Press, ); Roland Cerny-Werner,
Vatikanische
Ostpolitik und die DDR
(Göttingen: V & R Unipress, ).
. As Polish philosopher Rev. Józef Tischner put it fteen years later, “Every
thing that came later was one great miracle”; Adam Michnik, Józef Tischner, and
Jacek ‡akowski,
Midzy Panem a Plebanem
(Kraków: Znak, \n), .
\n. Brian Porter-Szcs, “Introduction: Christianity, Christians, and the Story of
INTRODUCTION
Croat, Hungarian, or Slovak, Catholics behind the Iron Curtain
learned about the Second Vatican Council and responded to it ac
cording to their particular circumstances. eir stories are as im
portant a part of the conciliar legacy as the Polish story—which,
likewise, cannot be reduced to an account of the roots of Pope
John Paul II.
e goal of this volume is to begin the process of writing Cen
tral and Eastern Europe back into the story of the Second Vatican
Council, its origins, and its consequences. Paul Blum was obvi
ously not wrong to suggest that political repression constrained
the ability of Communist-controlled societies to respond to the
pastoral and ecclesiological revolution ushered in by Vatican II.
Yet it is important to disentangle traditional historiographical
suspicions, particularly among nonspecialists of Central and
Eastern Europe, of that region’s “backwardness” from the con
tingent constraints imposed by Communist regimes after World
War II.
e precise nature of those constraints is deserving of
extensive future research, as are the changes achieved in spite
of them.
is volume makes no pretense of being either exhaustive or
denitive. Rather, it assembles, for the rst time in any language,
a broad overview of the place of four dierent Communist-run
countries—Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Yugoslavia—
in the history of Vatican II. Framing these national stories is an
account of how the Cold War between the United States and the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics impacted the Council and its
reception. is book relies on both the history of ideas and the
Modernity in Eastern Europe,” in
Christianity and Modernity in Eastern Europe
, ed.
Bruce R. Berglund and Brian Porter-Szcs (Budapest: Central European University
Press, ), .
. On the “modernity” or “backwardness” of Christianity in Central and East
ern Europe, see, for example, Porter-Szcs, “Introduction,” \r; Pedro Ramet, “Reli
gion and Modernization,” in
Cross and Commissar: e Politics of Religion in Eastern
Europe and the USSR
(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, \r), \r–.

TR H. KOSICKI
historical sociology of movement formation, and it also draws
heavily on the national historiographies of the countries that it
examines. e result is a broad lens on the present state of re
search (covering all relevant languages), with hopes to propel
that research forward.
All of the chapters draw on both non-English-language sec
ondary literature and original primary sources—some published,
some archival—with the most extensive sourcework coming for
the two countries for which the least scholarship exists. Paradox
ically, these are the two cases that dier most substantially from
other Communist-run countries: Poland, for its overwhelmingly
Catholic population following the annihilation or displacement
of its pre–World War II Jewish, German, and Ukrainian nation
al minorities; and Yugoslavia, for the unique nonaligned status
achieved by its postwar leader Josip Broz “Tito,” who governed
the country until his death in .
The Iron Curtain and the Catholic Church
By the time of Nazi Germany’s surrender on May , \n, the
Red Army and its satellite armies from across Central and East
ern Europe had marched westward into the heart of Germany,
taking Berlin and establishing a zone of occupation that would
serve as the basis for the postwar partitions of Berlin, Germany,
and the whole of Europe.
Historians still disagree about when
exactly the Cold War began, but by March —when former
British prime minister Winston Churchill famously declared that
“an iron curtain has descended across the continent”—Red Army
boots seemed to have come to stay in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia,
eastern Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania.¹ƒ
\r. Norman M. Naimark,
e Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone
of Occupation, –
(Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University
Press, \n).
. See, for example, Norman M. Naimark and Leonid Gibianskii, eds.,
e Estab
INTRODUCTION
Both Czechoslovakia and Poland had a higher percentage of
Catholics at the war’s end than at its beginning. Protestant Ger
mans were expelled from both countries. Poland, furthermore,
lost the substantial Eastern Orthodox and Greek Catholic popu
lations who had inhabited its interwar eastern territories, ceded
in \n to the Soviet Union.
Most dramatically, the Holocaust
took its toll on the postwar demographic composition of Central
and Eastern Europe—especially in Poland—as did waves of out
ward Jewish migration in the immediate postwar by Holocaust
survivors, accelerated in some instances by pogroms like the one
in Kielce, Poland, in July .²†
As historians have noted over the years, the establishment of
Communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe did not pro
ceed uniformly. Some countries by the war’s end already sported
a Soviet-backed puppet government (Poland), while others took
several years to arrive at Communist domination (Czechoslova
kia).²¹
All of the states that came to constitute the Soviet Bloc—a
geopolitical entity dened by the nominal sovereignty of its mem
ber states, as constrained by autarky and military dependence on
the USSR—experienced forced migration and substantial demo
graphic shifts in the war’s course and aftermath. In addition to
Czechoslovakia and Poland, both Germany and Romania were re
dened by border revisions and forced migrations.
On the other
lishment of Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe, –
(Boulder, Colo.: Westview
Press, \r).
. Norman M. Naimark,
Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century
Europe
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, ), –.
. Jan T. Gross,
Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland after Auschwitz; An Essay in His
torical Interpretation
(New York: Random House, ); Boˆena Szaynok,
Pogrom
ydów w Kielcach  Lipca 
(Warsaw: Bellona, ).
. Mark Kramer, “Stalin, Soviet Policy, and the Consolidation of a Communist
Bloc in Eastern Europe, –\n,” in
Stalinism Revisited: e Establishment of Com
munist Regimes in East-Central Europe
, ed. Vladimir Tismaneanu (Budapest: Central
European University Press, ), \n–.
. Philipp er,
e Dark Side of Nation-States: Ethnic Cleansing in Modern Eu
rope
, trans. Charlotte Kreutzmüller (New York: Berghahn, ), –.

TR H. KOSICKI
hand, the Baltic states lost their sovereignty entirely, subsumed
as they were into the USSR as new Soviet “republics” pursuant to
the terms set out in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of .
How the war had been fought was a crucial factor in deter
mining what kinds of Communist regimes would emerge in dif
ferent parts of Central and Eastern Europe. As Mark Kramer has
noted, “e establishment of Soviet dominance in the region
at the end of World War II was due as much to East European
weakness as to Soviet strength.”
Yet there are two outliers from
Kramer’s observation, both in the Balkans. In neither Yugosla
via nor Albania was there was a lasting Red Army presence; So
viet troops were in Yugoslavia only brie„y in September ,
en route to Hungary. e success of Tito’s and Hoxha’s wartime
Communist insurgencies against both the Axis occupiers and—
in Tito’s case—the fascist Ustaše puppet state in Croatia legiti
mized their postwar rise to power in Yugoslavia and Albania,
respectively.²­
In Yugoslavia, Catholics made up over  percent
of the population, but Communists eectively traded on the
Church’s wartime ties to the Ustaše government.
e widely
accepted legitimacy of the postwar Tito-led Communist govern
ment of Yugoslavia constrained the USSR’s ability to in„uence
Tito’s strategy of governance.
. See, for example, Andres Kasekamp,
A History of the Baltic States
(New York:
Palgrave Macmillan, ), –.
. Kramer, “Stalin, Soviet Policy, and the Consolidation of a Communist Bloc,”
\n. On Yugoslavia: Enver Redi, “e Partisan Movement,” in
Bosnia and Her
zegovina in the Second World War
, trans. Robert Donia (New York: Frank Cass, \n),
\r–; Jozo Tomasevich,
War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, –: Occupation
and Collaboration
(Stanford: Stanford University Press, ). On Albania: Miranda
Vickers,
e Albanians: A Modern History
(London: I. B. Tauris, \n), –.
. Kurt Hutten,
Iron Curtain Christians: e Church in Communist Countries
Today
, trans. Walter G. Tillmanns (Minneapolis: Augsburg, \r), \n. On the grim
postwar fate of the Catholic Church in Albania, see Peter C. Kent,
e Lonely Cold
War of Pope Pius XII: e Roman Catholic Church and the Division of Europe, –
(Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, ), –.
INTRODUCTION
When top Soviet Communist A. A. Zhdanov announced in
\r that the world had split into “two camps”—one imperial
ist, the other anti-imperialist—he included Yugoslavia alongside
the Soviet Union in the anti-imperialist camp.
Nonetheless, the
infamous Tito-Stalin split one year later launched Tito’s eorts
to pioneer a geopolitical “third way” between these two camps.
American and Western European states not only maintained
trade relations with Yugoslavia, but in fact provided it with sub
stantial material aid. Yet even an in„ux of tourists from all over
the world did not diminish the repressive nature of Tito’s Com
munist regime.
For this reason, even though Cold War Yugo
slavia was not, strictly speaking, part of the Soviet Bloc, this vol
ume gives Yugoslavia a place of prominence in order to paint a
more complete picture of Catholicism’s fate behind the emerging
Iron Curtain.²…
e Roman Catholic Church had already identied social
ism in its various forms as a danger to the Catholic faith in the
mid-nineteenth century. When the Russian revolutions of \r
led to the creation, among others, of both the Comintern and
the Soviet Union, the Holy See chose a radical anti-Communist
course.
It was one thing, however, for Pius XI to condemn in
\r. Zhdanov’s speech announcing the doctrine is reprinted at A. A. Zhdanov,
“Comrade Zhdanov’s Report: On the International Situation,” September \n, \r,
e Cominform: Minutes of the ree Conferences //
, ed. Giuliano
Procacci et al. (Milan: Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, ), –\n.
. On the split: Ivo Banac,
With Stalin against Tito: Cominformist Splits in Yu
goslav Communism
(Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, ). On tourism: Igor
Tchoukarine, “e Yugoslav Road to International Tourism: Opening, Decentral
ization, and Propaganda in the Early \ns,” in
Yugoslavia’s Sunny Side: A History
of Tourism in Socialism (s–s)
, ed. Hannes Grandits and Karin Taylor (Buda
pest: Central European University Press, ), \r–.
. Hutten,
Iron Curtain Christians
; John R. Lampe,
Yugoslavia as History: Twice
ere Was a Country
, nd ed. (New York: Cambridge University Press, ), –\n.
. Piotr H. Kosicki, “e Roman Catholic Church and the Cold War,” in
Routledge Handbook of the Cold War
, ed. Artemy M. Kalinovsky and Craig Daigle (New
York: Routledge, ), \n–\r. On the Catholic Church’s response to the Industrial

TR H. KOSICKI
his \r encyclical
Divini redemptoris
the “pernicious” in„uence
of “bolshevistic, atheistic Communism” and another entirely for
his successor, Pius XII, to watch the Red Army bring communism
to Central and Eastern Europe in –\n.
It was against the backdrop of the Soviet advance across Eu
rope that Pius XII issued his rst public statements in support of
democracy. ese represented a distinct turn away from the pon
ti’s perceived wartime sympathy for the Axis powers. His new
emphasis on “true democracy” struck a blow against Communists’
appropriation of the term; for Pius XII, “true democracy” could
never be reconciled with Soviet-style “people’s democracy.”
Only in Poland did the ecclesiastical hierarchy attempt to
meet the new regime halfway.
Elsewhere, Communists encoun
tered dogged deance; teetering on the verge of sedition, post
war public statements by the primates of Hungary, Yugoslavia,
and Czechoslovakia condemned the new governments, calling
for Catholics’ civil disobedience.
Already in \n, the regimes in
power across Central and Eastern Europe began unilaterally ab
rogating standing concordats: Poland in \n, Romania in ,
Czechoslovakia in \n, Yugoslavia in \n. e concordats that
Pius XI had concluded with Latvia and Lithuania were rendered
irrelevant by the fact of those states’ incorporation into the USSR.
Nonetheless, Communist regimes did not begin with frontal
assaults on the Catholic Church, instead pursuing attempts at ac
commodation and cooptation. is strategy envisioned two pos
sible outcomes. Bishops could choose “to give national interests
Revolution, see Paul Misner,
Social Catholicism in Europe: From the Onset of Industrial
ization to the First World War
(New York: Crossroad, ).
. Pius XII, “ Christmas Message,” in
Christmas Messages
, ed. Vincent A.
Yzermans (St. Meinrad, Ind.: Grail Publications, \n), \n–.
. Luxmoore and Babiuch,
Vatican and the Red Flag
, –, –.
. In Yugoslavia, for example, Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac went so far as to
promote Italian claims to the city of Trieste and the territory of Venezia Giulia at
the expense of Yugoslav sovereignty; Kent,
Lonely Cold War of Pope Pius XII
, .
INTRODUCTION
priority over those of Italy and the papacy,”
or—better yet—
Catholicism would be reduced to the status of “a national church
separate from other churches—to win over the lower clergy and
to neutralize the episcopate.”³­
e Holy See’s response to this drive for Catholicism’s nation
alization was what Peter C. Kent has called the “lonely cold war of
Pope Pius XII,” in which the pope “constantly warned about the
threat of communism and worried about the future of his church
in the event of the extension of communist power across the en
tire European continent.”
With the indictment of Yugoslav pri
mate Alojzije Stepinac in , Yugoslavia fell out of the Vatican’s
orbit. Pius XII shifted his focus to France, Italy, western Germany,
and the Benelux countries, with whose postwar political leader
ship he developed an anti-Communist synergy that went hand in
hand with the project of launching European integration.
In tandem with his support for the economic and political in
tegration of Western Europe, Pius XII sought to prevent Catho
lics from joining or supporting Communist initiatives. On July ,
, the Holy O ce issued a decree threatening excommunica
tion against any “faithful professing materialist and anti-Christian
doctrine as Communists and, above all, those who defend or prop
agate such doctrine.”
is decree proved eective in justifying
. Ibid., .
\n. Milan J. Reban, “e Catholic Church in Czechoslovakia,” in
Catholicism
and Politics in Communist Societies
, ed. Sabrina P. Ramet (Durham: Duke University
Press, ), .
. Kent,
Lonely Cold War of Pope Pius XII
, . Kent’s argument is a response
above all to Anthony Rhodes,
e Vatican in the Age of the Cold War, –
(Nor
wich: M. Russell, ).
\r. See, for example, Wolfram Kaiser, “Creating Core Europe: e Rise of the
Party Network,” in
Christian Democracy and the Origins of European Union
(Cam
bridge: Cambridge University Press, \r), –\n; Robert A. Ventresca, “When
Politics Reaches the Altar: Catholic Action Gets Out the Vote,” in
From Fascism to
Democracy: Culture and Politics in the Italian Election of 
(Toronto: University of
Toronto Press, ), \r\r–\r.
. Decree of the Holy O ce of the Roman Catholic Church, July , , repro

TR H. KOSICKI
interventions against some of the most „agrant philo-Communist
initiatives—like Czechoslovakia’s Peace Movement of the Catholic
Clergy, Hungary’s
Kereszt
and Opus Pacis, and Poland’s PAX.
Peter C. Kent has suggested that Pius XII’s Holy See fought
its own “lonely” cold war that “was not in sympathy with the
[American] policy of containment which separated Catholic Eu
ropeans of the West from Catholic Europeans of the East.”
As
Communist regimes decisively attacked their countries’ most
outspoken Church leaders, they created what Pius XII described
in his \n Christmas message as a “Church of Silence”: “Hands
tied, lips sealed, the Church of Silence responds to our invitation.
She shows with her gaze the still fresh graves of her martyrs, the
chains of her confessors .


er silent holocaust.”¹
While Kent is correct that the postwar ponti’s principal
Cold War weapon was the threat and practice of excommunica
tion, Iron Curtain regimes’ ability to make rising stars even of
excommunicated activists meant that this practice really only
worked in countries not yet controlled by Communist parties. As
a result, Pius XII’s “lonely cold war,” like the larger Cold War, fo
cused on containing the Communist threat to Central and East
ern Europe rather than pursuing an oensive drive to reestablish
pastoral control behind the Iron Curtain. e Holy See was es
duced in Yvon Tranvouez,
Catholiques et communistes: La crise du progressisme chré
tien, –
(Paris: Cerf, ), .
. On Czechoslovakia, see Bogdan Kolar, “e Priestly Patriotic Associations
in the Eastern European Countries,”
Bogoslovny vestnik
, no.  (): –\n. On
Hungary, see László Borhi,
Hungary in the Cold War, –: Between the United
States and the Soviet Union
(Budapest: Central European University Press, ),
. On Poland, see Mikoaj Stanisaw Kunicki,
Between the Brown and the Red: Na
tionalism, Catholicism, and Communism in th-Century Poland; e Politics of Bolesaw
Piasecki
(Athens: Ohio University Press, ); Piotr H. Kosicki, “e Soviet Bloc’s
Answer to European Integration: Catholic Anti-Germanism and the Polish Proj
ect of a ‘Catholic-Socialist’ International,”
Contemporary European History
, no. 
(\n): –.
. Kent,
Lonely Cold War of Pope Pius XII
. Quoted at Luxmoore and Babiuch,
Vatican and the Red Flag
, .
INTRODUCTION
pecially intent on protecting France and Italy. As Jonathan Lux
moore and Jolanta Babiuch have argued, “the general anathema
rea rmed in the  Decree made practical discernments im
possible. Above all, Pius XII lacked the will to go beyond legalis
tic formulations.”
In other words, the relegation of Catholics in
Communist countries to a “Church of Silence” followed not only
from the political repressions introduced by those countries’ new
leaders, but also from the concrete geopolitical and pastoral cal
culations made by the Holy See.³
is is, for the most part, as far as the existing historiography
takes us. Yet Central and Eastern Europe in the \ns constitut
ed neither a pastoral vacuum nor a graveyard of martyrs for the
Roman Catholic Church. It is true that, following their imprison
ment of successive head bishops, Communist regimes succeeded
in co-opting and steering many, if not most, Catholic initiatives.
e Vatican, too, seemed to be losing interest until Cardinal Ron
calli’s arrival on the throne of St. Peter in \n, whereupon the
new Holy Father initiated a turn toward dialogue and
Ostpolitik
is was visible already in the \n encyclical
Ad Petri cathedram
(John XXIII’s rst), which, while using the phrase “Church of Si
lence,” couched it in a declaration of the Church’s readiness “to
forgive all freely and beg this forgiveness of God.”
Reversing Pius XII’s policy of excommunication and contain
ment, John XXIII thereby opened the door for serious diplomacy
and deal-making. Hansjakob Stehle has oered the best deni
. Ibid., .
. As Peter C. Kent writes of Pius XII, “his advice to the churches and peoples
of eastern Europe was to refuse all cooperation with their Communist overlords in
spite of the fact that these Communists controlled all the power. Had he had less of
a predetermined agenda, he might have responded to more of the responsible ad
vice which he was receiving from his advisors within the Secretariat of State”; Kent,
Lonely Cold War of Pope Pius XII
, .
. John XXIII,
Ad Petri Cathedram
(June , \n), at http://www.vatican.va/
holy_father/john_xxiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_j-xxiii_enc_\n_ad-petri_
en.html; accessed May , .

TR H. KOSICKI
tion of this “Eastern politics of the Vatican”: “defense of one’s
own interests through confrontation where coexistence is im
possible, through compromises where they seem to be tolerable,
through cooperation where there are partners for it.”­
While it was di cult to dialogue with Communist puppets—
or outright agents of the secret police—among the bishops and
leading Catholic activists behind the Iron Curtain, theirs was
not the whole story. Although Communist regimes prevented
many Catholic leaders from attending the Second Vatican Coun
cil, none of the countries discussed in this volume were walled
o from Vatican II. e situation was dierent within the Soviet
Union—notably, for Roman Catholics in Lithuania and Latvia or
Roman and Greek Catholics in western Ukraine and Belorussia.
e fact remains, however, that residing behind the Iron
Curtain did not automatically consign Catholics to four decades
inhabiting a “Church of Silence.” John XXIII’s goal was to make
it easier for Christians in Communist countries to practice their
faith. As Stehle has put it, “e metaphysical signicance of a
martyrdom did not replace priests and bishops for the faithful.”
” behind the Iron Curtain
is book is not a history of the Second Vatican Council per se.
Rather, it attempts to engage the origins, substance, and conse
quences of what Giuseppe Alberigo and Joseph Komonchak have
called the “spirit and dialectic” of Vatican II. As those scholars
\n. Stehle,
Eastern Politics of the Vatican
. See, for example, Christopher Lawrence Zugger,
e Forgotten: Catholics
of the Soviet Empire from Lenin through Stalin
(Syracuse: Syracuse University Press,
), –. On Lithuania, see V. Stanley Vardys,
e Catholic Church, Dissent,
and Nationality in Soviet Lithuania
(Boulder, Colo.: East European Quarterly, \r).
On Ukraine, see Natalia Shlikhta, “Competing Concepts of ‘Reunication’ Behind
the Liquidation of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church,” in
Christianity and Moder
nity in Eastern Europe
, Berglund and Porter-Szcs, \n–.
\r. Stehle,
Eastern Politics of the Vatican
INTRODUCTION
have argued, “e Council did not intend to produce a new doc
trinal ‘Summa’ (according to John XXIII, ‘that did not require a
Council’!) nor to give answers to all problems.” Recognizing those
aspirations, this book focuses not on the minutiae of conciliar
debates and declarations, but rather on the proper place of indi
vidual and collective human agency in the Council’s story, “as an
expression and prolongation of the event itself.”ƒ
By the numbers, it is not di cult to see why historians have
traditionally questioned the conditions of possibility for agency
within the story of Vatican II by Catholics behind the Iron Curtain.
Out of a total of nearly ,\n bishops who participated in the rst
conciliar session, only two were from Hungary, four from Czecho
slovakia, twenty-four from Yugoslavia, and twenty-six from Po
land. ese numbers varied over the course of the Council, yet in
view of the total number of bishops in Rome at any given moment
while the Council was in session, they remained consistently un
impressive.
And yet close analysis of these bishops’ voting records tells a
dynamic and often surprising story. Sociologist Melissa Wilde’s
unprecedented access to the Vatican II voting records held within
the Vatican’s secret archive has allowed her to develop a typology
of “progressive” and “conservative” voting tendencies by bishops
from around the world, grouped by their country of origin.
. Giuseppe Alberigo, “Preface: \n–\n: irty Years After Vatican II,” in
History of Vatican II
, ed. Giuseppe Alberigo and Joseph A. Komonchak, trans. Mat
thew J. O’Connell (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, \n), :xii.
. Wilde derives these broader classications from a close study of two small,
informal groups of Council fathers, each of which constituted a nexus for opinion-
making and lobbying for votes among the remaining bishops: respectively, the “pro
gressive” Domus Mariae and the “conservative” Coetus Internationalis Patrum. For
an explanation of Wilde’s methodology, see Wilde, “How Culture Mattered at Vatican
II,” \n\r–. Wilde was also kind enough to share additional data on voting patterns
in Communist countries. e raw votes that she has compiled are now available on
line at “Second Vatican Council Votes,” Association of Religious Data Archives, at
http://www.thearda.com/Archive/Files/Descriptions/VATICAN.asp; accessed Janu
ary , .

TR H. KOSICKI
though this volume does not hold fast to that binary, it repre
sents an immensely useful starting point.
e bishops from behind the Iron Curtain may have been few
in number, but many of them deed expectations in ways that
had important consequences, both for the Council and for their
home countries. On certain issues, they voted “progressively” as
often as they did “conservatively”—as in the case of Polish bish
ops splitting in October  over whether or not to recognize
Mary as “Mother of the Church.”
On others, they resoundingly
chose the “progressive” option—as in the cases of Hungarian,
Polish, and Yugoslav bishops voting in October  on the prin
ciple of “collegiality,” which gave the bishops co-authority over
the Church, in collaboration with the pope.­¹
Even more telling than episcopal voting patterns, however,
are the complex interactions both within Catholic populations in
Iron Curtain countries and between those populations and the
Holy See. As a result, as important as what happened in Rome
between  and \n are national-level debates on
aggiorna
mento
, preparations for the Council, reception of the Council
while it was in progress, and its legacy. ese varied by country,
but in all cases key players in the story included not only bishops,
but also lay intellectuals, journalists, theologians, Communist
statesmen, and even secret-police agents.­²
e road to the Council, its four sessions, and their after
math all play a central role in each of this book’s ve chapters.
\n. On the Marian vote, see Melissa J. Wilde,
Vatican II: A Sociological Analysis of
Religious Change
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, \r), –, –\n.
\n. On “collegiality” and its ultimate expression in the dogmatic constitution
Lumen gentium
, see O’Malley,
What Happened at Vatican II
, –\n; Wilde,
Vatican II
\n–. Given the positive outcome of the vote, as O’Malley puts it, “e bishops, by
their presence at the council and their active participation in it, had actually
expe-
rienced
collegiality. It was for them now part of their lived reality”; O’Malley,
What
Happened at Vatican II
,  (italics in original).
\n. On the involvement of Communist security forces, see especially chapter ,
by Árpád von Klimó, in this volume.
INTRODUCTION
e volume thus understands Vatican II not merely as time spent
by bishops, auditors, and
periti
in session in the autumn of ,
, , and \n, but rather as the sum-total of the Catholic
experience of
aggiornamento
in preparation for and surrounding
the Council as well as the living witness that has been its legacy.
John XXIII, drawing on Matthew :, wrote in his  encycli
cal
Pacem in terris
of the “signs of the times,” to which the Council
must serve as the Church’s response.­
It is therefore crucial to examine Vatican II in the fullness of
its historical context.
e Council began at a moment of global
crisis framed by the construction of the Berlin Wall, the decolo
nization of sub-Saharan Africa, the end of French military in
volvement in Algeria, and the nonviolent resolution of the Cu
ban Missile Crisis. In the middle of the Council’s Second Session,
U.S. president John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Two months
before the Fourth Session’s opening, the U.S. Congress adopted
the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, authorizing American involve
ment in what became the Vietnam War; one month into that
session, Nikita Khrushchev resigned as Soviet Communist Party
general secretary.
As Council
peritus
Hans Küng wrote during
\n. Joseph A. Komonchak has described the Council as a historical “
aggregate
of little facts’ called ‘Vatican II’

omonchak, “Vatican II as an ‘Event,’

Vatican II
ed. Schultenover, .
\n. “You know how to judge the appearance of the sky, but you cannot judge
the signs of the times”; Mt :, in
e New American Bible
, rev. ed. (), at http://
www.usccb.org/bible; accessed March , . French Dominican theologian Marie-
Dominique Chenu—one of the leading
periti
at the Council—wrote in  that
signs of the times represented “signs of the compatibility of the Gospels with hu
man hope”; Chenu, “I segni dei tempi,” in
La chiesa nel mondo contemporaneo
, ed.
Enzo Giammancheri (Brescia: Queriniana, ), \r.
\n\n. José Casanova described it thus: “It is no longer a question of the church
teaching the world eternal truths and upholding the objective moral order onto
logically inscribed in natural law, but of the church accepting the task of having to
appropriate the meaning of the Gospel in and through historical interpretation”;
Casanova,
Public Religions in the Modern World
, \r–\r.
\n. On the context, see, for example, Gerard J. DeGroot,
e Sixties Unplugged:

TR H. KOSICKI
the First Session, “So much that was decisive in the rst ses
sion of the Second Vatican Council did not happen in the aula.”
is was as true of the Council taken as a whole as of any single
session.
One of the crucial misconceptions that this volume seeks to
correct regarding Vatican II is that historians can exhaust the
Council’s intellectual and theological achievements simply by ex
amining the documents published during its nal session in \n,
from
Nostra aetate
’s embrace of Judaism and
Apostolicam actuosi
tatem
’s insistence on lay involvement in the life of the Church to
Gaudium et spes
’s celebrated embrace of the “modern world.”
In
addition to the sixteen documents produced by the Council, two
encyclicals published in the years of the Second Vatican Council—
but not while the Council was in session—also play an important
role in this volume:
Pacem in terris
(issued on April , ) and
Ecclesiam suam
(August , ).
Pacem in terris
, imagining the brink of destruction to which
the previous year’s Cuban Missile Crisis had brought the world,
John XXIII called on American and Soviet Cold War camps alike
to “co-operate in the eort to banish fear and the anxious expec
tation of war from men’s minds. But this requires that the funda
mental principles upon which peace is based in today’s world be
replaced by an altogether dierent one, namely, the realization
that true and lasting peace among nations cannot consist in the
possession of an equal supply of armaments but only in mutual
A Kaleidoscope History of a Disorderly Decade
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University
Press, ).
\n\r. Hans Küng,
e Council in Action: eological Reections on the Second Vatican
Council
, trans. Cecily Hastings (New York: Sheed and Ward, ), v.
\n. On the origins of
Nostra aetate
, see John Connelly,
From Enemy to Brother:
e Revolution in Catholic Teaching on the Jews, –
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard
University Press, ). On the origins and broader context of
Apostolicam actuosita
tem
, see Paul Lakeland,
e Liberation of the Laity: In Search of an Accountable Church
(New York: Continuum, ). On
Gaudium et spes
, see Norman Tanner,
e Church
and the World: Gaudium et Spes, Inter Mirica
(Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, \n).
trust.”­…
Pacem in terris
was therefore about policy, but it made
clear the Vatican’s newfound priority of dialogue, intended to en
gage also countries behind the Iron Curtain.۠
Much to the chagrin of a large proportion of the bishops who
attended Vatican II—not least the Poles
—no o cial conciliar
document included a condemnation of communism. As Melissa J.
Wilde has underscored, even though communism “was an impor
tant issue at the Council,” and “many conservatives were quite in
vested in getting the Council to condemn it .


progressives gener
ally avoided the issue, and no condemnation of communism came
from the Council.”
Ecclesiam suam
, issued one year later by the next ponti, could,
at face value, be seen as compensation for that failure. In a move
calculated to keep atheism and communism from monopolizing
the attention of frustrated conservatives, Paul VI devoted an entire
section of
Ecclesiam suam
to “Communist Oppression.” In a pas
sage reminiscent of Pius XI and Pius XII, Paul VI describes “athe
istic communism” as an ideology that denies “God and oppress[es]
the Church .


t is rather they and their politicians who are clearly
repudiating us [Catholics], and for doctrinaire reasons subjecting
us to violent oppression.”
Dialogue with Communist regimes—
warned the ponti—would be “very di cult, not to say impossi
ble.” Rather, Paul VI concluded, “e only witness that the Church
\n. John XXIII,
Pacem in terris
(April , ), at http://www.vatican.va/holy_
father/john_xxiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_j-xxiii_enc__pacem_en.html;
accessed January , .
. On
Pacem in terris
, see chapter , by Gerald P. Fogarty, in this volume; Lux
moore and Babiuch,
Vatican and the Red Flag
, \r–.
. See chapter \n, by Piotr H. Kosicki, in this volume.
. Wilde,
Vatican II
, \r. Wilde tells the story of a petition, circulated two
weeks into the Fourth Session by the Coetus Internationalis Patrum lobby seeking
the Council’s condemnation of communism, that garnered only \n signatures, of
which more than a third came from Italian or Spanish bishops; ibid., \r.
. Paul VI,
Ecclesiam suam
(August , ), at http://www.vatican.va/holy_fa
ther/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc__ecclesiam_en.html;
accessed June , .
INTRODUCTION

TR H. KOSICKI
can give is that of silence, suering, patience, and unfailing love,
and this is a voice that not even death can silence.”
e passion and pathos evident in Paul VI’s language should
not, however, be mistaken for a vindication of the idea that Vati
can II made no dierence behind the Iron Curtain. Rather, this
Ecclesiam suam
’s nal word on communism: “we have today no
preconceived intention of cutting ourselves o from the adher
ents of these systems and these regimes. For the lover of truth
discussion is always possible.”
Only in light of these words can
historians make sense of Paul VI’s pragmatic
Ostpolitik
, which
through his representative Agostino Casaroli allowed the Holy
See to reach agreements with Communist Hungary and Commu
nist Yugoslavia, as well as craft the language on human rights for
what would become the Helsinki Final Act of \r\n.€­
e contrast between these two sets of phrases from the
same passage of the  encyclical underscores the importance
of painting a full picture of the relationship between the Catholic
Church and Communist countries. Neither silence nor dialogue
can fully explain the complex historical interplay between Vati
can II and the lives of Catholics behind the Iron Curtain. For this
reason, each chapter in this book looks at national-level events
as well as the Vatican, at bishops and laymen, at o cial decla
rations and practical decision-making, as it develops a more nu
anced picture of Vatican II behind the Iron Curtain.
Gerald P. Fogarty opens the volume with the story of Soviet over
tures to the Vatican during the ponticate of John XXIII. ese
. Polish Catholic journalist Janusz Zabocki, covering the ird Session in
, underscored the importance of this very passage in the encyclical: “While
rejecting that which is unacceptable in atheistic communism, the Church does not
shut the door to dialogue, in which the Council seeks to interest all people of good
will”; Zabocki,
Dzienniki
, :\n.
\n. Stehle,
Eastern Politics of the Vatican
, –\r; Marco Lavopa, “L’
Ostpolitik
vaticana di Mons. Agostino Casaroli et lo ‘spirito di Helsinki’ (–\r\n),”
Democra
zia e Diritto
nos. – (): \n–.
INTRODUCTION
frame the chapter’s overview of the Cold War context surround
ing Vatican II—the arms race, the Cuban Missile Crisis,
Ostpo
litik
—as well as close attention to the story of Ukrainian Greek
Catholic archbishop Josyf Slipyj. Imprisoned from \n to 
within the USSR, Slipyj ultimately beneted from eorts by the
Holy See to secure his release, made possible also by American
involvement. Slipyj’s story attests to the ability of Soviet and
American diplomats to work with the Church in the spirit of
giornamento
to temper Soviet confessional policy and to achieve
concrete results through international dialogue and peace.
e case of Hungary, too, attested to the ability of the Holy
See to make diplomatic headway with Communist regimes. As
Árpád von Klimó demonstrates, however, along the way the re
gime co-opted the national episcopate to a signicant degree.
e Partial Agreement concluded in  between the Commu
nist regime and the Holy See lent legitimacy to a roster of Hun
garian bishops and theologians participating in the Council who
were either puppets of the regime or outright secret-police in
formants. Nonetheless, the debates and decisions taken at the
Council reached Hungary, inspiring movements like Regnum
Marianum and Bokor, as well as top-down liturgical reform by
the Hungarian episcopate.
e volume’s third chapter, written by Ivo Banac, concerns
the story of Vatican II and Communist Yugoslavia. Banac’s path-
breaking research on Vatican II’s signicance for Tito’s realm
appears here for the rst time in English.
e Council gener
ated serious hopes for confessional and political liberalization,
in particular among Croatian Catholics getting news from Rome
in the pages of
Glas Koncila
(Voice of the council). ese hopes
seemed to nd conrmation in subsequent years, with Yugosla
via’s conclusion with the Holy See of a protocol in  and full
. Ivo Banac,
Hrvati i Crkva: Kratka povijest hrvatskog katolianstva u modernosti
(Zagreb: Svjetlo rijei, ).

TR H. KOSICKI
diplomatic relations in \r, as well as the short-lived reformist
“Croatian Spring.” Although a subsequent repressive turn ended
hopes for a more permanent liberalization, the short-lived expe
rience of reform and
aggiornamento
inspired in part by Vatican II
prepared the path, at least in Croatia, for Catholics to play a role
in political opposition in the s.
While Yugoslavia had the Croatian Spring, Czechoslovakia
had its celebrated Prague Spring. As in Yugoslavia, so in Czecho
slovakia did the pursuit of ecclesiological reform coincide with
attempted democratization within the Communist Party. James
Ramon Felak documents in the fourth chapter what he calls the
Communist
aggiornamento
in the context of reformist Catholic im
pulses migrating from Rome to Prague. e Party co-opted some
of these—for example, restyling the old philo-Communist Peace
Movement of the Catholic Clergy as “Pacem in Terris,” after the
 encyclical. Yet lasting liturgical and pastoral reforms took
hold, even amidst a Czech population inculcated with centuries of
skepticism toward the Roman Catholic Church. e convergence
of Communist and Catholic
aggiornamenti
outlasted the suppres
sion of the Prague Spring, surviving the so-called political “nor
malization” of the \rs to play a visible role in the Velvet Revolu
tion of .
Unlike Hungary or Yugoslavia, Communist Poland saw no ne
gotiations at the highest levels between regime representatives
and the Holy See in the years of the Second Vatican Council—
though leading lay activists repeatedly attempted to bring both
sides to the table. Poland did, however, witness the largest and
freest „ow of information and people back and forth across the
Iron Curtain to Rome throughout Vatican II. Conciliar debates
and reforms opened the door not only for Polish bishops, but
also for lay activists to make their mark on Church and Cold War
alike. e clearest long-term result of these exchanges was the
papacy of John Paul II. Along the way, however, Poland became
INTRODUCTION
an emblematic case of the confrontation between tradition and
modernity in a Catholic environment dened sometimes by grid
lock, at other times by a united front on behalf of civic freedom.
In all of these cases,
aggiornamenti
went hand in hand with
waves and spurts of political liberalization. ough mostly short-
lived, civic
aggiornamenti
magnied the impact of religious
aggior
namento
. Every country behind the Iron Curtain was dierent, yet
even across such diverse cases as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Po
land, and Yugoslavia one can nd copious evidence for societies’
active engagement in the spirit of Vatican II. e Council also had
practical, tangible consequences—both short- and long-term—for
all of these countries, furnishing norms and aspirations that would
come to play a signicant role in each of these countries during the
nal years of the Cold War. e election of a Polish pope in \r lit
a match, but the tinder had been set much earlier for moderniza
tion, reform, and an embrace of pluralism among Catholic popula
tions behind the Iron Curtain.
Some of the chapters in this book are based on papers delivered at
a conference organized by the editor at the University of Virginia
on December , , under the title of “e Second Vatican Coun
cil and Communism.” e conference was part of the University
of Virginia’s Polish Lecture Series, made possible by the Rosenstiel
Foundation and the American Institute of Polish Culture. anks
for their support are also due to the University of Virginia’s Center
for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, as well as the
Jewish Studies Program and departments of History and Slavic
Languages and Literatures; the Institute of the Humanities and
Global Cultures; the St. Anselm Institute for Catholic ought;
and the Virginia Center for the Study of Religion.
\r. For a much more systematic account of John Paul II’s place in this story, see
George Weigel,
e Final Revolution: e Resistance Church and the Collapse of Com
munism
(New York: Oxford University Press, ).

TR H. KOSICKI
Special thanks are due to Jerey Rossman and Melissa J.
Wilde. Árpád von Klimó helped to keep this project on track, and
Trevor Lipscombe of the Catholic University of America Press
kindly and patiently oversaw its transition into published form.
e editor thanks the press’s two anonymous readers, as well as
colleagues at the University of Maryland’s Department of History
for their support, and the W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo-
Campbell National Fellows Program at Stanford University’s Hoo-
ver Institution, which funded the research leave during which the
editor completed work on this volume.
VATICAN II
AND THE
COLD WAR
Gerald P. Fogarty
On January \n, \n, John XXIII, elected only three months ear
lier, startled the world by convoking the Second Vatican Council.
He would create yet more surprise by his relations with Nikita
Khrushchev, premier of the Soviet Union and general secretary
of its Communist Party. Both men, so dierent in religious faith,
were wily peasants, unafraid to try something new. On the eve of
the Council, each was drawing closer to the other, but for vast
ly dierent reasons. On September , , the pope issued a
plea for negotiations between East and West to end threats to
peace. His appeal won support from Khrushchev, who said the
pope “talks common sense.” In an interview with reporters from
Pravda
, the Communist Party newspaper, and
Izvestia
, the gov
ernment’s paper, the Soviet leader said that he welcomed such
appeals, “no matter from what source.” He went on to ask, “will
such adherents of the Catholic faith as John Kennedy and Kon
rad Adenauer and others heed the ‘sacred warning’ of the Pope
of Rome?”
In his speech, the pope had called on leaders to settle their
dierences and “face squarely the tremendous responsibilities
they bear before the tribunal of history and, what is more, be

ALD P. FOGARTY
fore the judgment seat of God.” Khrushchev noted that he was
not afraid of “the judgment of God,” for, “as a Communist and an
atheist, I do not believe in ‘Divine Providence,’ but I can say one
thing rmly: the Governments’ great responsibility before their
peoples and before mankind require that they make all possible
eorts and begin jointly to search for ways to liquidate the re
mains of World War II, to eliminate points of tension, to curb the
torchbearer of a new general con„agration.”¹
John XXIII actually took the next step. He dispatched Father
Giuseppe De Luca secretly to meet Palmiro Togliatti, leader of the
Italian Communist Party, who was about to go to Moscow. e
priest’s mission was to discuss how to improve Soviet-Vatican rela
tions. He suggested—and Togliatti concurred—that Khrushchev
should send a telegram congratulating John XXIII on his eightieth
birthday, a type of message that would be cordial, but would not
commit the Soviet Union to any particular course of action.
On November \n, , John XXIII turned eighty. rough
the Soviet ambassador to Italy, Khrushchev congratulated the
pope and expressed his “sincere wishes of good health and of suc
cess in his noble aspiration to contribute to the strengthening
and consolidation of peace on earth and to the solution of inter
national problems through frank negotiations.” To the conster
nation of some of his advisers, the pope thanked the premier
for “the good wishes and on his side expresses also to the whole
Russian people cordial wishes of increment and consolidation of
universal peace through happy understandings of human frater
nity; and to this end raises his fervent prayers.” Although word
of this exchange had leaked out earlier, only on December 
New York Times
, September , ; see Giancarlo Zizola,
e Utopia of Pope
John XXIII
, trans. Helen Barolini (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, \r), –.
. Peter Hebblethwaite,
Pope John XXIII: Shepherd of the Modern World
(Garden
City, N.Y.: Doubleday, \n), ; see also Andrea Riccardi,
Il Vaticano e Mosca: –

(Rome: Editori Laterza, ), –\n. Riccardi suggests that the Soviet ambas
sador to Italy may have played a more signicant role.
VATICAN II AND THE COLD WAR

did the
Osservatore Romano
report this exchange of messages.
In the course of this rapprochement between the Vatican and
the Kremlin, John XXIII began negotiating for the presence at
the Council of bishops from the Soviet Bloc. Here he used the
services of Archbishop Francesco Lardone, apostolic delegate to
Turkey, a post that John XXIII had himself held during World
War II, well before his elevation to the papacy. Largely through
Lardone’s eorts, the First Session witnessed the presence of
one bishop from Bulgaria, two bishops and an administrator
from Hungary—József Cardinal Mindszenty, archbishop of Esz
tergom, remained sequestered in the American embassy in Bu
dapest—four from Czechoslovakia, and three vicars capitular
from the Soviet Union itself. With the arrival of a large Polish
contingent, including Karol Wojtya—the future John Paul II,
auxiliary bishop of Kraków from \n to —a total of thirty-
ve bishops from the Soviet Bloc were present at the First Ses
sion. Eorts to obtain the presence of bishops from China were,
unfortunately, unsuccessful.
e overtures between John XXIII and Khrushchev laid the
groundwork for one of the most signicant preconciliar ecumen
ical endeavors. e pope envisioned his council as an invitation
to Christian unity, but the initial response was mixed. One of the
rst to respond was Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople,
previously the Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox archdiocese
of North and South America, headquartered in New York. In De
cember \n he issued a statement from Jerusalem expressing
his hope for the eventual reunion of the Orthodox and Catholic
churches.
On Christmas Day, Athenagoras invited Francis Cardinal Spell-
New York Times
, December \r, ;
New York Times
, December , ; see
also Francesco Capovilla,
Giovanni XXIII: Lettere, –
(Rome: Edizioni di storia
e letteratura, \r), \r.
. Alberigo and Komonchak, eds.,
History of Vatican II
, :–, –; Riccar-
Il Vaticano e Mosca
, –\n.

ALD P. FOGARTY
man, archbishop of New York—then in Istanbul to visit U.S. troops
in Turkey—to a conference at his residence. e cardinal then al
tered his itinerary to „y to Rome for an audience with John XXIII
on January \n, , and presented the patriarch’s “views to his
holiness [to] see if some reunion were possible.” e pope was en
thusiastic, but Domenico Cardinal Tardini, the secretary of state,
was less so. Spellman subsequently drafted a letter to Athenago
ras, which he planned for the Vatican to send, but Tardini altered it
and instructed Spellman to send it to the patriarch himself. Spell
man would later recall that the new letter was not as cordial as he
had originally intended.
It would be four years before Paul VI’s
dramatic meeting with Athenagoras in Jerusalem, and this chilly
response may have contributed to the patriarch’s having no repre
sentative during the rst two sessions of the Council.
In the meantime, on June \n, —Pentecost—John XXIII
established the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity. As
president, he appointed Augustin Cardinal Bea, SJ, former rector
of the Pontical Biblical Institute, with Johannes Willebrands as
secretary. Initially viewed by some merely as a clearinghouse for
information for non-Catholics, the secretariat gradually won the
right to prepare schemata before the Council. Later, it was grant
ed equal status with the eological Commission, presided by Al
fredo Cardinal Ottaviani, secretary of the Holy O ce. John XXIII
instructed its members to carve out territory for the secretariat.
Before the Council, the secretariat had the tasks of drafting a
preliminary schema on religious liberty and of arranging to have
invitations extended to non-Catholic observers to attend the
Council. e invitations to non-Catholic observers proved to be
complicated. e rst break came when John XXIII, without con
\n. Spellman to “Dear Friends,” n.p., “Christmas Night”—probably December \r,
\n, Archives of the Archdiocese of New York.
. omas F. Stransky, “e Foundation of the Secretariat for Promoting Chris
tian Unity,” in
Vatican II by ose Who Were ere
, ed. Alberic Stacpoole (London:
Geo
rey Chapman, ), \r–.
VATICAN II AND THE COLD WAR

sulting other members of the Curia, agreed to accept a “courtesy
visit” from Archbishop Georey Fisher of Canterbury on Decem
ber , . Next came an invitation from Visser’t Hooft, secre
tary general of the World Council of Churches, to have the secre
tariat send observers to the ird General Assembly, held in New
Delhi from November  to December \n, . Bea favored it, but
Ottaviani objected. As a compromise, the secretariat designated
ve observers, who were not o cial sta members of the secre
tariat. is paved the way for John XXIII in his Christmas allocu
tion formally to invite other Christians to send observers to the
Council.
But the Orthodox proved more di cult. In September ,
the rst Pan-Orthodox conference was held at Rhodes, at Athe
nagoras’s convocation. Its nal session proclaimed the essential
unity of all of the Orthodox churches and called for unity in all of
their activities.
In July , the o cial journal of the Moscow
patriarchate had already dismissed the notion of sending observ
ers to the Council, issuing a solemn
non possumus
. e Russian
objection „owed from its perception that the Vatican was too
active in the political sphere. From September \r to October ,
, Willebrands then undertook a secret mission to Moscow
to inform the patriarch and his advisors of preparations for the
Council, its nonpolitical agenda, and the invitation to all of the
churches. Cardinal Bea then telegraphed Metropolitan Nikodim,
director of the patriarch’s Department of External Aairs, to
say that he had sent an invitation to Patriarch Alexius, who re
sponded almost immediately that he would send delegates to the
Council.ƒ
ey were Archpriest Vitaly Borovoy and Archiman
drite Vladimir Kotlyarov. In light of the close supervision that
the Soviet government exercised over the Russian Orthodox
Church, Khrushchev had to have approved the patriarch’s action.
\r.
New York Times
, October , .
. Alberigo and Komonchak, eds.,
History of Vatican II
, :–, –.

