Vatican Moscow Agreement 1962

In 1962, the Vatican and the schismatic Russian Church agreed. In his words, the Russian Orthodox Church has agreed to send observers to the Second Vatican Council, provided that there is no condemnation of communism. [1] Professor Romano Amerio spoke of the freedom of the Second Vatican Council to deal with various subjects and revealed some previously unpublished facts. “The highlight and half secret to be respected,” he explained, “is the restriction of the freedom of the Council that John XXIII had accepted a few months earlier by concluding an agreement with the Orthodox Church, with which the Patriarchate of Moscow accepted the papal invitation to send observers to the Council, while the Pope in turn guaranteed that the Council would refrain from condemning communism. The negotiations took place in Metz in August 1962 and all the details of the time and place were explained at a press conference by Bishop Schmitt of this diocese (the Lorrain, 2/9/63). The negotiations ended with an agreement signed for the Holy See by Metropolitan Nikodim for the Orthodox Church and Cardinal Weaver, Dean of the College of Cardinals. The Vatican would stick firmly to the agreement during the Council and insist that the Second Vatican Council remain politically neutral. Even a petition by more than 400 Council priests, representing 86 different countries to include in the decrees a formal condemnation of communism, was rejected. The petition, presented at the last Council meeting on 9 October 1965, “was not even sent to the Commission working on the document,” says De Mattei, “which caused a huge scandal.” Surprisingly, even Bishop Karol Wojtyla, who later became John Paul II but was then bishop at the Council, was one of those who rejected the petition.

“Stato did not need to explain to his listeners that in the late spring of 1962, a certain cardinal Eugene Weaver had been sent by Pope John XXIII to meet with a Russian prelate, a Metropolitan, representing the Soviet political office of Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev. Pope John asked in an addendum whether the Soviet government would allow two members of the Russian Orthodox Church to participate in the Second Vatican Council, which is due to be inaugurated next October. The meeting between Weaver and Nikodim took place in the residence of the then bishop, Paul Joseph Schmitt. There Nikodim gave the Soviet answer. His government would accept that the Pope would guarantee two things: that his next Council would not condemn Soviet communism or Marxism, and that the