ALD P. FOGARTY
It was one more step in the relationship that the premier was de
veloping with the pope.
e Russian decision, however, did not sit well with other
branches of the Orthodox Church. e Greek primate condemned
the Russians for breaking the unity of the Orthodox Church.
Athenagoras, who had been most open to sending delegates, was
apparently caught o guard. Given the Rhodes call for Orthodox
unity in opposing any delegates, his synod announced that it
would not be represented at the Council.¹†
When the Council opened, Russian Orthodox observers were
present, while, among others, Metropolitan Josyf Slipyj of the
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church remained a prisoner of the
Soviet Union. Sentenced in \n to connement, Slipyj, after
serving his sentence, found himself exiled indenitely to Sibe
ria; there, too, he was unable to carry out his pastoral duties. e
irony was not lost on the Ukrainian bishops from the diaspora
outside Ukraine—including the United States. e public protest
against this situation later caused the Vatican some di culties.
In , John XXIII had named Slipyj a cardinal
in pectore
; in oth
er words, his name was not published at that time. But the pope
wanted to do more. rough an intermediary, he had Togliatti,
the secretary of the Italian Communist Party, broach the ques
tion of Slipyj’s release with Khrushchev at a Moscow meeting of
Communist Party leaders. e premier, however, turned a deaf
ear to the proposal.
Paradoxically, what ultimately brought the
release of Slipyj was an event that almost led to nuclear war.
For some months before the Council opened, the Soviets had
been stationing ghter planes in Cuba. On October , a U.S.
Navy ghter squadron had been moved to the southern part of
New York Times
, October , .
. Stransky, “Foundation of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity,”
\r–.
. Riccardi,
Il Vaticano e Mosca
, –; Hebblethwaite,
Pope John XXIII
, \r.
VATICAN II AND THE COLD WAR

Florida, from which it could easily attack the Cuban bases.
Ten
sions were brewing. Two days earlier, President John F. Kennedy
had been shown evidence that the Soviet Union had installed of
fensive missiles in Cuba that could easily reach cities in the Unit
ed States and Latin America. However, he delayed revealing the
presence of missiles in Cuba until he had more concrete evidence.
On October , he addressed the people of the United States
on television, showing aerial photographs of the missile sites. He
then announced the beginning of a naval blockade of all ship
ping to Cuba.
Life
, the popular American weekly pictorial jour
nal, had been ready to run its cover story on the Council, with
a photographic display of the pageantry taking place inside the
Vatican. Instead, its cover carried a picture of an American ship
bearing down on a Soviet freighter, with the accompanying story
inside coming immediately after the pictures of the opening of
the Council.
e juxtaposition of the con„icting images cap
tured the emotions of the day.
e Soviet Union’s real objective was not to threaten an attack
from Cuba on the United States, but to force an Allied withdrawal
from Berlin. Missiles in Cuba were a ploy to test the mettle of the
young American president on the eve of American congressional
elections. Khrushchev also had to prove to his domestic oppo
nents that he was strong in confronting the West.¹­
As Kennedy and Khrushchev began their diplomatic jockey
ing, a group of Soviet and American academics and journalists
was assembling at Phillips Exeter Academy in Andover, Massa
.
New York Times
, October , .
. Ibid., October , . e text of this address and other key U.S. docu
ments in the Cuban Missile Crisis are given in Laurence Chang and Peter Kornbluh,
eds.,
e Cuban Missile Crisis, : A National Security Archive Reader
(New York:
New Press, ), \n–\n.
.
Life
, November , . e story of the blockade begins on page .
\n. For a summary of Kremlin motivations, see Michel Tatu,
Power in the Krem
lin: From Khrushchev to Kosygin
(New York: Viking Press, \r), –\r.

ALD P. FOGARTY
chusetts, for the third in a series of conferences about the issues
confronting statesmen of both nations, especially nuclear weap
ons. Norman Cousins, the editor of the
Saturday Review
and head
of the American delegation, had initiated the conferences at the
request of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in . On Octo-
ber , the group was just getting acquainted when it recessed to
watch Kennedy’s address on television. After taking a vote, they
decided to continue with the conference, despite the tension be
tween their two nations.
A few days later, the group received a visitor, Felix Morlion,
OP, rector of Pro Deo University in Rome, a think tank for politi
cians and journalists from around the world, with a bias toward
Europe. A Belgian, Morlion had founded Pro Deo in the s as
an international group of Catholic journalists. During the Second
World War, he moved his headquarters to New York, where he
cooperated with the O ce of Strategic Services, the forerunner
of the CIA. He came to Andover not as a participant, but as an
observer and emissary. ere he raised the possibility of a papal
intervention in the crisis.
With the encouragement of members of both delegations, he
phoned the Vatican and was informed that the pope was deeply
concerned about the crisis, but wanted assurance that his inter
vention would be acceptable. In particular, Morlion’s instructions
were to ask if the Soviet Union would cease military shipping in
return for the United States lifting the blockade. According to
his later recollection, Cousins then phoned eodore Sorensen,
general counsel to Kennedy, who later responded that Kennedy
welcomed the papal oer, but that it was imperative not only
that military shipping to Cuba cease, but that the missiles be re
moved.
Morlion conveyed this information to the Vatican. A
. In a letter to the author, Sorensen recalled speaking with Cousins only af
ter the crisis and had no recollection of a papal intervention in the crisis itself; So
rensen to Fogarty, New York, December , .
VATICAN II AND THE COLD WAR

member of the Soviet delegation then phoned Moscow and re
ported that Khrushchev would accept the pope’s proposal to with
draw military shipping if the United States lifted the blockade.
In the meantime, direct negotiations between Washington
and Moscow took place on several dierent levels. In addition to
the o cial contacts between the two powers, Robert F. Kenne
dy, the attorney general and the president’s brother, had several
meetings with Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin, with whom
he was on friendly terms.
At the same time, Aleksandr Fomin,
the KGB’s station chief in Washington, met with John Scali, a
correspondent for ABC News with personal connections with the
State Department who later became the U.S. ambassador to the
United Nations. e choice of such back-door diplomacy showed
that the Soviets were clearly intent on warding o a confronta
tion.
One problem for John XXIII was that the Holy See had no
diplomatic relations with either of the superpowers. Khrushchev
had begun to establish a more cordial relationship with the pon
ti—always, of course, with the design of driving a wedge within
the Western alliance. As the rst Catholic president, Kennedy had
to tread more cautiously with the Vatican. As a candidate for the
presidency, he had to declare his opposition to diplomatic rela
tions with the Holy See. In March , however, his wife, Jac
queline, had an audience with the pope. In September , more
over, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson had visited John XXIII.
But these were overtures that fell far short of initiating a perma
nent relationship. e pope had to rely on less formal signs that
\r. Norman Cousins,
e Improbable Triumvirate: John F. Kennedy, Pope John,
Nikita Khrushchev
(New York: W. W. Norton, \r), –. Cousins, however, incor
rectly gives the date of Kennedy’s televised address announcing the blockade as Oc
tober .
. Robert F. Kennedy,
irteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis
(New
York: W. W. Norton, ), \n–, –.
. Chang and Kornbluh, eds.,
Cuban Missile Crisis

ALD P. FOGARTY
any action on his part might bear fruit, and this came from the
Andover participants’ assurance that both Kennedy and Khrush
chev would welcome a papal intervention. He now began to pre
pare his speech.
But rst, he paved the way. On October , he spoke to a
group of Portuguese pilgrims. He concluded the audience with
what appeared to be an afterthought:
e Pope always speaks well of all men of state who are concerned,
here, there, and everywhere, with meeting amongst themselves to
avoid the reality of war and to procure a bit of peace for human
kind.



evertheless, let it be well understood, only the Spirit of the
Lord can accomplish this miracle, since, obviously, where the sub
stance—true spiritual life—is lacking, many things cannot be imag
ined nor obtained.
Here was the pope’s rst signal to the two leaders. While main
taining the need for “spiritual life,” the pope nevertheless praised
“all men of state” who sought to avoid war through negotiation.
e pope’s next step was his formal address, dispatched ahead of
time to both the Soviet and U.S. embassies in Rome.
Speaking in French in an unscheduled broadcast at noon on
October \n, the pope made no mention of Kennedy, Khrushchev,
or Castro by name, nor did he mention the Soviet Union, the
United States, or Cuba. It was typical “Pope-speak”—using gen
eralities rather than specics—and thus applicable to similar cir
cumstances. But all the contemporary listeners knew whom he
meant. He began by noting, “While the Second Vatican ecumeni
cal Council has just been opened, amidst the joy and the hopes
of all men of goodwill, threatening clouds now come to darken
again the international horizon, and to show fear in millions of
families.” He begged “all rulers not to remain deaf to the cry of
mankind,” but to “do everything in their power to save peace.”
“Let them continue to negotiate,” he declared, for “to promote,
. Zizola,
Utopia
, \r.
VATICAN II AND THE COLD WAR

favor, and accept negotiations, at all levels and at all times, is a
rule of wisdom and prudence which calls down the blessings of
heaven and earth.”
An account of his address appeared the next day on the front
page of the
New York Times
, right under a picture of U.S. Ambas
sador to the United Nations Adlai E. Stevenson presenting the
Security Council with photographic evidence of the missile sites
in Cuba. e
Times
also carried the full text of the pope’s speech,
with a translation from the French provided by the Vatican Press
O ce.
e same day,
Pravda
published the following account
on the page devoted to foreign news:
Save the World
Statement by Pope John XXIII
e Vatican. \n Oct. (TASS) Pope John XXIII in Rome has made a plea
for the defense of peace, “To All Men of Good Will.” Speaking today
in an unscheduled broadcast on Vatican Radio, he said his words
came “from the very depths of a worried and saddened heart.
“Once again,” said the Pope, “threatening clouds are gathering on
the world horizon, bringing fear to countless millions of families.”
In this regard Pope John XXIII repeated his plea to the statesmen
[the address he had given to the extraordinary missions sent for the
opening of the Council]: “Let their reason come alight; let them heed
the cry of distress arising to Heaven from all corners of the world,
from innocent children and the aged, from individuals and all man
kind: ‘Peace, Peace.’
“Today,” he said, “we repeat the plea of our heart and invoke the
heads of state not to be heedless of the cry from mankind. Let them
do all in their power to keep the peace. ereby they will be keeping
mankind from the horrors of a war, the frightful eects of which no
one can foresee. Let them go on negotiating.
“To agree to negotiations at any level and at any location, to be
well-inclined to these negotiations and to commence them—this
would be a sign of wisdom and cautiousness that would be blessed
by heaven and earth.”
New York Times
, October , .
Pravda
, October , .

ALD P. FOGARTY
at
Pravda
published any of the papal overture was in itself sig
nicant. It meant that Khrushchev was watching and giving his
approval to the pope’s words.
In the United States, the
New York Times
brie„y noted that
the Soviet press agency TASS had distributed a dispatch on the
papal address, but did not comment on the signicance of that
event.
At the same time, the American newspaper also reported
that the ve American cardinals—Spellman of New York, James
Francis McIntyre of Los Angeles, Richard Cushing of Boston,
Joseph E. Ritter of St. Louis, and Albert G. Meyer of Chicago—
joined by Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle of Washington had issued a
statement calling on American Catholics to observe the following
Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King, “as a day of prayer to be
seech God’s blessing on our President and Government.”
Mean
while, the three Cuban prelates at the Council, bishops Manuel
Rodríguez Rozas of Pinar del Rio, Carlos Riu Angles of Cama
guey, and José Domínguez y Rodríguez of Matanzas, denied re
ports in
Paese Sera
that they had made or intended to make any
statement about the crisis.²­
Neither in the records of the White House discussions at this
juncture nor in later American accounts was there any mention
of the pope’s speech or of
Pravda
’s reaction. Kennedy’s assistants
were perhaps so focused on the military aspect of the crisis that
they were unaware of the papal initiative, despite its wide cov
erage in the American press. is may account for their failure
to see in Khrushchev’s initial response the possible in„uence of
the pope’s plea. U ant, acting secretary general of the United
Nations, had issued a plea calling for the United States not to in
terfere with peaceful shipping and for the Soviet Union not to at
.
New York Times
, October , .
. Ibid.
\n. National Catholic Welfare Council News Service (Foreign), October , ,
Archives of the Catholic University of America.
VATICAN II AND THE COLD WAR

tempt to ship armaments to Cuba. To this Kennedy agreed.
On
October , Khrushchev wrote Kennedy a personal letter. Stating
his general agreement with U ant’s plea for negotiations, he
then asked Kennedy to guarantee that neither the United States
nor any other nation would invade Cuba. He further proposed
more general discussions on disarmament.
But then the Soviet
position seemed to harden.
On October \r, Khrushchev sent a second letter to Kennedy,
broadcast over Radio Moscow ahead of its reception in Washing
ton. He now introduced the question of Jupiter missiles in Tur
key, “literally next to us.” While praising Kennedy’s agreement
to accept U ant’s mediation, the general secretary now pro
posed the removal of the missiles from Turkey in exchange for
the removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba. Both the Soviet Union
and the United States would then make statements “within the
framework of the Security Council” pledging to respect the sov
ereignty and borders of, respectively, Turkey and Cuba.
While this second letter seemed to represent the hardlin
ers in the Kremlin more than Khrushchev himself, there were,
nevertheless, some indications that the general secretary was re
acting to the papal appeal. Contrary to the usual Soviet policy,
Khrushchev again called for negotiations. Specically, he stated,
Of course, for this we would have to come to an agreement with you
and specify a certain time limit. Let us agree to some period of time,
but without unnecessary delay—say within two or three weeks, not
longer than a month.
If you are agreeable to my proposal, Mr. President, then we would
send our representatives to New York, to the United States, and
would give them comprehensive instructions in order that an agree
.
New York Times
, October \r, .
\r. Khrushchev to Kennedy, October , , in Chang and Kornbluh, eds.,
ban Missile Crisis

ALD P. FOGARTY
ment may be reached more quickly. If you also select your people
and give them the corresponding instructions, then this question
can be quickly resolved.
Why would I like to do this? Because the whole world is now
apprehensive and expects sensible actions of us. e greatest joy for
all peoples would be the announcement of our agreement and of the
eradication of the controversy that has arisen. I attach great impor
tance to this agreement insofar as it could serve as a good begin
ning and could in particular make it easier to reach agreement on
banning nuclear weapons tests. e question of the tests could be
solved in parallel fashion, without connecting one with the other,
because these are dierent issues. However, it is important that
agreement be reached on both these issues so as to present human
ity with a ne gift, and also to gladden it with the news that agree
ment has been reached on the cessation of nuclear tests and that
consequently the atmosphere will no longer be poisoned. Our posi
tion and yours on this issue are very close together.
e White House was now thrown into confusion between Khru-
shchev’s two letters.
On October \r, after prolonged discussion, Kennedy opted to
respond only to the rst letter and ignore the one containing the
demand that the Jupiter missiles be removed from Turkey. e lat
ter was a move that Kennedy himself had actually proposed sever
al months earlier, since the weapons were in fact already obsolete
and could be replaced by Polaris submarines. Once the missiles
were removed from Cuba, the president wrote, the United States
would lift the quarantine and give its assurances against any inva
sion of Cuba.
On October , Khrushchev accepted Kennedy’s terms, but not
without providing a long list of grievances that Cuba had against
. Chang and Kornbluh, eds.,
Cuban Missile Crisis
, \r–. For providing me
with the interpretation that the plea for negotiations was a deviation from Soviet
policy, I am grateful to William Burgess, who also provided the translations from
Pravda
. Kennedy to Khrushchev, October \r, , in ibid., –\n.
VATICAN II AND THE COLD WAR

the United States. e communiqué was hardly friendly, but it
made no mention of the missiles in Turkey, the removal of which
caused opposition in Turkey. Kennedy acknowledged the mes
sage, and negotiations began at the United Nations.
Although
tensions between the two superpowers remained high during No
vember as the United States negotiated for the removal of Soviet
bombers as well as missiles from Cuba, the crisis had passed. e
world pulled back from the brink of nuclear war.
John XXIII’s plea for negotiations had no perceptible eect
on the conduct of the United States during the crisis, although
Kennedy is reported to have thanked the pope through the U.S.
embassy to Italy.
But the pope’s initiative did have an eect on
Khrushchev. Although it remains uncertain how much the papal
plea actually in„uenced the Soviet premier’s response to Kenne
dy, it did set in motion a series of events that brought the Holy
See and the Soviet Union into more direct contact. Moreover, the
end of the crisis prompted John XXIII to instruct Father Pietro
Pavan, professor of theology at the Pontical Lateran University,
to draft an encyclical,
Pacem in terris
, which he issued on April
, . Following the spirit, if not the actual wording, of his ra
dio address, the letter was addressed not only to the hierarchy
of the Catholic Church and those in communion with her, but
to “All men of good will.” e pope’s attitude toward establishing
permanent peace, furthermore, did lead to further direct contact
between the Soviet Union and the Vatican.
During the Andover meeting that Cousins hosted, Father
Morlion proposed to the Soviet delegates that they explore com
munications between the Vatican and Moscow. He informed the
Soviets that Cousins would be acceptable to the Vatican as a medi
ator if he was also acceptable to Moscow to undertake preliminary
contacts. Late in November, Cousins received a call from Ambas
. Khrushchev to Kennedy, October , , in ibid., –, –.
. Zizola,
Utopia

ALD P. FOGARTY
sador Dobrynin to say that Khrushchev would like to discuss the
proposal with him on December . Cousins met with Kennedy,
received his approval, and then departed for Rome on his way to
Moscow. In Rome, he was unable to see John XXIII, who was then
suering from an illness that would soon claim his life. He did,
however, meet with both Archbishop Angelo Dell’Acqua of the
Secretariat of State and Cardinal Bea.
Cousins’s visit coincided with a delicate problem that fell to
Bea to address. On November , several newspapers, includ
La Croix
, had published the draft of a statement from fteen
Ukrainian bishops at the Council stating their regret that the
Russian Orthodox Church should have observers at the Council,
while Slipyj, metropolitan of Lviv, remained a prisoner in Siberia.
Willebrands used a press conference to downplay this rst dis
play of opposition, rather than welcome, for the Russian observ
ers.
But the question of Slipyj remained. He was then seventy
years old. Bea suggested that Cousins seek Slipyj’s release as a
sign of the Soviet Union’s desire to improve its relationship with
the West. Bea and Dell’Acqua also proposed that Cousins discuss
with Khrushchev the improvement of religious conditions within
the Soviet Union—not only for Catholics, but for all believers.³
In Moscow, on December , Cousins had a cordial meeting
with Khrushchev, who spoke of the similarities between himself
and John XXIII:
We both come from peasant families; we both have lived close to the
land; we both enjoy a good laugh. ere’s something very moving to
me about a man like him struggling despite his illness to accomplish
such an important goal before he dies. His goal, as you say, is peace.
. Cousins,
Improbable Triumvirate
, –. On Slipyj’s release, see Karim
Schelkens, “Vatican Diplomacy after the Cuban Missile Crisis: New Light on the Re
lease of Josyf Slipyj,”
Catholic Historical Review
\r, no.  (): \r–\r.
. Antoine Wenger,
Vatican II: e First Session
, trans. Robert J. Olsen (West
minster, Md.: Newman Press, ), \r.
. Cousins,
Improbable Triumvirate
, –.
VATICAN II AND THE COLD WAR

t is the most important goal in the world. If we don’t have peace
and the nuclear bombs start to fall, what dierence will it make
whether we are Communists or Catholics or capitalists or Chinese
or Russians or Americans? Who could tell us apart? Who will be left
to tell us apart?
e Soviet premier then turned to the missile crisis and recalled
that “the Pope’s appeal was a real ray of light. I was grateful for it.
Believe me, that was a dangerous time.”³­
But the topic of Slipyj’s release proved more delicate. Khrush
chev spoke at some length about the religious situation in Ukraine
prior to \r, especially the competition between the Ukrainian
Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church and the power strug
gles within each. When Slipyj’s predecessor, Archbishop Andrey
Sheptytsky, died, he said, the circumstances indicated that “his
departure from this earth may have been somewhat accelerated,”
although the archbishop was then seventy-nine. While not direct
ly implicating Slipyj in his predecessor’s death, the premier did as
sert that the metropolitan was imprisoned for his collaboration
with the Nazis. He further feared that Slipyj would be used for
propaganda purposes to showcase his putatively harsh treatment
by the Soviet government. After Cousins reminded Khrushchev
that John XXIII had not denounced him or his government, the
premier oered to consider the matter of Slipyj’s release. Cous
ins and Khrushchev then discussed other issues of concern to the
Vatican, such as the Soviet Union’s treatment of its Jewish popu
lation.
Cousins concluded his interview with Khrushchev by discuss
ing the possibility that the United States and the Soviet Union
negotiate a treaty banning any further testing of nuclear weap
ons. As Cousins made ready to depart, Khrushchev went to his
desk to pen “Christmas greetings” to Kennedy and John XXIII.
\n. Quoted at ibid., –\n.
. Ibid., –\n.

ALD P. FOGARTY
To President and Mrs. Kennedy, he simply sent his wishes for the
holiday season. But to the pope, he wrote, “On the occasion of the
Holy Days of Christmas, please accept these greetings and con
gratulations from a man who wishes you good health and strength
for your abiding quest for the peace and happiness of all man
kind.”³‚
Back in Rome, Cousins personally handed the pope the
premier’s greetings. A few days later, John responded to Khrush-
chev’s note:
ank you for your courteous message of good wishes. We return it
from the heart with the same words that came to us from on high:
Peace on earth to men of good will.
We bring to your attention two documents for Christmas for
this year invoking the strengthening of a just peace among people.
at the good God will hear us and respond to the zeal and
sincerity of our eorts and our prayers.
May peace be made in your
strength, O Lord, and abundance in your towers
Best wishes for the prosperity of the Russian people and of all
the people of the world.
Had it been made public at the time, this correspondence between
pope and Communist leader would probably have surprised a
world still engaged in the Cold War. It set in motion a series of
events that would not bear full fruit for almost thirty years.
In the meantime, both Italian and American diplomats were
negotiating Slipyj’s release. Cousins had made no reference to
Kennedy’s concern about the metropolitan, but, as he was leav
ing Rome, Monsignor Igino Cardinale arrived with a Christ
mas present for the president, a silver icon, which—said Loris
Capovilla, the pope’s secretary and now a cardinal—was “a sign
of gratitude” for the president’s cooperation in obtaining the re
\r. Ibid., \n–\n\r; a facsimile of Khrushchev’s message to John XXIII with an Eng
lish translation is given opposite in Cousins,
Improbable Triumvirate
, \r. An Italian
translation is given in Capovilla,
Giovanni XXIII
. John XXIII to Khrushchev, December , , in Capovilla,
Giovanni XXIII
; italics in the original.
VATICAN II AND THE COLD WAR

lease of Slipyj.
On January \n, , Semyon Kozyrev, the So
viet ambassador to Italy, brought Amintore Fanfani, president of
the Italian Council, a message from Khrushchev announcing that
Slipyj was to be released. On February , Slipyj, accompanied
from Moscow by Willebrands, arrived quietly in Rome.†
Slipyj’s release was a major step in improving relations be
tween the Holy See and the Kremlin, as Khrushchev told Fan
fani.¹
A short time later, Khrushchev arranged for his son-in-
law, Alexis Adzhubei, to be assigned as the Rome correspondent
for
Izvestia
. On March \r, , when John XIII received the Bal
zan Prize for peace, he received Adzhubei and his wife, Rada, in
a private audience.
Such overtures, however, did not mean that
Khrushchev was softening his stance on religion. As Adzhubei
later recounted, despite Khrushchev’s opening to the Vatican, at
home he showed no desire of occupying himself with religious
questions. While some Orthodox and Catholic priests were re
leased from the Gulag, others were imprisoned on accusations of
“anti-Soviet ideology and of negative Western in„uence.”³
Nonetheless, it was the dawn of a new era. When John XXIII
died in June, in a little-reported event, four British minesweep
ers and a Soviet freighter in Genoa harbor „ew their „ags at half-
mast.
It is most improbable that the captain of the Soviet ship
took this action without the Kremlin’s approval. TASS also praised
the pope’s eorts for peace, especially in his encyclical
Pacem in
terris
“Good Pope John” had made his mark on the Communist
world.
John XXIII’s willingness to take a risk and to move beyond
. Cousins,
Improbable Triumvirate
, ; Capovilla,
Giovanni XXIII
, \rn.
. Zizola,
Utopia
–\n.
. For a summary of all the steps taken for Slipyj’s release, as well as its signi
cance, see Riccardi,
Il Vaticano e Mosca
, –\n.
. Capovilla,
Giovanni XXIII
, \n–\n\n.
. Quoted at Riccardi,
Il Vaticano e Mosca
, \n.
.
New York Times
, June \n, .
\n. Ibid.

ALD P. FOGARTY
the usual channels of communication ran parallel to that of the
bishops in the Council that he had convoked. How decisive a
role he played in the missile crisis is di cult to determine, but
his plea for peaceful negotiations in the midst of a council that
he had conceived to be pastoral seems to have been the catalyst
needed to ward o an impending nuclear holocaust. His inter
vention in the crisis also did not spell an end to the possibility of
hostilities between East and West. But his policy of being open
to the East—
Ostpolitik
, as some dubbed it—continued under his
successor, Paul VI.
On June , , on the fth ballot, Giovanni Battista Cardi
nal Montini was elected pope and took the name Paul VI. In keep
ing with the custom initiated by Roosevelt, Kennedy appointed
a delegation of four, led by Chief Justice Earl Warren. Vice Presi
dent Johnson had led the American delegation to the funeral of
John XXIII. On June , the new pope was crowned, the last pope
to observe this rite. On July , Kennedy had a forty-minute audi
ence with him—the rst time a sitting president had met a pope
and an indication that the anti-Catholicism that would have sur
rounded such an action in  had abated.
Paul, for his part,
continued his predecessor’s policy toward Eastern Europe and re
cruited for that policy some of the most able Vatican diplomats in
history, notably Agostino Casaroli, who later became secretary of
state under John Paul II.
But East-West tensions persisted, and Paul VI continued to
seek peace, even as the United States continued the war in Viet
nam, which the American government saw as a surrogate for the
Soviet Union. Johnson, who became president following the as
sassination of Kennedy in November , sought to maintain
good relations with the pope and even made a special visit to
. Ibid., July , .
\r. Hebblethwaite,
Paul VI: e First Modern Pope
(New York: Paulist Press, ),
–.
VATICAN II AND THE COLD WAR

Paul VI in December \r to persuade the pope not to speak out
against U.S. policy in his New Year’s address.
Paul VI seemed to
respect Johnson’s integrity, but this was not the case with Presi
dent Richard M. Nixon. Vietnam continued to be the backdrop
for the pope’s strained relations with the United States.
In February \r, Nixon visited Italian leaders in Rome. He
then planned to see Paul VI, but was informed that the pope was
on retreat. On March , \r, while he was still in Europe, Nixon
made a special trip back to Rome to see the pope. Rumors circu
lated that the president was about to establish some type of for
mal relations with the Holy See. Despite assurances from a White
House aide that Nixon was not planning to establish diplomatic
relations, the president reinstituted the o ce of personal repre
sentative that had existed from  to \n and named Henry
Cabot Lodge, former ambassador to South Vietnam and his run
ning mate against Kennedy and Johnson in . Lodge present
ed his credentials to the pope in July \r.…
In September \r, Nixon again paid a visit to the pope, but
this time their conversations did not seem cordial.
Vietnam re
mained a bone of contention. Sometimes, indeed, the pope seemed
almost friendlier to the Soviet Union than to the United States.
In November of the same year, Andrei Gromyko, the Soviet for
eign minister, had an eighty-minute audience with the pope, the
duration of which prompted
Il Tempo
to chide the pope for show
ing more warmth to Gromyko than he had to Nixon earlier in the
year.
It would be erroneous, however, to conclude that either
John XXIII or Paul VI was soft on communism—and therefore
anti-American. Beyond the quest for peace, both popes had to
. Joseph A. Califano, “e President and the Pope: L.B.J., Paul VI, and the
Vietnam War,”
America
, no. \n (October , ): –.
.
New York Times
, July , \r.
\n. Ibid., September , \r; September \r, \r; September , \r.
\n. Ibid., November , \r; November , \r.

ALD P. FOGARTY
consider the situation of the Church in Communist countries.
Both sought to normalize the situation of the Church in those
countries in order to allow the appointment of bishops to vacant
dioceses and the faithful’s ability to worship without persecution.
A prime example of Paul VI’s policy in this regard was the
exit of Cardinal Mindszenty from his refuge in the U.S. embassy
in Budapest, where he had resided since \n. e cardinal re
mained the archbishop of Esztergom and primate of Hungary. By
\r, the United States and the Holy See had the same problem
with the cardinal, but from dierent points of view. e Holy See
wished to regularize the situation of the Hungarian Church and
establish a
modus vivendi
with the government. e United States
wanted to remove one obstacle toward establishing more cordial
relations with this satellite of the Soviet Union.
After much cajoling, Mindszenty was quietly driven to Vien
na, from which he „ew to Rome on September , \r. Part of
the agreement that he made with the Vatican was that he would
retain the title of archbishop of Esztergom. Initially, he was lau
datory at the pope’s reception of him and the accommodations
that he was given. Ultimately, however, Paul VI stripped him of
his title and appointed Lászlo Lékái to replace him as archbish
op. e pope soon named Lékái a cardinal, and Mindszenty left
Rome to live in Vienna, where he published his memoirs, which
included a condemnation of Paul VI. He died in Vienna in \r\n.­²
On January , \r, President Jimmy Carter, amid some op
position—including that of Senator Robert Dole—returned the
Crown of St. Stephen to the people of Hungary. A symbol of Hun
garian sovereignty, the crown had been kept at Fort Knox for
thirty-two years. Carter’s reasoning was that, while the Hungar
ian government was not perfect in regard to granting rights, it
had improved. To encourage further progress, the administration
decided to return the crown to Hungary. Secretary of State Cyrus
\n. Hebblethwaite,
Paul VI
Vance accompanied the crown. At its reception in the domed par
liament building in Budapest was Cardinal Lékái, but not the rst
secretary of the Communist Party, the head of government.
e full impact of the Vatican’s rapprochement with the So
viet Union and the American parallel policy would not be felt for
another decade, but the groundwork for the eventual fall of the
Soviet Union had already been laid by John XXIII’s willingness to
oer his services to prevent nuclear war and by his openness to
all men of goodwill. Paul VI followed through in this policy, es
pecially with the assistance of Agostino Casaroli, who frequently
conducted his work informally, if not in secret. What assured the
continuity between the policies of John and Paul was not only
their shared concern for peace, but also the shared view that
peace would ultimately have to be based on the dignity of the hu
man person and the need for social justice that would ultimately
undermine communism.
New York Times
, January \r, \r.
VATICAN II AND THE COLD WAR

TWO
VATICAN II
AND HUNGARY
Árpád von Klimó
In most Western countries, the Second Vatican Council has been
understood as a major event of the s.
e Council became
not only a symbol of the renewal and modernization of the Cath
olic Church, but also a sign of the more general social, political,
and


ost of all


ultural changes of the time. Catholics all
over the world began to engage in public debates surrounding the
gathering of their bishops and leading theologians at the Vatican.
How were the documents of the ecumenical council to be
understood? Some believers were confused or even appalled by
ideas intended to open the Catholic Church to a modern world
that the clergy had for decades depicted as a sinful, dangerous
place. Seen against this background, the story of the Second Vati
can Council has often been narrated as part of the postwar trend
toward further modernization, democratization, and emancipa
tion of civil societies, as a step toward more “progress.”
For a
. I use the term “West” as a synonym for most of Western Europe’s non-
Communist countries, as well countries such as the United States, Canada, and Aus
tralia—that is, where capitalism and liberal democracy predominated.
. I would argue that disappointment with the encyclical
Humanae vitae
(),
which banned the use of contraception, can be explained at least in part by expec
tations that many Catholics in the West had developed because of Vatican II. For
a brief, but precise, description of this disappointment, see DeGroot,
Sixties Un
plugged
, –.
VATICAN II AND HUNGARY

conservative minority, the Council was just another symptom
of the social disease a‰icting the Western world—just another
step toward decadence and further disorientation.³
If we look at the European countries dominated by the Soviet
Union, and Hungary in particular, historians tell the story in a
completely dierent way.
ere, the Second Vatican Council ap
peared to have been a rather insignicant event because it did
not seem to have had a strong impact on either church or society.
Most of all, it did not seem to have changed considerably the di 
cult situation in which churches and religious communities found
themselves under the dictatorship of successive incarnations of
the Communist Party.
With the end of the Second World War, before the establish
ment of the Communist system in Hungary, the Catholic Church
remained a very powerful social institution. It was the country’s
largest landowner, overseeing thousands of schools, controlling
dozens of publishing houses and newspapers, and enjoying the
. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in  distinguished between two “herme
neutics” of the Second Vatican Council: one of “discontinuity” and one of “reform.”
While the rst would highlight the dierences between a preconciliar and a postc
onciliar Church, the second would emphasize the continuity of the one Church; Mi
chael J. Lacey and Francis Oakley, eds.,
e Crisis of Authority in Catholic Modernity
(New York: Oxford University Press, ), \n\r–. In fact, Ratzinger developed this
reformist interpretation much earlier as a middle-ground alternative to progressive
and traditionalist understandings of the Council; Komonchak, “Modernity and the
Construction of Roman Catholicism,”
Cristianesimo nella Storia
, no.  (\r): \n.
. A typical example: “To be sure, when all this happened the communist bloc
was never included. Of course the Universal Church was concerned with what hap
pened in the communist countries, as demonstrated by the visits to these countries
by Franz Cardinal König, as well as by the Vatican’s
Ostpolitik
. But inside these
countries there was no possibility of taking part in the changes in ecclesiology and
society”; Blum, “Catholic Church in Hungary,” \n.
\n. Patrick Michel,
Politics and Religion in Eastern Europe: Catholicism in Hungary,
Poland and Czechoslovakia
, trans. Alan Braley (Oxford: Polity Press, ). From 
to , this was the Hungarian Communist Party, merged in  with the Social
Democratic Party to become the Hungarian Working People’s Party. is last organi
zation was, in turn, replaced in \n with the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party fol
lowing Soviet suppression of the Hungarian Revolution of October–November \n.
support of lay organizations and associations counting hundreds
of thousands of members.
And yet, by the early s, only a decade later, the Church
represented but a small, marginalized minority—discriminated
against, continuously defamed in public media, and, although on
a much smaller scale than during the Stalinist terror of the late
s and early \ns, still threatened by laws prohibiting the free
exercise of religious teaching and practice. e Communist party-
state, in the words of Hungarian theologian András Máté-Tóth,
“strictly controlled and limited the movements and public com
munication of the Hungarian Church in a number of ways.”
e
State O ce of Church Aairs restricted religious ceremonies and
education to the space within churches, censored all religious
publications, and observed all branches of the administration of
the Church with the help of informants tied to the state secu
rity apparatus. Neither prelates nor regular priests could travel
abroad without having rst secured the permission of the State
O ce.
Because of this di cult situation, the Hungarian Catholic
Church was unable to engage intensively in the activities and dis
cussions around Vatican II, let alone lead a passionate public de
bate about the renewal of Catholicism. Even the fact that a hand-
ful of representatives of the Hungarian Church were allowed to
take part in the sessions in Rome, which came as a pleasant sur
prise after tough negotiations between the Holy See and the Com
munist government, does not change an overall negative picture.
e Hungarian delegation left virtually no visible trace at the
Council. If we consult, for example, the monumental
History of
Vatican II
edited by Giuseppe Alberigo and Joseph Komonchak, a
ve-volume compendium of door-stopping girth, we nd that it
mentions, in a text of more than , pages, only two contribu
. András Máté-Tóth, “A II. Vatikani Zsinat és a magyar elhárítás,” at http://
internetlap.blogspot.com///ii.html; accessed May , .
VATICAN II AND HUNGARY

tions by Hungarian bishops.
In other words, the history of the
Council, it seems, would not have to be substantially rewritten if
the Hungarians had not participated at all.
If the impact that the Hungarian delegation had on the Sec
ond Vatican Council was so negligible, why should we even con
sider nding out more about it? Surprisingly, despite the weak
ness of the Hungarian delegation in Rome, the Council, on the
other hand, did indeed have a strong eect on Catholics in Hun
gary, an eect that has not been studied until recently. is chap
ter will delineate what we so far know about the history of Hun
garian Catholicism during and after the Second Vatican Council,
with an overview of the most recent research on the topic.
e
history of how Vatican II aected the Catholic Church in Hun
gary will be studied in three dierent elds: rst, within the
context of Vatican
Ostpolitik
; second, with regard to theological
and administrative changes beginning in the s; and nally,
through some of the activities of independent Catholic religious
movements inspired by the Council.
Vatican
used by journalists and scholars beginning in the \rs to de
scribe West Germany’s policy of détente toward the Soviet Union,
Poland, and other Communist countries. In the context of Ca
tholicism, it referred to a new, more conciliatory approach that
the Vatican applied in its relationship with Communist countries
beginning during the papacy of Pope John XXIII.
Communist apparatchiks who were responsible for the sup
pression or marginalization of the activities and in„uence of
churches in their societies initially regarded Vatican II and the new
conciliatory approach of John XXIII as a signicant threat. e
chairman of the Council on Church Aairs at the Council of Min
isters of the Soviet Union, Aleksei Puzin, feared that John XXIII’s
invitation of non-Catholic Christian leaders to take part in the
Vatican assembly could result in the establishment of a unied,
anti-Communist Christian front.
However, in , the Soviet, East German, Hungarian, and
Czechoslovak Communist leaderships began to see the Council
as an opportunity to gather more—and, more importantly, bet
ter—information about the “bulwark of imperialism” in Rome
and, at the same time, to gain more in„uence on opinion inside
the Catholic camp. Historians like Nicolas Bauquet and Csaba Sz
abó have recently begun to investigate, based on ndings in the
Archives of the Hungarian State Security Service, how Commu
nist Hungary started to spin a web of spies inside and around the
Vatican beginning in .
Importantly, both the Vatican and
can: Ostpolitik,”
Religion in Communist Lands
, no.  (\r). e standard book was
Stehle,
Eastern Politics of the Vatican, –
. With regard to the most recent re
search, see Karl-Joseph Hummel, ed.,
Vatikanische Ostpolitik unter Johannes XXIII.
und Paul VI. –
(Paderborn: Schöningh, ); Cerny-Werner,
Vatikanische
Ostpolitik und die DDR
. Fejérdy, “A szocialista tömb és a II. Vatikáni Zsinat,” in
Felekezetek, egyház
politika, identitás Magyarországon és Szlovákiában  után
ed. András Sándor Koc
sis (Budapest: Kossuth, ), .
. Csaba Szabó,
A Szentszék és a Magyar Népköztársaság kapcsolatai a hatvanas
években
(Budapest: Szent István Társulat/Magyar Országos Levéltár, \n). On the
VATICAN II AND HUNGARY

the Communist leaders wanted to use the world meeting to their
advantage. is led to some surprising results for a country like
Hungary, where the encounter between the Church and commu
nism had been marked by persecution and con„ict.
The Persecution of the Catholic Church in Hungary
before the Second Vatican Council
On June , \n, Domenico Cardinal Tardini, secretary of state
of the Holy See, sent letters to all of the world’s Catholic bishops,
asking them to make proposals as to how to redress the most ur
gent problems facing the Church in order to prepare for the uni
versal Council. e way in which the Hungarian bishops respond
ed, or rather did
respond, to this letter tells us a lot about the
situation in which the Hungarian Church found itself in the years
immediately preceding Vatican II.
Only ve of seventeen Hungarian bishops received Tardi
ni’s letter, and only the eighty-year-old Bishop Lajos Shvoy of
Székesfehérvár managed to send a reply to the Roman commit
tee responsible for the preparation of the Council.
Shvoy’s let
ter included a few proposals focusing on how the Church as an
institution could be strengthened in a hostile environment and
how the rights of the Church could be defended. Bishop Shvoy
also wanted a condemnation of materialism as well as an exten
sion of the Index of Banned Books to include radio, television,
spy network around and inside the Vatican, see Tamás Majsai, “
smereteimet soha,
senkinek nem fedhetem fel,’

Beszél folyóirat
, no.  (\r).
. e following is based on Fejérdy, “Magyar javaslatok a II. Vatikáni zsina
tra,”
Vigilia
, no. \r ().
. Lajos Shvoy was born in \r in Budapest, where he attended the schools
of the archbishop. He continued his studies at a Benedictine school in Esztergom,
where he also nished his theological studies. After becoming a priest in , he
worked for the Regnum Marianum College and Parish in Budapest. In \r, he was
nominated bishop of Székesfehérvár. In February \n, he was arrested by Hungar
ian fascists and liberated by Soviet troops.
and lms. For him, opening up to modern society was not an op
tion, given the di cult situation of the Church in his country.
Bishop Shvoy contrived to send his response to Rome by having
the letter smuggled out to West Germany and mailed from there.
All other letters sent to Tardini had been intercepted by in
formants of the Hungarian State Security agency and the State
O ce of Church Aairs.
is latter institution had been found
ed in \n and placed under the Council of Ministers. e State
O ce was responsible for the observation, inltration, and ma
nipulation of religious institutions. József Prantner, the presi
dent of the o ce, noted on one of the intercepted and translated
letters from Cardinal Tardini, “It is not allowed to send any kind
of meaningful answer to this call (neither against nor in favor).”
With only one proposal, the Hungarian bishops still ranked
above the Czechoslovak and Ukrainian hierarchies, which did not
even send one reply.
Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority,
or \r. percent, of European bishops who had received the letter
sent proposals to the committee in Rome. e American ( per
. For the history of the State Security apparatus in Hungary, see Laszlo Bo
rhi, “Stalinist Terror in Hungary,” in
Stalinist Terror in Eastern Europe: Elite Purges
and Mass Repression
, ed. Matthew Stibbe and Kevin McDermott (Manchester: Man
chester University Press, ), –. On the State O ce of Church Aairs in
Hungary in comparative perspective, see Sabrina P. Ramet,
Catholicism and Politics in
Communist Societies
(Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, ), :\n.
\n. Quoted in Fejérdy, “Magyar javaslatok.” József Prantner came from a Swabian
mid-range peasant family in Szekszárd. After middle school, he worked as a rail split
ter and a stone cutter. In , he joined the illegal Communist Party; three years later,
he was imprisoned for political activities. ereafter, he worked as a day laborer and
remained under police surveillance until he was drafted for the military labor service
in , from which he escaped, only to be imprisoned again. Liberated in \n, he
launched a successful career in the Communist Party in the county of Tolna. Starting
in \n, he was a department chief at the State O ce of Church Aairs; among others,
he was responsible for the state-sponsored “Priest Movement for Peace.” After two
years as a high party leader in his hometown, he became the president of the State
Church O ce in November , elevated in  to the rank of minister of state.
. Numbers according to Alberigo and Komonchak, eds.,
History of Vatican II
:.
VATICAN II AND HUNGARY

cent) and African bishops ( percent) were even more respon
sive to the Vatican’s call. All told, \r\r percent of the ,\n bishops
from all over the world replied.
e situation of the Catholic Church in Communist Hungary
was very di cult, to say the least. Primate Mindszenty’s  ar
rest and show-trial conviction, followed seven years later by the
crushing of Hungary’s anti-Soviet revolution, positioned church
and society alike against an inimical state. According to András
Fejérdy, the most complex problem was the right to nominate
Hungarian bishops, which Admiral Horthy’s government had
granted in \r to the pope alone as the so-called
Intesa semplice
is was a right that the Communists, however, did not ac
knowledge.
Between \n and \n, the Holy See had considered
the survival of the Communist regime questionable and was not
willing to compromise. Under John XXIII, however, the Vatican
came to the conclusion that communism was there to stay, and
there followed growing anxiety that the Communists could form
a national church like in China, which would result in a Hungar
ian schism.
In order to prepare for this eventuality, the Vatican planned
to install a “catacomb” hierarchy: bishops consecrated by a secret
envoy of the Holy See. At the same time, Rome was increasingly
interested in gathering rsthand information. e Polish pri
mate, Stefan Cardinal Wyszyski, had also advised John XXIII
to meet representatives from the “silenced church.” e pope
therefore invited the bishops from Communist countries to meet
\r. Fejérdy, “Szentszéki stratégiák a magyarországi püspöki székek betöltése ér
dékében \n– között” (April , ), at http://hu.radiovaticana.va/print_page.
asp?c=\n\r; accessed March , . Regarding the background of the
Intesa sem
plice
, see Árpád von Klimó, “Impartialität versus Revisionismus? Zum Verhältnis
zwischen dem Heiligen Stuhl und Ungarn in der Zwischenkriegszeit,” in
Der Heilige
Stuhl in den internationalen Beziehungen –
, ed. Jörg Zeidler (Munich: Her
bert Utz Verlag, ), –.
. Fejérdy, “Szentszéki stratégiák.”
him personally in Venice, but the Hungarian bishops were not al
lowed to leave the country for this purpose.
e year \n came only three years after the invasion of
Hungary by Soviet troops, who had brutally crushed the coun
try’s uprising against Stalinism. e Catholic Church in Hungary,
deprived of leadership, was deeply divided.¹…
e national head of the Church, primate József Cardinal
Mindszenty of Esztergom, had, during those dramatic days in
November \n, escaped by seeking asylum at the legation of the
United States in Budapest, where he would spend the next f
teen years. ereafter, Mindszenty was unable to communicate
with other bishops or representatives of the Hungarian Church.
Second in line was Archbishop József GrŠsz of Kalocsa, who had
signed an agreement between the Hungarian Church and the
Communist state in \n, against the advice of Pope Pius XII and
against the will of Mindszenty. GrŠsz had nevertheless been ap
prehended and kept under house arrest until \n. Two other
bishops, Bertalan Badalik of Veszprém and József Pétery of Vác,
were also in connement in the late \ns.
At the same time, the Vatican excommunicated a number of
Hungarian priests who had actively participated in the state-
sponsored “Priest Movement for Peace.”
In \n, the Vatican
nominated four Hungarian priests as bishops, but the state did
not acknowledge them until much later. In , the state im
prisoned more priests and lay Catholics who did not comply with
restrictions on the Church after they had set up youth groups
in which they practiced the faith.
e con„icts between state
. e situation is treated in detail in Szabó,
A Szentszék és a Magyar Népköz
társaság kapcsolatai a hatvanas években
. John Pollard,
e Papacy in the Age of Totalitarianism, –
(New York:
Oxford University Press, ), \r.
. Von Klimó, “Katholische Jugendgruppen in Ungarn in der zweiten Hälfte
der sechziger Jahre: Die Gruppen um Regnum Marianum—ein religiöses Netz
werk?,” in
Vernetzte Improvisationen: Gesellschaftliche Subsysteme in Ostmitteleuropa
und in der DDR
, ed. Annette Schuhmann (Cologne: Böhlau ), –\r.
VATICAN II AND HUNGARY

and church in these years revolved around the question of which
priests should decide in matters of Church administration: those
loyal to the Communist state or those loyal to the Vatican.
e Church and its administration were ever more deeply
inltrated by hundreds of state security agents and informants.
András Máté-Tóth counted that, in \n, \r out of , priests
active in Hungary, or .\r percent, collaborated with the secret po
lice and the State O ce of Church Aairs, while about three- to
four hundred priests worked illegally.
According to Stefano Bot
toni, the Communist state in time successfully managed to create
a loyal clergy by arresting and intimidating priests suspected of
anti-communism and promoting the careers of those willing to
collaborate. He assumes that, from the late \rs onward, the ma
jority of priests in Hungary were loyal to the regime or even col
laborated with the state security apparatus.
Most secret police
informants, however, were laymen working in the dierent levels
of Church administration—in parishes and diocesan o ces, in
the few remaining Catholic publishing houses and newspapers,
and in seminaries.
e Communist apparatchiks responsible for confessional af
fairs wanted to make sure that the Church was under total ob
servation. e secretariat of the Communist Party proclaimed in
\n that, with the establishment of the State O ce of Church
Aairs, “we have created a State organ that is capable of o cially
observing the activities of the clergy and at the same time of di
recting its policies.”²
. Máté-Tóth, “A II. Vatikani Zsinat és a magyar elhárítás”; Krisztián Ungváry,
“e Kádár Regime and the Roman Catholic Hierarchy,”
Hungarian Quarterly
, no. \r
(\r): –. “Collaboration” refers to the fact that they wrote reports for the State
Security Agency.
. Stefano Bottoni, “A Special Relationship: Hungarian Intelligence and the
Vatican (–\r),” in
NKVD/KGB Activities and Its Cooperation with Other Secret
Services in Central and Eastern Europe –: Anthology of the International and
Interdisciplinary Conference
(Bratislava: Szerk. AAVV, ), \n.
. Quoted at Bauquet,
Pouvoir, église et société
, .
e Communist era prior to  was characterized by two
distinct periods of confessional policy: between  and \n,
open terror and extreme violence deployed against Church o 
cers, Catholic activists, and religious orders; and, between \n
and \n, reprisals. e year  brought a new dynamic of pow
er between the Church and the Communist state. Instead of us
ing open violence, the Communist apparatus—consisting, on the
one hand, of the State O ce of Church Aairs and, on the other
hand, of the state security services—worked together with in
formants and collaborators inside the Church to create a “culture
of prevention.” Instead of torture and imprisonment, “conversa
tions” were enough to assure the state’s absolute control over the
former “bastion of imperialism.”
It was now the clergy itself who guaranteed Communist dom
ination. is was the devilish consequence of the “soft” dictator
ship under János Kádár. e  “Partial Agreement” between
the Vatican and the Hungarian Communist government, which
resulted from negotiations started in , marked, according to
Nicolas Bauquet, a major turning point in the history of church-
state relations in Hungary.
e agreement sanctied close col
laboration between the Church hierarchy and the Communist
state, particularly in the suppression of dissent.
is image of a church under observation and control, howev
er, is not the full picture. Since we have almost no primary sources
bearing on the matter other than those produced by the secret
police, we have to emphasize that this image re„ects a very spe
cic, biased perspective on reality.
Katherine Verdery has rightly
\n. Ibid., \r.
. Ibid., \r; Szabó,
A Szentszék és a Magyar Népköztársaság kapcsolatai a hat
vanas években
\r. Von Klimó, “Nonnen und Tschekistinnen: Vorstellungen der ungarischen
Staatssicherheit von einer katholischen Gegenöentlichkeit in den frühen fünfziger
Jahren,” in
Sphären von Ö\rentlichkeit in Gesellschaften sowjetischen Typs
, ed. Gábor T.
VATICAN II AND HUNGARY

termed the state security forces of the Soviet Bloc “a system pro
ducing paper.”
The Hungarian Conciliar Delegation, State Security,
and the \f Partial Agreement
When the Vatican nally began to invite Council fathers in early
, most questions regarding the Catholic Church in Hungary
were still unresolved, and communication between Rome and
Hungary was still nearly impossible. At this moment, it had been
twelve years since the last bishop from Hungary could o cially
visit the Vatican. But John XXIII did not give up hope for the par
ticipation of as many bishops as possible from the Communist
countries, seeking to reopen the lines of communication and to
assure the truly global character of the Council.²…
Most Hungarian bishops received the invitation in January,
though others only months later, including Cardinal Mindszen
ty—who was still conned to the U.S. embassy.
Bishop Shvoy
declared that “either all or none of the Hungarian bishops should
travel to Rome.”
Bishop Endre Hamvas of Csanád, who had pre
sided over the Hungarian episcopate since , told Shvoy that
Rittersporn, Malte Rolf, and Jan C. Behrends (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, ),
\r–.
. Katherine Verdery,
What Was Socialism, and What Comes Next?
(Princeton:
Princeton University Press, ), .
. Fejérdy,
Magyarország és a II. Vatikáni Zsinat
, .
. Archbishop Franz König of Vienna visited Mindszenty regularly beginning
in ; Maria Pallagi, “

Az osztrák kapcsolat’: Franz König, bécsi bíboros látogatásai
Mindszenty József hercegprímásnál (–\r),”
Aetas
, no.  (): –. Mind-
szenty was concerned that he would not be able to return to the country if he were
to leave. His di cult case was only resolved in \r, after complicated negotiations
involving the Hungarian government, the Vatican, and the United States.
. Shvoy, letter to Bishop Endre Hamvas, July , , in Szabó,
A Szentszék és
a Magyar Népköztársaság kapcsolatai a hatvanas években
, \n; see Margit Balogh, “Az
\r. szeptember -ei magyar-szentszéki megállapodás,”
Századok
\r, no.  ():
\r\n–.
the decision about who could travel to Rome also depended on
the Hungarian State O ce of Church Aairs, which granted or
denied exit permits.³²
On June , , the Politburo of the Hungarian Socialist
Workers’ Party debated whether or not to allow the participation
of the Hungarian Catholic Church at the Second Vatican Council,
to begin only four months later in Rome.
e Hungarian com
rades were nervous about their image in the Communist Bloc, so
they waited for the opinions of party leaders from other coun
tries. Finally, in August, both the Soviet and the Polish Politburo
informed their Hungarian counterparts that they supported the
idea of having a Hungarian delegation present at the Council.³
Since \n, the Communist leadership—especially in the State
O ce of Church Aairs—had nervously observed the change in
the Vatican’s tone under John XXIII regarding the Church’s rela
tionship to Communist countries. e new pope was interested in
developing more constructive diplomatic relations with the East
ern Bloc and in contributing to the easing of tensions between
the superpowers. Pope Roncalli made this clear with his encyclical
Pacem in terris
(), released only a few months after the Cuban
Missile Crisis, which had almost led to nuclear war.
Addressing
this letter not only to Catholic believers, but to all “men of good
will,”³€
Pope John XXIII distinguished between errors (like Marx
ism and materialism) and the person who errs, reaching out to all
believers and nonbelievers of “good will.”
. Hamvas, response to Shvoy, August , , in Szabó,
A Szentszék és a Mag
yar Népköztársaság kapcsolatai a hatvanas években
, \n.
. Szabó,
A Szentszék és a Magyar Népköztársaság kapcsolatai a hatvanas évek
ben
. Ibid., .
\n. See chapter , by Gerald P. Fogarty, in this volume.
. Peter Steinfels,
Pacem in terris
Lecture Series Inaugural Lecture, Georgetown
University, October , , at http://www.georgetown.edu/content/\n
.html; accessed April , .
\r. “It is always perfectly justiable to distinguish between error as such and the
VATICAN II AND HUNGARY

e Communist leadership distrusted this new, global ap
proach, which seemed so dierent from Pius XII’s strong anti-
communism because it made it more di cult to defame the Catho
lic clergy as reactionary.
Only beginning in  did Hungarian
state o cials, as well as some of their comrades in Poland and
the Soviet Union, come to regard the Council as an opportunity
to inltrate the Vatican and to spread Communist propaganda
within the Catholic world. Nicolas Bauquet interprets this as a
major shift within Hungarian Communist functionaries’ percep
tion of the outside world—specically, the capitalist West. In
other words, they started to understand the territories and soci
eties of Western Europe—Italy in particular—not only as threat
ening, but also as full of opportunities to gather information and
to support Communist parties based there.
A number of agents of the secret police began to learn for
eign languages, receiving training for new, international careers
as spies. Some of these were specialists who had worked with the
State O ce of Church Aairs.
e comrades leading the strug
gle against the Church formulated a number of goals for a few
Hungarian bishops and a number of other informants and spies
to achieve.
Among those goals were: (a) gathering information;
(b) improving the image of the Communist countries and estab
lishing “useful contacts” in the West; (c) “repelling the conserva
person who falls into error—even in the case of men who err regarding the truth or
are led astray as a result of their inadequate knowledge, in matters either of religion
or of the highest ethical standards. A man who has fallen into error does not cease
to be a man. He never forfeits his personal dignity; and that is something that must
always be taken into account”; John XXIII,
Pacem in terris
, no. \n.
. At the same time, we should not forget that Pius XII had started to distance
himself from the capitalist West, particularly after Stalin’s death in \n, calling for
a “coexistence in truth” to replace the existing “climate of fear”; quoted in Frank J.
Coppa,
e Life and Ponticate of Pope Pius XII
(Washington, D.C.: e Catholic Uni
versity of America Press, ), .
. Bauquet,
Pouvoir, église et société
, .
. A detailed account of these goals is in Fejerdy,
Magyarország és a II. Vatikáni
Zsinat
, \r–.
tive-integrist wing” of the Church; and (d) supporting Commu
nist-friendly “positive forces.”
After the decision to allow a few representatives of the Church
to participate in the ecumenical council in Rome, the Department
for Agitation and Propaganda of the Hungarian Politburo wanted
to ensure that Bishop Hamvas was not traveling alone “in order to
prevent him from exercising the hostile pressure that we expect
from him. If more than one person will be allowed to travel, we
have to make sure that the reactionary wing of the bishops is iso
lated.”
e Communists were concerned that the Council would
publish a statement condemning communism or perhaps even in
clude such a text in one of the o cial declarations.
To make sure that the “reactionaries” were isolated, the rst
delegation to represent the Hungarian Catholic Church in Rome
consisted of only ten persons, including Bishop Hamvas and
Bishop Sándor Kovács of Szombathely as Council fathers. Mean
while, the “reactionary” Bishop Shvoy was denied an exit permit.
Accompanying the two bishops was a whole delegation, of which
all but two of its members are conrmed as having reported to
the state security agency: Pál Brezanóczy (codename “Pál Kékes”)
and Kálmán Papp, as theological consultants; Miklós Esty (“Pat
kay”), the lay president of the Saint Stephen Society, and Rev. Ist
ván Hamvas (“Kecskeméti”) as attendants; the journalist Víd Mi
helics (“Béla Molnár”), editor of the Catholic monthly
Vigília
; and
the three theologians Polikárp Radó, László Semptey (“HivŠ”),
and Imre Timkó (“János Kiss”).²
We now know most of the secret-police aliases of this rst
Hungarian delegation, and we have access to the reports that they
. Quoted in Szabó,
A Szentszék és a Magyar Népköztársaság kapcsolatai a hat
vanas években
, .
. Bishop Kovács studied theology in Vác and Vienna and was ordained in
\n. In March , he became bishop of Szombathely and saved Jewish refugees;
Bottoni, “Special Relationship.” e list of participants is in Fejérdy,
Magyarország és
a II. Vatikáni Zsinat
VATICAN II AND HUNGARY

sent back to headquarters in Budapest. e operation of Hungar
ian state security during the First Session of Vatican II was closely
coordinated with the Hungarian embassy in Rome. Altogether,
twenty secret agents supervised the operation. Most were Hun
garians, but they were also joined by specialists from other Com
munist countries, and even a few Italians.
Some Vatican circles warmly welcomed the Hungarian delega
tion because they regarded its presence as a valuable opportunity
to nally get information and insights into the situation of one of
the “silenced” churches behind the Iron Curtain, twelve years af
ter the last representative of the Hungarian Catholic Church had
been allowed to visit Rome. On July , , newly elected Pope
Paul VI personally received the delegation. e ponti expressed
his wish to come to a nal resolution of the case of Cardinal
Mindszenty, mentioning that President Kennedy supported him
in the matter. According to the state security informant Pál Bre
zanóczy, the pope had literally said, “Mindszenty makes big head
lines in the news, but the situation of being an embassy’s guest is
not healthy.”
e statement, if it is accurate, indicates that Paul
VI was interested from the beginning in achieving some form of
normalization regarding the situation of the Church in Hungary.
When the Second Session started in September , Agostino
Casaroli, the Vatican’s special envoy to the Communist world, had
already begun negotiations with the Hungarian government, fo
cusing particularly on the nomination of new bishops and on the
problem of bishops not recognized by the state. Western media—
for example, the
Catholic Herald
of London—reported a relaxation
of relations between the Hungarian Church, the Vatican, and the
Communist government. e
Herald
’s readers learned on July ,
, “Reports from Budapest indicate that the life of the Church
. Quoted in Máté-Tóth, “A II. Vatikani Zsinat és a magyar elhárítás.” e re
port is taken from the “Canale” le, published in Szabó,
A Szentszék és a Magyar Nép
köztársaság kapcsolatai a hatvanas években
, \r.
sprang into a new phase of vitality from the start of the Vatican
Council. Many priests are back on the job as the result of an am
nesty. Bishops were allowed to go to the Council’s First Session.
Deputy Premier Gyula Kallai is reported to have said that Hungary
will approve the appointment of bishops to vacant sees.”
is was probably too optimistic, but the Hungarian state me
dia, too, attempted a more open approach—however cautiously
—to this global assembly of the Catholic Church. On October ,
, a report of Radio Free Europe found that “Radio Budapest
dealt with the opening of the Vatican Council in several broadcasts.
Besides quoting a few sentences from the speech of the Pope, it
broadcast also a special commentary from TASS which mentioned
the person of the Pope without any acerbity. e Homeland Ra
dio quoted on  October an interview with Bishop Hamvas .


which the Bishop expressed his pleasure at being able to attend
the Ecumenical Council.



ll Budapest newspapers reported the
events of the journey of the Hungarian churchmen to Rome.”
e second Hungarian delegation to Vatican II comprised
sixteen persons. is time, the group included ve bishops, ve
Church administrators, three theologians, two Catholic lay repre
sentatives, and one doctor. Half of the delegation reported to the
state security services.
One agent reported that the Hungarian
bishops had gained the reputation among other attendees of the
Council and within some Vatican circles of being “senile” and very
narrowly focused on Hungarian matters. Some of them could not
speak foreign languages and had di culty following what was go
ing on in Rome.
. “Hungary Talks to Resume Soon,”
Catholic Herald
, July , .
\n. “Situation Report: Hungary, October , ,” HU OSA ––\r––\r
(electronic record), Records of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute,
Publications Department: Situation Reports, Open Society Archives, Central Euro
pean University, Budapest.
. See the list in Fejérdy,
Magyarország és a II. Vatikáni Zsinat
\r. Máté-Tóth, “A II. Vatikani Zsinat és a magyar elhárítás.”
VATICAN II AND HUNGARY

e ird Session started on September , , the same
day that the Vatican and the Hungarian People’s Republic signed
the Partial Agreement. e parties had achieved a compromise
of sorts: the Vatican accepted the nomination of new bishops fa
vored by the Communist government, and the Hungarian regime
agreed to the installation of a few bishops and priests it had pre
viously blocked. e four new bishops and two of the formerly
banned bishops took part in the new fourteen-member Hungar
ian delegation.
In \r, an internal Radio Free Europe report assessed that
the Hungarian government was much more content with the 
agreement than the Vatican because the Church in Hungary was
still under state control, while the Communist state had only of
fered a few concessions.
e Hungarian Church historian Máté
Gárdonyi interprets Vatican
Ostpolitik
and the  Partial Agree
ment as a strategy that was solely concerned with the survival of
the Church, entailing acceptance of the bitter pill of bishops and
priests who collaborated with the Communist state.
e  session of the Council brought discussions of Sche
ma XIII, a document that dealt with the relationship between
the Church and the modern world. e Hungarian delegation—
partly in„uenced by the state security services—worked out a
statement acknowledging that there were still problems for the
Church in Communist countries, but that believers proted from
the social progress that the Communist regime had introduced
and that this progress should also be brought to other parts of
the world.
During the last session in the fall of \n, Bishop Brezanóczy,
. “\n Digital Archive,” OSA Archive, http://osaarchivum.org/les/hold
ings////text_da/\n–\n-.shtml.
. Máté Gárdonyi, “Túlélés—együttmködés—ellenállás: A katolikus egyház
stratégiai a ‘népi demokráciákban,’

Csapdában: Tanulmányok a katolikus egyház
történetébl –
, ed. Gábor Bankuti (Budapest:
Á
ambiztons
i Szolg
latok
t
neti Lev
lt
á
ra, ), –.
who was the leader of the “Movement of Priests for Peace,” an
organization created by the Communist secret police, “spoke in
the name of the Hungarian bishops.” What he proposed was the
establishment of “a central body for coordinating action taken by
the world-wide church on behalf of peace.”­†
Both of the bishops’ statements were in accordance with
Communist propaganda, but they also corresponded to the spir
it of the times in the West. For the last sessions of the Second
Vatican Council, the State O ce of Church Aairs instructed its
agents in the Hungarian delegation to focus on improving and
deepening their relations with the Vatican and with representa
tives of churches in Western countries.
To sum up the research that has been done so far, based most
ly on archival materials from the state security services in Hun
gary, the following picture emerges: the participation of Hungar
ian clergy in the international event was strongly observed and
orchestrated by the State O ce of Church Aairs and the secret
police. However—and this is a crucial problem—we have almost
no documents from other sources, and we do not have access to
all Hungarian Church archives or to Vatican archives for these
years. e image that remains for historians of the Hungarian
delegation and its activity during Vatican II therefore re„ects the
security apparatus’s very particular worldview.­¹
e Communist state representatives responsible for control
of the Catholic Church regarded their activities during the Coun
cil as a successful operation against “clerical reaction.” ey were
content that no anti-Communist statements had been published
and that they had gathered information about the Vatican and
\n. Gilles Routhier, “Finishing the Work Begun,” in
History of Vatican II
, ed. Al
berigo and Komonchak, \n:\r\n.
\n. A good introduction to the di culties of interpreting the les of the Com
munist state security apparatus is in Timothy Garton Ash,
e File: A Personal His
tory
(New York: Random House, \r).
the Catholic Church.
e Communist state also made sure that
most of the Council’s documents were not published in Hungar
ian until \r\n.­³
e nal part of this chapter will sum up what has been stud
ied so far with regard to changes in Church administration, theol
ogy, and practice. It will also look at a dierent aspect of Hungar
ian Catholicism during the time of the Second Vatican Council:
the independent Catholic and—later—ecumenical “base commu
nities” and their interpretation of the Second Vatican Council.
After the Council: What Did the Council
Some critical theologians have expressed the opinion that the
dictatorship, with the support of a puppet Church, systematical
ly blocked the application of the reforms of the Second Vatican
Council in Hungary.
is critique is a bit overstated, exaggerat
\n. Stefano Bottoni writes, “It was during the II Vatican Council that the Hun
garian intelligence o cers, learning from their errors, laid the foundations for fur
ther operative work against the Vatican”; Bottoni, “Special Relationship,” \n\n.
\n. is is a list of what had been published:
Rendelkezés a szent liturgáról
[Dis
position on the Holy Liturgy], ;
Határozat a világiak apostolkodásáról
[Resolution
on the Lay Apolostolate], ;
A püspök pásztori tisztségérl
[On the Pastoral O ce
of the Bishops], \r;
Az isteni kinyilatkoztatásról
[On the Manifestation of God],
\r;
A papság képzésérl
[On the Education of the Priesthood], \r;
A keresztény
egységre törekvésrl
[On the Eorts of Christian Unity], \r;
Az Egyház viszonya a
nemkeresztény vallásokhoz
[e Church Confronts the Non-Christian Religions],
\r;
Lelkipásztori rendelkezések az Egyházról a mai világban
[Pastoral Directions for
the Church in Today’s World], \r. See Károly Mészáros,
Konkordancia a II. Vatikáni
Zsinát dokumentumaiból
(Budapest: Szent István Társulat, \r); József Cserháti and
Árpád Fábián, eds.,
A Vatikáni Zsinat tanítása: A zsinati dokumentumok
, (\r\n; nd ed.
Budapest: Szent István Társulat, \r\r).
\n. Andreas [András] Szennay, “Kirche in Ungarn,”
eologisch-praktische Quar
talschrift
, no.  (): –; Johannes Gönner,
Die Stunde der Wahrheit: Eine
pastoraltheologische Bilanz der Auseinandersetzungen zwischen den Kirchen und dem
kommunistischen System in Polen, der DDR, der Tschechoslowakei und Ungarn
(New
VATICAN II AND HUNGARY

ing the actual power of the state apparatus, and it rests on the
assumption that the documents released by the Council can be
understood in one sense only.
In the long run, the marginalization of most alternative ideas
and religious activities by the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party
and its repressive apparatus had unintended consequences. Be
ginning in the s, especially younger generations felt more
and more that the o cial ideology provided by communism did
not oer them any answers to the problems of everyday life, in
stead proving to be empty slogans. In the s, a Communist
party secretary complained about growing “materialism” among
workers and adolescents and about their lack of “idealism.”
we can only call an irony of history, since the aim of Communist
education since  had been the struggle against clerical “ide
alism” in favor of the “materialist world view.”
It is true, however, that a fully engaged reception of the Coun
cil, its deliberations, and the subsequent theological and pastoral
debates was very di cult in Communist Hungary.
First of all,
the state censored all information about the Council. It allowed
publication in Hungary of John XXIII’s  message to the Hun
garian believers, but not Paul VI’s in .
It took until \r\n for
almost all documents of the Council to become available in Hun
gary, translated in the Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma. On
the other hand, many priests and Catholic laymen could read the
documents in Latin or German.
Considering the di cult situation of Catholic believers in
York: Peter Lang, \n); Gábor Adriányi, “Ungarn,” in
Kirche und Katholizismus
seit 
, vol. ,
Ostmittel-, Ost- und Südosteuropa
., ed. Erwin Gratz (Paderborn:
Schöningh, ), \n–\r.
\n\n. Eszter Bartha,
Alienating Labor: Workers on the Road from Socialism to Capi
talism in East Germany and Hungary
(New York: Berghahn, ), \r.
\n. e following summarizes the ndings of Fejérdy,
Magyarország és a II. Va
tikáni Zsinat
, –\n.
\n\r. Fejérdy,
Magyarország és a II. Vatikáni Zsinat
, .
VATICAN II AND HUNGARY

general under any Communist dictatorship, access to these docu
ments was surely not the main obstacle to a lively debate about
Vatican II. Rather, it was everyday discrimination against reli
gion in schools, workplaces, and the public sphere. Despite these
di cult conditions, a debate on the Council documents did in
deed take place in Hungary. Mihály Kránitz described in an ar
ticle how Hungarian theologians discussed ideas of the Domini
can- and Jesuit-driven so-called
nouvelle théologie
and how Karl
Rahner, who visited Hungary several times after , contrib
uted to a better knowledge of themes discussed during the Coun
cil.­ƒ
e priest Tamás Nyíri, a Catholic philosopher who taught
at the University of Budapest beginning in , was very active
in spreading news about the Council and its teachings in Hunga
ry, as was József Cserháti, the bishop of Pécs who had attended
the last three sessions of the Council.­…
Only by the end of the \rs had the Hungarian Church nally
applied most of the administrative and liturgical changes that
the Council had initiated. Some changes—like new administra
tive structures and the renewal of the liturgy—could be imple
mented more easily than others. e Hungarian bishops’ confer
ence established, among others, a National Liturgical Council
Országos Liturgikus Tanács) in , and the renewal of liturgi
cal forms was put into eect during the \rs.
More problemat
ic because of the di cult political circumstances was the imple
mentation of other decisions taken at Vatican II. In a meeting on
December , \r, the Hungarian bishops concluded that “the
pastoral instructions regarding means of mass communication
cannot, because of the conditions of our country, be realized.”€¹
\n. Mihály Kránitz, “La teologia cattolica ungherese dopo il Concilio Vaticano II,”
Gregorianum
, no.  (): \n–\n.
\n. Gábor Zsille, “A párbeszéd embere: Nyíri Tamás halálának évfordulójára,”
Ember
, no.  ().
. Fejérdy,
Magyarország és a II. Vatikáni Zsinat
, .
. Quoted in Fejérdy,
Magyarország és a II. Vatikáni Zsinat
, . is refers to the
e most di cult question concerns the impact that the Coun
cil had on believers, since we have very few studies of religious life
in Hungary since the s. ere were two movements perse
cuted by the Communist state that attracted a considerable num
ber of mostly younger Catholics and managed to survive in small
groups throughout the Kádár era (\n–). One of these two
movements was Regnum Marianum; the other one was founded
by the Piarist father György Bulányi.
Bulányi claimed that he was
strongly inspired by the documents of Vatican II. In a letter writ
ten to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger on Good Friday , Bulányi
recalled, “I read and translated the documents for my friends in a
great, fever-like hurry. My heart was lled with joy when I read in
Lumen gentium
the following lines: ‘Just as Christ carried out the
work of redemption in poverty and persecution, so the Church is
called to follow the same route so that it might communicate the
fruits of salvation to men.’

In particular, it was the mention of poverty and persecution
Lumen gentium
that excited Bulányi, who had begun to found
a movement of small, secret communities of Catholic believers in
the late s. He then continued this illegal work for decades, de
spite the fact that he was imprisoned several times in the interim.
e network of small communities that Father Bulányi found
ed under the name of
Bokor
(Hungarian for “bush”) was the most
successful illegal religious movement during the Communist peri
od.€
After the prohibition and persecution of countless Christian
decree
Inter mirica
, http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/
documents/vat-ii_decree__inter-mirica_en.html; accessed January , .
. Máté-Tóth,
Bulányi und die Bokor Bewegung: Eine pastoraltheologische Würdi
gung
(Vienna: Ungarisches Kirchensoziologisches Institut, ). On Regnum Mari
anum, see von Klimó, “Katholische Jugendgruppen,” –\r. For a memoir of one of
the priests active in the movement, see János Dobszay,
Így vagy sehogy: Fejezetek a
Regnum Marianum életébl
(Budapest: Regnum Marianum, ).
. Quoted at Máté-Tóth,
Bulányi und die Bokor Bewegung
, .
. József Illyés Szabolcs,
New Catholic Movements in Hungary: Praxis of a
Movement-eory
(Ph.D. diss., University of Vienna, ).
VATICAN II AND HUNGARY

groups, there was a great demand for religious communal life, as
well as a large number of oerings, since thousands of monks and
nuns had been driven from their cloisters and now had to earn
their keep as humble workers. Many of them continued to live
communally or gathered small groups of the faithful around them,
sharing religious ideas and practices.
Because these new groupings were isolated from the outside
world and had scant access to religious literature, they developed
a degree of autonomy and independence that soon alienated them
from a Church hierarchy that placed a premium on obedience and
control.
at was, among others, a reason that both the Hungar
ian Church and the Vatican censured Bulányi during the s—
and why he had to exchange letters with Joseph Ratzinger, the
prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Despite the sometimes hostile stance adopted by the Church
hierarchy toward Bokor and its harassment and persecution by
state authorities, the movement grew in the s and \rs to
encompass several thousand members who met in small groups
of twelve. Bulányi continually reinterpreted his philosophy of
mission in light of Council documents. When Cardinal Ratzinger
asked him to sign a document, he signed it. But he added the sen
tence that no one should “be forced to act in a manner contrary to
his conscience,” citing Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Free
dom,
Dignitatis humanae
What made life in these groups particularly attractive was
the fact that their members—priests and laymen, men and wom
en—were all on an equal footing, speaking critically and openly
with one another. ey were able to lead, in their view, lives that
were informed by Christian values such as the dignity of the hu
man person, praying, and re„ecting on the Bible together.
At
\n. is is the interpretation from Máté-Tóth,
Bulányi und die Bokor Bewegung
. Renata Ehrlich, “Die real existierende Kirche in Ungarn,”
Orientierung
, no. \n
(): –.
\r. András Jobbágy,
Religious Policy and Dissent in Socialist Hungary, –:
the center of these groups was the communal teaching and learn
ing of theological and practical Christian wisdom based on their
own Bible study and on writings by Father Bulányi.
For many Hungarians in the wake of Vatican II, an alternative
lifestyle that was radically informed by religious faith allowed an
escape from both the
tristesse
of the dictatorship and the tutelage
of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. e communal learning formed a
voluntaristic counter-pedagogy to the ubiquitous impositions of
Communist ideology and indoctrination. On the one hand, the
members found security and certain protections against a system
that was perceived as threatening and repressive. At the same
time, the egalitarian, open, and critical forms of activity that they
had undertaken were akin to the anti-authoritarian values that
the West was discovering in the s, a period that spawned
similar pacistic, egalitarian, anti-capitalist, and cultural-critical
movements and cells.
When one looks at the „ourishing of new
movements like Bokor, it becomes clear that the Second Vatican
Council had a positive, as well as a negative, in„uence on Hungar
ian Catholicism.
e Case of the Bokor-Movement
(Ph.D. diss., Central European University, ),
–\n\n.
. Von Klimó, “Zwischen Beat und Kommunismus: Katholische Jugendgrup
pen in Ungarn ,” in
Die letzte Chance?  in Osteuropa: Analysen und Berichte
über ein Schlüsseljahr
, ed. Angelika Ebbinghaus (Hamburg: VSA, ), –;
see also Péter Apor, “Autentikus közösség és autonóm személyiség:  egyik
elŠtörténete,”
AETAS-Történettudományi folyóirat
, no.  (): –; and Kinga
Povedák, “Catholicism in Transition: e ‘Religious Beat’ Movement in Hungary,” in
Christianity in the Modern World: Changes and Controversies
, ed. Giselle Vincett and
Elijah Obinna (Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, ), –\n. For a broader study of the
s, see DeGroot,
Sixties Unplugged
VATICAN II
AND YUGOSLAVIA
Ivo Banac
e Second Vatican Council was not only a turning point in the
history of the Roman Catholic Church, in Yugoslavia no less than
elsewhere, but an important in„uence that contributed to a dé
tente between the Yugoslav party-state and its principal ideolog
ical adversary. It is telling that
Glas Koncila
(Voice of the council),
the most important Croatian and Yugoslav Catholic newspaper,
which was launched in October  as an occasional stenciled
bulletin with the title
Glas s Koncila
(Voice from the council),
originally was meant to inform the priesthood of the archdio
cese of Zagreb “about the most important work and events at
the Council.”
In its rst issue, which avoided all domestic news
except for the announcement of the departure of Council fa
thers for Rome, the editors included an understated expression
of gratitude for the “cooperation, proposals, and suggestions” of
potential collaborators.
is was the beginning of the revival of
a once-mighty Croatian Catholic press, which had been devastat
ed by the Communists after \n.
e Catholic Church in Yugoslavia, notably in the preponder
antly Catholic northwest (Slovenia and Croatia), but also in Voj-
. Stjepan Baki, “Dragi sveenici!,”
Glas s Koncila
(Zagreb), October , .
. “Obavijesti,”
Glas s Koncila
(Zagreb), October , , .
IVO BANAC
vodina and Bosnia and Herzegovina, with their signicant Cath
olic population, was hit hard by the Communist revolution that
immediately followed the Second World War.
e Communists
executed at least ve hundred Catholic priests and religious; de
stroyed most Catholic institutions; banned practically all Catholic
publications; excluded religious instruction from schools; cons
cated Church property; and, in , arrested Archbishop Alojzije
Stepinac of Zagreb, the most senior Catholic prelate in Yugosla
via, sentencing him to sixteen years of hard labor. After the 
break with the Soviet Bloc, the Yugoslav Communist leadership
in fact intensied the persecution of the Catholic Church, which
they viewed as their most determined internal enemy. In the early
\ns, the authorities promoted several regime-identied priests’
associations.
. On the Communist revolution in Yugoslavia, see Woodford D. McClellan,
“Postwar Political Evolution,” in
Contemporary Yugoslavia: Twenty Years of Socialist
Experiment
, ed. Wayne S. Vucinich (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of Califor
nia Press, ), –\n. On the Christian churches in Yugoslavia after World War II,
see Stella Alexander,
Church and State in Yugoslavia since 
(Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, \r); see also Miroslav Akmada,
Katolika Crkva u komunistikoj
Hrvatskoj –
(Zagreb and Slavonski Brod: Despot Innitus and Hrvatski in
stitut za povijest, ); Akmada,
Katolika crkva u Hrvatskoj i komunistiki re\fim
–
(Rijeka: Otokar Keršovani, ); Jure Krišto,
Katolika crkva u totalita
rizmu –: Razmatranja o Crkvi u Hrvatskoj pod komunizmom
(Zagreb: Globus,
\r); Radmila Radi,
Verom protiv vere: Dr\fava i verske zajednice u Srbiji –
(Belgrade: Inis, \n); Akmada,
Oduzimanje imovine Katolikoj crkvi i crkveno-dr\favni
odnosi od . do . godine: Primjer Zagrebake nadbiskupije
(Zagreb: Tkali, );
Akmada, “Poloaj Katolike crkve u Hercegovini u prvim godinama komunistike
vladavine,” in
Hum i Hercegovina kroz povijest: Zbornik radova s me unarodnog znanst
venog skupa odr\fanog u Mostaru . i . studenoga 
, ed. Ivica Lui (Zagreb: Hrvats
ki institut za povijest, ), :–\n; Stjepan Koul,
Stradanja u Zagrebakoj nad
biskupiji za vrijeme Drugoga svjetskoga rata i pora\na
(Zagreb: Tkali, ).
. On these see Velimir Blaevi, “Kontroverze oko osnivanja i djelovanja udru-
enja katolikih sveenika ‘

obri pastir,’

Bosna Franciscana
(Sarajevo) , no. \r
(): –\r; Akmada, “Staleško društvo katolikih sveenika Hrvatske u slubi
komunistikog reima,”
Tkali\n
\r, no. \r (): \r–\n; Kolar, “Priestly Patriotic As
sociations,” –\n; Stipan Trogrli, “Istarska sveenika udruenja—Zbor sveenika
sv. Pavla za Istru i Društvo sv. ‹irila i Metoda u Pazinu (\n–\n),”
Croatica chris
tiana periodica
(Zagreb) , no.  (): –\n.
VATICAN II AND YUGOSLAVIA

Despite their checkered and controversial experience, aimed
at undermining the authority of the Catholic hierarchy, these as
sociations, notably in Bosnia and Herzegovina, actually contrib
uted to the normalization of religious life and eased the excessive
pressures on lay believers. When the Yugoslav bishops’ conference
(BKJ) sanctioned membership in these associations in September
\n, the Yugoslav secret police (UDB-a) initiated interrogations
of a large group of bishops. en, at the end of November, at the
height of internal Yugoslav liberalization following the Sixth Con
gress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (SKJ), when
Pope Pius XII announced the cardinals for the upcoming consis
tory, among them the imprisoned Archbishop Stepinac, Yugosla
via broke diplomatic relations with the Holy See on December \r,
\n. is was the lowest point in the encounter between church
and state in Yugoslavia.
A growing issue in this acrimonious relationship was the role
of some \n Catholic priests (and a few bishops) in the political
emigration, notably in the Croat diaspora. According to Commu
nist sources, half a million Yugoslavs, mainly Croats, emigrated
from Yugoslavia after the Second World War.
From the stand
point of the regime, “the postwar Catholic clerical emigration
was from the very beginning the most reactionary, most orga
nized, and most active.”€
Among the centers of émigré life, Belgrade was particularly
bothered by the Pontical College of St. Jerome in Rome, noted
for the anti-regime activities of Rev. Krunoslav Draganovi and
several Croat priests. By his own admission, Draganovi attract
ed attention immediately after the war through his eorts on be
half of “over \n, people,” among them war criminals, to leave
\n. Veeslav Holjevac,
Hrvati izvan domovine
(Zagreb: Matica hrvatska, \r), .
Informacija
, Archives of Bosnia and Hercegovina (ABH, Sarajevo), Republika
komisija za odnose s vjerskim zajednicame (RKVP [Republic Commission for Rela
tions with Religious Communities] ).
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Italy for the overseas countries.
e postwar refugee wave was
over by the end of the \ns: as a result, rst the bishops and
then the student-clerics from Yugoslavia started residing in the
college, and Draganovi was obliged to leave the St. Jerome. At
the time of the rst sessions of Vatican II, when several Croat
bishops had quarters in the college, he was succeeded by other
priests equally unpalatable to the regime.
e Yugoslav Communists saw the election of John XXIII to
the papal throne as a “consequence of a temporary preponderance
of those forces in the Church that are in favor of accommodation
to the contemporary circumstances in the world.” Moreover, they
expected that this would “abet an increasingly stronger dieren
tiation in the ranks of the lower clergy and especially, although in
a slow and a limited way, in the ranks of the episcopate.”
In line
with this they saw the representation of the Yugoslav episcopate
to the federal government (SIV) of October , , as a “major
change in the position of the Catholic Church toward the state.
For the rst time, the episcopate expressed its readiness to regu
late the relations with the state based on the constitution and the
laws.”
In fact, the bishops demanded the end of atheist propaganda
in the schools and the workplace, the removal of various obsta
cles to religious practice in state institutions, the return of na
tionalized Church properties, permission to build new places of
worship and start new publications, and various other demands
that the authorities had no intention of accepting. Nonetheless,
these could be discussed at length, with the aim of establishing a
“corresponding
modus vivendi
.” To that end, Edvard Kardelj, the
deputy chair of the SIV, responded to the BKJ presidency on No
\r. Akmada, ed.,
Krunoslav Draganovi\n: Iskazi komunistikim istra\fiteljima
(Za
greb: Hrvatski institut za povijest, ), .
. Razvoj odnosa izmedju SFRJ-Vatikana-RKC od . godine, , ABH, RKVP
.
. Ibid., \n.
VATICAN II AND YUGOSLAVIA

vember , , with an a rmative letter in which he noted that
the “normalization of relations with the Catholic Church is a pro
cess that demands time,” but ought to commence immediately
in “discussions between the representatives of the SIV and the
representatives of the episcopate.” is was vetoed by the Holy
See. Bishops could individually discuss various concrete issues
with the authorities, but a precondition for the normalization
of church-state relations was the resumption of diplomatic rela
tions with the Vatican through the instrument of a concordat.¹†
In this oppressive context, fraught with tensions and bitter
memories, the Second Vatican Council and the person of Pope
John XXIII opened unforeseen possibilities for Church renewal
and a new engagement with the repressive regime, which could
not ignore the import of the Council. e Council convened at
the high point of the Cold War, but also in the nal phases of the
modernist paradigm, with its stress on progress and human rea
son. is perhaps suggests an explanation as to why the latter-
day critics of the Second Vatican Council hold it culpable for ex
cessive optimism and openness. It is, indeed, di cult nowadays
to conjure all the revivalist eects of the Council, especially in the
East European “Churches of Silence.” e bishops from Yugoslavia
were perhaps not among the movers and shakers at the Council—
Vatican observer Xavier Rynne was aware that the “nervous man
ner” of some of them had a tragic source in the persecution that
they had experienced in Communist prisons
—but their contri
butions were important in their respective areas of competence.
Croatian Council fathers, especially Stepinac’s successor, Arch
bishop Franjo Œeper, whom Paul VI named cardinal at the end of
the Council in \n, were members of various conciliar commis
sions. Œeper himself served on the Preparatory Commission for
. Ibid., \n–\r.
. Rynne [Francis X. Murphy],
Letters from Vatican City: Vatican Council II (First
Session): Background and Debates
(London: Faber and Faber, ), .
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the Discipline of the Sacraments and on the Preparatory Cen
tral Commission, and he was elected a member of the eologi
cal Commission at the Council. At the ird Session, speaking
on the issue of migrations, he warned that the glorication of a
nation, insistence on racial purity, and autonomy of culture were
obstacles to human universalism and certainly did not represent
a greater good than the solidarity of humankind.
Cardinal Œeper
also argued for a Christian understanding of materialist athe
ism. He warned that there were individuals in the Church who,
through their revulsion at the modern world, gave occasion to
atheism; he insisted that it must be clearly proclaimed that their
rigid and immobile conservatism is alien to the true spirit of the
Gospels.¹³
It is important to note that even the exceptionally conser
vative Council fathers among the Croat bishops—for example,
Frane Frani of Split-Makarska—were great exponents of ecu
menism. ey warned that the excessive latinization of the Cath
olic Church was responsible for the longevity of the schism with
the Eastern Orthodox churches.
In the spirit of the call made by
Paul VI for mutual forgiveness among Christians, Bishop Alfred
Pichler of Banja Luka (Bosnia) addressed the Serbian Orthodox
believers in a Christmas message in  in which he condemned,
in a clear allusion to the Croat Ustašas of the wartime period, the
“wayward people,” who deemed themselves Christians, but who
“killed other people, also Christians, because they were not Cro
. “Gloria nationis, puritas stirpis, autonomia culturalis, et similia, non sunt
summum bonum, quod in detrimentum solidarietatis generis humani qua talis con
servari deberet!”; quoted in Nikola Dogan, “Franjo Œeper i Gaudium et spes,” in
Veri
tatem facientes in caritate: Zbornik radova Me unarodnoga simpozija o kardinalu Franji
Šeperu povodom . obljetnice smrti
, ed. Željko Tanji (Zagreb: Nadbiskupski duhovni
stol, ), n\n.
. “Proclamemus clare conservatismum illum rigidum et immobilismum .


ero spiritu Evangelii alienum esse”; quoted in Dogan, “Franjo Œeper i Gaudium et
spes,” n.
. Rynne,
Letters from Vatican City
VATICAN II AND YUGOSLAVIA

ats and Catholics.”
He begged “our Orthodox brethren to forgive
us just as crucied Christ forgave all.”
Pichler found a ready in
terlocutor in Andrej Fruši, the Orthodox bishop of Banja Luka,
who allowed the Franciscans of the nearby Petrievci monastery
to hold Mass in the Orthodox church of Slatina. After the de
structive earthquake that greatly damaged northwestern Bosnia
in , Fruši on occasion turned over his Banja Luka cathedral
to Bishop Pichler.
Tomislav J. Œagi-Buni, the most important Croat theologian
of the conciliar period, recorded four crucial conciliar insights
about the Church, all tied “with growing consciousness about the
centrality of Eucharistic liturgy. ese are the insights that the
Church is the
People of God
, that the Church is a
mystery
, then
the growing consciousness about the
importance of the local Church
in relation to the universal Church, and the insight about the
cruciality of the concept of communion.”
is is why the Coun
cil opted for the vernacular liturgy, greater participation of the
laity in liturgy and the life of the Church, and the autonomous
rights of Eastern churches in communion with Rome (
Orienta
lium ecclesiarum
Twenty years after the Council, Œagi-Buni held that, in the
meantime, a “new world had come into being that is best re
„ected in the deep schism and misunderstanding between the
old and the young.” He attributed this schism to the growth of
the media (notably TV) that divided the old world of ideas and
logical discursive thought, to which the conciliar generation be
\n. e Ustaša collaborationist regime, which was responsible for major crimes
against Serbs, Jews, and Roma, sought to legitimize itself in wartime Croatia
through a show of delity to the Catholic Church; on this subject, see Tomasevich,
War and Revolution in Yugoslavia
, \n\r–.
. Quoted in Tomo Vukši, “Me˜ucrkveno i me˜unacionalno pitanje u djelu
i misli biskupa Alfreda Pichlera (I),”
Crkva u Svijetu
(Split) , no.  (): –.
\r. Tomislav J. Œagi-Buni, “ godina poslije II Drugog vatikanskog koncila,”
Jeka jednoga Koncila
, ed. Vlado Koši and Antun Perani (Zagreb: Kršanska
Sadašnjost, ), \r; italics in the original.
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longed, from the new generation that lives “in the world of im
age and the domination of associational thought.”
Be that as
it may, the Council made possible for the Catholics of Yugoslavia
the revival of a religious life in which the renewed Church press
played the main role. Živko Kusti, a longtime editor of
Glas
Koncila
, noted that “We availed ourselves of the Council’s com
mencement so that we could have a newspaper at all, since the
beginning of the Council somehow corresponded chronologically
to somewhat changed relations between the socio-political state
community and the Church. Until then, it was practically impos
sible for our Church to have its own newspaper that would be
printed in a state printing press, our printing o ces having been
sequestered, and that would be distributed with the knowledge
and permission of the state authorities.”¹…
In addition to conciliar liturgical renewal—the introduction of
Croatian and Slovenian vernaculars, the turning of the altars to
ward the faithful—the revived Church press was part of the “new
face of the Church,” which the Communist authorities decided to
tolerate. is included not only
Glas Koncila
, but also
Glasnik sv.
Antuna Padovanskog
(Herald of St. Anthony of Padua), the jour
nal
Slu\fba Bo\fja
(Divine service), and other journals and bulletins.
Kusti himself felt that the “authorities somehow understood that
it does not pay or that it cannot be managed to keep the Catholic
community completely tied up in the area of public communica
tions, leading to the introduction of newspapers that expressed
the conciliar moment of the Church.”
Still, Kusti felt that this
was not the decisive aspect in the renewal of Church press:
Struggle for the liberty of the Church, the same struggle that was
fought in the postwar decades without the benet of Church press,
. Œagi-Buni, “ godina poslije II Drugog vatikanskog Koncila,” .
. Živko Kusti, “

Glas Koncila’ u pokoncilskom vremenu,” in
Jeka jednoga Kon
cila
, .
. Ibid., .
VATICAN II AND YUGOSLAVIA

e struggle to prevent the Church from becoming again a hand
maid of the state, the struggle to prevent the priesthood from be
coming a more or less well-paid and self-satised profession, the
struggle to have the clergy serve the people and not become an ap
pendage of the ruling class—everything that in Central America can
be called revolutionary or under the imprint of the Second Vatican
Council—all of that here was post-revolutionary, that is, under the
imprint of Stepinac.
e Communist authorities permitted the conciliar renewal
under the impression that it favored those forces in the Church
that accepted the long-term perspective of Communist rule. In
an initial internal assessment of the Council, the o cial state
analysts concluded that
the rst part of the Council’s sessions to a certain extent acted posi
tively on a few of the bishops in Yugoslavia. Some returned “disap
pointed” from the Vatican, and a few openly attacked the policy of
Pope John. Individual bishops from Asia, Africa, and even from cer
tain European countries, and moreover some Vatican functionaries
and even the late pope, exercised a positive in„uence on the bishops
from our country in the sense of favoring a more tolerant relation
ship toward the state, and some even reproached them their less-
than-objective view on the position of the RCC [Roman Catholic
Church] in Yugoslavia. One Indian bishop openly told them that the
age of “crusades” and “martyrdom” was over and that the Catholic
Church above all must turn to “pastoral work.”
e Church leaders were aware of the o cials’ need to nd
out how the Council would benet them. In an imaginary con
versation with “Him” (obviously, a Party functionary), the anon
ymous author in
Glas Koncila
satirized the eagerness of the au
thorities. “He” is reassured that the angel of the Lord has stirred
the waters (Jn \n:), and thereby set the whole Church into mo
. Ibid., \n.
. Razvoj odnosa izmedju SFRJ-Vatikana-RKC od . godine, Belgrade, No
vember , , –, ABH, RKVP .
IVO BANAC
tion.
In fact, the eects of the Council tested the authorities’
capacity for investment in conciliar normalization. Destroyed
churches left unattended since the war were being reconstructed
and new churches built, notably in the repressed parts of Bosnia
and Herzegovina, the Dalmatian hinterland, Kosovo, and Vojvo
dina, but also in the industrial zones of planned secularization.²
In addition, conciliar programs engaged the laity in Church
aairs,²­
promoted the liturgical participation of the congregants
through the introduction of reformed rites,
and emboldened
demands for greater concessions. An example was the episcopal
letter of May , \n, in which the BKJ demanded the upholding
of constitutional guarantees of freedom of worship and human
rights.
Cardinal Œeper, for his part, in his Christmas message
after the closing of the Council in December \n, insisted that
the authorities must show more understanding for the believers
in the new suburbs of major cities, such as Novi Zagreb, south of
Croatia’s capital, “where there is not even the smallest chapel.”
Moreover,
Glas Koncila
started publishing a satirical column,
. “Voda je zatalasana,”
Glas Koncila
, January , .
. For some typical cases from the period before the reestablishment of dip
lomatic relations with the Vatican, see D-J, “Ljubuški ima opet svoju crkvu,”
Glas
Koncila
, February , ; “Gradi se crkva u Žeravcu,”
Glas Koncila
, March , ;
-ak-, “™itluk—selo u Hercegovini,”
Glas Koncila
, November , \n; “Obnova crkvi
u Dalmatinskoj Zagori,”
Glas Koncila
, May , ; “Medulin oivljava,”
Glas Kon
cila
, June \r, ; “Nova upna crkva u Prištini,”
Glas Koncila
, August , ; J. I.,
“Subotica dobila novo sjemenište,”
Glas Koncila
, July , \n; -ak-, “U gradu bez cr
kava i damija,”
Glas Koncila
, June , \n; V., “Pula dobila novu upu,”
Glas Koncila
,
June , \n.
\n. Franjo Œeper, “Poloaj i zadaci laika u Crkvi,”
Glas Koncila
, March , .
. “Poinje se provoditi liturgijska obnova,”
Glas Koncila
, November , ;
“Obnosa mise—zašto i kako,”
Glas Koncila
, February , \n.
\r. “Zajednika poslanica biskupa Jugoslavije,”
Glas Koncila
, September \n, \n.
In it, the bishops stressed that the “law guarantees freedom of conscience and free
dom of religion, but certain elements through impermissible procedures misuse
their position and in various ways exert pressure on the conscience, thereby creat
ing a psychosis of fear, which is contrary to law”; ibid.
. “Boina poruka i estitka kardinala Œepera,”
Glas Koncila
, December \n, \n.
VATICAN II AND YUGOSLAVIA

“Letter of a Village Parish Priest,” in which the various foibles of
the regime were exposed to ridicule.
All the same, the state au
thorities were convinced that they had the upper hand after the
Council, whose logic, they thought, pushed church into accom
modation with state.
Although concessions to religion in Communist party states
were not always a sign of reform, Yugoslavia in the early s
was spared Soviet criticism on this account, as the Soviet leader
ship—certainly at the end of the Khrushchev era and the rst
Brezhnev years—was itself responding positively to the Vatican’s
new
Ostpolitik
. Nevertheless, Tito’s constant tension with the
Soviets and the Soviet model, since the reconciliation of \n\n, in
cluded a degree of defensiveness about Yugoslavia’s closeness to
the West. (In \n\n, Tito told Khrushchev that the West “demand-
ed the establishment of a multiparty system [in Yugoslavia] and
a détente [with the opposition]: for example, in the case of St
epinac—cardinal and archbishop, whom we had in prison.”)³†
Just as Hungary was negotiating an agreement with the Holy
See in September , Yugoslavia was in the midst of an internal
con„ict over a series of reforms, economic and political, that had
commenced in .
Moreover, at the Eighth Congress of Yu
goslavia’s ruling League of Communists in , after the initial
failure of economic reforms, the leadership was divided over a
series of administrative issues that reopened the ever-dangerous
. A typical example was the lampooning of a noted journalist who over
reached in an attempt to explore theological dilemmas that might result for the
Church, should space exploration discover extraterrestrial intelligent life; Don Jure,
“Tete Luce i Marsijanci,”
Glas Koncila
, September \n, \n.
. Tok konferencije jugoslovenske i sovjetske delegacije, . Archives of Yugo
slavia (AJ), Belgrade: KPR I--a SSSR. Tito added that, in a \n draft, the U.S. am
bassador conditioned American aid on the release of Stepinac: “I responded in the
following way: ‘Tell your government .


e American leaders put Stepinac on one
side and the Yugoslav people on the other, then we require no help.’ He transmitted
this message, and we got help.”
. See chapter , by Árpád von Klimó, in this volume.
IVO BANAC
nationality question at the apex of power. Two blocs emerged—
unitarist-centralists and federalists—who contended for in„u
ence over a variety of issues, including Church policy. Whereas
the former favored a strongly centralist state, united in a project
ed integral Yugoslav identity, the latter proposed to empower the
six federal republics and seven constituent national groups. e
former were partisans of strong-arm governance, which the lat
ter eschewed in favor of more conciliatory methods, even toward
traditional opponents, including the religious communities.
e unitarist-centralists had a natural leader in Aleksandar
Rankovi, the vice president of Yugoslavia and the member of
the party’s secretariat responsible for internal security and gen
erally for the Serbian Party organization. Slovenian and Croatian
Communists—men like Edvard Kardelj and Vladimir Bakari—
stood at the head of the federalist bloc. e con„ict was fought
over a series of issues, from the construction of a new model of
social self-management and genuine federalism (“federalizing
the federation,” in Bakari’s parlance) to the market approach in
planning and a distancing from the USSR.
A dire economic situ
ation complicated matters, especially with the drop in industrial
production in \n that resulted in previously unknown levels of
unemployment. is forced the government to permit the export
of labor “on temporary work abroad,” especially to Western Euro
pean countries.
Under the circumstances, the Yugoslav leadership did not wish
to create the impression that the détente with the Church and a
planned resumption of relations with the Holy See were signs of
weakness. As a result, the rst contacts with the Vatican were in
. is refers to the Yugoslav ideological model of Communist rule, nominally
through a devolving system of self-management in the workplace and in the pub
lic sphere more generally. For a favorable interpretation of the system, which was
seen as a democratic alternative to Soviet Bloc “real socialism,” see Ellen T. Comisso,
Workers’ Control under Plan and Market: Implications of Yugoslav Self-Management
(New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, \r).
VATICAN II AND YUGOSLAVIA

formal and remained at the level of the Yugoslav embassy council
or in Rome (Nikola Mandi) and the secretary of the Congregation
for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Aairs (Agostino Casaroli). e
Yugoslav side sought conrmation of its political legitimacy and
the end of Church sponsorship of oppositional and émigré groups.
e Vatican wanted freedom of contact with the Church hierarchy
in Yugoslavia, freedom of conscience for all citizens, and undis
turbed religious instruction.
e negotiations were intensied by the end of the Council
and became o cial, but not immediately successful, in January
\n, after the arrival of the Vatican delegation headed by Casa
roli to Belgrade. Although the Yugoslav government wanted ac
commodation, its repeated tests of strength with the Church
exposed its weakness. Accusations that the Church was playing
with nationalism in August \n—when , pilgrims came
to the Marian celebration in Sinj, central Dalmatia—underscored
the o cial disappointment that only , had turned up at a
festivity attended by Tito in the same town only a week earlier.³³
Despite the government’s initial attempts to involve the Cro
atian bishops, the bishops ultimately did not become a party to
the negotiations, instead taking advantage of the Yugoslav au
thorities’ desire for direct contact with the Vatican. Both sides
were prepared for prolonged discussions, but were unwilling to
entertain undue concessions. e compromise that was reached
satised the starting positions of both sides. e Protocol on the
Discussions between the Representatives of the Socialist Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia and the Representatives of the Holy See,
as it was o cially dubbed when it was signed in Rome on June \n,
. “Najvea manifestacija vjere u našoj zemlji poslije rata,”
Glas Koncila
, August
, \n. In his sermon during the pilgrimage, according to
Glas Koncila
, Cardinal
Œeper “greeted the people of Sinj, the Cetina frontier, Dalmatia, Bosnia, Herzegovi
na, and the whole Croatian homeland.



e Cardinal stressed that we are a people
who call Mary our queen.



e are Mary’s people and must remain such in the
future”; ibid.
IVO BANAC
, was less formal than an agreement, did not dene the legal
position of the Church in the state, and mainly a rmed the let
ter of Yugoslavia’s constitutional (but not real) norms in relations
with religious communities. All the same, through it the Yugoslav
government guaranteed to the Church a free exercise of religious
rites, the consistent application of laws safeguarding the freedom
of conscience and freedom of religion, and the competency of the
Holy See in the pursuit of its jurisdiction over the Catholic Church
in Yugoslavia in questions of ecclesiastical character and in con
tacts with the Yugoslav bishops.
For its part, the Holy See conrmed the religious and eccle
siastical character of priestly service and excluded its misuse for
purposes that might be political in character, condemned every
type of political terrorism, and expressed its readiness to apply
canonical sanctions in cases of priests who, in the estimation of
Yugoslav authorities, were participating in such activities. e
signatories also agreed to exchange representatives, with this
function to be performed by the apostolic delegate in Belgrade,
who would have diplomatic authority.
is function was lled
in September  by Msgr. Mario Cagna. When he was named a
pronuncio in \r, the relations were elevated to the ambassado
rial rank.
e signing of the protocol was conducted at the height of
the Rankovi aair, between two key events: the session of the
Communist Party of Yugoslavia’s Executive Committee (June ,
), which formed the commission to investigate the charges
against Rankovi and the UDB-a brass for various oenses and
abuses of o ce, including spying on Tito himself; and the ple
nary session of the SKJ Central Committee (the Brioni plenum,
July –, ), at which Rankovi was condemned politically
and deprived of o ce, the UBD-a declared responsible for vari
ous “deformations” and “chauvinist practices” against non-Serbs.
.
Slu\fbeni List SFRJ: Me unarodni ugovori
(Belgrade), November \r, .
VATICAN II AND YUGOSLAVIA

(It was revealed after the Brioni meeting that the UDB-a kept .
million personal dossiers in Croatia alone, and \r,\r in Bosnia
and Herzegovina.)
e fall of Rankovi was a major victory for the federalist bloc,
leading to a sense, especially in Serbia, that it represented a reck
oning with the Serb cadres. Rankovi had favored concessions to
the Holy See during the negotiations, especially in matters involv
ing the Pontical College of St. Jerome in Rome. For example,
the Yugoslav government demanded that the college be opened
to non-Croat bishops and to members of Yugoslav-sponsored
priests’ associations, seeking also the exclusion of émigré priests,
the naming of a rector who would be a government-approved Yu
goslav subject, and the „ying of the Yugoslav „ag on state holi
days. Nonetheless, Rankovi’s fall was interpreted as the result of
his supposed resistance to the protocol. After the fall of Rankovi,
notably in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo, where
secret police repression was pronounced, the signing of the proto
col was regarded as more evidence of relaxation.
e gains for more rights in Yugoslavia were not interpreted
so generously by the emigration. e Yugoslav authorities, as
early as , saw every Vatican move against the émigré priests
as a victory: “e essential moment was reached when the Vati
can saw that the state reacts sharply to the in„uence of hostile
emigration on the Church at home and when it was clearly stated
that the rejection of the hostile emigration .


ondition for
normalization of church-state relations. is was best expressed
in the stand that was taken toward Draganovi and in the chang
es that were applied to date in the College of St. Jerome, from
which the individual émigrés are being gradually excluded. [e
new] rector Kokša established relations with our embassy and re
quested a permanent Yugoslav passport.”³­
\n. ABH, RKVP , Referat o odnosima sa RKC razmatran na sjednici Savezne
komisije za vjerska pitanja . decembra . godine, .
In response, Draganovi and other émigré-priests started
criticizing not only the Holy See, but also the Yugoslav bishops.
e leading Croat émigré quarterly
Hrvatska revija
(Croatian re
view, based in Buenos Aires), published a disturbing article in
June  in which the author, identied only by the pseudonym
“Vigilantibus iura,” oered evidence of regime pressures against
the bishops: “Formerly the bishops were humiliated by a Serbi
anized foreigner [Ambassador] Mihajlo Javorski, and now the
honors belong to a Communist from Croatia, [Ambassador Ivo]
Vejvoda, whereas the notorious S. Aleksi [also on the sta of the
Yugoslav embassy in Rome] continues his sordid business as in
the Javorski days. Aleksi lacks all manners: he thinks nothing
of reproaching Archbishop Œeper, in the presence of the Ambas
sador, that he has met with such and such immigrant who is not
in Belgrade’s graces.”
Indeed, in a note from the secretary of the
Yugoslav embassy in Rome recording Œeper’s conversation with
Ambassador Vejvoda in September , there is a reproach that
“the writing of the Argentinian review
Hrvatska revija
.

.

. [proves]
that some bishops transmit directly or indirectly the contents of
conversations with the Ambassador and the authorities at home
to the political emigration .


at then profanes them in the ser
vice of anti-Yugoslav political propaganda[; this] cannot be toler
ated by our side.”³‚
Still, Vigilantibus iura targeted rst of all the Vatican itself,
which “cares little for the peoples that at the moment have no state
of their own.” e author accused the Vatican—indeed, Paul VI
personally—of avoiding the use of Croatian names and turning
St. Jerome “into a branch o ce of Communist Yugoslavia,” with
the aid of which the enemy “is smothering the martyr cry of per
IVO BANAC
. Vigilantibus iura [Ivan Tomas, Krunoslav Draganovi, and Krešimir Zori],
“Hrvati na II. Vatikanskom koncilu,”
Hrvatska Revija
(Buenos Aires) , no. 
(): \n.
\r. Zabeleška o poseti nadbiskupa Œepera Ambasadi i o razgovoru sa ambasado
rom Vejvodom—.XI.. g., ., ABH, RKVP.
VATICAN II AND YUGOSLAVIA

secuted Croatia.” He called on the Croat bishops “not to trample
on our centuries-old traditions or rights in the name of any pol
itics, Godless or Godly .


ecause there will always be bishops
where there are believers and priests, but what is the use of shep
herds and teachers where there is no faithful fold?”³ƒ
is was to no avail. After the signing of the protocol, Paul VI
named Vladimir Vince, a priest from the diocese of ›akovo who
was acceptable to the Yugoslav authorities, the head of the pas
toral service for the Croats in exile. After his death, this post was
held by Msgr. Vladimir Stankovi, who was in part resident in Yu
goslavia.
It can be argued that the protocol changed nothing. In fact,
it changed everything. True, after the authorities approved the
building of the new Franciscan Church of the Holy Cross, the rst
church of any kind in the suburb of Novi Zagreb, the City Com
mittee of the Zagreb party organization had to quiet the protests
in the party base with the explanation that there were no legal
means available to prevent construction, with the understanding
that “administrative measures” were still possible. But even Car
dinal Œeper, who was unhappy that the protocol hardly touched
the issue of religious instruction in schools, never doubted that
it improved relations between church and state.³…
Separate from both the Church hierarchy and the party-state,
there existed a broad society that was swept forward thanks to
the messages of the Council, the reform of the political system,
and the value—however symbolic—of the protocol. is was evi
dent in many changes, both large and small—from the enormous
increase of the Church press (.\n million copies in Croatia alone
in ) to the issuing of very large editions of Christmas car
ols on phonograph records by Jugoton, the state recording rm,
. Vigilantibus iura, “Hrvati na II. Vatikanskom koncilu,” –\r.
. Akmada and Franjo Œeper,
Mudroš\nu protiv jednoumlja
(Zagreb: Tkali,
), –.
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from the printing of the Zagreb Bible (in , in a rst edition of
, copies, by the state publishing house Stvarnost) to
Mali
Koncil
(Small Council), a newspaper for children (in regular edi
tions of , copies).
Kršanska Sadašnjost (Christian Con
temporaneity)—the Center for Conciliar Research, Documenta
tion, and Information—became the key intellectual institution
in these endeavors. From the end of the s to the beginning
of the \rs, the Church was in the thrall of its great construc
tion projects: the building of new churches and sacral objects and
the redecoration of old church premises in cooperation with some
leading artists, such as Ivo Duli, Djuro Seder, and Josip Biel.
e most important eect of the Council and the relaxation
in relations with the state was a wholehearted surge in the en
gagement of lay churchgoers, especially the student youth, on the
wave of the  student revolt, but without the burden shared
by the Second World War generation. e Institute for the eo
logical Culture of Laity—founded in  at the Catholic eologi
cal Faculty in Zagreb—as well as a number of church choirs and
religious instruction groups in various Zagreb churches played an
enormous role in this process. Some, led by prominent instruc
tors, were particularly distinguished: Ivan Cvitanovi and Živko
Kusti (St. Peter in Vlaška ulica), Tadej Vojnovi (St. Francis on
the Kaptol), Josip ‹uri (the Shrine of the Most Precious Heart
in Palmotieva ulica), Franjo Jurak and Josip Frkin (Bl. Marko
Krievanin), Žarko Kraljevi (Mary Help of Christians at Kneija),
Ivan ™agalj (St. Joseph, Trešnjevka), and Tomislav Œagi-Buni
(St. Michael in Dubrava).
e most important places of student socialization were the
academic church of St. Catherine in Zagreb’s Upper Town and
the chapel of Wounded Jesus on the then-Republic Square (now
Josip Jelai Square), where Josip Turinovi, a prominent theo
. e chief editors were Jure Kaštelan, a prominent poet and party member,
and Bonaventura Duda, a Franciscan friar and Bible scholar.
VATICAN II AND YUGOSLAVIA

logian, famously preached. e Movement of Croat University
Students (Pokret Hrvatskih Sveuilištaraca, \r–\r) was the
principal agent of democratization for Croatian society during
the reform movement of \r–\r, and it cannot be conceived
without the infrastructure provided by the Church. is topic
is still largely unexplored in historical research. To this must be
added the summer youth camps on the Adriatic, which were or
ganized by Josip Ladika, the chief administrator of
Glas Koncila
as well as a number of groups that functioned in other major cit
ies such as Split (St. Francis, the Assumption of the Blessed Vir
gin Mary, Pojišan) and Rijeka (Synaxis Youth Community, led by
Tihomir Ilija Zovko, OP).
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the youth groups were formed
somewhat earlier, after Ignacije Gavran translated the Catholic
catechism from German in . A notable gathering point was
the Church of St. Anthony at Bistrik in Sarajevo, where Bono Leki
and Ljubo Luci were especially active. Students of the Franciscan
eological Faculty in Sarajevo, members of the “Juki” Assembly
of Franciscan Seminarians, responded to the student movement,
founding the journal
Juki\n
(editor: Mile Babi) already in .
e con„uence of these tendencies helped to create vast ex
pectations in all segments of society. is was especially the case
given their convergence with the beginning of the reform move
ment in Croatia, after the Croatian party organization dismissed
its unitarist fraction. e so-called “Croatian Spring” thus fol
lowed the Tenth Plenum of the Croatian party’s central commit
tee in January \r. e election of Ivan Zvonimir ™iak, himself
a leading participant in the Catholic student groups, to the post
of student-rector of the University of Zagreb in December \r
was the rst victory of a declared Catholic by secret ballot since
the introduction of Communist power in \n.¹
e “mass movement,” as the Communist authorities dubbed
. Tihomir Ponoš,
Na rubu revolucije: Studenti ’
(Zagreb: Prol, \r), \r\n–\r.
IVO BANAC
the \r–\r Croatian equivalent of the Prague Spring, would
have been impressive even without the Catholic surge. But mass
gatherings such as the irteenth Marian Congress in Marija
Bistrica (August \r), with more than , pilgrims in at
tendance, provided the sort of mass phenomenon in this period
of relative freedom that felt especially threatening to the Com
munist nomenklatura.²
At the height of the Croatian “mass movement,” in March
\r, Tito paid an o cial visit to Italy and to the Holy See. In Ti
to’s conversations with Paul VI, the pope promised him that “the
Church for its part will avoid every sharpening in relations or the
introduction of unnecessary problems. [e Vatican] will draw
attention only to those questions that are of essential import
and whose resolution must be sought .


y way of agreement
in the spirit of mutual understanding.”
e Yugoslav govern
ment was aware that the Holy See “mainly refrains from inter
ference with state organs when it comes to practical questions
in the life of the Roman Catholic Church in Yugoslavia.”
ese
are the words of an o cial memorandum entitled, “e Interna
tional Position and the External Policy of the Vatican,” prepared
especially for Tito’s visit. But the Yugoslavs were also adamant
that, should the Holy See insist, any demands for the “Catholic
education of youth” in Yugoslavia would be rejected as “contrary
to our social and constitutional order.”­
In terms of generational memory, the reform era of \r–\r
will remain the only period under communism when there ex
isted considerable autonomous space, free of o cial domination.
For the rst time since \n—at least in Croatia—the ruling
Communists tried to legitimate their political monopoly in na
. “Marijanski kongres u Mariji Bistrici,”
Glas Koncila
, August , \r.
. Zabeleška o razgovoru Predsednika Republike sa Papom Pavlom VI . mar
ta \r. u Vatikanu, . AJ, KPR I-/–.
. Medjunarodni poloaj i spoljna politika Vatikana, \n, AJ, ibid.
\n. Ibid., .
VATICAN II AND YUGOSLAVIA

tional colors, attempting to nationalize their history. Croat party
leaders like Savka Dabevi-Kuar and Miko Tripalo became na
tional leaders, symbolically upsetting hierarchical relations in
the SKJ and the Yugoslav federation. e reopening of the na
tional question—the place of Croats, Slovenes, and others in Yu
goslavia, in the economy, and in the country’s international rep
resentation—triggered a series of other questions, notably those
connected with the autonomy of culture and identity, as well as
the freedom of personality and belief. Ultimately, the suppressed
question of pluralism and democracy, too, rose to the fore.
e Croatian Spring of the early \rs did not bypass the
conciliar Church. e important question of the Church’s role in
national identity, which had been present in various discussions
since the nineteenth century, at this point received new inter
pretations. Tomislav Œagi-Buni promulgated the incarnational
approach. According to this in„uential theologian, Christianity
incarnated itself in the pre-Christian forms of Croat natural re
ligion, thereby becoming a part—though not a decisive part—of
the Croatian nation, since
to be a Catholic and to be a Croat is not the same, something that
we should have learned and assimilated not only because there ex
ists a Muslim religious community of our language and kind, but
also because we have among us a signicant number of people with
out any religion. God in His Providence permitted that we, Croats
and Serbs, having accepted the novelty of atheism in our midst, be
forced to realize that it is indeed not the same to be a Croat and
to be Catholic or to be Serb and to be Orthodox, since nobody can
claim, even in jest, that our atheists are not Croats and Serbs.
Œagi-Buni did not negate the national character of the
Church. As he put it, although Christianity is “an entirely dier
ent kind of communal living from that of national communalism,
. Œagi-Buni, “Ekumenska problematika kod nas,”
Poslušni Duhu
(Zagreb) ,
no.  (): \r.
IVO BANAC
this does not mean that Christians can be outside their ethnos
and nation, that they can be without interest or responsibility
for their terrestrial homeland.” At the same time, he made plain
the expressly anti-Christian nature of selsh nationalism, which
“certainly must be condemned,” especially as “it cannot be in har
mony with the Christian attitude to life.”
Moreover, Œagi-Buni
advocated a politically powerless Church, responsible to the peo
ple, not to the authorities. He most decisively rejected the idea
that the Catholic Church, as a church, could be responsible for the
safeguarding of the Croatian nation. According to him, the nation
was not a transcendental value, nor would there be national man
sions in the Father’s house. In the opinion of Živko Kusti, Œagi-
Buni’s understanding “about the relationship between church
and nation, about the rootedness of the Church in the national
soul, about how the Church must not be chauvinistic or nation
alistic, but must be national, about how the Church has responsi
bility for the destiny of the nation, about how the Church is less
concerned with the state and far more with the people” repre
sented ideas that would later be celebrated by John Paul II. Yet
these ideas were “coming out on the pages of
Glas Koncila
by Dr.
T. Œagi-Buni at least ve, six, and more years before Pope Wojtya
started expressing them.”
Perhaps it is only natural that Œagi-Buni’s incarnational view
developed in the era of optimism preceding Tito’s coup against
the reform-minded Croatian party leadership. at coup took
place at the Twenty-Second Session of the SKJ Central Commit
tee, which convened at Tito’s hunting resort Kara˜or˜evo (Vojvo
dina) in December \r. Duly condemned for “nationalist devia
tions,” the reformers were obliged to resign from the leadership
and party membership. ere ensued a purge of several thousand
\r. Œagi-Buni,
Crkva i domovina
(Zagreb: Kršanska Sadašnjost, \r), , .
. Kusti, “

Glas Koncila’ u postkoncilskom vremenu.”
VATICAN II AND YUGOSLAVIA

members of the Croat Party organization, encompassing arrests
and severe sentences for notable gures from cultural and eco
nomic life, as well as the leadership of the student movement.
e wave of repression, the most intensive since the purge of
the pro-Soviet Cominformists in –\n, introduced the long
years of “Croat silence.” ese were, nonetheless, occasionally
brightened by a few hopeful events, including the election of Kar
ol Wojtya to the papacy (\r), Tito’s death (), the beginning
of the Kosovo crisis (), and
perestroika
in the USSR (\n). e
dénouement of the Yugoslav crisis cannot be understood without
recognition that, through this long period of agony, the Catho
lic Church was the only autonomous institution at the disposal
of society—especially in Croatia. It was, moreover, the only space
that the regime did not control.
After the Kara˜or˜evo meeting, the Church was faced with
the o cial accusation that it gave aid and comfort to the “na
tionalists.” Individual issues of Catholic journals and newspapers
were banned on various—often banal—charges, as in the case
of the benign calendar
Istarska Danica
(Istrian morning star) for
\r, because of an article by a prominent literary historian, Ivo
Frangeš, entitled “Croatia and Istria are one.” e o cial Zagreb
daily
Vjesnik
(Herald) repeatedly attacked Franjo Kuhari, the
archbishop of Zagreb since \r, for his supposed departures
from the principles of Vatican II.
Glas Koncila
calmly recorded the
course of the anti-Church campaign “in light of the new develop
ments,” occasionally using all sorts of allusions about the ongo
ing repression. On the millennial anniversary of the veneration
of St. Blaise, the patron of Dubrovnik, in February \r, Isaiah’s
words were intoned: “Comfort, comfort my people .


peak ten
derly to Jerusalem, and announce to her that her time of forced
labor is over.”…
. Kusti, “
Oj, Dubrovnie, sveto rodu mjesto,’

las Koncila
, February , \r.
IVO BANAC
e Second Vatican Council and its immediate eects coin
cided with an abrupt end to ambitious reformist aspirations in
post-revolutionary Yugoslavia. A brief period of ten years (–
\r) was an era of a great surge of hope, followed by dismal disap
pointments. Out of it emerged a transformed Catholic Church,
the only free institution in the predominantly Catholic parts of
Yugoslavia, no longer persecuted but under constant watch—
with state conventions as guarantees of its special status, with
renewed press that was admittedly self-policed, but nevertheless
a powerful alternative to party-state fantasies. Tested in hope
and disappointment, the Church would become the only tolerat
ed opposition in the last two decades of Yugoslavia’s decline. Its
real test would come after the collapse of Yugoslav communism
in – and the series of wars that ensued. State agony gave
way to the agony of a Church that was trying to become conciliar
under the least hospitable circumstances.
VATICAN II
AND
CZECHOSLOVAKIA
James Ramon Felak
e year  was a crucial year in the two-millennium history of
the Catholic Church. at October, Pope John XXIII opened the
Second Vatican Council. In tune with the pope’s calls to “read the
signs of the times” and apply “the medicine of mercy rather than
of severity,” the Council over the next four years promulgated
comprehensive reform over a broad spectrum of Catholic con
cerns. e overall goal of those reforms is captured by the Ital
ian word
aggiornamento
: updating. e means included, among
others, liturgical reform, greater pastoral sensitivity, a larger role
in the Church for lay people, increased collegiality, greater open
ness to modern methods of scriptural study, respect for freedom
of conscience, and dialogue with past opponents (non-Catholic
Christians, members of other religions, nonbelievers).
e Church would henceforth seek constructive ways to adapt
to modern society and culture rather than treat them in a purely
adversarial way. It would seek renewal by revisiting its founda
tional documents, above all the Gospels and the writings of the
fathers of the Church, in an approach termed
ressourcement
It
. See, for example, Jürgen Mettepenningen,
Nouvelle théologie—New eology:
Inheritor of Modernism, Precursor of Vatican II
(New York: T. and T. Clark, ).

would eschew a ghetto mentality, seeking to share “the joy and
hope, the grief and anguish of the men and women of our time.”
From the perspective of the Vatican II reformers, after decades—
or even centuries—of a winter characterized by dogmatism, de
fensiveness, clericalism, and traditionalism, the Church was expe
riencing a long-overdue springtime.
But  was also an important year in the history of the
Czechoslovak Communist Party—paradoxically, for quite similar
reasons. at year saw the rst indications of reform that would
accelerate through mid-decade and culminate in the blossoming
of the so-called Prague Spring, an attempt by reform-minded
Czech and Slovak Communists to eect an
aggiornamento
in their
own movement, to create a “socialism with a human face.” Like
the Catholic Church, they, too, launched a comprehensive pro
gram of reform in an eort to bring their party up to date. Pur
suing a Communist version of
ressourcement
, they scraped away
the Stalinist accretions to Communist thought and policy of the
preceding generations and sought in Lenin and Marx—even the
younger Marx—a revitalization of Communist ideals.
As Vatican II did for the laity, Czechoslovakia’s reform Com
munists sought a greater dignity and role for the citizenry. is
meant, above all, everyone outside the ranks of the Communist
Party of Czechoslovakia, cutting across broad strata of Czecho
slovak society. Like the Council fathers, reform Communists were
open to new ideas, including those that came from outside the
system and its institutions. ey sought a greater emphasis on
dialogue, both within the Communist Party and with those out
side of it. e new emphasis in the party was less on hierarchy
and more on collegiality, again paralleling the aspirations of the
Council. Finally, as with Vatican II, Czechoslovakia’s reform was
. Second Vatican Council,
Gaudium et spes
, December \r, \n, http://www.vati
can.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_\n\r_
gaudium-et-spes_en.html; accessed January , .
VATICAN II AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA

elite-driven, with new forces among the party leadership emerg
ing in the course of the s to challenge the old guard.
is chapter explores the Catholic Church in the Czech lands
during this period, when Vatican II and its immediate aftermath
overlapped with the Prague Spring and its antecedents. It will look
at the eects of both Council and Prague Spring on the develop
ment of Czechoslovak-Vatican relations during this period; at the
role of Czech Catholics at the Council; at the emergence of Catholic
activism during the explosion of reformism in  and the ensu
ing concessions by the regime; at the implications for the Church
when a Soviet-sponsored invasion crushed the Prague Spring in
August  and then imposed a hard-line “normalization” regime;
and at the contributions of certain key Czech Catholic intellectuals
to issues connected with the Council, especially how best to “ac
culturate” Catholicism to a Czech environment. Because the center
of gravity of the Prague Spring was in the Czech lands, especially
in the capital city of Prague, and because ecclesiastically Slovakia
was another world from the Czech lands in terms of the role and
history of the Church, as well as piety and religious identication,
this chapter will concentrate on the Czech Catholic Church.
Czechoslovak Bishops at the Council
Before this chapter re„ects on the transformation of Czech Ca
tholicism in the s, two important historical features of con
. Slovakia had a much higher level of religious belief and confessional a liation
than did the Czech lands; within the latter, Moravia signicantly surpassed Bohemia.
For example, according to a poll taken in autumn , \r percent of Slovaks identi
ed themselves as religious believers, compared with  percent of Czechs from a poll
taken in \r; Kieran Williams, “e Prague Spring: From Elite Liberalisation to Mass
Movement,” in
Revolution and Resistance in Eastern Europe: Challenges to Communist
Rule
, ed. Kevin McDermott and Matthew Stibbe (Oxford: Berg, ), . ose in
terested in Slovakia during this period should consult Jozef Jurko,
Druhý vatikánsky
koncil a Slovensko
(Bardejov: Bens, ). For an outstanding study of the role of Slo
vak Communists in the Prague Spring, see Scott A. Brown, “Socialism with a Slovak
Face: e Slovak Question in the s” (Ph.D. diss., University of Washington, ).

fessional life in Czechoslovakia need to be explained. First, with
respect to confessional life, the Czechoslovak regime was the most
repressive in the region during the Communist period. Bishops,
priests, and members of religious orders were interned or impris
oned in large numbers. e state exercised tight control over re
ligious media and publishing, educational institutions (including
seminaries), and contacts with coreligionists abroad. e state’s
refusal to consent to episcopal appointments that it deemed un
favorable meant that as many as ten of Czechoslovakia’s thirteen
dioceses remained without a bishop for much of the Communist
period.
Second, because the predominant Czech national historical
narrative viewed the Catholic Church negatively, the Czechs pre
sented for Catholicism a challenge unparalleled among their
neighbors. Whether it was the burning at the stake by the Cath
olic Church in \n of the great Czech religious reformer Jan
Hus; the successful defense of their homeland by Hussite war
riors against papal and imperial crusades in the s and s;
the equation of Catholicism with Austrian domination of the
Czechs in the wake of the crushing defeat of a Bohemian Prot
estant revolt at White Mountain in ; the anti-Catholic spirit
of František Palacký’s monumental history of Bohemia from the
period of national revival; or Czechoslovakia’s founder Tomáš G.
Masaryk’s identication of the Czech nation with a Protestant
spirit and his own personal abandonment of Catholicism for a
liberal Protestantism—Czech nationalism was inextricably en
tangled with suspicion, if not outright hostility, toward the Cath
olic Church.­
. For a detailed discussion of the repressive nature of Czechoslovak Commu
nist religious policy, see Sabrina Petra Ramet, “e Catholic Church in Czechoslo
vakia –,”
Studies in Comparative Communism
, no.  (December ):
\r\r–.
\n. Of the series of intellectuals-writers-activists over the centuries who have
held dominant positions in the Czech national pantheon, most were associated
VATICAN II AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA

e years of the Second Vatican Council saw the resumption
of negotiations between the Holy See and the Czechoslovak re
gime after a ten-year hiatus. By the early s, it was clear that
Communist regimes were here to stay, and the Church’s accep
tance of this fact, along with John XXIII’s new openness toward
the Soviet Bloc and outreach to Communists, paved the way for
the possibility of rapprochement in what had long been a tense
relationship.€
e Vatican was also hoping that at least one bish
op from Czechoslovakia would be permitted to attend the Coun
cil, while the Czechoslovak regime was hoping to enhance its in
ternational prestige by mending fences with Rome. e two sides
met six times between March  and February \n, alternat
ing the venue between Prague and Rome.‚
ough the talks covered a range of issues—the reform of
seminary education, religious education in the schools, the word
ing of the loyalty oath required of clergy, the release and return
to service of imprisoned priests, and the fate of Czechoslovakia’s
then-suppressed religious orders—the question of bishops dom
inated the negotiations in a number of respects. First, in ,
some bishops were still imprisoned or interned. A number of dio-
with Protestantism and/or anti-clericalism, from Hus through exiled Protestant
leader Jan Amos Komenský, the historian Palacký, the anti-clerical journalist Karel
Havlíek Borovský, and down to President Masaryk. For the connections made by
Czechs among these gures, see Andrea Orzo,
Battle for the Castle: e Myth of
Czechoslovakia in Europe, –
(New York: Oxford University Press, ), esp.
–, , \n, , , .
. Among other actions, John XXIII abandoned the anti-Communist rhetoric
common under Pius XII, pleased Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev with his appeal
for a peaceful settlement to the Berlin Crisis in , and received Khrushchev’s
daughter and son-in-law, an editor of the Soviet newspaper
Izvestia
, with warmth
and hospitality, on a short visit to the Vatican in March ; Michael P. Riccards,
Vicars of Christ: Popes, Power, and Politics in the Modern World
(New York: Crossroad,
), –.
\r. For a discussion of these negotiations and their results, see Stanislav Balík
and Jiœí Hanuš,
Katolická církev v \teskoslovensku –
(Brno: Centrum pro
studium demokracie a kultury, \r), –.

ceses—including Prague—were without a bishop or even an apos
tolic administrator. e regime asserted its in„uence in the dioc
esan o ces through state-appointed Church secretaries (
církevní
tajemníci
), who controlled the administration of the dioceses—an
arrangement opposed by the Church—and through those priests
who joined the pro-Communist organization for clergy, the
Mírové Hnutí Katolického Duchovenstva (MHKD, Peace Move
ment of Catholic Clergy). e government wanted such priests,
especially those currently serving as vicars capitular, to become
the new bishops of the vacant dioceses, something the Church
stubbornly resisted.ƒ
e talks bore some fruit right from the start. In , im
prisoned and interned bishops were released. e loyalty oath
was modied to make it more palatable to the Church, and most
imprisoned priests received amnesties; many even received per
mission to return to active service. On the other hand, there was
little or no movement to accommodate Church concerns with
respect to state control of seminary education, the return of re
ligious instruction to schools, or the appointment of bishops to
vacant dioceses.
In the most prominent issue on the table, what to do about
the archdiocese of Prague, a compromise was reached. Josef Be
ran, deposed as archbishop by the regime, imprisoned in ,
and recently made a cardinal by Paul VI, was allowed to travel to
Rome to be inducted as cardinal, provided that he did not return
to Czechoslovakia. In a related compromise, the regime approved
his replacement, Josef Tomášek, but only as an apostolic admin
istrator—not (yet) an ordinary bishop.
Tomášek was also the only Czech prelate whom the regime
allowed to attend Vatican II, along with three Slovak bishops
. A vicar capitular was a priest chosen by the local cathedral chapter to admin
ister a diocese in which there was a vacancy for the position of bishop. In Czecho
slovakia, some vicars capitular, though not all, were in the collaborationist camp.
VATICAN II AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA

(of a total of fteen consecrated bishops in the country). ey
were accompanied by a dozen collaborationist clergy selected by
the government to keep an eye on the bishops—though the in
formants’ success in this task was debatable.
Czechoslovakia’s
Council fathers spoke little at Vatican II, though Tomášek ad
dressed the assembly on the topic of Catholic-Orthodox unity
during the Second Session, proposing the creation of a special
assembly of Catholic and Orthodox bishops to prepare for future
unication of the churches.
e speech was received favorably
by Orthodox observers from the Soviet Union and led to the
Russian Orthodox patriarch awarding the entire Czechoslovak
delegation with a commemorative medal for making the great
est contribution toward the rapprochement of Christians at the
Council.¹¹
Czech and Slovak participation at the Council was not limited
to the o cial delegation from Czechoslovakia. ree exiled bish
ops, including Cardinal Beran, also took part. Despite the com
promise settlement of the question of leadership of the Prague
archdiocese, the Beran issue remained an irritant in church-state
relations, especially because Beran spoke at the Council in ways
critical of Communist regimes. He took part in the debate over
the Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom (
Dignitatis huma
nae
), speaking out on September , \n, in defense of freedom
of conscience.
His speech called for the Council to proclaim emphatically its
. Stanislav Balík, “e Second Vatican Council and the Czechoslovak State,”
ligion, State and Society
, no.  (): , . e entourage was impeded by being
housed apart from the bishops, either on a dierent „oor or in a dierent building.
. Ibid., .
. Tomášek’s speech also helped to get him appointed to the Vatican’s Sec
retariat for the Unity of Christians: Bohumil Svoboda,
Na stran\b národa: Kardinál
František Tomášek v zápase s komunistickým re\fimem (–)
(Prague: Vyšehrad,
), .
. Beran’s speech is quoted at length in Balík and Hanuš,
Katolická církev v
\teskoslovensku

support for freedom of conscience and to demand that govern
ments stop suppressing religious freedom. He then recounted
a litany of unacceptable transgressions against religious faith
and its practitioners that t the Czechoslovak experience well:
priests and laity in prison for religious activity; bishops and
priests prevented from carrying out their duties; restrictions on
the Church’s internal government and communications with the
Holy See; obstacles to men seeking the priesthood; prohibitions
against religious orders; and obstacles to professing, propagat
ing, and educating children in the faith.
While a Catholic “traditionalist”—in the pre–Vatican II sense
—would have agreed with Beran’s highlighting of the ways in
which an oppressive regime sought to suppress the Church, his
speech was in fact far from traditionalist. First, in defending free
dom of conscience, Beran attacked not only those regimes that
tried to suppress religion, but also those that mandated a partic
ular form of belief. e latter brought with it the temptation to
lie and dissimulate, as well as—Beran argued—“the hypocrisy of
ostentatiously pretending a faith hurts the Church more than the
hypocrisy of hiding one’s faith.” Second, putting a Czech twist on
his position, he noted that the Church in the Czech lands seemed
to be continually suering from what had been done in the past
in its name—above all, the execution of Jan Hus and the imposi
tion of Catholicism on the Czech nation by the Habsburgs during
the Counter-Reformation.
At least in part because of Beran’s speech at Vatican II, the
Czechoslovak government did not resume talks with the Holy
See until May \r.
At those talks, Prague continued to press
for the elevation of “progressive” clergy to bishoprics, which the
. Prague was also upset by speeches at the Council on September , \n, by
exiled Slovak bishops Pavel Mária Hnilica and Michal Rusnák. Hnilica, among other
things, identied atheism as the chief contemporary problem, and Rusnák spoke of
the repressive measures taken against the Church by Czechoslovakia’s Communists;
Balík, “e Second Vatican Council and the Czechoslovak State,” .
VATICAN II AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA

Church staunchly resisted. e government, meanwhile, blocked
the implementation of many conciliar reforms, refusing to per
mit the establishment of a conference of Czechoslovak bishops
or the introduction of the o ce of deacon. It also maintained
existing restrictions on Catholic publishing, seminary educa
tion, and lay involvement in the Church. e talks ended in an
impasse in early June. Meanwhile, the Prague Spring was on its
way. As it burst into bloom in early , it would have signi
cant repercussions for the Church in the Czech lands.
The Prague Spring
With the profound political changes underway in the early months
of —the replacement in January of the Stalinist Antonín No
votný by the reformist Alexander Dubek as rst secretary of the
Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, the
promotion of reformers within the party and state apparatuses,
the drafting of a reformist agenda culminating in the proclamation
of the Action Program in April—a space emerged for the Church
to advance certain demands. Now there was a regime that was far
more willing to accommodate them than at any previous time dur
ing the Communist period. On March , the newspaper
Lidové
Noviny
published an open letter to Dubek signed by eighty-three
former political prisoners, who had been sentenced to a combined
\r years of incarceration (plus one life sentence) and had collec
tively served \r½ years of their sentences.
e letter stated clear
ly Catholic grievances against the regime’s past policies toward the
Church, asserting that the regime would need to revoke its words
and revise its policies in order to gain the trust of Christians.
Still, the letter breathed with a conciliar spirit. Its authors ex
pressed a readiness to forgive and an openness to cooperation.
ey noted that “informed and honorable Marxists” are ashamed
at the way the regime has been contradicting the Charter of Hu

man Rights in its treatment of religious believers and called for
“a genuine dialogue with Marxists, which is happening already
abroad. Paul VI, the Council, modern theologians, and a series
of progressive Marxist theoreticians invite us to this. We regard
the dialogue of an open Christianity with an open Marxism and
with other humanistic systems as a hope for humanity and for
the future of our Republic. We must indeed speak only as inde
pendent Christians, and we need conditions for the spreading of
a modern postconciliar Catholicism among believers.”
On the same day on which this letter appeared in the press,
a petition signed by masses of Czechoslovak citizens was deliv
ered to the Communist Party’s Central Committee, categorizing
the numerous crimes perpetrated by the regime against Catho
lics since the \ns and calling for a number of changes and re
forms.
e grievances included the internment or imprison
ment of bishops and priests; restrictions placed on episcopal
authority; show trials against Church leaders and members of re
ligious orders; the liquidation of all religious orders in April \n;
the break in ties with the Holy See; the imposition on dioceses
of “Church secretaries” who were openly hostile to the Church
and interfered with its operations; severe limitations on religious
education in the schools; and the placing of obstacles in the path
of young men seeking a priestly vocation. At this point, eight of
the country’s thirteen dioceses were without a bishop.
e letter called for a number of changes. ese included
the appointment of bishops to vacant sees; the abolition of the
institution of Church secretaries; an amnesty for clergy and la
ity imprisoned for carrying out their religious obligations; per
mission for priests to take up their priestly o ces; abolition of
the
numerus clausus
for admission of candidates to seminaries;
. For the text of the letter, see Svoboda,
Na stran\b národa
, –. Svoboda
puts the number of signatures at ,, Cuhra and others at ,; see Jaro
slav Cuhra,
Církevní politika KS\t a státu v letech –
(Prague: Ústav pro sou
dobé dežjiny AV ™R, ).
VATICAN II AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA

renewal of male and female religious orders and amends for the
harm done to them; restoration of the Greek Catholic Church to
legal existence; permission of the unhindered religious education
of children; and the enabling of the Church to exercise its con
stitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech, of the press, and
of assembly.
e petition also called for the dissolution of the
MHKD, given its complete lack of moral and legal justication
to speak for the Church. Its authors noted that the organization,
discredited from the start, was a product of the repressive poli
cies of the \ns and now an anachronism, lingering on as one of
the greatest obstacles to mutual understanding between church
and state.
e barrage of Catholic demands continued. On March \n,
Tomášek presented to the government a letter outlining the bish
ops’ proposals with respect to relations between church and state.
ey called for the opening of discussions between Czechoslova
kia and the Holy See that would lead to an agreement on mutual
relations (that is, a concordat) and the institution of a number
of domestic reforms. ese included the restoration of open com
munication with the Holy See; the lling of vacant dioceses; the
reactivation of the bishops’ conference; freedom for bishops to
exercise their functions to the fullest degree; the subordination
of priests only to their bishops and not to state functionaries;
permission for lay participation in all aspects of the life of the
Church; the restoration of the life of the religious orders; the re
newal of the Greek Catholic Church; the freedom of religious edu
cation inside and outside of school; free access to the press, radio,
and television; and the freedom to carry out pastoral work in hos
pitals, prisons, and social welfare institutions.¹€
\n. e Greek Catholics, also known as Eastern Rite Catholics, Byzantine Cath
olics, or—pejoratively—Uniates, are a semi-autonomous community within the
greater Catholic Church that adheres to many of the traditions of Eastern Christian
ity while remaining in communion with the pope.
. For a list of these demands, see Svoboda,
Na stran\b národa

In keeping with the signicant changes taking place in the
Communist regime as it launched its “Socialism with a Human
Face” project, the government was substantially accommodating
to many—though not all—Catholic demands. e Action Program
issued in April by the Central Committee of the Communist Party
of Czechoslovakia, in calling for the “implementation of the con
stitutional freedoms of assembly and association” for voluntary
social organizations, specied, “Freedoms guaranteed by law are
applicable .


o citizens of individual creeds and religious denomi
nations.”
As a concrete sign that the regime was taking its own rhetoric
seriously, personnel changes ensued in the government o ces re
sponsible for policy toward the churches. On March \n, , the
sociologist Erika Kadlecová, a Communist with a reputation for a
willingness to accommodate religion, replaced the old-school Karl
HrŸza as head of the Secretariat for Church Aairs at the Minis
try of Culture.
Less than two weeks later, on April \n, the min
ister of culture himself, Karl Homan, was replaced by Miroslav
Galuška.
Over the course of the next several months, the height of the
Czechoslovak reform era, the regime made a number of conces
sions to the Church. Some formerly interned bishops were al
lowed to take up their o ces; female religious orders were allowed
to accept novices and resume some of their activities; the MHKD
was dissolved; the Catholic charitable organization Caritas was re
established; the Catholic press was revived; and religious instruc
tion was revitalized.
In addition, the Greek Catholic Church was
\r. “e Action Programme of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia,” in
Czechoslovakia’s Blueprint for “Freedom”: Dubek’s “Unity, Socialism and Humanity”
(Statements—e Original and Ocial Documents Leading to the Conict of August,
)
, ed. Paul Ello (Washington, D.C.: Acropolis, ), .
. Balík and Hanuš,
Katolická církev v \teskoslovensku
, .
. Tomášek replaced the editorial board of the newspaper
Katolické Noviny
dominated until then by pro-regime clergy, and its circulation increased from
\n, to \n,; see Svoboda,
Na stran
národa
, , \r.
VATICAN II AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA

relegalized; a new organization called the Dílo Koncilové Obno
va (Work of Conciliar Renewal), or DKO, was founded; and the
Church allowed freer interaction with theological and cultural de
velopments in the West.
While most of these demands and their
fulllment would also have suited a pre–Vatican II Church, several
were particularly appropriate for the Church as it emerged from
the Council.
Despite these accommodations, signicant dierences re
mained between church and state. e system of Church secre
taries stayed in eect, maintaining the government’s capacity to
meddle in Church aairs; male religious orders continued to be
suppressed; and the problem of lling vacant dioceses with can
didates acceptable to both the Church and the regime was left
unsolved. e Prague Spring did not see a resumption of nego
tiations between the government and Rome, though there were
some stirrings in this direction from March  onward.
It
may seem surprising that the Vatican did not try to seize the mo
ment and pursue an agreement with the reformist regime, espe
cially given that it had negotiated regularly with the hardliners
previously in power throughout the s.
In the end, the resumption of talks did not take place until
\r, by which time most of what the Prague Spring had accom
plished had been rescinded. Agostino Casaroli, the later cardinal
and secretary of state of the Holy See who, as a Vatican diplomat
in the s, had negotiated with the Czechoslovak government
over the Beran case, ascribed the lack of Vatican-Czechoslovak
negotiations during the Prague Spring to several considerations.
. Balík and Hanuš,
Katolická církev v \teskoslovensku
, –\n; for example, the
Prague archdiocese established a lecture series called Living eology, which ac
quainted the younger generation with the theological thinking and developments
in the Church outside Czechoslovakia. A similar series was then established in Brno;
Svoboda,
Na stran
národa
, \r.
. Karel Kaplan,
\fká cesta: Spor \teskoslovenska s Vatikánem –
(Brno:
Centrum pro studium demokracia a kultury, ), \n

From the Vatican’s perspective, Czechoslovakia now had a new set
of personnel with whom it was not yet familiar, including Kadle
cová, who sought to improve the Church’s situation in Czechoslo
vakia on her own initiative through work with the domestic Cath
olic leadership. From the regime’s perspective, religious aairs
were not the highest priority at a time when a multitude of issues
were on the table and in „ux. ere was also the consideration that
renewing good relations with the Vatican might irritate the Soviet
Union and fuel suspicions of a “counter-revolution” in Czechoslo
vakia. Finally, one should not forget the Vatican’s tradition of cau
tion when dealing with an ambiguous and changing situation.
e crushing of the Prague Spring by Warsaw Pact tanks and
troops in August —followed by the transition into the period
of “normalization,” in which the hard-line regime was reinstated
under the leadership of one-time reformer Gustav Husák—ground
to a halt many of the reforms underway in church-state relations.
A number were, in fact, revoked over the next few months or years.
Very few of the ecclesiastical reforms of the Prague Spring period
were maintained.
e personnel changes of spring  were un
done by summer , with Miroslav BrŸek replacing Galuška as
minister of culture in July and HrŸza, the man Kadlecová had re
placed in March , getting his old job back from her in June.
. ese reasons, including the explanations given by Agostino Casaroli in his
memoirs, are discussed in František X. Halas, “Vztah státu a církve v eskoslovensku
totalitního období ve svežtle vzpomínek kardinála Casaroliho,” in
Koncil a eská
spolenost: Historické, politické a teologické aspekty pijímání II. Vatikánského koncilu
v \techách a na Morav\b
, ed. Petr Fiala and Jiœí Hanuš (Brno: Centrum pro studium
demokracie a kultury, ), –.
. One reform that was maintained was the relegalization of the Greek (or
Eastern Rite) Catholic Church. Forcibly incorporated into the Eastern Orthodox
Church in the spring of \n and surviving secretly, at least in spirit, into the s,
it was legalized by a government resolution of June , , and resumed operation
in the summer of  as a religious institution based almost exclusively in eastern
Slovakia. For more on this issue, see Michal Barnovský, “Legalizácia Gréckokatolíck
ej cirkvi v ™eskoslovensku roku ,”
Historický \tasopis
\r, no.  (\r): \r–\n.
. Kaplan,
\fká cesta
, \n.
VATICAN II AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA

e Catholic press and Catholic associations were brought under
strict state control, as were all other manifestations of civil society
in the country. e regime quickly established a new organization
of pro-Communist clergy to replace the defunct MHKD. e new
organization was named Pacem in Terris, for Pope John XXIII’s cel
ebrated encyclical.
e Prague Spring, short-lived though it was, gives an indica
tion of the in„uence of Vatican II on Catholicism in Czech lands.
e DKO, which emerged as a result of both the Council and the
Prague Spring, replaced the pro-regime MHKD, which dissolved
itself on March \n, .
ough the organization was original
ly intended to include only clergy, the laity soon became involved
in laying the groundwork; already before the DKO’s founding
congress in Velehrad in mid-May, laymen had made their mark.
At Velehrad, Czech and Slovak branches of the DKO were set up,
with Tomášek as chairman of the organization’s statewide pre
sidium, which included laypeople.
Opening the May congress, Tomášek stated, “e purpose of
the DKO is to help the constituted Church hierarchy toward the
fulllment of the conclusions of the Second Vatican Council in our
country.”²‚
e DKO’s goal was thus to bring together the hitherto-
scattered attempts to eect conciliar reforms in Czechoslovakia’s
Catholic Church and to prepare the ground for the eventual imple
mentation of conciliar teachings via parish and diocesan councils,
pastoral councils, and other new institutions.
\n. Sabrina P. Ramet,
Nihil Obstat: Religion, Politics, and Social Change in East-
Central Europe and Russia
(Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, ), .
. On the DKO, see Cuhra, “Dílo koncilové obnovy v kontextu státn
ež-církevní
politiky prakého jara,” in
Koncil a eská spolenost
, –; Svoboda,
Na stran
náro
, –\r, \r\n–\r\r; Balík and Hanuš,
Katolická církev v \teskoslovensku
\r. Svoboda,
Na stran
národa
In the action program proclaimed at the congress, it noted
the “insu ciently realized conclusions of the Council,” includ
ing the insu cient striving for ecumenical dialogue and dia
logue with nonbelievers. It listed among its tasks “the develop
ment and spread of the theology of the Council at all levels of the
Church’s operation.”
is included an emphasis on the Church
as the people of God, a bigger role for the laity, and the desire
to harmonize the execution of legitimate Church authority with
initiatives from below. Among its activities, it hoped to hold
“modernized” worship services for youth, educational lectures,
and public discussions and seminars.
At rst, some Church circles were suspicious of the new orga
nization. Václav Vaško recounts the initial resistance to the DKO
from the seminarians at Litomežœice, who suspected the new or
ganization of being a continuation of the MHKD and presuming
to speak in the name of the Church. Vaško explained to them
that the DKO’s intent was not to speak for the bishops, but rath
er to press the government into allowing the bishops to take up
their leadership responsibilities in the Church. Among those con
vinced by Vaško was the future archbishop of Prague, Miloslav
Vlk, who invited Vaško to speak at Litomežœice, which he did to
a full house of seminary students who then took the DKO’s pro
gram as their own.²…
e regime, for its part, had mixed feelings about the DKO.
On the one hand, some Communist authorities anticipated that
the DKO, inspired as it was by a modern theology, would take a
positive stance toward Czechoslovakia’s social system, and that
a progressive wing in the movement could play the role formerly
played by the MHKD.
On the other hand, the government ex
. Ibid., \r.
. Balík and Hanuš,
Katolická církev v \teskoslovensku
, n; the original
source is Václav Vaško’s memoir,
Ne vším jsem byl rád
(Kostelní Vydœí: Karmelitánské
nakl., ).
. Cuhra, “Dílo koncilové obnovy,” –.

AMON FELAK
VATICAN II AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA

pressed concern over the organization’s growth, initiative, and
“activization of the Church,” and it continued to postpone of
cial approval. at approval never came. By October , the
Interior Ministry had rejected legalization, and on November \r
the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslova
kia designated the organization as hostile to socialism. e DKO
lived on until \r without legal authorization and then contin
ued on in the fantasies of the security police, who later created
the myth that the organization had been a radical, extremist,
militant force that opposed the regime and terrorized priests
sympathizing with the government.³¹
Another change resulting from the con„uence of the Prague
Spring and Vatican II was the reopening of the seminary at Olo
mouc.
Shut down in \n by the Communists, who allowed only
the seminary in Litomežœice to remain in operation, calls for its res
toration emerged as early as March , as Catholics needed more
seminary seats in order to address a growing shortage of priests.
e government took its time in authorizing the reopening, but
the Ministry of Culture nally gave its approval in early Septem
ber  in the wake of the Warsaw Pact invasion. Technically,
the seminary was not a new institution, or even the revival of an
older one, but rather, as its o cial name implied, “the Cyrillo-
Methodian Faculty in Prague with its seat in Litomežœice, branch
in Olomouc.” ough the seminary had inadequate space and
faced both the municipal government’s hostility and the Culture
. Ibid., .
. Miloslav Poisl, “Obnova Cyrilometodjské bohoslovecké fakulty v Olomouci
a vliv II. Vatikánského koncilu na teologické vzdlání,” in
Koncil a eská spolenost
–\r; Balík and Hanuš,
Katolická církev v \teskoslovensku
. In , there were , priests in the Czech lands; this number had
dropped to ,\r by ; Balík and Hanuš,
Katolická církev v \teskoslovensku
, .
e numbers for Moravia-Silesia, where Olomouc is located, were , in  and
, in . In ,  percent of the parishes in Moravia-Silesia were without
priests; Poisl, “Obnova Cyrilometodjské bohoslovecké fakulty v Olomouci a vliv II.
Vatikánského koncilu na teologické vzdlání,” .

Ministry’s opposition to granting it full independence, its opera
tion was not halted until June \r.
In its short six-year existence, the seminary at Olomouc made
important contributions to the Catholic Church in Moravia. Over
one hundred students completed their theological education there
and went on to priestly vocations, including a number of impor
tant Moravian leaders and teachers in the Church. e in„uence
of the Second Vatican Council was discernible. Teachers at the in
stitute displayed a sincere interest in the Council and in new ideas
regarding ecumenism and modern theological impulses.
A key feature of the Czechoslovak
aggiornamento
was the fact
that laypeople, including women, were able to study theology at
Olomouc during the rst two years of the institute’s existence in
a critical and modern atmosphere.
Nevertheless, Olomouc was
no conciliar paradise. Certain topics (such as clerical celibacy) and
behaviors (going to the cinema) were o-limits, and the spiritual
formation of the clergy followed a traditional model.
An important way in which Vatican II made itself felt in
Czechoslovakia from \n onward was via liturgical reform.
like most of the other Church reforms, this one began in early \n
when the Statewide Liturgical Commission was set up. Czechoslo
vakia’s bishops issued a pastoral letter on liturgical reform along
with a directive on March \r, \n, the First Sunday of Lent. e
letter—addressed to clergy—supported folk singing at Mass, the
liturgical training of believers, the introduction of the vernacular
into the liturgy, and the adaptation of liturgical space. e direc
tives included a simplied rite and changes and additions to the
. Balík and Hanuš,
Katolická církev v \teskoslovensku
\n. Poisl, “Obnova Cyrilometodjské bohoslovecké fakulty v Olomouci a vliv II.
Vatikánského koncilu na teologické vzdlání,” .
. Ibid., –\n.
\r. For a discussion of liturgical reform, see František Kunetka, “Liturgická
reforma II. Vatikánského a její realizace v moravských diecézich,” in
Koncil a eská
spolenost
, –\n.
VATICAN II AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA

Mass, such as intercessory prayers and lay reading of the scrip
tures.
As implementation of liturgical change proceeded, there was
considerable controversy over what proportion of the Mass to
leave in Latin. is subject bred a stormy discussion at the No
vember , \r, meeting of the Czech Liturgical Commission. A
small group of enthusiastic priests and laity did the actual work
of preparing and implementing the reforms, which were received
for the most part by congregations without controversy and even
with a certain interest. Liturgical reform thus proceeded apace
right from \n. e Prague Spring seems to have had little bear
ing on it, though “normalization” brought more priests into the
process from Pacem in Terris, a group not known for its eager
ness for reform.
e issue of language also proved crucial. First, vernacular lit
urgy had a special place in Czech historical memory. In the ninth
century, the Church in the Moravian state, to which the “Apostles
to the Slavs” saints Cyril and Methodius ministered, adopted the
Slavonic liturgy for a time.
at liturgy was later abandoned for
an exclusively Latin liturgy.
In the fteenth century, the Hus
site movement promoted worship, preaching, and singing in the
Czech language, which carried on in Czech Protestantism through
the sixteenth century, until its suppression after Bohemia’s defeat
at the Battle of White Mountain in .
Given these precedents,
the postconciliar reforms could be seen as a continuation, or even
. For a discussion of Church Slavonic in medieval Moravia, see Jean W. Sed
lar,
East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, –
(Seattle: University of Wash
ington Press, ), –\n.
. At the meeting of the Czech Liturgical Commission on April , \n,
Tomášek advocated the Czech-language liturgy, stating, “Let us recall the great bat
tle in our land for the Slavonic liturgy in the past; therefore we must be in the front
lines of those who want the implementation of the vernacular”; Tomášek,
Koncil a
eská spolenost
, \n.
. On the Hussite promotion of the Czech language, see Sedlar,
East Central
Europe in the Middle Ages
, –.

a vindication, of past eorts to foster worship in Bohemia in a
Slavic language.
Vatican II led to further action on a liturgical issue whose
resonance in Czech history matched that of vernacular worship:
the reception of the Eucharist “in both kinds.” A dening feature
of the fteenth-century Hussite movement was the demand for
the laity to receive during the Eucharist both bread and wine:
the Body and Blood of Christ.
is so-called Utraquism was a
practice of the early Church, but by the Middle Ages, the wine/
Blood was reserved for the clergy alone in the Western Church, a
distinction challenged rst by Hussites and then by Protestants
a century later. As with the promotion of vernacular worship, the
communion in both kinds for the laity, permitted thanks to Vati
can II, could be perceived as a vindication of the Hussites. Argu
ably, it also removed an obstacle standing between Czech patrio
tism and Catholicism.
Perhaps no change in Czechoslovakia better represented both
the spirit of the Council and the spirit of the Prague Spring than
the development of dialogue both between Catholics and Prot
estants and between Catholics and Marxists. Indeed, the DKO’s
action program criticized the Church of the past for “insu cient
eorts at ecumenical dialogue and dialogue with nonbelievers.”
Czech Protestants took an interest in the reforms in the Catholic
Church, and several Czech Protestants attended the Council as
observers—most famously, the Czech Brethren’s Josef Hromád
ka, who reported on the Council in the journal
Kesanská Revue
As Czechoslovakia’s regime began to liberalize, ecumenical dia
. e second part of the Four Articles of Prague issued by the Hussite lead
ership in October  read, “at the Holy Sacrament of the body and blood of
Christ under the two kinds of bread and wine shall be freely administered to all true
Christians who are not excluded from communion by mortal sin”; quoted in Jaro
slav Krejí, “A Culture of Ecumenical Convergence? Re„ections on the Czech Experi
ence,”
Religion, State and Society
, no.  (): .
. Svoboda,
Na stran
e
národa
, \r.
VATICAN II AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA

logue grew, and it became a regular part of Church life in the sec
ond half of the s.³
e apogee came in the ecumenical seminars held from \r
to  at the Protestant seminary in Prague-Jircháœe. ese
were initially sponsored by Protestants, but Catholics soon be
gan to participate avidly, helping to organize the events. Instruc
tors from the Catholic seminary at Litomežœice sometimes took
part. ese periodic meetings, some lasting as long as two weeks,
attracted on average between fty and a hundred participants—
both Catholic and Protestant—and produced a core group of
around three hundred Czech Christians interested in theological
reform. e program consisted of a short prayer, followed by a
lecture and then a discussion. Topics included the thought of im-
portant foreign Catholic theologians such as Yves Congar, Hans
Küng, and Karl Rahner. Growing out of the networks established
at Litomežœice were joint eorts at the translation of important
texts, reading groups centered on patristic writings, and work
with youth.
Dialogue with Marxists also proceeded in the years immedi
ately following the Council, which overlapped with those lead
ing up to the Prague Spring.
Both reform movements fed o
of each other. Some reform-minded Marxists began to take an
interest in both the Council and in the Jircháœe seminars. One of
them was the sociologist Erika Kadlecová, who established ties
with the younger Catholic generation—and, soon thereafter, be
came the Prague Spring’s head of the Secretariat for Church Af
fairs at the Ministry of Culture. For their part, some Catholics,
too, experienced a growing interest in Marxism. For example,
the émigré theologian Karel Skalický explained that the Prague
Spring prompted him to take a deeper interest in Marxism both
. On this ecumenical dialogue, see Balík and Hanuš,
Katolická církev v
\teskoslovensku
. On Catholic-Marxist dialogue, see ibid., .

in theory and practice, to develop a better understanding of the
situation in which Czechoslovakia found itself.
By the early \rs, so-called normalization had undone nearly
all of the reforms of the Prague Spring, including the ones connect
ed with religion. e Catholic Church once again faced repression
and harassment akin to what it had encountered in the pre–Prague
Spring period. Only some Czech Catholics embraced the teaching
of the Council with enthusiasm. Many pastors and laity, it seems,
saw the reforms as a luxury for churches operating in free societ
ies, not pertinent to a situation in which the Church was ghting
to survive and thus needed to rely on older tried and tested val
ues.
is reluctance was aided by the regime’s refusal to allow the
collected conciliar documents to be made available in Czech until
the early s (apart from a small run in an ecclesiastical journal
of the clergy).
Contacts with Catholics and other Christians out
side the Soviet Bloc were also impeded. Finally, there was the cau
tion of clergy simply not wanting to draw to themselves the atten
tion of the regime. However, despite these formidable obstacles,
Vatican II continued to exercise at least some in„uence on Catho
lics in the Czech lands during the nal two decades of Communist
rule in Czechoslovakia.
Reconciling Postconciliar Life with “Normalization”
Even after the Prague Spring’s suppression, Council-inspired cat
echetical materials were both published legally and smuggled
into Czechoslovakia from the West, chie„y from West Germany.
Czechs adopted and adapted Western theological works for use
in clerical and catechetical formation.
In \r, Caritas o cially
\n. Ibid., .
. Petr Fiala and Jiœí Hanuš, “PrŸbh a význam koncilních zmn v katolické
církvi v eském a moravském prostœedí,” in
Koncil a eská spolenost
, \r.
\r. For a discussion of the in„uence of Western—mostly German—publica
VATICAN II AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA

published
Naše víra
(Our faith), which was actually a translation
of the Frankfurt Catechism for Adults. Its subtitle,
Sborník úvah o
katolické víe
(Collection of considerations regarding the Catholic
faith), implied that the faith was not carved in stone but needed
ongoing consideration.
A chapter entitled “Delicate Chapters from Church History”
criticized the Church for its treatment of Jan Hus and the Hus
sites, the suppression of Protestantism after the Battle of White
Mountain, and the trials of wizards and witches. It also mentioned
the “unworthy” popes of the Middle Ages. Unlike preconciliar
handbooks, which tended to blame others for these tragic events,
Naše víra
thus took a more positive attitude toward non-Catholics.
For example, in a subchapter on Jan Hus and the Hussites, it ac
knowledged Hus’s “moral fervor,” his attempts to reform bad con
ditions in the Church, and his personal integrity and prayer life.
If o cial Catholic publishing under “normalization” could
draw from West German theological works, the same was true for
the
samizdat
, or underground, Catholic press. us, the long-term
in„uence of the Council came to the Czech lands via theological
handbooks from West Germany distributed in Czech translation.
Used in the underground teaching of theology, they had an in„u
ence on Czech Catholic elites. ese handbooks, nicknamed the
Blue, Red, and White Books, were adapted to the Czech situation.
e Red Book analyzed the Church’s place in the world in light
of conciliar teaching, asserting the need for ongoing reform in
the Church, admitting the Church’s liability for past wrongs, and
presenting the Church not as a “perfect society,” but as “the peo
ple of God” on pilgrimage. e Blue Book, among other things,
took a historical,
ressourcement
-inspired approach in examining
Jesus Christ in historical context, devoting attention to early
tions on Catholicism in the Czech lands, see Balík and Hanuš,
Katolická církev v
\teskoslovensku
, \r–.
. Balík and Hanuš,
Katolická církev v \teskoslovensku

Christian interpretations of his message and to the teaching of
the Church fathers. e White Book, the most theologically ad
vanced, was geared toward graduate-level students of theology;
it discussed the Church’s situation in the Communist world. It
gave a positive appraisal of steps taken by John XXIII, Paul VI,
and the postconciliar Church to develop better relations with the
Communist world, noting how these developments had improved
the situation of Christians living under Communist rule. ough
they were translations of works published abroad, these text
books were used by various study circles of Catholic activists and
at dozens of underground seminaries. ey had a lasting impact
on Czech religious formation.
Samizdat
material produced both at home and abroad by Czech
Catholic thinkers and activists re„ected conciliar values. e émi
gré theologian Skalický, for example, played a key role in one of the
most interesting and fruitful postconciliar initiatives for Czech Ca
tholicism—the reinterpretation of the Czech Catholic past in ways
that reconciled Czech nationalism with Catholicism, thereby over
coming traditional Czech prejudices against the Church. ough
living in exile in Rome, Skalický brought a Vatican II–inspired per
spective on Czech history to the dissident community in his na
tive land via smuggled publications and Vatican Radio broadcasts.
Working at the Christian Academy in Rome, Skalický produced an
important study of the “phenomenology of the Czech historical-
national consciousness” in September \r.
rough a kind of
“historical-cultural geology,” he identied six “strata” of Czech his
tory, which he connected with experiences of freedom in Czech na
tional memory. He cited the traditions of Cyril and Methodius, of
the medieval ruler St. Václav, of the Hussites and Bohemian Breth
ren, of St. Jan Nepomucký and the Catholic Reformation, of the
national revival and Tomáš Masaryk, and even the Socialist tradi
. Tomáš Halík,
Víra a kultura: Pokoncilní vývoj eského katolicismu v reexi
asopisu
Studie (Prague: Zvon, \n), –; Balík and Hanuš,
Katolická církev v
\teskoslovensku
VATICAN II AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA

tion as manifested under Dubek. Each tradition, in Skalický’s es
timation, represented a dierent kind of freedom for the Czechs,
such as linguistic, cultural, religious, civil, and social.
Having demonstrated the great heterogeneity and complexity
of the Czech national-historical consciousness, Skalický argued
that what holds these varied elements together and gives them
continuity is Jesus Christ. Skalický’s attempt to produce a way of
thinking about the Czech past and present integrating a variety
of otherwise disparate currents can be seen as an example of the
sort of broad dialogue with all components of society demanded
by Vatican II. More specically, by attempting to synthesize Cath
olic and Protestant traditions, he advanced the ecumenical mis
sion of the Council.
Back home, the most signicant and prominent Czech Catho
lic theologian was Josef Zvœina, released in \n from a lengthy
prison term. His short
samizdat
work of ,
Malý hovor katolick
ého teologa o TGM
, was another indication that the spirit of Vati
can II was stimulating new thinking about the Czech past. Seventy
years earlier, Tomáš Masaryk had been a fervent critic of the Cath
olic Church of his time, accusing it of superciality, pharasaism,
an anti-scientic attitude, counterproductive moral and political
activity, and entanglement in the “theocratic” Austrian state.
Zvœina lamented the Church’s inability at that time to accept Ma
saryk’s valid rebukes, responding to them with repentance and
purication, while addressing his unjustied rebukes with an hon
est, straightforward dialogue.
Instead, the Church replied with
calumny, anger, and anti-Semitism, as well as political and judicial
interventions.
e Church of Vatican II, however, was a dierent story. It
was slowly ridding itself of much of what had bothered Masaryk,
transforming itself into a Catholic Church that Czechoslovakia’s
\n. Josef Zvœina, “Malý hovor katolického teologa o TGM,” in
Teologické texty;
asopis pro teoretické a praktické otázky teologie
, no.  (\r): –.
\n. Ibid., .

founder could have respected. is was a Catholic Church in the
process of renewal, seeking unity with other Christians and a
positive presence in the world. It had become a church in pursuit
of “humility, patience, mutual respect, and altruistic service.”
In
this way, Zvœina sought to reconcile one of the greatest gures of
modern Czech history with the Church from which he had apos
tatized as a young man. Zvœina’s success would remove a crucial
barrier separating Czech liberal nationalism from Catholicism.
e intensied concern for human rights that began to char
acterize the postconciliar Church throughout the world was not
without its impact in the Czech lands. Lay Catholics such as math
ematician and activist Václav Benda and priests such as Zvœina
and Václav Malý became prominent gures in the Charter \r\r hu
man rights movement.
Malý was also a cofounder of the Com
mittee for the Defense of the Unjustly Persecuted (Výbor na Ob
ranu Nespravedliv Stíhaných, or VONS). Almost by denition,
human rights advocacy in the Czech lands entailed dialogue and
cooperation with non-Catholics and nonbelievers, keeping in tune
with the spirit of the Council.
Such cooperation dated not only to the Prague Spring, but even
back to the early \ns, when Catholics, Protestants, and Marxists
had bonded while together in Stalinist-era prisons.
Even though
Archbishop Tomášek at rst distanced himself and the Church
from VONS, by the mid-s he, too, was speaking out on behalf
of religious freedom and human rights in Czechoslovakia.
To this
end, he was in„uenced and inspired by the example and encour
\n. Ibid., .
\n. For a discussion of Catholics and Charter \r\r, see Luxmoore and Babiuch, “In
Search of Faith, Part : Charter \r\r and the Return to Spiritual Values in the Czech
Republic,”
Religion, State and Society
, no.  (\n): –.
\n. Ibid., \r.
\n\n. For an explanation of Tomášek’s initial reluctance to support Charter \r\r and
his subsequent change of heart, see František Tomášek,
Kardinál Tomášek: Sv\bdectví
o dobrém katechetovi, bojácném biskupovi a stateném kardinálovi
, ed. Jan Hartmann
(Prague: Zvon ™eské katolické nakladatelství, ), –\r.
VATICAN II AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA

agement of Czech Catholics such as Zvœina, as well as the Catholic
Church’s Polish pope: John Paul II.
From \n to , the Church in the Czech lands (and even
more so in Slovakia) experienced a revitalization. is is clear. In
a mass pilgrimage to Velehrad in \n, hundreds of thousands
of Czech and Slovak Catholics expressed their support for the
Church and—at the same time—displeasure with regime poli
cies. A petition by Moravian shopkeeper Augustin Navrátil gar
nered more than half a million signatures, as well as the support
of Archbishop Tomášek, in its demands for religious rights and
freedoms. One can look also to the courageous candlelight pro
test for religious freedom in Bratislava on Good Friday ;
to the events connected with the impending canonization of
Blessed Agnes of Bohemia; and to the underground Church that
survived and in some ways even thrived during the period of
“normalization.”­‚
While these developments were not directly
tied to the Council, most of them re„ected its spirit in their con
cerns for religious freedom and human rights and in their lay
activism. Navrátil’s petition, for example, included among its de
mands Vatican II–inspired calls for independent lay associations
and parish councils.­ƒ
\n. Already since at least \r\r, while he was still archbishop of Kraków, Karol
Cardinal Wojtya had been urging Tomášek to take a tougher stance toward Czecho
slovakia’s repressive regime. Just three weeks after his accession to the papacy,
John Paul publicly remarked that he wanted to give the “Silenced Church” a voice;
Cuhra,
\teskoslovensko-vatikánská jednání –
(Prague: Ústav pro soudobé
djiny AV ™R, ), –; Svoboda,
Na stran\b národa
\n\r. Most or all of these developments are covered in Balík and Hanuš,
Katolická
církev v \teskoslovensku
, –; Janice Broun and Graˆyna Sikorska,
Conscience and
Captivity: Religion in Eastern Europe
(Washington, D.C.: Ethics and Public Policy Cen
ter, ), \n–; Ramet, “Catholic Church in Czechoslovakia,” –. For a focus
on Slovakia, see David Doellinger, “Prayers, Pilgrimages, and Petitions: e Secret
Church and the Growth of Civil Society in Slovakia,”
Nationalities Papers: e Journal
of Nationalism and Ethnicity
, no.  (June ): \n–.
\n. For the English-language text of Navrátil’s petition, see Broun and Sikorska,
Conscience and Captivity
, –.

Conclusions
Coming a few years after Vatican II, but trying to do much the
same for Czechoslovakia’s Communist regime as the Council had
done for the Church, the Prague Spring gave reform-minded Com
munists the opportunity to enact a “socialism with a human face.”
is then became the context in which the Church in the Czech
lands could implement its own changes based on the Council. e
brief blossoming of reform communism presented Czech Catho
lics with greater access to Western theological currents; increased
opportunities for dialogue with non-Catholics and nonbelievers,
including Marxists; lay access to seminary education; and greater
freedom overall for the Church to operate.
ough the Warsaw Pact invasion of August  meant that
these changes would be short-lived, both for the reform Commu
nists and for the Church, Vatican II’s in„uence continued under
“normalization,” albeit in a dierent, attenuated form. e legacy
of the Council lived on in Catholic human rights activism, coop
eration with non-Catholic dissidents, and certain lay initiatives.
It also gave support to those currents in Czech Catholic thought
that sought to reconcile Catholicism with an often anti-Catholic
Czech national tradition, thereby removing obstacles standing be
tween Czech patriotism and the Church. A particularly crucial ve
hicle for this reconciliation was the vernacular liturgy. While the
springtime of Czech communism indeed gave way to the bleak
winter of “normalization,” the parallel and interrelated spring
time of Czech Catholicism did not disappear entirely. Instead, it
sustained itself in new ways during the closing years of Commu
nist rule over the Czech lands.
VATICAN II
AND POLAND
Piotr H. Kosicki
Five decades after the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic
Church’s place in Polish public life remains bitterly contested.
Polish commentators—Catholic and secular alike—regularly ques
tion whether Vatican II had any practical impact on Poland.
e
few Catholics who style themselves as reformist “children of
Vatican II” must ght tooth and nail to make themselves heard.
Opponents of the Council’s reforms—including the excommuni
cated “Lefebvrist” Society of St. Pius X—have seen to the trans
lation and circulation in Polish of their diatribes against Vati-
can II.
Even the Polish episcopate seems uncertain about the
conciliar legacy: in , its deputy head equated Catholic re
formism with “the uncompromising, public discrediting of those
who stand in defense of the truth”—in other words, the road “to
relativism.”
Polish commentators seem right to wonder if the
. See, especially, the May  special issue of the
Znak
monthly devoted to
the legacy of Vatican II for Poland; “Co Sobór zmieni w Polsce? Ankieta ‘Znaku,’

ak
, no. \n (): –. (Unless otherwise noted, all translations from the
French, Italian, and Polish in this chapter are the author’s.)
. Zbigniew Nosowski, ed.,
Dzieci Soboru zadaj pytania: Rozmowy o Soborze
Watykaskim II
(Warsaw: Biblioteka WI¡ZI, ).
. Marcel Lefebvre,
Oni Jego zdetronizowali: Od liberalizmu do apostazji, tragedia
soborowa
, nd ed. (Warsaw: Te Deum, ).
. Marek Jdraszewski, “Obecno Kocioa w ˆyciu publicznym” (June ,

TR H. KOSICKI
ftieth anniversary of
Gaudium et spes
Apostolicam actuositatem
Dignitatis humanae
, and the Council’s other revolutionary teach
ings carries any meaning in the homeland of Pope John Paul II.
e reason for this state of aairs is an astonishingly low
awareness of both Poland’s role at Vatican II and the Council’s
importance for Poland. In fact, historians have barely touched
the topic. As of the Council’s ftieth anniversary, only one mono
graph has appeared—in any world language—on any aspect of
the subject.
Several journals and memoirs of signature Council
participants—Dominican theologian Yves Congar, Jesuit theolo
gian Henri de Lubac
—have been translated into Polish; a hand
ful of Polish bishops have published brief commentaries on the
Council.‚
Poland’s reformist laity has been writing about Vatican
II since its convocation, but its writings fall mostly within the
realms of philosophy and theology, not history.
Although the
), http://archidiecezja.lodz.pl/new/?news_id=\rd\rfdfadf\rede\n
f; accessed June , .
\n. at lone monograph chronicles some of the bishops’ activities in Rome:
Piotr Rutkowski,
Polscy biskupi jako ojcowie Soboru Watykaskiego II
(Warsaw:
Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Kardynaa Stefana Wyszyskiego, ). e best
available overview of the broader subject is Piotr Mazurkiewicz, “Recepcja Soboru,”
Koció i religijno\n Polaków –: Praca Zbiorowa
, ed. Witold Zdaniewicz and
Tadeusz Zembrzuski (Warsaw-Pozna: Instytut Statystyki Kocioa Katolickiego
SAC/Pallottinum, ), –.
. Yves Congar,
Rozmowy Jesienne
, trans. Maria Deskur (Warsaw: Wydawnic
two Ksiˆy Marianów, ); Henri de Lubac,
Medytacje o Kociele
, trans. Izabela
Biakowska-Cicho (Kraków: WAM, \r).
\r. Bohdan Bejze,
Kronika Soboru Watykaskiego II
(Czstochowa: Niedzie
la, ); Jerzy Stroba,
Zadania wyznaczone przez Sobór Watykaski II
(Pozna:
Ksigarnia w. Wojciecha, ).
. While the weekly journal
Tygodnik Powszechny
featured continuous cov
erage of the conciliar sessions while they were in progress, the monthlies
Wi
(Bond) and
Znak
(Sign) regularly presented discussion forums and thought-pieces
re„ecting on both the Council’s broader signicance and its specic consequences
for Poland.
Wi
, for example, published the following “themed” issues during the
Council years: “e Council” (April ); “e Council and Us” (February ); “e
Spiritual Testament of John XXIII” (June ); “Tradition and Reform in Polish
Catholicism” (July–August and September ); “Problems of Ecumenism” (Janu
VATICAN II AND POLAND

sixteen documents produced by Vatican II were published in a
bilingual Polish-Latin edition in , these texts were censored;
secret police insured that the volume would not reach a wide au
dience. It was not until  that the average Polish reader was
able to obtain the conciliar documents in his own language.…
Even the Polish presence at Vatican II has gone virtually un
documented. Although brief mentions appear in various Eng
lish-, French-, and Italian-language histories, only since the \n
death of John Paul II have a small handful of published primary
sources (diaries, correspondence, speeches) appeared in Polish.
e most important of these is a collection of the future pon
ti’s speeches and working documents for the Council, pub
lished in a single volume alongside a monograph-length account
of Wojtya’s participation in the Council.
A similar volume has
recently appeared documenting the conciliar engagement of Po
land’s longtime Communist-era head bishop (–), Stefan
Cardinal Wyszyski.¹¹
Unlike the Hungarian or Czechoslovak presence at the Coun
cil, the Polish presence was substantial: twenty-six bishops during
the First Session, sixty-one in total over the course of the Council’s
four sessions—as well as a lay auditor and close to a dozen jour
nalists. Communist Poland was, in demographic terms, an over
whelmingly Catholic country, more confessionally homogeneous
than at any other time in modern Polish history.
Yet demograph
ary ); “e Decisive Phase of the Council” (October ); “e Vocation and
Liberty of the Laity” (March \n); and “e New Consciousness of the Church”
(September \n).
. Julian Groblicki and Eugeniusz Florkowski, eds.,
Sobór Watykaski II: Konsty
tucje, dekrety, deklaracje; Tekst acisko-polski
(Pozna: Pallottinum, ).
. Robert Skrzypczak,
Karol Wojtya na Soborze Watykaskim II: Zbiór wystpie
(Warsaw: Centrum Myli Jana Pawa II, ).
. Stefan Wyszyski,
Stefan Kardyna Wyszyski Prymas Polski, Ojciec Soboru
Watykaskiego II –: Wybór dokumentów
, ed. Stanisaw Wilk and Anna Wójcik
(Lublin: Wydawnictwo KUL, ).
. On the implications for Catholic life of postwar Poland’s relative confessional

TR H. KOSICKI
ics did not automatically mean that the Poles would be able to
make themselves seen and heard in Rome. As Jan Grootaers has
argued, “Polish participation in Vatican II had its own particular
qualities. e ‘reception’ of the Council was, likewise, also neces
sarily very dierent.”
Two factors ultimately gave Poland a voice
at Vatican II: a handful of bishops with just enough visibility and
political capital to be serious movers and shakers in Communist
Poland and a well-established, reform-minded laity with the expe
rience needed to have an impact both at home and abroad.
ough no one could have known it at the time, the Polish
conciliar delegation included a future ponti, Karol Wojtya.
e future John Paul II participated in the rst two sessions as
Kraków’s auxiliary bishop, then in its nal two sessions as met
ropolitan of the same archdiocese. Twenty years later, as ponti,
he famously insisted, “For me the Second Vatican Council has
always been—in a particular fashion during these years of my
ponticate—the constant reference point of every pastoral ac
tion, with conscious commitment to translate its directives into
concrete, faithful action, at the level of every church and of the
whole Church.”
is chapter will oer a broad overview of the intertwined
stories of Poland’s place at Vatican II and of Vatican II’s impact
on Poland. It draws both on existing scholarship and on a large
and ethnic homogeneity, see Kosicki, “Masters in eir Own Home or Defenders of
the Human Person? Wojciech Korfanty, Antisemitism, and the Illiberal Rights-Talk
of Polish Christian Democracy,”
Modern Intellectual History
(\n) FirstView, DOI:
http://dx.doi.org/.\r/S\r\n\r.
. Jan Grootaers,
Actes et acteurs à Vatican II
(Leuven: University Press/Uitge
verij Peeters, ), .
. Kosicki, “Between Catechism and Revolution: Poland, France, and the Story
of Catholicism and Socialism in Europe, \r–\n” (Ph.D. diss., Princeton Univer
sity, ).
\n. John Paul II, January \n, \n, quoted in Peter Hebblethwaite, “John Paul II,”
Modern Catholicism: Vatican II and After
, ed. Adrian Hastings (New York: Oxford
University Press, ), .
VATICAN II AND POLAND

set of primary sources (published and unpublished). e principal
chronological focus will be the years \n–. In practice, howev
er, the chapter will touch on the entire Communist period, from
–\n through the appointment in August  of Poland’s rst
non-Communist postwar prime minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki—
a longtime leading lay activist, who had been in Rome in  for
the funeral of Pope John XXIII.
Both participation in the Council and the subsequent imple
mentation of conciliar reforms were substantially conditioned by
the dilemmas of life in Communist Poland: diplomatic double-
speak, secret police agents, and the need for what George Orwell
once described as “ideological translation.”
As the diary of Pol
ish Catholic journalist and politician Janusz Zabocki reminds
us, the Polish experience of Vatican II was also inextricably em
bedded within the life-and-death stakes of Cold War geopolitics:
of the menace that engulfed the world, the average Pole had no idea.
And so it goes, that as a result of the constant threat of nuclear ho
locaust, we have simply become accustomed to it, and subsequent
events in this area cease to make an impression on us. All the more
so, because the censors lter information, and it is usually di cult
to decode their true meaning. e day that will be the last day of
mankind on earth, may thus nd us dreaming beautiful dreams,
with no sense of danger whatsoever. Maybe it’s better this way,
since we have no control over our fate in any case?
Yet, despite the profound constraints imposed by the geogra
phy of the Iron Curtain, the Council had a revolutionary impact
on Poland, encouraging some of the most important episcopal
initiatives of the Communist period and laying the groundwork
for an eventual partial normalization of diplomatic relations
. On the in„uence of the Communist security apparatus on the Catholic
Church in Poland, see Pawe Skibiski, “Inltracja komunistycznych suˆb specjal
nych w polskim Kociele—co juˆ wiemy? Informacja na temat stanu bada,”
Teolo
gia Polityczna
, no.  (–): \n\r–\r.
\r. Zabocki,
Dzienniki
, :.

TR H. KOSICKI
between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of Poland. e
Council also triggered an e‰orescence of independent activism
by the Polish Catholic laity. Finally—and perhaps most impor
tantly from the standpoint of the universal Church—it made an
international player of Karol Wojtya, the future John Paul II.
Poland: How “Silent” prior to Vatican II?
When Stefan Cardinal Wyszyski, primate of Poland, was taken
into custody by functionaries of the Polish secret police on Sep
tember \n, \n, it seemed that the last bastion of Catholic au
tonomy behind the Iron Curtain had fallen silent. By this time,
Josif Slipyj, Alojzije Stepinac, Josef Beran, and József Mindszen-
ty had all been in prison for years.
In Poland, Stalinism’s attack on the Church had seemed more
a creeping inltration than a frontal assault.
After an uneasy,
but overall amicable, rst two years of coexistence, the relation
ship between the Polish episcopate and Poland’s postwar Com
munist establishment became more strained—but still tenable.
Although clergy who had been active in interwar public life or
had fought in the wartime resistance were persecuted, impris
oned, or killed as part of an ongoing “civil war” between Com
munist authorities and remnants of the Home Army,
episcopal
authorities pursued a path of accommodation, even signing a
memorandum of understanding with the government in April
\n. It was not until \n that the rst high-prole arrests and
show trials began within the Polish Church.
Unlike in the oth
. e Polish historian Jan ‡aryn has described the approach as “salami tac
tics”; ‡aryn,
Koció a wadza w Polsce (–)
(Warsaw: DiG, \r), \n.
. Antoni Dudek and Ryszard Gryz,
Komunici i Koció w Polsce (–)
(Kraków: Znak, ), –.
. On the “civil war,” see John Micgiel, “

andits and Reactionaries’: e Sup
pression of the Opposition in Poland, –,” in
e Establishment of Commu
nist Regimes in Eastern Europe, –
, –.
. See, for example, Jan ledzianowski,
Ksidz Czesaw Kaczmarek
biskup
VATICAN II AND POLAND

er Communist-run countries with signicant Catholic popula
tions, Poland’s primate never stood trial after his arrest in \n,
which—unlike for Stepinac, Mindszenty, or Beran—was kept of
cially secret, with state authorities announcing only that they
had “suspended him in his functions.”²²
To the extent, then, that the Catholic Church in Poland was a
“Church of Silence” in the postwar decade, this was far less true
than in any of the other countries discussed in this volume. Not
only did the clergy and bishops have more maneuvering room
than their counterparts elsewhere behind the Iron Curtain, so did
the Polish laity. Catholic charities and student associations were
active until ; then they were co-opted, their more recalcitrant
membership arrested.
e high-circulation Catholic journal
godnik Powszechny
(Universal weekly), founded in April \n on
the authority of Kraków archbishop Adam Stefan Sapieha, ap
peared without interruption until March \n, when editors re
fused to print an obituary for Joseph Stalin.
e Catholic Uni
versity of Lublin—the only nonpublic university behind the Iron
Curtain—never closed its doors, though its faculty, students, and
sta faced signicant pressure, and state agencies regularly im
posed politically motivated quotas, caps, and taxes.
Life in Stalinist Poland was di cult—occasionally bloody, or
even lethal—for members of these organizations. Yet there was
never any question of eliminating the Catholic Church from Pol
ish public life. Even the agenda of “nationalizing” the Church was
kielecki –
(Kielce: Kuria Diecezjalna, ), \n–\r; ‡aryn, “Ostatnie wyg
nanie biskupa Stanisawa Adamskiego (\n–\n),”
Wi
, no. \r (): –\r.
. On state policy toward Primate Stefan Wyszyski, see Bartomiej Noszczak,
Polityka pastwa wobec Kocióla rzymskokatolickiego w Polsce w okresie internowania
prymasa Stefana Wyszyskiego –
(Warsaw: IPN-KZpNP, ).
. Andrzej Friszke,
Midzy wojn a wizieniem –
(Warsaw: Biblioteka
WI¡ZI, \n), –.
. Christina Manetti, “Catholic Responses to Poland’s ‘New Reality,’ \n–
\n,”
East European Politics and Societies
, no.  (): –.
\n. Noszczak,
Polityka pastwa wobec Kocioa rzymskokatolickiego
, –.

TR H. KOSICKI
pursued with considerably less vigor than in other countries.
True, the State O ce of Confessional Aairs, established in
\n, worked together with secret police to create a movement
of “patriot priests” who put loyalty to party and state before God
and pope.
In \n, the Ministry of Education replaced the theol
ogy faculty of Jagiellonian University and the Catholic theology
faculty of Warsaw University with a state-run Academy of Catho
lic eology in the north of Warsaw. By that time, the emerging
party-state had seized over , hectares of Church land.²ƒ
Yet the Communist establishment seemed unable to commit
to a consistent strategy of ecclesiastical cooptation and nation
alization. Competition from the independent Catholic Univer
sity of Lublin undercut the Warsaw academy from the start, and
the “patriot priests” met with antagonism not only from Polish
clergy, but also from another philo-Stalinist Catholic group, the
PAX Association. Founded by one-time interwar fascist leader
Bolesaw Piasecki, PAX in the postwar decade became the clarion
voice on behalf of Polish Catholic collaboration with Marxism.
ough tainted by its associations with the secret police and by
its leadership’s prots from the state seizure of other Catholic as
sets, PAX nonetheless became an incubation site for some of the
future leaders of the Polish laity.²…
PAX also developed extensive contacts across the Iron Cur
tain with Western Europe’s self-styled “Catholic socialists” and
“progressive Catholics.” In Belgium, in France, and in Italy, PAX
had a devoted following that it used to spread the word, even
. Peter C. Kent,
e Lonely Cold War of Pope Pius XII: e Roman Catholic
Church and the Division of Europe, –
(Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University
Press, ), –.
\r. Jacek ‡urek,
Ruch “Ksiy Patriotów” w województwie katowickim w latach
–
(Warsaw-Katowice: IPN-KZpNP, ).
. Dariusz Walencik,
Nieruchomoci Kocioa katolickiego w Polsce w latach –
: Regulacje prawne—nacjonalizacja—rewindykacja
(Katowice: Drukarnia Archidi
ecezjalna, ), \r.
. On PAX, see Kunicki,
Between the Brown and the Red
, \r\r–.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

after the arrest of Primate Wyszyski, that the Catholic Church
had never fared better in Poland than it did in the early \ns.
is strategy relied on its cross–Iron Curtain partners’ unswerv
ing faith that state socialism better served the goals of Catholic
social teaching than any other political order ever could. With
the condemnation of PAX’s weekly journal
Dzi i Jutro
(Today
and tomorrow) by the Holy O ce in June \n\n, many—though
not all—of its Western European partners began to call this as
sumption into question. Yet PAX’s emissaries were su ciently
well-read and outspoken, its in„uence su ciently extensive, that
well into the s it would continue to shape the reception of
Polish Catholicism in the wider world, including at the Second
Vatican Council.
e one area in which postwar state policy succeeded in set
ting the Church in Poland at loggerheads with the Holy See con
cerned postwar Poland’s new borders. Following Stalin’s seizure on
behalf of the USSR of the eastern third of interwar Polish territory
(roughly demarcated by the old Curzon Line), the Allies assembled
at Potsdam in August and September \n granted Poland occupa
tion rights to Pomerania, Silesia, and the Baltic corridor, all held
by Germany before World War II.
Pope Pius XII refused to rec
ognize these border transfers, and—though the Holy See granted
the Polish episcopate in \n the right to nominate “temporary”
apostolic administrators—the Vatican held into the \rs that the
relevant dioceses belonged to German bishops.
. Kosicki, “Soviet Bloc’s Answer to European Integration,” –.
. On these border changes, see, for example, Timothy Snyder,
e Reconstruc
tion of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, –
(New Haven, Conn.:
Yale University Press, ), \r–, \n–; Hugo Service,
Germans to Poles: Com
munism, Nationalism, and Ethnic Cleansing after the Second World War
(New York:
Cambridge University Press, ).
. Jan Krucina, ed.,
Koció na Ziemiach Zachodnich
(Wrocaw: Wrocawska
Ksigarnia Archidiecezjalna, \r); Andrzej Ranke,
Stosunki polsko-niemieckie w pol
skiej publicystyce katolickiej w latach –
(Toru: Europejskie Centrum Eduka
cyjne, ).

TR H. KOSICKI
Meanwhile, a consensus rapidly developed in Poland across
confessional and political lines that Poland had a sovereign right
to its new western territories. is was perhaps the one issue
on which Communists and nationalists, émigrés and repatri
ates, bishops and party o cials could all agree: that the Vatican
should transfer diocesan jurisdiction to Poles. Pius XII’s failure to
do so put successive primates—rst August Hlond, then Stefan
Wyszyski—in the di cult position of holding the same line as
the Communist regime, but having to justify the opposite line
taken by the pope.
Wyszyski’s response, in particular, was to undertake his own
initiatives. e provision in the \n church-state memorandum
of understanding to which the Holy See objected most was the
Polish bishops’ pledge to lobby the Holy See for recognition of
Polish jurisdiction over the formerly German dioceses.
Yet this
was not a sign of a Church of Silence,
but rather of endogenous
pressures within the Church, pitting Polish bishops won over
by
raison d’État
against a Holy See convinced that Poland’s pres
ence in the territories was simply a transitional “occupation.” As
Peter C. Kent has suggested, “e Polish church had left the Vati
can the choice of either disavowing the Polish hierarchy or ac
cepting the agreement. e Secretariat of State chose the latter
course and retained a stony public silence.”
Wyszyski himself
was quite clear about this: “I, too, know canon law and interna
. Kent,
Lonely Cold War of Pope Pius XII
, \n–. e oending point in the
Church-State Accord was the third of nineteen: “e Polish episcopate deems that
economic, historic, cultural, and religious laws, as well as historical justice, demand
that the Recovered Territories belong to Poland once and for all. Proceeding from
the assumption that the Recovered Territories constitute an inseparable part of the
Republic, the episcopate will turn to the Holy See with the request that the apos
tolic administrations currently in residence be recognized as permanent ordinary
dioceses.”
.
Pace
, among others, Richard F. Staar, “e Church of Silence in Communist
Poland,”
Catholic Historical Review
, no.  (\n): –.
\n. Kent,
Lonely Cold War of Pope Pius XII
, \n.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

tional law, and I see no obstacles that would make the Church’s
nominations contingent on international treaties. Why should
.\n million people have to wait uncounted years for this blessing?
How can this be justied?”³€
Likewise, with respect to the patriot priests’ association, Wy-
szyski chose to interpret very liberally the Holy O ce’s  de
cree threatening Catholics with excommunication for cooperation
with communism. e primate condemned patriot priests only
in \n, following their open revolt against bishops (himself in
cluded) persecuted by the state. Asked once how he justied con
cluding agreements with Communists and their sympathizers,
the primate replied, “one cannot reach an understanding with the
devil, but with people—of course one can.”³‚
e balance sheet for the Catholic Church under Polish Stalin
ism is, therefore, mixed. On the one hand, the bishops of Katowice
and Kielce and top gures within the Cracovian curia were tor
tured and subjected to show trials, the country’s primate arrested
and kept under lock and key for three years.
On the other, re
signed to Poland’s overwhelmingly Catholic population and unable
to choose one consistent strategy of cooptation, postwar Commu
nists never succeeded either in cutting the Catholic Church in Po
land o from the Vatican or in alienating Poles from the Church.
For evidence one need look no further than Czstochowa on Au
gust , \n, when the episcopate’s temporary head, ¢ód£ bishop
Micha Klepacz, left the primate’s seat empty when over a million
Poles gathered to launch a ten-year campaign of spiritual prepara
tion for the millennium of Polish Christendom.
One month later,
Wyszyski had left custody, and by the end of the year the episco
. Quoted in Peter Raina,
Kardyna Wyszyski
, vol. ,
Czasy Prymasowskie,
–
(Warsaw: Ksi¤ˆka Polska, ), .
\r. Ewa K. Czaczkowska,
Kardyna Wyszyski: Biograa
, nd ed. (Kraków: Znak,
), .
. Dudek and Gryz,
Komunici i Koció w Polsce
. Czaczkowska,
Kardyna Wyszyski
, nd ed., –\n.

TR H. KOSICKI
pate had reached a new agreement with the new leadership of the
Polish United Workers’ Party.
De-Stalinization as
De-Stalinization led to a brief e‰orescence of civic associational
life in Poland. Known anti-Communists were out of the picture,
but revisionist Marxists and so-called “open” Catholics were al
lowed to form—albeit on a limited scale, with invasive oversight
by the O ce of Confessional Aairs—their own discussion clubs,
journals, newspapers, youth groups, publishing houses, and even
trading companies. In the Catholic sphere, this shift broke PAX’s
monopoly on Catholic activism, consigning PAX denitively to
the dustbin of unprincipled collaborationism.
e result was a whole network of lay Catholic activists oper
ating according to what one of their leaders, Stanisaw Stomma,
described as “neopositivism”: a willingness to accept Communist
authorities in the name of
raison d’État
, so that Catholics could
build from the ground up their own sphere of livelihood.
e
resurrection of journals suppressed under Stalinism—
Tygodnik
Powszechny
, as well as the
Znak
(Sign) monthly—went hand in
hand with the creation of multiple Catholic Intelligentsia Clubs
spread across the country, a publishing house called Znak, a
monthly called
Wi
(Bond), and a trading company to fund their
operations. e Polish Communists’ de-Stalinizing general secre
. It was the literary critic and satirist Stefan Kisielewski who coined the term
“neopositivism,” but Stanisaw Stomma emerged as its principal theorist and practi
tioner; Stomma, “

ozytywizm’ od strony moralnej,”
Tygodnik Powszechny
, April ,
\n\r. e term was a clear reference to the nineteenth-century positivism that lay at
the roots of “organic work” pursued by Polish cultural and literary authorities after
the failed uprising of – against Russian imperial authority. Positivism’s fun
damental goal was to train the best and brightest of future generations in what it
meant to be Polish while awaiting freedom, rather than have them die in a failed up
rising along the way; Jerzy Jedlicki,
A Suburb of Europe: Nineteenth-Century Polish Ap
proaches to Western Civilization
(Budapest: Central European University Press, ).
VATICAN II AND POLAND

tary, Wadysaw Gomuka, even suggested that the new move
ment—known as ZNAK—run a handful of parliamentary candi
dates in the January \n\r elections. All of these Catholic activists
won election, and the result was a small group of Catholic MPs in
the Sejm (parliament) of Communist Poland.¹
By \n, pressure from the Soviet Union and from other Pol
ish Communists led to a retrenchment within the Polish United
Workers’ Party (PZPR, Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza—
Poland’s Communist party). Its leader, Gomuka—himself a for-
mer prisoner of Stalinism—turned against the Church once again.
Yet de-Stalinization had given the Church a rm footing in the
People’s Republic of Poland, and this would never go away. Politi
cal repressions lasted until the collapse of communism in ,
but Wyszyski never again faced arrest. As José Casanova has
argued, the political choices and ecclesiological vision pursued by
Wyszyski following his \n release demonstrate that “Polish Ca
tholicism had also been undergoing its own process of
aggiorna
mento
And yet world-renowned Polish philosopher Leszek Koa-
kowski would have disagreed with this last statement. ough he
began as a young Marxist rebrand who helped to justify Stalin
ism, Koakowski soon became the clarion voice of de-Stalinization,
humanism, and revisionist Marxism. Criticism of political violence
by Gomuka’s security forces in  would land Koakowski a one-
way ticket out of Poland, from which he proceeded to a career at
the University of Chicago and Oxford. For Koakowski, as for his
students, John XXIII’s call for
aggiornamento
within the Catholic
Church represented a modern reincarnation of an old danger, what
Koakowski called a “new Counter-Reformation.”
In both cases,
. Friszke,
Koo posów “Znak” w Sejmie PRL –
(Warsaw: Wydawnictwo
Sejmowe, ), \n–.
. Casanova,
Public Religions in the Modern World
, .
. Leszek Koakowski,
Notatki o wspóczesnej kontrreformacji
(Warsaw: Ksi¤ˆka
i Wiedza, ).

TR H. KOSICKI
the fundamental concern was that the Catholic Church would
only adopt a façade of reform so as to appeal more eectively to
the modern world, while in fact shedding none of its dogmatism.
For revisionist Marxists, the pastoral traditionalism of the Pol
ish episcopate seemed less “dangerous” than open Catholicism,
which for them carried the potential of a wolf in sheep’s clothing:
a repressive institution cloaked in a falsely modern aesthetic and
idiom. Koakowski’s students would debate this issue with the
Polish laity throughout the conciliar era.
The Polish Episcopal Presence in Rome
When John XXIII’s call for an ecumenical council reached Polish
bishops in \n, they were just learning the limits of de-Staliniza
tion. Religious education in primary and secondary schools, re
introduced into public classrooms in \n, was threatened and
ultimately phased out between \n and . Permits for the con
struction of new churches were becoming impossible to obtain.
An abstinence campaign launched by Rev. Franciszek Blachnicki
—soon to become known as the founder of Poland’s Oaza (Oasis)
movement—was under attack.
Primate Wyszyski, who had con-
cluded a new memorandum of understanding with the party-
state in late \n and had encouraged Catholics to vote in the elec
tions of \n\r, soon began to regret those actions.
And yet Wyszyski proved extremely adept at mobilizing Pol
ish clergy following his release from house arrest. e primate
believed that his task was to square two separate processes: on
the one hand, Poland’s participation in the universal Church’s
aggiornamento
; and, on the other, the singularly Polish experi
. Dudek and Gryz,
Komunici i Koció w Polsce
, \r–\r.
\n. Andrzej Grajewski, “Oskarˆony ks. Franciszek Blachnicki,”
Wi
, no. \n
(): –; Esther Peperkamp, “

ere Can Be No Vacation from God’: Chil
dren’s Retreats, Leisure, and Social Change in Poland,”
Religion, State, and Society
,
no.  (): \r–.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

ence of what Wyszyski called the Great Novena. e latter rep
resented a decade’s worth of preparations for the coming 
celebration of the millennium of Polish Christendom. It was this
“novena” that had been launched at Czstochowa in August \n,
the primate’s throne empty, with Bishop Klepacz presiding.
e key to understanding how the Polish episcopate squared
the circle is Wyszyski’s declaration at the outset of the Great
Novena that Poles were “surrendering Poland into maternal ser
vitude to the Virgin Mary.”
Wyszyski’s campaign to mobilize
clergy and laity alike for a singularly Polish version of Marian de
votion conditioned the country’s response to
aggiornamento
. In
the words of Jonathan Luxmoore and Jolanta Babiuch, Wyszyski
“knew the Church must oer alternatives, rather than just attack
ing communism.”
In particular, the Polish bishops hoped that
peregrinations of the icon of the Black Madonna would boost the
Polish response rate to the surveys sent out worldwide by the
Holy See following the \n announcement of an impending ecu
menical council. Parish priests were called to deliver to their bish
ops answers to the question: “What does the Polish clergy expect
from the upcoming Council?” Even though answers could not be
anonymous, the nal response rate was impressive.
e Polish bishops collectively projected the impression in the
years leading up to Vatican II that they sought a genuine fusion
of Polish piety with an enthusiastic embrace of modernity in the
universal Church. As the Polish episcopate declared in a Septem
ber  pastoral letter, “We rmly reject the accusation that we
are somehow ‘backward.’ We in no way wish for a return to the
bygone (and not always good) social forms of the middle ages. We
look calmly to the future.”
. Noszczak,
“Sacrum” czy “profanum”? Spór o istot obchodów Milenium polskiego
(–)
(Warsaw: Towarzystwo Naukowe Warszawskie/IPN-KZpNP, ), \r\n–
; Raina,
Jasnogórskie luby Narodu Polskiego , , 
(Warsaw: Pax, ).
\r. Luxmoore and Babiuch,
Vatican and the Red Flag
. Quoted in Porter-Szcs,
Faith and Fatherland
, .

TR H. KOSICKI
When the Second Vatican Council opened on October , ,
twenty-six of Poland’s sixty-four bishops were present.
ese
bishops had arrived four days earlier. John XXIII granted them an
audience the very next day.
ere was no point at which all sixty-four Polish bishops were
at the Council. Only ten Polish bishops attended all of its ses
sions.
e Polish delegation amounted to only . percent of
the total number of bishops at the Council. Meanwhile, the num
ber of speeches given by the Poles represented . percent of the
total.­¹
ese numbers might suggest that the Polish delegation could
not have played a serious role at Vatican II. Yet eight of the ten
Polish bishops who attended all four sessions served the Coun
cil in an o cial capacity, whether as committee members or—in
Wyszyski’s case—in the Council presidium. Entirely wide of the
mark was the  judgment by leading Polish lay activist Jerzy
Zawieyski that the Polish bishops “play no role and do not count
here at all.”
is marks a striking contrast, for example, with
Yves Congar’s belief in the signicance of the Poles’ participation
in the Council. Writing in , the great Dominican theologian
was genuinely in awe of the prelates who had come to Rome from
behind the Iron Curtain.­³
. ere has been some disagreement about the numbers—the result of con
fusion as to if and how to count émigré bishops. is chapter follows the detailed,
bishop-by-bishop breakdown in Rutkowski,
Polscy biskupi jako ojcowie Soboru Waty-
kaskiego II
, \r.
\n. Ibid., .
\n. Bejze,
Kronika Soboru Watykaskiego II
\n. Jerzy Zawieyski was, in fact, parroting the opinion that he had heard from
PZPR general secretary Wadysaw Gomuka; Zawieyski,
Dzienniki
, vol. ,
Wybór z lat
–
(Warsaw: Orodek KARTA/IPN-KZpNP, ), \r\r.
\n. Congar,
My Journal of the Council
, \r.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

The Public Relations of Primate Wyszyski
In Rome, Wyszyski resided at the Polish Institute at via Pietro Ca
vallini . Meanwhile, the remaining bishops—including Wojtya
—stayed at the Collegium Polonium on the Piazza Remuria. ese
bishops were celebrities in Rome. Wyszyski may have been a
“solitary cardinal,” but his was one of the most recognizable fac
es amidst a sea of nearly , Council fathers.
Given his “cel
ebrated status of primate of the strongest Church behind the ‘iron
curtain,’

e cardinal needed only to walk into a room to capture
the imaginations of Council fathers and journalists alike.
As he
noted in , “Everywhere I go, I must endure that Italian hissing
of ‘Wissiski,’ which is supposed to be ‘Wyszyski.’ ese hisses go
hand in hand with applause and requests that I pose for a pho
tograph.
Che magro
[how thin]—such comments are intended to
bring shame on those who represent the materialist [Communist]
order, for they attest to its economic ine cacy.”
e Polish primate’s celebrity at the Council was largely in
dependent of his extensive service on its behalf, both in Rome
during sessions and back on Polish soil during the intersessions.
Cardinal Wyszyski had been friends with Cardinal Roncalli of
Venice before the latter’s \n election to the papacy, so it came
as little surprise that the Pole received successive prestigious ap
pointments: rst, to the Central Preparatory Commission ();
then, to the Secretariat for Extraordinary Aairs (); and, 
nally, to the Council Presidium (), consisting of nine cardinals
responsible for steering the course of debate. Several historians
\n. Grootaers,
Actes et acteurs à Vatican II
, –.
\n\n. Czaczkowska,
Kardyna Wyszyski
, st ed. (Warsaw: wiat Ksi¤ˆki, ),
. Both editions are referenced throughout this chapter because, although the
second edition is considerably longer, it is also missing entire threads of analysis
that are present in the original edition.
\n. Quoted in Raina,
Kardyna Wyszyski
, vol. ,
Czasy prymasowskie, –
(Warsaw: von Borowiecky, \n), \n.

TR H. KOSICKI
have rated Wyszyski as having been one of the most in„uential
Council fathers.
e primate’s international celebrity carried consequences
also on Polish soil. In its conciliar coverage, the Polish weekly
Tygodnik Powszechny
regularly highlighted Wyszyski’s comings
and goings in Rome. At the close of the First Session, the jour
nal chronicled in great detail the bishops’ homecoming, with the
primate at their head: “Following the Holy Mass, the Cardinal in
a speech lasting more than an hour summarized the course of
the First Session of the Council, and he described the role played
by the Polish Council fathers. Following his speech, the Cardi
nal granted absolution on behalf of the Holy Father to everyone
present, conveying also His apostolic benediction. Crowds of the
faithful, unable to enter the over„owing cathedral, participated
in the ceremony thanks to the audio simulcast in the nearby Je
suit Church.”
Back in Poland, in the three months that followed
the First Session, Wyszyski delivered over  lectures and ser
mons in Poland on the topic of the Council, criss-crossing the
country dozens of times along the way.­…
e primate’s lectures and sermons were not ad hoc initia
tives, but rather part of a concerted public-relations eort under
taken by the Polish episcopate already in advance of the Council’s
opening to shape the Polish reception of Vatican II. is campaign
involved a two-pronged strategy: personal contact with represen
tatives of the Polish laity who spent time in conciliar Rome, either
as public gures or as journalists covering the Council, and pub
lic events such as press conferences and lectures. In the end, this
strategy was unsuccessful—though not for lack of eort on the
bishops’ part.
\n\r. For example, Grootaers,
Actes et acteurs à Vatican II
; Luca Rolandi,
Testimoni del
Concilio: Il racconto del Vaticano II nell’esperienza dei protagonisti
(Turin: Eatà, ).
\n. “Powrót Ksidza Prymasa i biskupów polskich do kraju,”
Tygodnik Powszech
, December , .
\n. Czaczkowska,
Kardyna Wyszyski
, nd ed., \n.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

In , the primate recommended Rev. Szczepan Wesoy, the
pastor of the Polish émigré community in Rome, to head the Slav
ic section of the press o ce of the Council Secretariat. Wesoy
thereafter produced a weekly bulletin, and on every weekday of
the First and Second sessions of the Council, Wesoy held a press
brieng in Polish on the news of the day from both the plenary
session and the various conciliar committees. e extraordinary
achievement of these briengs was to assemble in one room rep
resentatives of the émigré press from London, Paris, and Rome;
of the o cial Communist press from Warsaw; and of a range of
Catholic publications operating legally on Polish territory (some
seen as regime puppets, others as “concessioned” but autono
mous).۠
It was only in late October —more than a month
into the ird Session—that the word came down from the PZPR
leadership that Communist journalists were no longer to attend
the same briengs as émigrés. To avoid playing favorites, the epis
copate canceled the briengs altogether.
Counterintuitive as it may seem, it was actually much easier
for Polish Catholic activists who had managed to get passports
to travel to Rome to obtain face-time with Wyszyski and other
bishops there than under normal circumstances in Poland. Ja
nusz Zabocki, an editor of the monthly
Wi
who covered three
Council sessions for the journal, enjoyed long, almost weekly one-
on-one meetings with the primate, usually over a meal: “I arrive
for another prearranged meeting with the Primate on via Pietro
Cavallini. He arranged for me to meet him on a Sunday, as that is
a day free of conciliar events, and conditions are best for a quiet
conversation of some depth.”
. e émigré titles included the Paris-based
Narodowiec
(Nationalist). e
key Communist correspondent, Ignacy Krasicki, represented Polish Radio, but his
reports also made it into, among others, the Communist daily
Trybuna Ludu
(e
People’s Tribune). PAX’s daily newspaper was called
Sowo Powszechne
(e Univer
sal Word). On the press of Communist Poland, see Alina Somkowska,
Prasa w PRL:
Szkice historyczne
(Warsaw: PWN, ).
. Zabocki,
Dzienniki

TR H. KOSICKI
e nal means by which the Polish bishops attempted to
steer the reception of Vatican II involved networking with Coun
cil fathers and Catholic activists from other countries. Émigré in
termediaries frequently facilitated these contacts. For example,
Maria Winowska, an interwar Polish lay activist who had fought
in the French Resistance during World War II and remained in
France thereafter, served as Primate Wyszyski’s eyes and ears
throughout Western Europe.
Winowska wrote two books in
French that stridently condemned the Polish Communist regime
for throttling religious life in Poland; the second of these ap
peared in , during the Second Session.
Several months later,
Winowska arranged an interview between Wyszyski and An
toine Wenger, AA, editor-in-chief of France’s highest-circulation
Catholic paper, the daily
La Croix
. Its title, “France: Our Older Sis
ter,” made clear the international relevance of Polish Catholicism
in the time of the ecumenical council.
When, in , Primate Wyszyski concluded that the philo-
Communist Catholics of PAX had begun using their journalists in
Rome to discredit Wyszyski as a “retrograde conservative,” he
sent Winowska on the attack. She had published a book-length
exposé in \n denouncing PAX’s “Catholic socialism,” and she
was only too happy to bring the organization’s sins back into
the public eye. e French-language Catholic bulletin
Informa
tions Catholiques Internationales
, which had taken PAX seriously
as a Catholic association for years, got caught in the crosshairs.
. Krystian Gawro, “Maria Winowska, grand apôtre laïque du XXe siècle,”
Homme Nouveau
(June , ).
. Claude Naurois [Maria Winowska],
Dieu contre Dieu? Drame des progressistes
dans une église du silence
(Fribourg: Éditions Saint-Paul, \n); Pierre Lenert [Maria
Winowska],
L’église catholique en Pologne
(Paris: Centurion, ).
. Stefan Wyszyski and Antoine Wenger, “La France—notre soeur ainée,”
La
Croix
, November –\n, .
Informations Catholiques Internationales
published an extensive review of
its earlier writings on the Catholic Church in Poland, documenting assiduously that
since \n\r it had never cited any PAX writings, though it had regularly reported on
VATICAN II AND POLAND

Wyszyski was so incensed that he complained personally both
to the French primate and to Pope Paul VI. As a result, a range
of French Catholic journals—including the high-circulation daily
La Croix
—raged against
Informations Catholiques Internation
ales
Paul VI did likewise—much to the shock, among others, of
Yves Congar.
In the world of French Catholicism, this became
known as the Aaire PAX.€ƒ
When they felt it appropriate, then, the Polish bishops had
substantial international resources at their disposal. In a sense,
the suspension of regular press briengs during the ird Session
made it even easier for the Polish Council fathers to craft a mes
sage about Vatican II. When they felt the need, they could count
on a sympathetic ear on the airwaves of Vatican Radio as well
as a wide audience through the pages of
Osservatore Romano
e
Aaire PAX, though largely the result of a misunderstanding,
was also the high watermark of Wyszyski’s international visibil
ity. Yet the bishops’ increasing self-reliance in matters of public
relations adversely impacted their dealings not only with PAX,
but also with Polish Catholic journalists from across the politi
cal spectrum. Maria Winowska, in particular, rubbed those jour
nalists the wrong way, and Wyszyski’s reliance on her alienated
them, with deleterious consequences for all parties.‚†
the association’s activities; “Le cardinal Wyszynski, Pax et les ‘I.C.I.,’
Informations
Catholiques Internationales
, June \n, .
. Wenger, “Remous au sujet de Pax,”
La Croix
, June , ; “Mise en garde
au sujet de ‘Pax,’

Documentation Catholique
(), col. \n.
\r. As the
peritus
noted on October , , “when he received Fr General in
the month of August, Paul VI spoke very critically of
ICI
, which he accused of being
a secret and hidden enemy of the Church. On account of an article on Poland. Very
odd”; Congar,
My Journal of the Council
. Jean-Marie Mayeur, “

’aaire
Pax
’ en France,” in
Le cardinal de fer: Stefan
Wyszyski
, ed. Jean Oredo (Malako: Éditions Cana, ), \r–.
. Rutkowski,
Polscy biskupi jako ojcowie Soboru Watykaskiego II
\r. For example, Zawieyski,
Dzienniki
, :.

TR H. KOSICKI
The Business of the Council
To determine which bishops would go to Rome, Wyszyski estab
lished several ground rules prior to the First Session. eir pur
pose was to preempt the tactics of the Polish security apparatus.
If the ordinary bishop of a diocese did not receive a passport, the
auxiliary bishop would not go, either. If a bishop received a pass
port without having formally requested one, that bishop would
not go.
ere was, however, one bishop for whom Wyszyski consis
tently went to the mat with Poland’s O ce of Confessional Af
fairs: Wrocaw’s apostolic administrator, Bolesaw Kominek. is
archbishop was the personication of Poland’s campaign to gain
control over religious life in its formerly German western terri
tories. As Wyszyski wrote in October , “It is necessary to
underscore at every turn the unity of those bishops [from the
western territories] with the Polish episcopate, for that is in the
interest also of Polish
raison d’État
Wyszyski made it clear to every bishop headed for Rome
that he had certain expectations. e Polish bishops met weekly
on ursday afternoons in Wyszyski’s Roman apartment. ere,
he handed out assignments. Bishops would only address the top
ics that he had chosen for them, even if these were not their re
spective areas of expertise. And yet, when they did speak, Polish
bishops spoke not simply on their own behalf, but for the entire
national episcopate.
By the same token, the Polish primate consistently kept the
Poles out of the larger ad hoc organizations that formed in the
course of the Council. e best known among these were the “pro
gressive” Domus Mariae and the “conservative” Coetus Interna
tionalis Patrum (which included Holy O ce prefect Alfredo Car
dinal Ottaviani and future Society of St. Pius X founder Marcel
\r. Quoted in Raina,
Kardyna Wyszyski
, :.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

Lefebvre).
e Polish primate explained that, having come from
behind the Iron Curtain with the responsibility to bear witness to
the unique challenges faced there by the Church, the Polish bish
ops must remain a “special group” conducting “its own aairs in
dependently according to its own sensibilities and experience.”
Like other delegations from behind the Iron Curtain, the Pol
ish bishops were accused of being unprepared for conciliar work.
As Polish Catholic journalist Jerzy Turowicz disclosed to his Flem
ish counterpart Jan Grootaers, “e majority of Polish bishops
have an outdated and impoverished theological education. Only a
few of the young are very open, for example Msgr. Wojtya.”
Only
three bishops from Poland—Wyszyski, Wojtya, and Bolesaw
Kominek of Wrocaw—could speak conversational Italian. For
many others, even Latin was a tall order. Yet this did not automati
cally reduce the other Polish Council fathers to mere tourists.
Mainstream media coverage of the Council—from both sides
of the Iron Curtain—regularly presented Wyszyski as the ring
leader of a band of doctrinal conservatives. Statistical data gath
ered by Melissa Wilde on the Polish bishops’ voting patterns at
the Council complicate this picture, however. Even though Wilde
posits clear divisions between “progressives” and “conservatives”
among the vast majority of Council fathers, her data for bishops
from behind the Iron Curtain suggests that their alignments were
not so clear. As Jan Grootaers—who covered the Council as a jour
nalist before becoming one of its historians—suggests, “Examin
ing the participation of Cardinal Wyszyski in Vatican II provides
grounds for the dismissal of one of the most lasting stereotypes of
the history of the Council, according to which the Council Fathers
\r. On these networks, see Wilde, “How Culture Mattered at Vatican II.”
\r. Quoted in Raina,
Kardyna Wyszyski
, :\n.
\r. “Diarium Jan Grootaers” (personal diary, as yet unpublished), notebook 
(version February \r, ), October \n, , . I thank Jan Grootaers for making
his diary available to me. It can now be found in the Archive J. Grootaers, Center for
the Study of the Second Vatican Council, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.

TR H. KOSICKI
were more or less divided into two camps: a minority and a ma-
jority.”
Grootaers’s point applies not just to the Polish primate. Ag
gregate voting results clearly demonstrate that the Polish bishops
who attended the Second Vatican Council fell into neither a “con
servative” nor “progressive” camp. Nor, in fact, did they maintain
the voting discipline that Wyszyski had tried to introduce. e
Polish primate, for example, favored both the principle of collegi
ality and Marian devotion, which was one of the declared priori
ties of the Polish Council fathers. Yet the Polish bishops were not
unanimous in their October  votes on collegiality:  percent
voted against the principle.
Even more striking is the division among Polish bishops in
the October  vote to bestow on the Virgin Mary the title of
“Mother of the Church.” Namely, a full half of Polish Council fa
thers voted “no.”
Given the secrecy of the votes, there is no way
that Cardinal Wyszyski could have known the extent to which his
fellow Poles were breaking the discipline that he had imposed. If he
had known, he would have been devastated, and he may well have
changed the terms of participation in the Council’s nal session.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

mate’s position was far more complex. As his biographer Ewa
Czaczkowska has put it, “the views presented by the primate at
the Council ranged from conservatism to liberalism (with respect
to the matter of freedom of conscience), depending on the mat
ter at hand.”‚ƒ
e issue of the vernacular liturgy is a case in point. After
Vatican II, Wyszyski gained the reputation of opposing missals
and Mass in Polish. And yet, six years earlier, the Polish primate
had listed the vernacular liturgy among his greatest hopes for
the coming council. In \n, Wyszyski wrote, “I believe that the
words of prayer and acclamation used in the ministry of the sac
raments should be spoken in the vernacular so that the faithful
sharing in the sacrament can participate more actively and ben
et more fully from its fruits.”
And yet, once in Council, he re
fused, for example, to support a vernacular breviary, fearing that
“clergy of the Latin rite might lose the ability to use the Latin
language, that mighty bond of unity.”ƒ†
Wyszyski also had a very particular understanding of the
link between ecclesiological and pastoral reform. e primate en
dorsed the famed Schema XIII that ultimately became the \n
pastoral constitution
Gaudium et spes
. Yet he did so with a mea
sure of concern, shared in plenary session with the other Coun
cil fathers, that pastoral reform would only work if the Council
rst succeeded in renewing Catholics’ sense of membership in a
universal Church. Similar concerns dened Wyszyski’s take on
press as the retrograde primate of a developmentally impaired episcopate”; quoted
in Raina,
Kardyna Wyszyski
, vol. \n,
Czasy prymasowskie –
(Warsaw: von
Borowiecky, ), .
\r. Czaczkowska,
Kardyna Wyszyski
, nd ed., .
\r. Wyszyski, Votum (September , \n), in
Acta et Documenta Concilio Oe
cumenico Vatican II Apparando
, Series I,
Antepraeparatoria
(Vatican City: Typis Poly
glottis Vaticanis, ), : \r–\r.
. Wyszyski, “Wypowied£ w zwi¤zku ze schematem
de Sacra Liturgia
” (No
vember , ), in
Dziea zebrane
, vol. ,
Sierpie-grudzie 
(Warsaw: Soli Deo,

TR H. KOSICKI
freedom of conscience: “One can speak of the existence of reli
gious freedom only if all people as individuals, persons, and citi
zens grant to every human being the right to believe and profess
belief according to his own free will.”ƒ¹
e Polish primate’s re„ections on the liturgy and on freedom
of conscience have received no attention from any scholar other
than his biographer Ewa Czaczkowska. Instead, scholars tend to
see Wyszyski—and, by extension, the rest of the Polish episco
pate as well—as having been preoccupied with only two issues.
ese were, on one hand, the Church’s stance on communism
and, on the other, the Virgin Mary’s place in Catholic ecclesiology.
ese were, in fact, priorities for the primate and his episcopal
colleagues, but the Poles did not have tunnel vision. For the bish
ops from behind the Iron Curtain, eective pastoral reform by the
Council was necessary to give meaning to any action on either of
its priorities.
It was the schema on the Church—which eventually became
the Council’s dogmatic constitution
Lumen gentium
—in which the
Polish bishops placed the greatest hope for reminding all Catho
lics of what it meant to be part of the faith. Following his return
to Warsaw from the ird Session in , Wyszyski revealed in
a meeting with seminarians high hopes for lasting ecclesiological
reform: “Perhaps this will nally bring to an end the individual
ized relationship to the Church that to this very day is so often
encountered among Catholics who approach the Church accord
ing to their own notions of it.”
is “individualization” of the Church, in the eyes of the Pol
ish Council fathers, was neither an Iron Curtain singularity nor
the product of Communist propaganda. Rather, it was a cause for
concern across the entire, universal Church at a time of new chal
lenges connected to decolonization and globalization.
. Quoted in Czaczkowska,
Kardyna Wyszyski
, nd ed., \n.
. Quoted in Raina,
Kardyna Wyszyski
, \n:\n.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

While the Polish Council fathers believed that the Council
needed to speak out on communism, there was some uncertainty
as to how far the Church should go. Archbishop Józef Gawlina—
a Polish émigré responsible for the whole Polish diaspora—had
worked for several years alongside Cardinal Ottaviani, the icon of
Catholic “traditionalism,” to prepare a draft declaration condemn
ing communism. Although Wyszyski would on occasion side with
Ottaviani in the course of the Council, he in fact worked to torpe
do that draft document. Fearing that a blanket condemnation of
communism could worsen the condition of the Church in Poland
and in the GDR, Wyszyski teamed up with Berlin’s Julius Cardi
nal Döpfner to ensure that it never made it out of the Preparatory
Commission. When Ottaviani’s Coetus Internationalis Patrum cir
culated a petition during the Second Session for a conciliar judg
ment on Marxism, socialism, and communism, the Poles were not
among the two hundred signatories.
Jonathan Luxmoore and Jolanta Babiuch have argued that
“John XXIII saw communism as an outgrowth of modernity with
its own roots and rationale—a ‘sign of the times’ that had to be
read and interpreted if it was to be countered by a prophetic wit
ness.”ƒ³
It would be a stretch to attribute similar thinking to Car
dinal Wyszyski: he himself had been a prisoner of a Communist
regime, and he was acutely aware of persecutions faced by the
Church in Communist Poland. Despite the hope that accompanied
de-Stalinization, the party-state was turning against the Church
once again just as the Council was opening. e latest sign had
been the banning of religious education in Communist Poland.
And yet, the Polish primate still felt caught between the ev
eryday exigencies of pastorship and the moral imperatives of
high politics. Wyszyski resisted the impulse to push his fellow
bishops toward wholesale public anti-communism for the same
. Luxmoore and Babiuch,
Vatican and the Red Flag
, \n.
. Dudek and Gryz,
Komunici i Koció w Polsce
\r–.

TR H. KOSICKI
reason that he had sought accommodation with the Polish Com
munist apparatus fteen years earlier: a sense of pastoral respon
sibility for the souls of Catholics living in Communist Poland.
In the end, the Polish bishops adopted a moderate stance in
Council debates on communism, asking only that the nal docu
ments re„ect existing Church teachings in, among others,
Rerum
novarum
and
Quadragesimo anno
. As Schema XIII evolved into the
draft of
Gaudium et spes
in \n, Polish bishops joined the ranks
of \n conciliar participants from eighty-six countries insisting
that the constitution’s section on atheism reiterate earlier papal
teachings. Even following Paul VI’s personal intervention, how
ever, this initiative produced only a single footnote, to Article 
in the nal version.
In this instance, the pope oered the Polish bishops political
cover, recognizing that they were in a tough spot and taking a
clear stance against communism—so that they would not have
to do so. In a private audience with Wyszyski in December \n,
on the day following the Council’s conclusion, Paul VI explained,
For sure, something should have been said during the Council against
communism, and in no uncertain terms, yet that could have caused
you all harm.



lease trust that we are cautious not out of fear, but
out of love. We trust you. We proceed with caution and wisdom, al
though our heart breaks when we see the torments that you endure.
We earnestly admire and support you through prayer. e Mother of
God is triumphant and will triumph here as well.
The Virgin Mary
e other declared priority of the Polish Council fathers—the
Virgin Mary—proved to be politically problematic, too. Marian
devotion had been a central feature of Roman Catholicism in Po
\n. Wyszyski,
Zapiski milenijne: Wybór z dziennika “Pro memoria” z lat –

, ed. Maria Okoska, Mirosawa Plaskacz, and Anna Rastawicka (Warsaw: Soli
Deo, ), .
VATICAN II AND POLAND

land since at least the early-modern period. Mary was symboli
cally crowned “Queen of Poland” in \n by King Jan Kazimierz
to honor the successful Polish defense one year earlier of the
Czstochowa fortress at Jasna Góra, home of the icon of the Black
Madonna. In August \n, with Primate Wyszyski still under
house arrest, the acting head of the Polish episcopate launched
the Great Novena, a decade-long celebration of “Poland’s surren
der into maternal servitude to Mary, Mother of the Church, in re
turn for the freedom of Christ’s Church.”
As it happens, the two most prominent Polish clerics of
the twentieth century, Wyszyski and Karol Wojtya, indepen
dently arrived at mystical devotion to the Virgin Mary: Wojtya,
through his experience of forced labor during World War II,
and Wyszyski, during his years of house arrest in the mid-
\ns.ƒƒ
It was Wojtya who had announced at Vatican II during
the First Session that proposed schemata on the Church and on
the Holy Virgin Mother must be connected. He explained, “in the
fact that the Holiest Mary is, in the Church—the Mystical Body
of Christ—both the Mother of the Head and the Mother of all
members and cells of the Body, one nds at the same time her
motherhood over the Church itself.”ƒ…
e principal argument against elevating Mary to “Mother of
the Church” was that strengthening the Cult of Mary went di
rectly against the spirit of ecumenical dialogue with Orthodox
. On the devotional connections between Mary’s \n coronation, the th
anniversary celebration of that event in \n, and the  celebration of the mil
lennium of Polish Christendom, see Raina,
Jasnogórskie luby Narodu Polskiego
; Jan
Kubik,
e Power of Symbols against the Symbols of Power: e Rise of Solidarity and the
Fall of State Socialism in Poland
(University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University
Press, ), –\r.
\r. George Huntston Williams,
e Mind of John Paul II: Origins of His ought
and Action
(New York: Seabury Press, ), \r–.
. Wyszyski,
Zapiski milenijne
, .
. Karol Wojtya, Communiqué, in Skrzypczak,
Karol Wojtya na Soborze
Watykaskim II
, \r.

TR H. KOSICKI
and Protestant Christians in which Vatican II had been called. As
Polish Catholic journalist Janusz Zabocki worried, “Is the title
of mediatrix owed to Mary, can she be called the Mother of the
Church? Won’t emphasis on the Marian cult weaken the ecumen
ical movement?”…†
Complicating the debate further from the standpoint of the
Polish Council fathers was a disinformation campaign spearhead
ed by Polish Communist
éminence grise
Zenon Kliszko. Kliszko
had been in Rome at the time of the Council’s opening in ,
and he had oered to host a reception for Poland’s bishops at the
embassy in Rome. Since the Holy See at the time continued to
recognize the pre–World War II Polish government that had es
caped to London in , Communist Poland had no ambassador
to the Holy See.
Not wanting to second-guess Vatican diplomacy
by giving the Communist Polish embassy in Rome standing in
Church matters, Wyszyski declined Kliszko’s invitation. e lat
ter would not forget this snub.
Declassied documentation from the Polish archives shows
that Kliszko directed the secret police to develop and circulate dur
ing the Second Session a scholarly memorandum—written by real
Catholic theologians—criticizing the primate and his fellow Coun
cil fathers for their Marian devotion. e security apparatus used
informants—including biblical experts from the state-run Acade
my of Catholic eology in Warsaw—to string together the
Memo
randum on Certain Aspects of the Marian Cult in Poland
Commis
. Zabocki,
Dzienniki
, :\n.
. ‡aryn,
Stolica Apostolska wobec Polski i Polaków w latach – w wietle
materiaów Ambasady RP przy Watykanie: Wybór dokumentów
(Warsaw: Neriton/IH
PAN, ).
. e relevant documentation from the security apparatus archives is in
Stanisaw Morawski, “Notatka dot. opracowania i sposobu wykorzystania materiaów
nt. wypaczenia przez Wyszyskiego kultu maryjnego w Polsce,” November , ,
Archiwum Instytutu Pamici Narodowej (AIPN [Archives of the Institute of National
Remembrance]), Biuro Udostpniania (BU [Bureau for Provision and Archivization
of Documents]) /\r; see also Cenckiewicz, “Sprawa anty-maryjnego memoriau
VATICAN II AND POLAND

sioned personally by Poland’s internal aairs minister on October
, , the document was prepared in just under three weeks.
Calling the cult “supercial and bigoted,” the memo went so far as
to request of Pope Paul VI the designation of a special envoy to
Poland to study the cult, “to whom Poles might be able to express,
without fearing for themselves, their observations and fears, espe
cially those born of the unhealthy and exaggerated Marian cult.”
is document circulated far and wide—in public and in pri
vate. It was delivered to \r specically targeted recipients at the
Council, including the twenty-three Polish bishops then in Rome,
as well as important theologians and émigré activists in Paris,
London, Berlin, and Munich. On November , , the day when
the memorandum rst surfaced in public, “unidentied persons”
were even distributing copies on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica.
As Wyszyski’s biographer reports, “e memorandum sowed
confusion and disorientation among Council participants. Some of
them, including o cial representatives of bishops’ conferences—
from France, Switzerland, and Spain—came to the Polish section
of the conciliar press o ce requesting copies of the memoran
dum.”…­
In response, Polish bishops in Rome for the Second Ses
sion issued a press release on the memo the very next day: “Its
true purpose is a direct personal attack on Cardinal Wyszyski and
an indirect attack on the Polish bishops as a whole, in keeping with
the tactics of the Communists who seek to make the hierarchy
look as bad as possible in the eyes of the world, seeking thereby to
justify their hatred toward it.”
Before this campaign, the Polish delegation had positioned
itself as the clarion voice advocating Mary’s elevation to the sta
czyli o tym jak bezpieka ‘uczestniczya’ w Soborze Watykaskim II,”
Arcana
, nos. \n\n–\n
(): –\n.
. Quoted at Czaczkowska,
Kardyna Wyszyski
, st ed., .
. Cenckiewicz, “Sprawa anty-maryjnego memoriau,” .
\n. Czaczkowska,
Kardyna Wyszyski
, st ed., .
. Quoted in Czaczkowska,
Kardyna Wyszyski
, nd ed., .

TR H. KOSICKI
tus of “Mother of the Church.” e Polish primate clearly imag
ined this as a natural consequence of the \n “surrender into
maternal servitude” with which he had launched Poland’s Great
Novena. It was this approach that would earn Wyszyski the
scorn of many “progressive” Council fathers belonging to the Do
mus Mariae network.
Although the Council voted by a narrow margin on Octo-
ber , , to include Mary in the draft schema for the dogmatic
constitution on the Church (the future
Lumen gentium
), the nal
vote one year later on the title of “Mother of the Church” failed.
Wyszyski took this as a personal defeat. e Polish security ap
paratus, meanwhile, interpreted the proposal’s failure as a sign of
its own success.
Wyszyski was relieved the next year to hear personally from
Paul VI that, since the Council had refused to elevate Mary to
“Mother of the Church,” the ponti would issue his own declara
tion. Wyszyski learned from an expert belonging to the Coun
cil’s eological Commission, Father Carolus Balic, that “this was
a true miracle. e Holy Father was broken up over what to do.
He was being lobbied on all sides by delegations, memoranda,
and opponents of the initiative. It is only the bravery of the Pri
mate of Poland that made the pope take this brave, independent
decision. I underscore here that this was the great manly achieve
ment of Primate Wyszyski.”…‚
Poland on the Banks of the Tiber
For Poland, Vatican II was as much about politics as theology or
philosophy. e bishops’ departure for Rome transplanted to the
Eternal City con„icts once internal to Communist Poland. What
had been a national story of church and state overnight turned
\r. Quoted in Raina,
Kardyna Wyszyski
, \n:\r–.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

into a transnational tug of war; Polish prelates and Communists
alike drew in third parties from around the world.
e anti-Marian memo commissioned and promoted by the
secret police can be seen as the immediate impetus for the fury
unleased by Wyszyski during the Aaire PAX. e primate’s de
nunciation of Catholic fellow travelers can, in turn, be seen as
the motivation for the PZPR’s withdrawal of Communist press
from the bishops’ briengs. is was Polish politics relocated to
a Roman playground, where the eld of play between the episco
pate and the party was far more level than in Poland.
Unlike other Iron Curtain countries with substantial Catholic
populations, Communist Poland also sported a substantial civic
space for concessioned groups of lay activists. Of the three sig
nicant movements in place during Vatican II, two were little
more than puppets of the PZPR: PAX and a splinter group called
the Christian Social Association (Chrzecijaskie Stowarzyszenie
Spoeczne, ChSS).
Meanwhile, the ZNAK movement created in
the wake of Gomuka’s return to power in \n pursued a genu
inely independent agenda. Its leader, Jerzy Zawieyski, was not
only president of the Warsaw Catholic Intelligentsia Club, but an
MP and a member of the elite State Council of the People’s Re
public of Poland.……
Zawieyski was both a Catholic and a socialist.
He had known
Gomuka since the s. On the cusp of the Second World War, he
experienced a spiritual awakening. While in hiding during the Nazi
occupation, he became friends with Stefan Wyszyski, not yet
even a bishop. A playwright and poet by vocation who had refused
all commissions during Poland’s Stalinist era, Zawieyski nonethe
. Friszke,
Oaza na Kopernika: Klub Inteligencji Katolickiej –
(Warsaw:
Biblioteka WI¡ZI, \r), –\n.
. On Zawieyski, see Marta Korczyska,
Jerzy Zawieyski: Biograa humanistyc
zna –
(Toru: Wydawnictwo Adam Marszaek, ).
. Zawieyski explained his attempts at reconciling Catholicism and commu
nism in Zawieyski,
Droga katechumena
(Warsaw: Biblioteka WI¡ZI, \r).

TR H. KOSICKI
less felt it his duty to enter public life following Gomuka’s return
to power, with a mission of reconciling church and state in Com
munist Poland. As he would explain in a November  private
audience with John XXIII, “I play the role of a mediator between
the government and the Church, and I often mediate between
Wadysaw Gomuka and Cardinal Wyszyski.” To this, the pope
would reply, “at must be a di cult role to play—yet at once also
beautiful.”¹†¹
By the time that Vatican II opened, this mission seemed
doomed to fail. e mutual respect and support shown each oth
er by Gomuka and Wyszyski in the fall of \n quickly turned
to a tug of war between church and state over grassroots activism
in Communist Poland. Of particular concern to the PZPR was the
Great Novena, which was proving wildly successful in mobilizing
crowds of pilgrims.
In Zawieyski’s eyes, however, Vatican II brought the perfect
opportunity to wipe the slate clean. ere had been no diplomatic
relations between the Holy See and Poland since September \n,
when the new Temporary Government of National Unity uni
laterally abrogated the concordat of \n.
Given the warmth
shown Pope John XXIII by Communist leaders worldwide, Za
wieyski sought to pave the way for an agreement involving the
Holy See, the Polish episcopate, and the PZPR. Other ZNAK activ
ists who spent time in Rome during the Council joined Zawieyski
in his quest.
e playwright-turned-politician was in the unique position
of being able to backdoor his own primate in private papal au
diences, rst with John XXIII and then with Paul VI. eir ex
changes are immensely telling—particularly because Zawieyski
was delivering messages from the Polish Communist leader to
the Roman ponti. Before leaving Warsaw for Rome to attend
. Zawieyski,
Dzienniki
, :\n.
. ‡aryn,
Koció a wadza w Polsce
, –.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

the opening session of Vatican II, he went to see Wadysaw
Gomuka, who told him:
I personally have never been an advocate of struggle against the
Catholic Church. e government never wanted this, and our policy
has been inclined toward mutual understanding and agreement. e
con„icts that have arisen have been the fault of the episcopate, not
the government. e episcopate from the very beginning has done
nothing but await change, revolution, and even war. Such an atti
tude of necessity had to provoke the enmity of the People’s govern
ment. In these days of horror that we have experienced [the Cuban
Missile Crisis], the pope has played a great role by issuing a fervent
appeal for peace. e pope is a great statesman because he under
stands the world’s con„icts, or rather he understands what nuclear
war might mean. At any rate it is not the rst time that this pope
has spoken out in defense of peace. And is it not strange that it is
not Cardinal Wyszyski, but I, who have been quoting the pope’s
statements to the Polish public? Cardinal Wyszyski represents a
church of combat. In his pastoral letter on atheism, he insulted non
believers like me. He insulted me, an atheist. All the while, the pope
represents a church of peace, wisdom, a church of love, as you peo
ple would call it. e pope extends his hands to all, and that is why
he has won everyone’s hearts, including those beyond the Church.
I will admit that, while abroad, the Cardinal has not done anything
with which I can nd fault, but at home perhaps the Council and the
pope’s stance will have a positive in„uence on the attitude of the
primate and the episcopate.
A few moments later, Gomuka asked Zawieyski to convey the
following verbatim greeting to John XXIII: “May the Lord God
grant him health.”
Coming from the mouth of the top Communist politician of
the most Catholic country behind the Iron Curtain, these words
seemed a revelation. Some historians have argued that the Com
munist embrace of John XXIII marked a denitive break with
. Zawieyski,
Dzienniki
, :, .

TR H. KOSICKI
the “Church of Silence,” with Communists instead trying to le
verage the pope against the primate.
Even after the death of
John XXIII, Poland’s O ce of Confessional Aairs made a point
of framing its criticisms of Catholic activists in contrast to the
“Good Pope.” Perhaps the most extraordinary reprimand that
the Warsaw Catholic Intelligentsia Club leadership ever received
from the Communists came in the early spring of : “we are
devoting too little attention to the Council and to the person of
John XXIII.”¹†­
Zawieyski described his audience with John XXIII on Novem
ber , , in dramatic terms: “One of the greatest days of my
life!” e two spoke French, a language that the pope knew well
from having served as nuncio, among others, to France. When
Zawieyski conveyed the Polish Communist leader’s blessings to
the ponti, the latter exclaimed, “Ah, Gomuka! I know that he
has done a great deal of good for Poland.”
Without prompting,
the ponti declared that Polish jurisdiction over the formerly
German “Recovered Territories” must be formalized in the inter
est of achieving “peace and understanding between the nations.”
Following the audience, Zawieyski immediately shared his im
pressions with the primate, with his ZNAK colleagues in Rome,
and also with Polish ambassador to Italy Adam Willmann, under
scoring for them all “the great pope’s authentic interest in and
good will toward Poland.”¹†‚
Gomuka and his Communist colleagues thought less of Paul
VI than they had of John XXIII.
Even though it was Paul VI
who really inaugurated a comprehensive
Ostpolitik
predicated on
bilateral negotiations with Communist regimes, the Polish Com
munist stance toward the Holy See soured in the years following
John XXIII’s death in June .
. Stehle,
Eastern Politics of the Vatican
, \n–.
\n. Zabocki,
Dzienniki

. Zawieyski,
Dzienniki
, :.
\r. Zabocki,
Dzienniki
, :.
. Stehle,
Eastern Politics of the Vatican
, \n.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

Two years later almost to the day, Zawieyski had another pri
vate papal audience—this time, with Paul VI. Before leaving for
Rome, he met with Gomuka, asking what if anything he should
convey to the pope on the Communist’s behalf. e ensuing mes
sage was much more strained than two years earlier.
Nonetheless, with Gomuka’s blessing, Zawieyski initiated
a conversation with Paul VI about whether or not he would be
willing to take the step of normalizing relations with Commu
nist Poland. In response to Zawieyski’s suggestion that Gomuka
might be ready, the pope stretched out his hands to the Polish
writer and replied, “As are we.”
e pope continued, “We would
also like for there no longer to be any internal con„icts [between
church and state], so that Poland might develop freely and do its
part in safeguarding peace in the world. at is the most impor
tant matter.”¹¹†
e pope exuded warmth in this conversation, both toward
Zawieyski personally and toward Polish Catholic activism more
generally. e conversation had literally begun with the Holy Fa
ther declaring, “It is an honor to meet you.” And then, “We always
think with great appreciation of Poland, with admiration for its
religiosity. We want for Poland to have the best possible outcome.
I know how important your position is there, how great the re
sponsibilities and the work that you carry out.”
e ponti’s words point to the substantive nature of the role
that Zawieyski and his fellow ZNAK activists saw themselves play
ing. Both his diary and the diary of his junior colleague Janusz
Zabocki are full of details of backroom meetings during Council
sessions with the Vatican insiders most directly responsible for
shaping Paul VI’s
Ostpolitik
: Archbishop Antonio Samorè, Rev. Lu
igi Poggi, and Rev. Agostino Casaroli.
e ZNAK activists asked
. Zawieyski,
Dzienniki
, :.
. Ibid., :.
. Ibid., :.
. Cerny-Werner,
Vatikanische Ostpolitik und die DDR

TR H. KOSICKI
their primate’s permission before taking these meetings, yet the
meetings were set up not through Wyszyski, but through back
channels. e most important intermediary proved to be Konrad
Sieniewicz, a leader of Poland’s exiled Christian Democratic par
ty, who in the \ns had become a major player in transnational
Christian Democracy.
Noting Wyszyski’s “historic” opportunity to play intermedi
ary between the Catholic Church and a Communist regime, Za-
wieyski remained skeptical of the primate’s willpower: “I feel in
my bones that the cardinal will somehow worm his way out of this
role.”
Time and again, after hearing Wyszyski deliver sermons
and lectures in Rome, Zawieyski noted with regret the primate’s
incessant emphasis on the value of “martyrdom”: “e word ‘mar
tyrdom’ was repeated hundreds of times. Young Italian girls were
listening to these words, students of the Ursuline nuns in Rome.
What could they possibly have thought of all of this?”
e other branches of the ZNAK movement—particularly
the writers and editors of the Kraków-based
Tygodnik Powszechny
and
Znak
—evinced a similar skepticism toward Wyszyski.
godnik Powszechny
editor-in-chief Jerzy Turowicz covered the en
tire First and Second sessions of the Council, with his reporting
appearing in a weekly front-page feature entitled, “Jerzy Turow
icz Is Calling from Rome.” In an October  conversation with
Jan Grootaers, Turowicz minced no words as he expressed his
frustration with the Polish Council fathers’ refusal to compro
mise with the regime. Turowicz declared,
Cardinal Wyszyski is too tough on the regime, it seems to me. He
seems to believe that the fall of communism is very near. Yet we
may still be living under this regime for a long time. Some form of
coexistence (not too peaceful) is
inevitable
. It is necessary to be re
. Konrad Sieniewicz,
W Polsce po trzydziestu latach
(London: Odnowa, \r).
. Zawieyski,
Dzienniki
, :.
\n. Ibid., :.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

alistic, given the facts. Respecting some agreements is in the inter
est even of the Communist regime. After the First Session of the
Council, there was a moment when the government was disposed
toward a concordat or the establishment of certain diplomatic rela
tions. But, in eect, the cardinal behaved in such a manner that the
government soon stiened. e Polish Church in general remains
very constantinian.
When one scratches beneath the surface of the Polish bish
ops’ story, it becomes a tale of prelates trying to overcome re
sentment: not only against the Communists, but also against the
Holy See. As Jan Grootaers has noted, in the battle for religious
freedom, this issue “constituted a separate front: that of recur
ring tensions between the Polish bishops’ conference and repre
sentatives of the Vatican each time the latter entered into direct
negotiations with the Polish government without including the
relevant bishops.”¹¹‚
Seen in this light, it becomes clear that Vatican II’s signi
cance for the Soviet Bloc has been largely misunderstood by ex
isting scholarship. Rather than ignore populations walled o by
an Iron Curtain, the Council created a unique transnational space
for intellectual and political interaction and debate involving
Communists, Iron Curtain Catholics (clergy and laity alike), and
émigrés—of which Poland oered perhaps the most vibrant case,
though hardly the only one.
Christian Democratic émigrés, in particular, played the semi
nal role of facilitators. Supported by funds originating from
the Free Europe Committee and the United States Information
Agency, these “last men standing” for the Polish Christian La
. “Diarium Jan Grootaers,” –; underlining in the original.
\r. Grootaers,
Actes et acteurs à Vatican II
, \r.
. It is therefore inaccurate to present—as does, for example, Piotr Rutkows
ki—the Polish story of Vatican II as a struggle by the bishops (especially Cardinal
Wyszyski) against the putatively aligned forces of the Polish Communists and Cath
olic lay activists; Rutkowski,
Polscy biskupi jako ojcowie Soboru Watykaskiego II
, \r.

TR H. KOSICKI
bor Party (Stronnictwo Pracy) saw in the younger generations of
ZNAK activists the future cadres of Polish Catholicism.
assessment, the Christian Democrats were not wrong: among
their beneciaries were future MPs, senators, and a prime min
ister of post-Communist Poland. All that these men and women
needed, the exiles reasoned, was a sense of Christian Democratic
identity.
Yet these lay activists had dierent goals. While Zawieyski
played a delicate diplomatic game, Zabocki—twenty-ve years
Zawieyski’s junior—was more interested in the Christian Demo
cratic exiles and their Western European contacts.¹²¹ Meanwhile,
Turowicz and his colleagues from Kraków at times seemed to
side openly with the regime against the primate.
Rather than
nudge the Polish bishops along, they attempted to go over the
prelates’ heads altogether.
e result was perhaps the greatest disaster in relations be
tween Poland’s clergy and laity at any point in the whole Com
munist period. e crisis came to a head in Rome in the middle
of the Second Session. e Polish lay activist Stanisaw Stomma,
founding editor-in-chief of the
Znak
monthly and an MP to the
Polish parliament, went behind the Polish episcopate’s back. In
November , Stomma submitted to the Holy See a memoran
dum entitled, “e Opinions of the Catholic Circles in Poland
Grouped in the Catholic Intelligentsia Clubs, around
Tygodnik
. Stanisaw Gebhardt, “Sprawozdanie o sytuacji na emigracji przedstawione
na Radzie SP na Wychod£stwie,” November –, \n, Archives of the Polish Insti
tute of Arts and Sciences of America, New York, Karol Popiel papers, box .; see
also Gebhardt, “Dziaalno na forum midzynarodowym,” in
wiadectwa/Testimo-
nianze
, vol. ,
Pro publico bono: Polityczna, spoeczna i kulturalna dziaalno\n Polaków
w Rzymie w XX wieku
, ed. Ewa Prz¤dka (Rome: Fundacja Rzymska im. J.S. Umiast
owskiej ), \n–.
. Gebhardt, interview with author, February , .
. Zabocki,
Dzienniki
. Robert Jarocki,
Czterdzieci pi\n lat w opozycji: O ludziach “Tygodnika Pow
szechnego”
(Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, ).
VATICAN II AND POLAND

Powszechny
, around the
Znak
and
Wi
monthlies, and in the
ZNAK Parliamentary Circle in the Sejm of the People’s Republic
of Poland.”
Although Stomma claimed to speak for the entire
movement, Zawieyski, for example, was not even consulted.
Wyszyski already felt that lay activists had betrayed him a
decade earlier, when PAX failed to defend him at the time of his
arrest in \n. PAX had never been close to the primate; ZNAK,
however, aspired to close cooperation with the episcopate. For
the primate, then, Stomma’s memo was even more hurtful, for
it came from activists who “call me ‘Father,’ and who therefore
should have called upon me as their ‘Father.’

It was not even
the substance of the memorandum—a vague declaration of in
tent to help normalize relations between Poland and the Vati
can—that irked Wyszyski, but rather the underhanded manner
in which it had been presented to the Holy See. is was all the
more painful coming, as it did, immediately on the heels of the
anti-Marian memorandum.
Much had therefore changed in the two years separating Za
wieyski’s papal audiences. In this poisoned environment, it was
di cult for any autonomous initiatives to bear fruit. When Za
wieyski arrived in Rome in the fall of  for his private audi
ence with Paul VI, he had to wait over a month in utter uncer
tainty. Preoccupied with the Aaire PAX, Wyszyski seemed also
to be punishing his old friend, suggesting at one point that Za
wieyski see the pope not as a member of the Polish State Council,
but instead as a private citizen, an artist. To this, Zawieyski re
sponded, “I didn’t come here to talk to the pope about theater.”
At the same time, the Communist journalist Ignacy Krasicki
—permanent Roman correspondent for Polish Radio and for the
. “W setn¤ rocznic urodzin prymasa Stefana Wyszyskiego ( sierpnia
–): Wyszyski: straˆnik tradycji czy wizjoner?”
Tygodnik Powszechny
, Au
gust \n, ; Friszke,
Koo posów “Znak” w Sejmie PRL
, \n–\n\r.
. Quoted in Zabocki,
Dzienniki
\n. Zawieyski,
Dzienniki
, :\r.

TR H. KOSICKI
Polish Workers’ Agency—was making the rounds of various Ital
ian journals, spreading disinformation about Zawieyski’s visit.
Some heard that it was connected to the breaking news of Nikita
Khrushchev’s resignation as Soviet premier, others that it was
a prelude to Poland’s answer to the Partial Agreement that the
Holy See had just reached with Hungary.¹²‚
ese rumors apparently angered Wyszyski even further.
Meanwhile, Zawieyski stewed in isolation, pouring into the pag
es of his diary his frustrated sense of mission on behalf of Pol
ish Catholicism: “I’m doing this for the Church; I’m doing it for
Poland, for our society, for our clergy, for the improvement of
spiritual life in Poland. I will be happy if the facts can speak for
themselves; I can remain in the shadows, absent from this im
portant matter.”¹²ƒ
Once the audience nally came to pass, Zawieyski left Rome
thinking that he might have single-handedly engineered the
normalization of relations between the Holy See and the Peo
ple’s Republic of Poland. When he returned to Poland, however,
Gomuka said the following to him: “e government will not
address itself to the Vatican for the normalization of relations.
Any demand for the government to address itself o cially in
this matter will trigger a rejection. We know that the Vatican ad
dressed itself to Hungary, to Czechoslovakia, and to Yugoslavia.
Why should we be any worse?”
e ZNAK activists could not overcome their frustration. e
episcopate, the Holy See, and the PZPR all essentially had the
same priority: maintaining Poland’s prewar status as a “nuncia
. Krasicki had already prepared an extensive report for the PZPR’s Central
Committee before the start of the First Session: Ignacy Krasicki, “Notatka w sprawie
sytuacji w Watykanie przed II Watykaskim Soborem Powszechnym—po wizycie
kardynaa Wyszyskiego w Rzymie,” March , , Archiwum Akt Nowych (Ar
chive of Modern Records, Poland), PZPR \r/Y-\r.
\r. “Nuovo tentativo della Polonia per un incontro con la Chiesa,”
Il Tiempo
November , ;
Il Symbolo
, November , .
. Zawieyski,
Dzienniki
, :.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

ture of the rst category,”
restitutio ad integrum
e disagree
ment, rather, lay in the matter of who would take the leading role
in negotiations and their publicity. Gomuka did not want to cede
ground to Wyszyski, nor Wyszyski to Gomuka. To complicate
matters even further, in the course of the Council, Wyszyski
developed a profound distrust for Casaroli, the architect of
Ost
politik
—this, despite the fact that Casaroli, Poggi, and Samorè
intentionally held ZNAK at arm’s length, looking to preserve
Wyszyski’s position.
In fact, it was Wyszyski who nudged
them in this direction, undermining Zawieyski’s credibility in
memoranda to the Vatican insiders responsible for
Ostpolitik
e matter would stop there, and normalization would have
to wait until \r.
Polish lay activists would look on dourly
while Communist and Catholic Church o cials allowed their ex
tensive eorts on behalf of diplomatic normalization to come to
naught. As Janusz Zabocki observed in December  after a
meeting with Poland’s ambassador to Italy, “while things are at
an impasse in the Vatican’s relationship with other socialist coun
tries, with respect to Poland things are moving backward .


eal
ize what kind of news Warsaw needs to hear from Rome and what
end it is to serve. ere can be no illusions about this: they are to
be ammunition serving the continued ght against the Church in
Poland.”¹³³
. Zabocki,
Dzienniki
. Poggi prepared notes for Casaroli that repeated Wyszyski’s dismissal
of the activists of
Znak
and
Wi
as being no better than PAX, in other words—
“representatives of the Warsaw regime and its various agents”; Luigi Poggi, “Espos
to dell’E.mo Sig.Card. Wyszyski circa eventuale accordo tra Santa Sede e Governo
polacco,” December , , Archivio di Stato di Parma: Fondo Casaroli, Serie: Paesi
del Est, Sottoserie: Polonia, Imm. (provisional document record). I thank Roland
Cerny-Werner for sharing these les.
. Wyszyski, “Indizi che dimostrano la tendenza del regime del Polonia ad un
accordo con la Santa Sede,” November , , Archivio di Stato di Parma: Fondo Casa
roli, Serie: Paesi del Est, Sottoserie: Polonia, Imm. (provisional document record).
. Stehle,
Eastern Politics of the Vatican
, \r–.
. Zabocki,
Dzienniki
, :\n.

TR H. KOSICKI
But the story of the Polish laity’s engagement with Vatican II is
about much more than backroom negotiations. Ecumenism, mo
dernity, the human person, the apostolate of the laity, Jews as
Christians’ “elder brothers in faith”—this was a vocabulary deep
ly familiar to many of Poland’s top Communist-era lay activists
long before it was codied in the constitutions, declarations, and
decrees handed down at Vatican II.
e ZNAK movement was
the product of several generations’ worth of transnational en
gagement by Polish Catholic thinkers and activists, dating back
to Leo XIII’s  encyclical
Rerum novarum
When John XXIII
announced an ecumenical council in \n, there were thus scores
of activists in Poland—some educated in the
n-de-siècle
, others
in the interwar period, others under Stalinism—who felt that
their time had nally come.
Poland’s top lay activists had an impact both inside and out
side Poland as mediators for the Council. On the one hand, with
their reporting, they shaped Vatican II’s reception back in Po
land. On the other, they lived at the forefront of
aggiornamento
in their encounters with lay counterparts throughout Europe
and the world.
ese activists lived paradoxical lives as members of an of
cially sanctioned movement of autonomous associations oper
ating within a Communist-run state. ZNAK activists considered
themselves obliged to pursue bona de dialogue with Marxism,
both in academia and in power. As the leadership of the Warsaw
Catholic Intelligentsia Club reported to the government in \n,
ZNAK saw its major contributions proceeding along two tracks,
. Jerzy Turowicz, “Antysemityzm,”
Tygodnik Powszechny
, March \r, \n\r;
“Rozdroˆa i wartoci,”
Wi
, no.  (\n): \n–; Tadeusz Mazowiecki and Andrzej
Wielowieyski, “Otwarcie na Wschód,”
Wi
, no. \r (): \r–.
\n. Kosicki, “Between Catechism and Revolution.”
VATICAN II AND POLAND

both international and national. Its activists were happy to be
“bringing much into the common good of the laity in the inter
national arena,” while also intending “to serve and actually serv
ing People’s Poland.”
While Jerzy Zawieyski, Jerzy Turowicz,
and other movement elders met with Gomuka and other high-
ranking functionaries and party o cials, the movement’s Young
Turks—assembled in the Warsaw-based monthly
Wi
, founded
in \n—set up regular, structured debates with the students
of Warsaw University professors Leszek Koakowski and Adam
Scha, the leading lights of revisionist Marxism.¹³‚
e common ground forged by the ZNAK movement in both
its national and transnational dialogues on how the modern
Catholic layman should best serve the causes of social justice and
world solidarity gave rise to good conversations, deep friendship,
and—most importantly—an ideology that the Poles described as
“open Catholicism” (
katolicyzm otwarty
). Inspired by a range of
Catholic theologians and philosophers who later served as
periti
or auditors at Vatican II—including Yves Congar, Henri de Lu
bac, Jacques Maritain, and Karl Rahner—the entire movement
embraced the idiom of “open Catholicism” to describe its own
philosophy of engagement in the world. As the Warsaw Catholic
Intelligentsia Club’s leadership put it, “e attitude represented
by the Club should be called an ‘open attitude,’ for it is open to all
that is good and true and accepting of the principles of exchange
of cultural goods between believers and non-believers.”¹³ƒ
e “open Catholicism” of ZNAK preceded Vatican II, but it
became the single most important lens shaping Poland’s recep
. “Sprawozdanie z dziaalnoci Klubu Inteligencji Katolickiej w Warszawie za
okres od .I.-.XII.\nr.,” , AIPN, BU \r/.
\r. ese dialogues yielded, among others, Tadeusz Maciej Jaroszewski,
Nauka spoeczna Kocioa a socjalizm
(Warsaw: Ksi¤ˆka i Wiedza, ); Tadeusz
Mrówczyski,
Personalizm Maritaina
i wspóczesna myl katolicka
(Warsaw: Ksi¤ˆka
i Wiedza, ).
. “Sprawozdanie z dziaalnoci Klubu, .I-.XII.\nr.,” .

TR H. KOSICKI
tion of the Council’s debates, teachings, and legacy. As the Coun
cil unfolded,
Wi
Znak
, and
Tygodnik Powszechny
published arti
cle after article debating the proper bases of Catholic thought in
a postconciliar world.
e ZNAK publishing house that printed
both the
Wi
and
Znak
monthly journals also published Polish
translations of canonical texts by Western European
periti
In parallel, the ve Catholic Intelligentsia Clubs attached to
those publications held regular debates on the Council and on the
future of the Church. By \n, the Warsaw club alone had hosted
\r meetings and  talks. Even Polish critics of Vatican II have
acknowledged the heuristic power of “open Catholicism.” For ex
ample, the late Polish politician Wiesaw Chrzanowski, a long
time political prisoner of Stalinism and a committed exponent
of Polish Catholic nationalism, described himself in  as a
“closed Catholic,” making a point to underscore the contrast with
ZNAK.¹¹
e single most important theoretician of “open Catholicism”
was Juliusz Eska, a Warsaw-based editor for
Wi
. Because of his
limited language skills, Eska never achieved the prominence of
many other leading lights of the rich cast of characters inhabit
ing the ZNAK movement. Janusz Zabocki, for example, became
Wi
’s conciliar correspondent only after Eska turned the assign
ment down for want of competency in spoken French and Ital
ian.¹²
Yet Eska had two major strengths: a clear and penetrating
. In , in
Znak
alone: Hans Küng, “Sobór, odnowa i zjednoczenie,”
Znak
no. \r (): \n–; Jean Guitton, “Czym jest Koció?,”
Znak
, no. \r ():
\n–\r\n; Karl Rahner, “O schemacie
De Ecclesia
,”
Znak
, no.  (): \r\r–.
e next year,
Znak
was the rst journal to publish remarks made by Archbishop
Wojtya concerning Schema XIII: Karol Wojtya, “Chrzecijanin a kultura,”
Znak
, no.
 (): \n–\n\r.
. Chenu,
Lud boy w wiecie
, trans. Zoa Wodkowa and Halina Bortnowska
(Kraków: Znak, ); Emmanuel Mounier,
Wprowadzenie do egzystencjalizmów oraz
wybór innych prac
, ed. and trans. Janusz Zabocki (Kraków: Znak, \n).
. Wiesaw Chrzanowski, Interview with author, November , \n; Roman
Graczyk,
Chrzanowski
(Warsaw: wiat Ksi¤ˆki, ).
. Zabocki,
Dzienniki
VATICAN II AND POLAND

prose style that distinguished him from many of his colleagues;
and the unwavering support of
Wi
’s editor-in-chief, a future
dissident and prime minister of Poland: Tadeusz Mazowiecki.
One of
Wi
’s founding members, Eska became its pointper
son early on for ecclesiology, pastoral life, and
aggiornamento
rst writings on the need for reform in the Church came in the
September \n issue of
Wi
, just one month before the death
of Pius XII elevated the reforming John XXIII to the throne of
St. Peter.
Following the elderly ponti’s election, Eska wrote
regularly on the Church. Following the January \n announce
ment of an upcoming ecumenical council, Mazowiecki suggested
that he consider collecting his essays into a single volume.
Published in  during the Second Session, Eska’s book be
came a manifesto of the ZNAK movement’s identication with
Vatican II. Its title,
Koció otwarty
(An open church), spoke to his
hopes for reform not just within Polish Catholicism, but indeed
throughout the entire universal Church. Drawing extensively on
Karl Rahner, the essays assembled in the volume reevaluated,
among others, the Catholic Church’s pastoral future, the role of
the laity, and the place of ideology (especially so-called “integ
rism” and “progressivism”) in the Church.
e cornerstone of Eska’s open Catholicism lay in the recogni
tion that the Catholic Church had become a “Diaspora Church.”
By this, Eska meant that the vibrancy of Catholicism must be
judged not according to declared membership in the Church or
regular attendance at Mass, but by Catholics’ active eorts to re
shape the world around them. Measured according to these crite
ria, most believers of “good will” found themselves at odds with
some aspect of pre–Vatican II teaching, rendering them a “dias
. Juliusz Eska, “O kierunek katolickiej formacji intelektualnej,”
Wi
, no. \n
(\n): –.
. Karl Rahner,
eological Investigations
, trans. Karl-H. Krueger (London:
Darton, Longman, and Todd, ), \n:\n.
\n. Juliusz Eska,
Koció otwarty
(Kraków: Znak, ), \r.

TR H. KOSICKI
pora.” For this reason, the Church’s core mission—“mission in the
spirit of an ‘open’ attitude”
—needed to be adapted to the task
of winning back Catholics who had left the Church. Eska wrote
that “an ‘open’ program of renewal in the Church demands both
a new form of mission and a new form for the Church’s existence
in the world.”
It was this “updated” mission that demanded the most of the
laity. Eska wrote, “For spokespersons of the ‘open’ attitude, the
matter of the laity is not simply one of the principal objective
processes denoting a turning point in the history of the modern
Church. It is also the touchstone and condition for reform, one of
its core problems.”
As the ZNAK movement had demonstrated
for years, “the apostolate of a layman is not a special, separate
task, but rather an organic element of the Christian relationship
to the human being and to people.”¹ƒ
In addition to engaging the laity, pastoral and ecclesiological
reform needed to struggle against the ideologization of Catholi
cism—what Eska called the “Constantinian Church.”
As Eska
wrote, “Catholicism is not an ideology.



e Church is neither an
institution nor an organization.” Although he named no names,
his book argues against both “progressivism” and “integrism” as
ways of framing Catholic mission in the world. In other words,
Catholicism was to be neither a political football in the hands of
Communists masking oppression with words of praise for
aggior
namento
nor a mere instrument of fundamentalist mobilization.
Eska’s sensitivity to “ideological” Catholicism was the product of
years’ worth of conversations between the
Wi
sta and the Pol
ish school of revisionist Marxism.
Wi
’s two principal cofound
. Ibid., \n.
\r. Ibid., \r.
. Ibid., \n.

. Ibid., \n.
ers and intellectual architects were Tadeusz Mazowiecki and Ja
nusz Zabocki, who had become close friends over the course of
ve years spent together in PAX.
In the end, they rejected the
organization’s Stalinism, but they continued to aspire to harmo
nizing Catholicism with state socialism. For them,
Wi
became a
vehicle for promoting Catholic socialism—whatever the Marxist
establishment thought of their eorts.
Mazowiecki was, both philosophically and personally, very
close to Eska. As he put it in \n, Eska’s ideas had “been at the
very core of
Wi
’s mission since the moment of its founding,”
even if not articulated in so many words.
To understand Eska,
one must rst understand Mazowiecki.
In May , Mazowiecki traveled to Brussels to deliver a paper
at a conference organized by
Informations Catholiques Internation
ales
, in which he argued that “Poland is changing from a Catholic
country into a secular, pluralistic country”
and that “one can
not ght for humanism within the socialist world while remaining
completely apart from it.”
Read together, Mazowiecki’s state
ments show that ZNAK took state socialism and its philosophical
exponents seriously. Poland’s top lay activists saw Vatican II as nei
ther a rejection of communism nor an escape from behind the Iron
Curtain, but rather as a set of guidelines to be followed in their
aspirations to be both good Catholics and good “citizens” of their
VATICAN II AND POLAND

\n. For example, Zabocki, “Mazowiecki mój przeciwnik (): Dni-burze, o
których wiesz tylko ty,”
ad
, no. \r ().
\n. “Motywy, d¤ˆenia i braki postawy otwartej—dyskusja wokó ksi¤ˆki Ju
liusza Eski
Koció otwarty
,”
Wi
, no.  (\n): .
\n. Mazowiecki, “Odnowa polskiego katolicyzmu: Misja i wolno wieckich
w kraju socjalistycznym,”
Wi
, no. \n (): \n. e Polish-language original of
the Brussels lecture was never published during Mazowiecki’s lifetime. is author
discovered the typescript in the WI¡¥ Archives (Warsaw).
Wi
then published the
text with a new title. An abridged version of the text appeared in French in  as
Mazowiecki, “Mission et liberté des laïcs en pays socialiste,” in
Mission et liberté des
laïcs dans le monde
, by Georges Hourdin et al. (Paris: Cerf, ), –\n. On the Brus
sels trip more generally, see Kosicki, “*,”
Wi
, no. \n (): –.
\n. Mazowiecki, “Odnowa polskiego katolicyzmu,” .

TR H. KOSICKI
self-proclaimed “people’s republic.” When Mazowiecki spoke of
Poland as a “secular, pluralistic country,” he meant not confes
sional pluralism


oland was over  percent Catholic, follow
ing the Holocaust, pogroms, and border shifts


ut that he
was recognizing that Polish society included many unbelievers of
good will.
Mazowiecki’s  talk in Belgium matters in this context
because, to a great extent, the
Wi
editor was relying on Eska.
e point about Poland changing into a “secular, pluralistic coun
try,” for example, matched word for word what Eska had written
several years earlier.
It was Eska’s ideas that served the Polish
laity in their dealings with bishops and Marxists alike. Like Pri
mate Wyszyski, Eska believed that Church reforms needed to
proceed in Poland according to an “
accomodata renovatio
.”
While his bishop meant by this phrase to justify a slower pace
of reform, Eska in fact saw it as a call for radical “social dialogue
between Catholics and Marxists” of good faith.
e best pos
sible outcome would be not the defeat of state socialism by a
reforming Church, but rather Catholicism’s “contributing to the
entrenchment and development of humanistic, natural Christian
elements in the structure of socialist society.”¹­‚
e potential roadblocks on this path were legion. Among
Polish Marxists and Western European Catholics alike, ZNAK
encountered fears that open Catholicism was merely a ruse. As
Mazowiecki noted during a  discussion of Eska’s book, the
challenge was to convince interlocutors of one’s good will, avoiding
“the mere appearance of reform, masking actual neo-integrism.”

Leszek Koakowski’s disciple Tadeusz Jaroszewski argued that
such “neo-integrism” boiled down to treating “openness as a
\n. Kosicki, “Masters in eir Own Home.”
\n\n. Eska,
Koció otwarty
, .

\n. Ibid., , \n.
\n\r. Ibid., \n.
\n. “Motywy, d¤ˆenia i braki postawy otwartej,” .
VATICAN II AND POLAND

method of social engineering .

from the standpoint of e cacy,
from a pragmatic standpoint, seeing principally that integrist
methods are less pastorally eective in the rechristianization of
the world than the ‘open’ method.”
To this, Mazowiecki, Eska,
and their colleagues responded in unison that they meant to
demonstrate “a spirit of service and solidarity toward people of
other convictions”—they meant Marxists—citing as an encour
aging sign the Holy See’s  Partial Agreement with Commu
nist Hungary.¹€†
Time in Rome gave the
Wi
editors real hope of making
“open Catholicism” a reality. Mazowiecki traveled from Brus
sels to Rome in June  to attend John XXIII’s funeral, which
proved to be one of the dening experiences of his adult life. A
mere ve months later, Zabocki and Zawieyski took the initia
tive in reestablishing ties between the Polish Church and the
Moscow patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church. As it
happened, Archpriest Vitaly Borovoy had studied in Warsaw in
the s, and he spoke „uent Polish; the Polish activists made
contact with him and tried to get their primate to take a meet
ing with him.
Wyszyski demurred, insensitive to the impor
tance that the ZNAK activists attached to their own eorts. For
Zawieyski and Zabocki, however, every conversation they had
spelled a life-or-death opportunity to reconnect Polish Catholi
cism with the rest of the world.¹€²
Many of the contacts made by ZNAK with Catholics from
across the Iron Curtain would outlast even the end of the Cold
War. e results included substantive and substantial intellec
tual and political exchanges, as well as personal friendships. e
same Christian Democratic émigré activists who set Zabocki
\n. Ibid., .
. Ibid., , .
. See, for example, Vitaly Borovoy, “e Meaning of Catholicity,”
Ecumenical
Review
, no.  (): –.
. Zabocki,
Dzienniki
, :\n; Zawieyski,
Dzienniki
, :\r\r–\r.

TR H. KOSICKI
and Zawieyski up with Casaroli, Poggi, and Samorè in the s
had earlier facilitated most of the contacts that the ZNAK move
ment had not inherited from PAX.
During the Council, they
also provided one-month scholarships to ZNAK activists coming
to Rome to cover Vatican II.
In addition, Konrad Sieniewicz and his Christian Democratic
colleagues Stanisaw Gebhardt and Stanisaw August Morawski
organized picnics, daytrips, and a host of other meetings for
their Polish visitors with “counterparts and potential partners
in similarly attuned quests” from Belgium, France, Italy, and the
Netherlands.¹€
While Janusz Zabocki met the Flemish Catholic
labor leader August Vanistendael and attended a conference of
the French Catholic-socialist organization La Vie Nouvelle,
godnik Powszechny
’s Jerzy Turowicz socialized with other Catho
lic journalists, including Jan Grootaers, then editor-in-chief of
the Flemish Catholic monthly
De Maand
ese contacts were about far more than curiosity or bragging
rights. ey also had tangible consequences for ZNAK’s ability to
translate conciliar teachings back to Poland. By , Zabocki
had decided to write a book about the evolution of what was then
called Schema XIII, which would subsequently become
Gaudium et
spes
. Given this project, his budding friendship with Vanistendael
struck in Rome proved to be like manna from heaven. e Belgian
labor leader was one of a select few lay auditors at Vatican II with
privileged access to condential drafts of the conciliar documents.
Already at his rst meeting with Zabocki in , Vanistendael
promised the Pole a copy of every draft of Schema XIII that came
. e Polish security apparatus oers copious corroborating evidence at
AIPN, BU \r\n/\r, –.
. Zabocki,
Dzienniki
, :.
\n. Vanistendael and Grootaers both also spoke at the same Brussels confer
ence as Mazowiecki, Hourdin, et al.,
Mission et liberté
des laïcs dans le monde
, \n–,
–. On La Vie Nouvelle, see Jean Lestavel,
La Vie Nouvelle: Histoire d’un mouve
ment inclassable
(Paris: Cerf, ).
VATICAN II AND POLAND

into his hands.
is illegal leaking of condential drafts by a lay
auditor made it possible for Zabocki to write a serious intellec
tual history of the pastoral constitution’s development, published
in Polish two years after the Council’s conclusion.
Covering the Council
Meanwhile, the contacts made by Turowicz in Rome literally
shaped the week-by-week Polish reception of the Second Vatican
Council as it unfolded. For all of the devastating repressions suf
fered by the Catholic Church in Poland during the Communist
period, those same years were also a time of unprecedented cul
tural, intellectual, and social engagement and leadership for the
Polish laity. Poland was the only country behind the Iron Curtain
that was able to send “independent” Catholic activists, who then
received o cial credentials as journalists in the Vatican press of
ce, allowed to observe portions of the Council. Given this ac
cess, the “open Catholics” achieved an authoritative voice as they
mediated the Council back to Poland.
As with the bishops, passports were granted or withheld to
lay journalists for any number of reasons: some strategic, some
ad hoc. Yet, with exceptions few and far between, Communist Po
land had journalists on the ground in Rome for all of the sessions
of the Second Vatican Council. is on-the-ground presence clear
ly mattered for the Council’s reception back home—in particular,
for the active young Catholic intellectuals waiting each day with
bated breath for news from Rome, seeking to understand the
transformations of their Church underway in the Vatican.
e undisputed leader among Polish Catholic mediators of the
. Zabocki,
Dzienniki
, :\n.
\r. Zabocki,
Koció i wiat wspóczesny: Wprowadzenie do soborowej konstytucji
pastoralnej “Gaudium et spes”
(Kraków: Znak, \r).
. Friszke,
Oaza na Kopernika
, \r\n–\r.

TR H. KOSICKI
Council was Jerzy Turowicz, who had access to the largest Polish-
language readership of any journalist, aside from Communist
correspondent Ignacy Krasicki. As Brian Porter-Szcs has noted,
Tygodnik Powszechny
had a reputation of “constantly push[ing] at
the edges of Polish Catholicism (and, for that matter, Polish com
munism), testing how far one could go without crossing some line
that would solicit charges of heterodoxy.”
In the course of the Council, even as the state deployed ever
more severe repressive measures against
Tygodnik Powszechny
, its
mass readership continued to grow. e weekly could boast of the
most direct link of any Polish Catholic voice to what the Council
fathers were doing. As Zabocki noted in October ,
Tygodnik
Powszechny
was, given its weekly print run of \n,, “for the Pol
ish reader eectively the principal source of information about
the Council.”
Even when the print run was halved that year as
punishment for editor-in-chief Jerzy Turowicz’s decision to sign
the so-called Letter of 
—an open letter of Poland’s journal
istic and literary elite to the prime minister protesting censorship
of the written word—
Tygodnik Powszechny
was able to continue
its weekly coverage.
During each of the four sessions,
Tygodnik Powszechny
was
the main source of Polish-language translations of texts by Holy
fathers and Council fathers.
During the First and Second ses
sions, Turowicz’s extensive reporting by telephone from Rome
graced the front page of each issue. In , when Turowicz was
denied a passport following the Letter of , Jacek Wo£niakowski
took over for him with weekly reports from Rome.
e commentaries provided by Turowicz and Wo£niakowski
painted a portrait of daily life in conciliar Rome, providing a mise-
. Porter-Szcs,
Faith and Fatherland
, .
\r. Zabocki,
Dzienniki
, :\n\n\r.
\r. Jerzy Eisler,
List 
(Warsaw: PWN, ).
\r. For example, “Jan XXIII z okazji zamknicia Soboru,”
Tygodnik Powszechny
December , .
VATICAN II AND POLAND

en-scène for the faithful back in Poland. Turowicz, in particular,
graced his reporting with amusing anecdotes: on the one hand,
these helped his readership to understand the gravity of the pro
ceedings; on the other, they oered much-appreciated moments
of levity. For example, in an article entitled “Daily Life at the
Council,” Turowicz wrote, “As is generally known, the debate takes
place in Latin, which is the only working language of the Council’s
plenary sessions. ere are, however, exceptions to this otherwise
ironclad rule. Technical or administrative announcements, as well
as information directed to Council fathers, are often read not only
in Latin (by the general secretary), but also in ve modern lan
guages (by the undersecretary, namely: French, English, German,
Spanish, and Arabic).”
e linguistic norms of the Council gave rise to a range of
amusing situations. Janusz Zabocki captured one of these bril
liantly as he chronicled the statements of plenary session chair
man Archbishop Pericle Felici. e Polish journalist had a great
knack for nding humor in the Italian prelate’s di culties with
“modern” Latin: “he has certain di culties in informing Council
fathers in the language of Cicero of what hours the cafeteria is
open or where they can obtain commemorative Vatican postage
stamps. Today he had particular di culty in exhorting the fa
thers, in light of President Sukarno’s audience with Paul VI, not
to park their cars after a certain hour in the Piazza San Pietro.”
In the end, the laity’s coverage of the Council, as well as the
networking pursued in its course, paved the way for ever greater
Polish participation in the global transformation of the Catholic
Church. Fourteen years before the election of John Paul II, ZNAK
activists joined almost , other participants at the th Inter
national Eucharistic Congress in Bombay, where Pope Paul VI pre
\r. Turowicz, “Dzie powszedni Soboru,”
Tygodnik Powszechny
, November ,
.
\r. Zabocki,
Dzienniki
, :\n.

TR H. KOSICKI
sided, following preparatory sessions in Rome.
One of the con
gress’s principal tasks was to set the agenda for the ird World
Congress of the Laity, planned for \r, the rst to be held since
the death of Pius XII. Joining laity from all over the world, Poles
traversed the Iron Curtain to assume the role that they believed
it their obligation to play alongside their bishops. In this, “open
Catholicism” was both their guide and the gateway to a new kind
of transnational engagement.
Poland was also the only Iron Curtain country to be granted a
lay auditor at the Second Vatican Council. Introduced by Paul VI
for the Second Session, the status of auditor allowed prominent
Catholic philosophers, historians, and social activists to observe
the plenary sessions and to participate fully in conciliar commis
sion work as the only nonclerical voices at Vatican II. In most cas
es, auditors were designated at the recommendation of the head
bishop of a given country, although o cially they participated in
the Council
ad personam
at the Holy Father’s invitation. e Sec
ond Session featured twelve lay auditors (all men), while the ird
Session included also women (seventeen out of a total of forty au
ditors).¹‚€
Poland had one auditor, a professor from the Catholic Uni
versity of Lublin named Stefan Swieˆawski. is historian was
unique among his colleagues in the ZNAK movement, as his for
mal training in Catholic thought both far exceeded and substan
tially antedated that of his fellow activists. One of Poland’s most
eminent scholars of Catholicism, Swieˆawski had an interna
tional reputation that preceded even World War II. As a graduate
student, he had studied in France in – under the omist
\r\n. Wo£niakowski’s impressions from both meetings—as well as the ird
Session—are recorded in Jacek Wo£niakowski,
Laik w Rzymie i w Bombaju
(Kraków:
Znak, \n).
\r. On Paul VI’s unprecedented decision to bring in lay auditors, see Groot
aers, “e Drama Continues between the Acts: e ‘Second Preparation,’

History
of Vatican II
, :\n–.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

historian Étienne Gilson. At the same time, he also developed a
friendship with one of Vatican II’s most important forerunners,
Jacques Maritain, that would last more than forty years.
He
was one of the few non-Marxist humanists in postwar Poland
who both maintained an international reputation and engaged in
substantial scholarly activity outside of Poland. Few other schol
ars outside the PZPR were able to preserve what the Polish secu
rity apparatus called “quite lively ties abroad” throughout the en
tire Communist period.¹‚ƒ
Although he attended only the nal weeks of the ird Ses
sion, Swieˆawski made his mark one year later on a global scale.
ere, he joined fellow auditors Jean Guitton and Ramon Sug
ranyes de Franch on the preparatory commission for Schema XIII’s
subsection on culture. At the close of Vatican II, he shared with
Guitton and with his old friend Jacques Maritain the great honor
of personally receiving from Paul VI an appeal to “men and women
of science and culture.”
Like his ZNAK colleagues in Rome covering the Council,
Swieˆawski, too, mediated the event back to Poland. Yet the priv
ileged access that, as an auditor, he enjoyed to conciliar debates
and documents meant that he was in a better position than any
Pole besides the bishops to assess the Council’s successes and
failures. By turns, Swieˆawski assisted the Polish episcopate, rep
resented the Polish laity, and acted autonomously of both. For
the Lublin professor, taking seriously the “signs of our times”
meant addressing what he perceived as a crisis in Catholic atti
tudes toward philosophy.¹ƒ†
\r\r. Stefan Swieˆawski,
Wielki Przeom –
(Lublin: Redakcja Wydawnic
tw KUL, ), –\r.
\r. E. Mirowski, “Analiza materiaów operacyjnych dotycz¤cych Stefana
Swieˆawskiego,” February , , , AIPN, BU //.
\r. Paul VI, Second Vatican Council Closing Speech (December , \n), http://
www.papalencyclicals.net/Paul/pclosin.htm; accessed September , .
. Georges (Jerzy) Kalinowski and Stefan Swieˆawski,
La philosophie à l’heure
du Concile
(Paris: Société d’Éditions Internationales, \n), .

TR H. KOSICKI
Even though his time at the Council was limited, Stefan Swie-
ˆawski’s presence there substantially raised Polish Catholicism’s
prole abroad. He actively promoted his home institution, the
Catholic University of Lublin—the only nonpublic university be
hind the Iron Curtain. When the formation of a pontical commis
sion called Iustitia et Pax was announced to oversee the implemen
tation of
Gaudium et spes
, Swieˆawski was chosen for a ve-year
term as one of its thirteen members.
e rector of the Catholic
University of Lublin delighted in the spotlight that Swieˆawski’s
distinguished service shone on his university, and he squared o
against the Communist security apparatus again and again to as
sure that Swieˆawski would “be able to travel freely and to partici
pate continuously in all of the work of the Commission.”
Who Is Karol Wojty\na?
Although Swieˆawski’s activities at the Council have thus far re
ceived little scholarly attention, much has been written about
the conciliar work of his longtime Lublin colleague, Rev. Karol
Wojtya. ough already an accomplished philosopher when he
became auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Kraków in \n,
the future John Paul II was merely thirty-eight years old at the
time. He would later be young for an archbishop, young for a car
dinal, and young for a pope.
When Vatican II began, Wojtya was one of the Council’s most
junior bishops. Nonetheless, having completed his doctoral dis
sertation in Rome at the Collegium Angelicum in , „uent in
six languages by the time he received the bishop’s miter, Wojtya
. Paul VI created Iustitia et Pax with “Catholicam Christi ecclesiam,”
Acta
Apostolicae Sedis
no. \n (\r): \r. On the commission’s early work, see W. M. Cash
man, “e Laity Council’s First Year,”
Furrow
, no.  (\r): –\n\n.
. Wincenty Granat to Passport O ce of the Ministry of Internal Aairs, June
, \r, Archiwum Uniwersyteckie Katolickiego Uniwersytetu im. Jana Pawa II (Ar
chives of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin), Lublin: File A.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

clearly felt at home at the Council.
He could communicate eas
ily with other delegations, and he already had extensive contacts
among even the more theologically progressive circles in France,
Belgium, and the Netherlands from time spent traveling around
those countries in the s.¹ƒ
Wojtya’s junior status lent itself to easy contact with other
national delegations. As a young bishop, he was seated in close
physical proximity with the junior members of other national
episcopates from around the world. e spatial geography of seat
ing within St. Peter’s Basilica placed Wojtya in the back rows,
alongside others who had entered adulthood on the eve of World
War II and were mostly a product of the s and s—as op
posed to the s or s (like Wyszyski). As Jan Grootaers
writes, “the young generation found itself at the back of the ba
silica, and there the applause began for the more ‘audacious’ pro
posals that would gradually engulf the whole assembly.”
Particularly since Wojtya’s elevation to the papacy, a notable
strain within the historiography of modern Poland has highlight
ed the putative opposition between Wojtya’s supposed “pro
gressivism” and Wyszyski’s supposed “conservatism.” Yet, as
Brian Porter-Szcs points out, “Wojtya’s poetic, often mystical
language allowed him to nesse the tensions between the postc
onciliar terminology and ecclesiology and the centralism favored
by Wyszyski and most of the remainder of the Polish episco
pate.



t the same time, he would not abide any weakening of
his authority as bishop, and he fully accepted Wyszyski’s call for
unity and obedience in the face of the communist threat.”¹ƒ€
Wojtya was no upstart. In fact, he delivered many of the Pol
ish conciliar delegation’s most prominent speeches. As Robert
. Wojtya,
Faith According to St. John of the Cross
, trans. Jordan Aumann (San
Francisco: Ignatius Press, ).
. Wojtya, “Mission de France,”
Tygodnik Powszechny
, March , .
\n. Grootaers,
Actes et Acteurs à Vatican II
. Porter-Szcs,
Faith and Fatherland
, \r.

TR H. KOSICKI
Skrzypczak argues, “e Polish bishops themselves, particularly
in the last two conciliar sessions, deemed him to be their o cial
representative, if not their leader, conferring upon him the right
to take the „oor in their collective name.”
Over the course of
the four conciliar sessions, the bishop from Kraków spoke in ple
nary session a total of eight times and delivered sixteen written
communiqués to the Council secretariat.
Wojtya had four core areas of interest: ecclesiology, relations
with the secular world, human freedom, and evangelization.
Pastoral and theological issues were most important to Wojtya.
Polish auditor Stefan Swieˆawski argued that his friend had played
a decisive role in shaping Vatican II’s reinvention “of the paschal
mystery, a central issue in theology.”
Meanwhile, French jour
nalists ranked him behind only cardinals Bea and König as a driv
ing force behind
Nostra aetate
, the Council’s declaration on non-
Christian religions.
Religious freedom was the topic on which Wojtya spoke most
often. Like his lay friends who promoted “open Catholicism” in
the pages of
Wi
or
Tygodnik Powszechny
, Wojtya, too, sought
to turn Vatican II into a weapon in the struggle against religious
“indierentism.”¹…¹
In a speech delivered in plenary session on
September , \n, Wojtya insisted that the Council must state
clearly that religious freedom is “deeply personalistic in the Chris
tian sense, rather than derived from liberalism or indierent
ism.”¹…²
e archbishop pointedly distinguished between freedom
of conscience and unrestricted libertinism. Freedom of conscience
\r. Skrzypczak,
Karol Wojtya na Soborze Watykaskim II
, .
. Ibid., .
. “Okrelanie toˆsamoci: Ze Stefanem Swieˆawskim rozmawiaj¤ Anna
Karo-Ostrowska i Józef Majewski,” in
Dzieci Soboru zadaj pytania
, \r.
. Skrzypczak,
Karol Wojtya na Soborze Watykaskim II
. is is the same language used by Mazowiecki, “Odnowa polskiego katoli
cyzmu.”
. Quoted in Skrzypczak,
Karol Wojtya na Soborze Watykaskim II
, –.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

meant taking responsibility for one’s choices, especially “in reli
gious matters.” is declaration came a mere two days after Polish
primate Wyszyski had warned Council fathers in plenary session
against “unwittingly furnishing totalitarian states with additional
ammunition in their ght against religion.”
e future pope worked the hardest of any bishop to give
the fruits of Vatican II concrete form on Polish soil. During the
Council, he published a string of interviews, letters, and com
mentaries in
Tygodnik Powszechny
, to whose sta he had once
belonged.
As Brian Porter-Szcs has noted, “back in the s
and \rs Wojtya’s commitment to the ‘people of God’ helped
ensure that the
Tygodnik Powszechny
circle could elaborate their
views with the full support of their bishop.”
To the ZNAK lead
ership, Wojtya was both a personal friend and their episcopal
protector. In the Council’s immediate aftermath, he took advan
tage of ZNAK’s work to bring to Poland as its guests Catholic lu
minaries like Yves Congar and August Vanistendael, asking those
visitors to smuggle materials back to Western Europe on his be
half.¹…€
Close cooperation between the Kraków archbishop and
the Polish laity assured serious Polish debate on
Gaudium et spes
and the other key messages of Vatican II.
Wojtya, in fact, became the only Polish Council father to or
ganize diocesan synods on the Council’s teachings. eir purpose
was to give clergy and laity the opportunity to re„ect together on
. Ibid., –\n.
. Wojtya, “List ks. biskupa Wojtyy do ‘Tygodnika Powszechnego,’

Tygod
nik Powszechny
, no.  (): ; Wojtya, “List pasterski ks. biskupa Wojtyy,”
godnik Powszechny
, no. \r (): ; Wojtya, “List pasterski z Soboru,”
Tygodnik
Powszechny
, no.  (): ; Wojtya, “Sobór od wewn¤trz,”
Tygodnik Powszechny
, no.  (\n): , ; Wojtya, “Millennium a Sobór,”
Tygodnik Powszechny
, no. 
(\n): –.
\n. Porter-Szcs,
Faith and Fatherland
, \r.
. On Congar’s  visit to Poland, see the correspondence in Archives de la
Province Dominicaine de France, Paris: Collection V- (Yves Congar papers), box
...

TR H. KOSICKI
the nature of their involvement in the life of the Church. e cap
stone event of Wojtya’s pre-pontical years was the synod that he
launched in Kraków in \r, which then met on and o through
\r. e Kraków metropolitan even put his own ideas up for de
bate: just before the synod opened, he published a book-length
treatise on how to breathe life into the conciliar documents.
It was Vatican II that launched Wojtya as an international
mover and shaker in the Catholic Church. In addition to shaping
the letter of its reforms, he made extensive contacts in the Holy
See over the course of the Council. ough unknown in the Vati
can at the Council’s outset, work in successive Council commis
sions turned the priest from Wadowice from a relative unknown
into an intellectual respected even by such esteemed
periti
as
Yves Congar. During the First Session, the Dominican Congar
had described Wojtya simply as one “Polish bishop” among
many.
Yet, by February \n, he not only knew the Kraków
archbishop’s name, but in fact had developed a deep and abiding
respect for the prelate: “Wojtya made a very great impression [in
the commission on Schema XIII]. His personality is imposing. A
power radiates from it, an attraction, a certain prophetic force
that is very calm, but incontestable.”¹……
By the end of the Council, Wojtya had become a Vatican
insider from behind the Iron Curtain. is does not mean that
Wojtya played a dening role at the Council. Nonetheless, he
became progressively more signicant and more visible over its
course. His newfound prominence contributed in no small part
to his rapid ascent through the Church hierarchy—archbishop
in , cardinal in \r, Holy Father in \r. Stefan Swieˆawski
later recalled, “Both during the Council and thereafter, when we
\r. Wojtya,
U Podstaw Odnowy: Studium o Realizacji Vaticanum II
(Kraków: Pol
skie Towarzystwo Teologiczne, \r); Wojtya,
Sources of Renewal: e Implementation
of the Second Vatican Council
, trans. P. S. Falla (San Francisco: Harper and Row, ).
. Congar,
My Journal of the Council
, \n.
. Ibid., \r.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

traveled to meetings of the Pontical Commission Iustitia et Pax,
one could see the growing interest in Rome in the person of Car
dinal Wojtya. He was becoming
papabilis
It was this emerging reputation, alongside his active sponsor
ship of synods and his delivery of the \r Lenten message in
Rome on Paul VI’s behalf, that ultimately carried Wojtya to the
seat of St. Peter. Remarkable though the choice of a non-Italian
was in \r to follow the short-lived ponticate of John Paul I,
Wojtya’s candidacy seems far less improbable in light of his rep
utation gained through years of conciliar activism.
Coda: Concilium, Millennium, and Beyond
For Polish bishops and laity alike, the nal months of Vatican II
were a busy time. In addition to the work of adopting and cir
culating the nal versions of the conciliar documents, the Poles
were preparing to celebrate a millennium of Polish Christendom
in . ZNAK leaders like Zawieyski and Mazowiecki did not
hide their concern that the Marian devotion at the heart of the
millennial celebration might detract from the implementation of
conciliar reform in Poland.²†¹
e Polish episcopate, meanwhile, used the Fourth Session to
try to show that Concilium and Millennium were complementary,
not contradictory. e bishops sent out fty-six letters of pasto
ral greetings in October and November \n, inviting colleagues
from around the world to come to Poland on May , , to cel
ebrate the Polish Millennium. Among these letters, the greatest
care went into crafting the letter to German bishops. e result,
however, was a public scandal that shook Polish Catholicism.
. “Okrelanie toˆsamoci.”
. “Milenium a dzie dzisiejszy—dyskusja redakcyjna,”
Wi
, no. \n ():
. Kosicki, “
Caritas
across the Iron Curtain? Polish-German Reconciliation

TR H. KOSICKI
e May  event was to be the culmination of the Great Nove
na. is was the focal point of Wyszyski’s pastoral and political
program. For one day, Poland was to be the center of attention
for the global Catholic Church. Poland’s Marian devotion would
take center stage, with Pope Paul VI journeying to Czstochowa
to celebrate Mass before the icon of the Black Madonna at the
historic Jasna Góra Monastery. In the end, however, the Polish
authorities would deny the pope’s visa request, preventing him
from making his planned pilgrimage to Poland.
On November , \n, the Polish Council fathers sent a pas
toral letter to their German counterparts. Its most important
sentence was, “We grant forgiveness as well as ask for it.”
e
letter contained a long and intricate historical narrative in which
the Poles attempted to recapitulate, from their own perspective,
the history of wrongs done to their nation by Germans, before
saying, “we well understand that the Polish western border on
the Oder and Neisse Rivers is, for Germany, an extremely bitter
fruit of the last war of mass extinction. Part of the bitterness is
caused by the suerings of millions of German refugees and ex
pellees expelled by an inter-Allied order of the victorious pow
ers at Potsdam in \n.”
Instead of reopening old wounds, the
Poles proposed reconciliation: “despite everything, despite this
situation that is almost hopelessly burdened with the past, we
call on you, highly esteemed Brothers, to come out and away
from precisely that situation. Let us try to forget: no more po
lemics, no more Cold War, but rather the beginning of a dialogue,
such as that which the Council and Pope Paul VI are seeking to
foster everywhere.”²†­
and the Bishops’ Letter of \n,”
East European Politics and Societies
, no.  ():
–.
. “Polish Bishops’ Appeal to eir German Colleagues,” November , \n,
German-Polish Dialogue: Letters of the Polish and German Bishops and International
Statements
(New York: Edition Atlantic Forum, ), \r–.
. Ibid., \n.

bid., –\r.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

Written by Wrocaw’s apostolic administrator, Archbishop
Bolesaw Kominek, the letter was intended as an olive branch.
At the same time, the Polish prelates had certain hopes and ex
pectations—namely, that the bishops of the Federal Republic of
Germany would lobby the Holy See to give Poles jurisdiction over
the dioceses of the “western territories” absorbed by Poland af
ter World War II.
ough the Poles had consulted the German
bishops in advance in Rome, the o cial response sent by the lat
ter was a disappointment. Irrespective of how one assesses the
German bishops’ letter, there had clearly been a breakdown in
communication between the two episcopates. e German bish
ops did not give the Poles what the latter had expected, which
was gratitude, forgiveness, and support for Polish claims of sov
ereignty demarcated by the postwar border on the Oder and
Neisse rivers.²†‚
What surprised the Polish bishops even more, however, was
the aggressive reaction of the PZPR. e Communist general sec
retary, Wadysaw Gomuka—who did not know about the Polish
bishops’ letter until weeks later—spearheaded a campaign of anti-
ecclesiastical propaganda intended to punish the episcopate. More
than once, he publicly accused Wyszyski of having gone against
Polish
raison d’État
by meddling in the delicate matter of sover
eignty over the “Recovered Territories.” An ugly exchange of let
ters followed between the general secretary and the primate at the
turn of \n and . Decrying the o cial propaganda campaign
against the Church—“Of what have I not been accused?” the pri
mate despaired—Wyszyski explained that the bishops and Com
. Basil Kerski and Robert ‡urek, “Ordzie biskupów polskich i odpowied£ nie
mieckiego episkopatu z \n roku: Geneza, kontekst historyczny oraz oddziaywanie,”
in Basil Kerski, Tomasz Kycia, and Robert ‡urek,
“Przebaczamy i prosimy o przebacze
nie”: Ordzie biskupów polskich i odpowied niemieckiego episkopatu z  roku: Geneza—
kontekst—spucizna
(Olsztyn: Borussia, ), –\n.
\r. “German Bishops’ Reply to eir Polish Colleagues,” December \n, \n, in
German-Polish Dialogue
, –\n.

TR H. KOSICKI
munist Poland in fact shared the same position of wanting to see
the border recognized.
Nonetheless, Gomuka had taken personal oense at what
he saw as ecclesiastical meddling in foreign aairs of the high
est importance. Moreover, he felt increasing pressure within his
own party to take a tough stance in the face of competition from
Interior Minister Mieczysaw Moczar.²†…
e church-state thaw was over. Gomuka went after Wy-
szyski’s pride and joy: the millennial celebrations. e PZPR ran
its own “millennial” campaign, designed to substitute the mil
lennium of Polish statehood for the millennium of Polish Chris
tendom. In tandem with the Communists’ own celebrations, the
Politburo wanted a “propaganda campaign that would reveal the
falsehoods contained in the [bishops’] letter, as well as the po
litical harm done by the episcopate.”
State o cials disrupted
Catholic pilgrimages to Czstochowa, and one of the corner
stones of the Great Novena—the peregrination of the Icon of the
Black Madonna around Poland—was interrupted at every stop
with a competing Communist rally.
Wyszyski, like Gomuka, took all of this personally. Pulling
back entirely from Polish-German reconciliation, he became con
vinced of one overriding priority: to ght the Communists for
the soul of the Polish nation. is was a direct response to the
campaign that the PZPR had unleashed in the months following
the end of Vatican II.²¹¹
It is in this context that one must evaluate the Council’s con
sequences for Communist Poland. For Polish bishops and laity
. Stefan Wyszyski to Wadysaw Gomuka, March , , reprinted in
Antoni Dudek,
Pastwo i Koció w Polsce –
(Kraków: PiT, \n), \r.
. On Gomuka and Moczar, see Jerzy Eisler, “March  in Poland,” in
:
e World Transformed
, ed. Carole Fink, Philipp Gassert, and Detlef Junker (New
York: Cambridge University Press, ), \r–\n.
. Quoted in Friszke,
Koo posów “Znak” w Sejmie PRL
, \r.
. Kosicki, “
Caritas
across the Iron Curtain?,” –\r.
VATICAN II AND POLAND

alike, the Council constituted an unprecedented space of trans
national engagement. Yet none of the players were able to escape
the constraints of Soviet Bloc ideology and Cold War geopolitics.
As a result, the immediate consequences of the Council were, in
fact, overwhelmingly negative.
e relationship between the episcopate and the PZPR de
generated to its nadir at the very moment when the Holy See was
most interested in bringing
Ostpolitik
to Poland. Moreover, the
relationship between the episcopate and the laity also suered.²¹²
Within the year or two following the Council, most Western Euro
pean countries had introduced the vernacular liturgy, with priests
facing the congregation, rather than the altar, as they o ciated
Mass. In Poland, however, these reforms took eect only begin
ning in , and they progressed at a painfully slow pace.
Only
in  was the rst missal printed in Poland that was not en
tirely in Latin; it was, however, only partially in Polish. e rst
full Polish-language missal was not published until .
Once the tensions of the Millennium campaign had dissipat
ed, lay activists began to appeal to Wyszyski to speed the pace
of reform. ey left meetings with the primate feeling rebued,
even mocked. As early as \n, following his return from the
Fourth Session, the primate warned the Warsaw Catholic Intel
ligentsia Club against “intellectualizing the Church, as if it con
sisted entirely of philosophers.”
e club’s resident theology
expert, Stanisawa Grabska, complained that Wyszyski had sent
her, Swieˆawski, and others away when they came to him in Feb
ruary \r to request that priests face the congregation during
. In addition to the fallout from the  memorandum that Stomma sent
to the Vatican behind Wyszyski’s back, the primate also took exception to a de
bate published by
Wi
on the future of priestly vocation in Poland. e result was
a multi-year ban preventing Polish clergy from writing for the journal; “Dyskusja o
ksiˆach w Polsce,”
Wi
, no.  (): –.
. Mazurkiewicz, “Recepcja Soboru,” .
. Quoted at Porter-Szcs,
Faith and Fatherland

TR H. KOSICKI
the liturgy, that they pronounce liturgy in the vernacular, and
that small-group pastoral work be introduced into the Church in
Poland. Responding to the request that priests face their congre
gations, the primate was to have said, “You want people to see the
priests’ faces? I often tell priests: your backs, people can stomach
seeing, but your faces?”
e message behind that caustic remark is not that Wy-
szyski was blocking reform, but rather that he had his own par
ticular understanding of John XXIII’s principle of
renovatio acco
modata
In Communist Poland, the primate saw a need for evo
lutionary, rather than revolutionary, change. Undoubtedly, the
failure of rapprochement with German bishops and the Church’s
unexpected confrontation with the PZPR over the Millennium
left Wyszyski bitter. Yet the primate’s understanding of the
proper pace and methods of incorporating conciliar reforms into
Polish Catholicism needed to take into account the material and
political constraints that the Church was facing. Printing Polish-
language missals and breviaries required access to paper and the
approval of censors, both of which the PZPR denied the Church
in the wake of the struggle over the Millennium. In the late s
and early \rs, Wyszyski repeated the adage, “When there will
be paper, then there will be reform.”²¹‚
Rather than privilege some and disenfranchise others, Wy-
szyski preferred for reform to proceed in tandem with pressur
ing the regime to loosen restrictions on Catholic life. Over the
course of the \rs, Wyszyski put his full weight behind litur
gical reform, but the process took time. is delay fueled argu
ments by his critics, both within the Party nomenklatura and
within Poland’s secular anti-Communist opposition.
Yet Wyszyski already had clearly explained in  the ratio
\n. “W setn¤ rocznic urodzin prymasa Stefana Wyszyskiego.”
. Mazurkiewicz, “Recepcja Soboru,” .
\r. Quoted in Czaczkowska,
Kardyna Wyszyski
, nd ed., \n.
nale for his approach to
renovatio accomodata
: “ere are fanati
cal liturgists who would wish immediately, tomorrow, to have
in their hands a missal [in Polish] because, if they don’t have it,
the whole Kingdom of God will fall. Yet the heart of the matter
lies elsewhere. ere is no need to emphasize that. e goal is for
people to pray, for people to want to pray, while the language in
which they will do it is a secondary matter.”²¹ƒ
Miscommunications over the liturgy show how di cult it is to
come up with a simple balance sheet for Vatican II’s impact on Po
land. Contemporary commentators like the Munich-based émigré
Józef Mackiewicz, as well as historians like Sawomir Cenckiewicz,
have claimed that Vatican II became a tool in the hands of the
Communist regime. As the argument goes, Communists exploited
the Council to the detriment of the Church in Poland, with lay ac
tivists becoming the unwitting allies of the Polish secret police.
Yet, even acknowledging the documented role of the Polish
security apparatus—for example, with the anti-Marian memo—
this interpretation gives too much credit to the Communists
and too little to all of the remaining players. Within the episco
pate, as within the laity, there were dierences of opinion and
strategy. Wojtya worked to acquire a voice in the Vatican, while
Wyszyski prioritized the Polish Millennium. e ZNAK move
ment split over whether or not to continue cooperating with the
regime in the wake of the Millennium con„ict. Even more dif
cult for ZNAK were the dramatic events of March , which
brought both mass beatings and political repressions of protest
ing Polish students and a mass exodus of Polish Jews facing anti-
Semitic persecution.
For the laity, these events became entan
gled with the Council’s legacy.
. Quoted in Raina,
Kardyna Wyszyski,
\n:\r\n.
. Józef Mackiewicz,
Watykan w cieniu czerwonej gwiazdy
(London: Kontra,
\r\n); Cenckiewicz, “Cisi sprzymierzecy reform.”
. On the Polish student protests, see Eisler, “March  in Poland.” On the
anti-Semitic purges, see Dariusz Stola, “Anti-Zionism as a Multipurpose Policy In
VATICAN II AND POLAND


TR H. KOSICKI
A bird’s-eye view shows that Vatican II fundamentally re
shaped the course of Polish events in the nal decades of the
Communist period. e transnational space that the ZNAK activ
ists had encountered in Rome convinced them to be both more
independent of the hierarchy and more aggressive in the pursuit
of their own agenda. Even though the German bishops had dis
appointed Wyszyski, ZNAK activists in the decade following
the Council entered into vigorous exchanges with lay activists
from both West and East Germany.²²¹
ese budding partnerships bred an ethos of reconciliation
and dialogue. Poles became open to Willy Brandt’s historic \r
visit to Poland and then to the Holy See’s conrmation in \r of
Polish jurisdiction over the long-disputed dioceses.
Although
it was Agostino Casaroli who negotiated the partial normaliza
tion of relations between the Vatican and the People’s Republic
of Poland, both the episcopate and the laity played a role. In the
wake of the Millennium con„ict, the bishops realized how cru
cial the Holy See’s support could be, while the laity embraced the
Holy See’s turn to human rights and world solidarity.²²³
Italian Christian Democratic statesman Giorgio La Pira, an
icon of cross–Iron Curtain cooperation who visited the Soviet
Union in \n and corresponded with Gomuka throughout the
s, had written to the Polish general secretary in April 
encouraging him to endorse the Church’s millennial celebrations.
Poland, wrote the mayor of Florence, had a chance to become the
“grand bridge that joins the West to the East,” the guarantor of
“immeasurable hope for world peace.”²²
strument: e Anti-Zionist Campaign in Poland, \r–,” in
Anti-Semitism and
Anti-Zionism in Historical Perspective
, ed. Jerey Herf (London: Routledge, \r),
\n–\n.
. Kosicki, “
Caritas
across the Iron Curtain?,” \r–.
. Karolina Wigura,
Wina narodów: Przebaczenie jako strategia prowadzenia
polityki
(Gdask-Warsaw: Scholar, ).
. Dudek and Gryz,
Komunici i Koció w Polsce
, \n–\n\n.
. Giorgio La Pira to Wadysaw Gomuka, April , , Archivio della Fon
VATICAN II AND POLAND

Gomuka did not heed La Pira’s advice, but four years later he
would be out of power, having employed heavy-handed physical
repression against students in  and workers in \r, as well
as promoting an anti-Semitic campaign.
His successor, Edward
Gierek, tried to clear the air with church and society alike. Yet it
was the increasing involvement of the Polish laity in shaping an
international discourse of human rights and East-West coopera
tion that spoke loudest.²²€
As Wyszyski began to implement conciliar reforms in the
\rs, Wojtya became ever more prominent within the universal
Church. Like La Pira, the future John Paul II genuinely believed
that Poland had a historic role to play in facilitating world peace
and solidarity. is is the same message that he would bring to
Poland as pope in \r. is message also guided Tadeusz Mazow
iecki and other ZNAK activists in  as they helped to found
the Solidarity trade-union movement.
Despite the postconciliar false starts for Poland, then, in the
long view Vatican II mobilized the players and shaped the mes
sages that would guide Poland and the Church to the collapse
of communism in . Still, the dark notes sounded in episco
pal statements in today’s Poland demonstrate that the “spirit
dazione Giorgio La Pira, Florence: Box /inse/. On La Pira’s aspirations for
“bridging East and West,” see Marcello Coppetti and Franco Vaselli,
Giorgio La Pira
aggente d’Iddio: Dal “rapporto segreto di Kruscev” al viaggio ad Hanoi
(Milan: Feltrinelli,
\r).
\n. Eisler,
“Polskie miesice” czyli kryzys(y) w PRL
(Warsaw: IPN-KZpNP, ),
–, –.
. See especially the French publication of Tadeusz Mazowiecki’s November
\r\r talk at a session that he organized on “Christians and Human Rights” at the War
saw Catholic Intelligentsia Club: Mazowiecki, “Les chrétiens et les droits de l’homme,”
Nous, chrétiens de Pologne
, ed. Jean Oredo (Paris: Éditions Cana, \r), \n–\r;
Friszke,
Oaza na Kopernika
, –.
\r. See especially John Paul II,
Laborem exercens
, September , , http://
www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_
_laborem-exercens_en.html; accessed September , ; Józef Tischner,
e Spirit of Solidarity
, trans. Marek B. Zaleski and Benjamin Fiore (San Francisco:
Harper and Row, ); Kubik,
Power of Symbols against the Symbols of Power
, –.

TR H. KOSICKI
of Vatican II,” for Poland as throughout the world, was neither
universally received nor permanent. It may well be that open Ca
tholicism, despite the well-timed kick-start with which Vatican II
provided it, will nonetheless land in the dustbin of Polish public
life, having outlived the collective eorts of Primate Wyszyski,
John Paul II, and the pope’s longtime allies among the laity.²²ƒ
. On Polish responses to the ponticate of Pope Francis, see Kosicki, “Why
Are the Vatican and Poland So Far Apart?”
Eurozine
, March , , http://www
.eurozine.com/articles/––-kosicki-en.html, accessed September , .
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CONTRIBUTORS
is Bradford Durfee Emeritus Professor of History at Yale Uni
versity. He is the author of, among many others,
e National Question
in Yugoslavia: Origins, History, Politics
();
With Stalin against Tito:
Cominformist Splits in Yugoslav Communism
(); and



most recently

vati i Crkva: Kratka povijest hrvatskog katoli
nstva u modernosti
[Croats and the church: A brief history of Croat Catholicism in moder
nity] ().
James Ramon Felak
is professor of history at the University of Washing
ton. He has published, among others,
At the Price of the Republic: Hlinka’s
Slovak People’s Party, –
() and
After Hitler, Before Stalin:
Catholics, Communists, and Democrats in Slovakia, –
(). He
is currently preparing a history of John Paul II’s papal pilgrimages to
Poland.
Gerald P. Fogarty
is William R. Kenan Jr. University Professor of the His
tory of Christianity and professor of religious studies and history at the
University of Virginia. He is the author of, among many others,
Nova
et Vetera: e eology of Tradition in American Catholicism
(\r) and
American Catholic Biblical Scholarship: A History from the Early Republic to
Vatican II
(; ). He is currently completing a history of American
relations with the Holy See during World War II.
Piotr H. Kosicki
is assistant professor of history at the University of
Maryland. He is the author of
Catholics on the Barricades: Poland, France,
and “Revolution,” –
(\r) and
Personalizm “po polsku”: Francuskie
korzenie polskiej inteligencji katolickiej
().
is associate professor of history at the Catholic Univer
sity of America. He has published, among others,
Nation, Konfession, Ge
schichte: Zur nationalen Geschichtskultur Ungarns in europäischen Kontext
(–)
() and
Ungarn seit 
(). He is completing
Cold
Days
, a study of the Novi Sad Massacre of  and how it was discussed
in Hungary through  in the context of Holocaust commemorations.
INDEX
Academy of Catholic eology
(Warsaw), , \n
Accomodata renovatio
, \r, –\n
Action Program, \r, 
Aggiornamento
, –, \n, –\n, –,
, –, \r, \r–\r.
See also
Dialogue
Agreements with the Holy See:
Hungary (

), , –\r, , \r\r;
Yugoslavia (

Alberigo, Giuseppe, , \n
Atheism, \n, 
Athenagoras, –
Auditors, conciliar, , , \r, \r–\r,
See also
Swieˆawski, Stefan
Babiuch, Jolanta, \n, , \n
Bauquet, Nicolas, \n, , 
Bea, Augustin, –, , 
Benedict XVI, \r–\r
Beran, Josef, , –, , –
Bokor, , \r–\r
Borovoy, Vitaly, , \r\r
Brezanóczy, Pál, –\n, \r–
Bulányi, György, \r–\r
Caritas (organization), , 
Casanova, José, , n\n\n, 
Casaroli, Agostino, , , , , \n, \r,
–, , , \r, .
See also
Ostpolitik
Catechism, Catholic, , 
Catholic Herald
Catholic socialism, , , \r\n
Catholic University of Lublin, –,
Cenckiewicz, Sawomir, \nn, \n
Censorship, \n, \r, , , –,
, 
Christian Democracy, –, \r\r–\r,

Christian Social Association (ChSS), \n
“Church of Silence,” , –, –,
, , 
Church-State Accord, Polish (

, 
Cold War, –\n, \r–, –\n, , –\n,
, \r\r, , 
Collegiality, , –, \n
Communism: Catholic alternatives
to, ; Catholic reconciliation
with, , \r–, \nn, –\n,
\r\n–\r\r, ; condemnation in
Divini
redemptoris
, –;
Ecclesiam suam
on, –; Vatican II debates on, ,
\n–\n
Communist Party of Czechoslovakia,
, \r–, , –\n
Conciliar schemata: Schema “on the
Church,” \n, \n\n, \n; Schema XIII,
\r, \n, \n, \r–\r, , .
See also
Gaudium et spes
Lumen gentium
Concordats, , , \n
Congar, Yves, , , \r, \r, \r–
Containment, –\n
Cousins, Norman, –\n, –
“Croatian Spring,” –, –\n
Crown of Saint Stephen, –
Cuban Missile Crisis, , , –, ,
.
See also
Nuclear con„ict
Cyril (saint), \r, 
Czaczkowska, Ewa, \n–\n
Czechoslovakia, \n, \r–, –, \r, –
\n, \n, \n, –, , .
See also

Decolonization, , \n
De-Stalinization, –, \n
Dialogue: and
Aggiornamento
\n, –; Catholic-Protestant,
–, ; Christian-Marxist,
, \r–, –, , , \r–\r\r;
Ecclesiam suam
on, ;
Pacem in terris
on, ; Polish-German, –; at
Vatican II, –, , 
Diaspora church, \r–\r
Dignitatis humanae
See
Freedom of
conscience
Divini redemptoris
See
Communism
Dobrynin, Anatoly, \n, 
Draganovi, Krunoslav, \r\r, –
Dubek, Alexander, \r, 
Dzi i Jutro
[Today and tomorrow], \n.
See also
PAX
Eastern Orthodoxy, , , –, –,
\n, \n\n–\n, \r\r
Ecclesiam suam
, –.
See also
Dialogue
Ecumenism, –, , , –, ,
, , n, \n\n–\n
Education, –, , –, –
Émigrés: Croatian, \r\r–\r; Polish, ,
\n–, \n, \n\r, \n–, \r\r
Eska, Juliusz, \r–\r\r.
See also Wi
Federal Executive Council of Yugoslavia
(SIV), \r–\r
Francis (pope), , n
Freedom of conscience, \r, ,
\r–, , \n–, , \n–\n,
Galuška, Miroslav, , 
Gaudium et spes
, , , , ,
\n, \n, \r–\r, , \r.
See also
Conciliar schemata
Germany, –, , \n, –, \n,
–, , 
Glas Koncila
[Voice of the council], ,
\r\n, –, , \r
Glas s Koncila
See Glas Koncila
Gomuka, Wadysaw, , n\n,
\n–, –, \r, –, –\r
Grabska, Stanisawa, –
Great Novena, , \n\n, \n, , –
See also
Mary, Virgin; Millennium
of Polish Christendom; Wyszyski,
Stefan
Greek Catholicism, , , –
Grootaers, Jan, , –\n, –\n,
\r, \n
Hamvas, Endre, , , 
Holy O ce, –, \n, \r, 
HrŸza, Karl, , 
Human Rights, , , , \r–, ,
\n, , –\r
Humanism: of Leszek Koakowski, ;
of Stefan Swieˆawski, ; of
Wi
\r\n–\r
Hungarian Revolution of

, \n\r, \n
Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party,
, 
Hungary, \n–, , , , \r, –\n, \n–
\r, , , \r\r.
See also
Agreements
with the Holy See; State O ce of
Confessional Aairs
Hus, Jan, , , 
Hussites, , \r–, –
Index of Banned Books, \n\n–\n
“Indierentism,” –\r
Informations Catholiques Internationales
–\r, \r\n.
See also
PAX
“Integrism,” \r–\r\r
Italy, , \n, , , \n, , \n, \r\r–\r, ,
, , , \r
Izvestia
[News], \r, \n
Jaroszewski, Tadeusz, \r–\r\r
Jesus, , 
John Paul II (pope, saint): auxiliary
bishop of Kraków, , , ;
election to papacy, , \r, , ;
and human rights, –\n; and ideas
of Tomislav J. Œagi-Buni, ; legacy,
\r–, –; on legacy of Vatican
II, \r, –\n; at Vatican II, , –
John XXIII (pope, saint): , , \r–,
–, –, –, , \n, \n\r, ,
\r, \r–\r, , , , , ,
–, , \n, –, \r, \r,
\r\r, 
Johnson, Lyndon B., \n, –\r
Kadlecová, Erika, , , 
Kardelj, Edvard, \r, 
Katolické Noviny
[Catholic news],
n
Kennedy, John F., , , \r, –,
–, –\r, \n
Kent, Peter C., –\n
Khrushchev, Nikita, , –, –,
\n–, –\n, \n, n, 
Klepacz, Micha, \r, 
Koakowski, Leszek, –, \r, \r.
See also
Humanism
Kominek, Bolesaw, –, 
Komonchak, Joseph, , \n
Krasicki, Ignacy, \nn, \r–, 
Kesanská Revue
[Christian review],
Küng, Hans, –
Kusti, Živko, –, 
La Croix
[e cross], –\r
Laity, , , , –, –,
\n–, , \n–\r, \r, \r–\r,
–, –\r
La Pira, Giorgio, –\r
Latvia, , 
League of Communists of Yugoslavia
(SKJ), \r\r, \n, –, , \r
Lefebvre, Marcel, \r, –
Lékái, Lászlo, –
Lidové Noviny
[People’s news], \r
Lithuania, , 
Liturgy: in Latin, \r; reform of, n,
, \r, , –, ; in Slavonic,
\r; vernacular, , –, ,
\n–\n, –\n
Lubac, Henri de, , \r
Lumen gentium
, \r, \n, \n.
See also
Conciliar schemata
Luxmoore, Jonathan, \n, , \n
Maritain, Jacques, \r, 
Marxism: Catholic collaboration with,
; revisionist approach to, –,
\r–\r\r; Vatican II debates on, \n–\n
Mary, Virgin: Black Madonna, ,
\n\n; coronation as Queen of Poland,
\n\nn; Great Novena dedicated
to, , –, ; as Mother of
the Church, , \n, \n–\n; Polish
devotion to, ; Polish secret police
campaign against, \n–\n\r, \n.
See
also
Great Novena; Millennium of
Polish Christendom
Masaryk, Tomáš G., , –
Máté-Tóth, András, \n, \n
Mazowiecki, Tadeusz, , \r–, \r.
See also Wi
Methodius (saint), \r, 
Millennium of Polish Christendom,
, –\n.
See also
Great Novena;
Mary, Virgin
Mindszenty, József, , –, \n\r–\n, ,
\n, –
Missals, \n, –\n
“Modernity,” , , –, \n, \r–\r,
Montini, Giovanni Battista.
See
Paul VI
Moravia, n, –\r, \n
Morlion, Felix, , 

Polish bishops’ letter to German
bishops, –

: in Czechoslovakia, , –,
\r–, \n, \r–, ; in Poland,
, \n.
See also
Normalization;
Prague Spring
Normalization: imposed on
Czechoslovakia after

, , ,
, \r, –, \n–; in Vatican
diplomacy, , –, 
Nostra aetate
Nuclear con„ict, threat of, , .
See
also
Cuban Missile Crisis
“Open” Catholicism, , \r–\r, ,
, .
See also
Eska, Juliusz;
Wi
Ostpolitik
, Vatican, , \n, –, \n–\n\n,
, \n, –, –\r, , –,
–, , 
Ottaviani, Alfredo, –, , \n
Pacem in terris
(encyclical), –, ,
See also
Dialogue
Pacem in Terris (organization), ,
\r
“Patriot” priests, \n, \r–\r\r, –\r, ,
–, , \r
Paul VI (pope), , –, –, \n, \r,
\r, –, , , , , \r, \n,
\n\r–\n, –, –, –.
See
also Ostpolitik
PAX, , –\n, , \n–\r, \n, \r,
n, \r\n, \r.
See also
Dzi i Jutro
Peace Movement of Catholic Clergy
(MHKD), , , –, –
Periti
, conciliar, , , n\r, \r–\r,
Pius XI (pope), –
Pius XII (pope), , , –\n, , \n, ,
\r\r, \n–, \r, 
Poggi, Luigi, , , \r.
See also
Ostpolitik
Poland, –, , , \r, –\n, \n\r, ,
\r–.
See also

; State O ce of
Confessional Aairs
Polish Christian Labor Party, –,
\r\r–\r.
See also
Sieniewicz, Konrad
Polish Radio, \nn, \r–, 
Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR),
–, \n, \n–, , ,
–
Pontical College of Saint Jerome
(Rome), \r\r–\r, –
Pontical Commission Iustitia et Pax,
Porter-Szcs, Brian, , , , \n, \r
Prague Spring, , –, \r–, \n,
\r–, .
See also

Pravda
[Truth], \r, \r–, n
Priest Movements for Peace.
See
“Patriot” priests
“Progressive” Catholicism.
See
Catholic
socialism
Protestants: in Czech nation, , ;
in dialogue with Catholics, –,
; and Eucharist, ; and liturgical
language, \r–; and Tomáš G.
Masaryk, ; at Vatican II, –,
; and White Mountain, , \r,

Rahner, Karl, \r, \r, \r
Rankovi, Aleksandar, , –
Ratzinger, Joseph.
See
Benedict XVI
“Recovered Territories.”
See
World War II
Regnum Marianum, , \n\nn, \r
Religious orders, , –, , –
Rerum novarum
, \n, \r
Ressourcement
, –, 
Romania, , , 
Roncalli, Angelo.
See
John XXIII
Samizdat
, –
Samorè, Antonio, , , \r.
See also
Ostpolitik
Secret police, \nn, , , , \n, \n, \n,
–\n, \r\r, –, –, , \n,
\n–\n, \rn, –, \n
Secretariat for Church Aairs
(Czechoslovakia), , 
Secretariat for Promoting Christian
Unity, Vatican, –
Secretaries, church (Czechoslovakia),
, , 
Seminaries: Litomœice, –\n, ;
Olomouc, \n–; Prague-Jircháœe,
; underground, 
Œeper, Franjo, \r–, , 
Show Trials, , \n\r, \r–\r\r, ,
–, \r.
See also
Beran, Josef;
Mindszenty, József; Stepinac,
Alojzije
Shvoy, Lajos, \n\n–\n, , 
Sieniewicz, Konrad, , \r.
See
also
Christian Democracy; Polish
Christian Labor Party
Skalický, Karel, , –
Skrzypczak, Robert, \n–
Slipyj, Josyf, , , –\n, 
Slovakia, , \n
Socialism: Church statements on, ;
Jerzy Zawieyski’s version of, \n–;
PAX’s version of, –\n, ;
Vatican II debates on, \n–\n;
Wi
’s
version of, \r–\r.
See also
Catholic
socialism; “Open” Catholicism
Spellman, Francis, –, \r
Stalin, Joseph, , \n
Stalinism, –
State O ce of Confessional Aairs:
in Hungary, \n, \n, \n, , , ;
in Poland, , , , .
See
also
Secretariat for Church Aairs
(Czechoslovakia)
Stehle, Hansjakob, , \n–
Stepinac, Alojzije, , n, , \r, \r\r,
, \nn, –
Stomma, Stanisaw, , –\r,
n
Swieˆawski, Stefan, –, , –
, .
See also
Auditors, conciliar;
Humanism
Œagi-Buni, Tomislav J., –, ,
Tardini, Domenico, \n\n–\n
Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union
(TASS), \r–, \n, \n
th International Eucharistic Congress
(Bombay), –
Tito, Josip Broz, , –, , \n, \r–,
Togliatti, Palmiro, , 
Tomášek, Josef, –\n, , n,
, \rn, –\n
Turkey, –
Turowicz, Jerzy, , , , \r,
\r–
Tygodnik Powszechny
[Universal
weekly], n, , , , –\r,
\r–, \n–\r
Ukraine, , , –, \n
Underground Church (Czechoslovakia),
–, \n
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,
\r, –, , , \n, \n, \n, \n\r–\n, ,
\n, 
United Nations, \n, \r–, 
United States, \r, \r–, \n–\n, \n
Vanistendael, August, \r–\r, \r
Vatican Radio, , \r
Velehrad Monastery, , \n
Vietnam War, , –\r
Warsaw University, , \r
Wenger, Antoine, –\r
White Mountain, Battle of, , \r, 
Wi
[Bond], n, , \n, \r,
n, \r–\r\r, , n.
See
also
Eska, Juliusz; Humanism;
Mazowiecki, Tadeusz; “Open”
Catholicism
Wilde, Melissa J., n, \r, , , –\n
Willlebrands, Johannes, –, , \n
Winowska, Maria, –\r
Wojtya, Karol.
See
John Paul II
Work of Conciliar Renewal (DKO), ,
–\n, 
World War II, , \r–, –, , ,
\n, \r–\r\r, \n, , \n\n, \n, ,
\n, ; border adjustments after,
\n–, , –
Wo£niakowski, Jacek, –
Wyszyski, Stefan: arrest and
imprisonment, , –; and
de-Stalinization, –, \n–\n;
Great Novena created by, –;
and Hungarian “catacomb hierarchy,”
\n\r; Marian devotion, \n\n–\n; and
PAX, –\r, \n; on postwar border
adjustments, –\r, , –;
and ZNAK movement, \n–, –
, –; at Vatican II, , –\n
Yugoslav Bishops’ Conference (BKJ),
\r\r–\r, 
Yugoslavia, \r–, –, \r–, –\n,
\r\n–, .
See also
Agreements with
the Holy See
Zabocki, Janusz, , n, , \n,
\n\n–\n, –, \r–
Zawieyski, Jerzy, , \n–, \r\r–\r,
See also
Socialism
Znak
(journal), , –\r, n, \r
ZNAK (movement): activist laity of,
–, \n–; projects in West and
East Germany, –; transnational
dialogues of, \n–\r, –
Znak (parliamentary circle), –,
–\r
Zvœina, Josef, –\n
Vatican II behind the Iron Curtain
was designed in Chaparral Pro with Palatino Sans
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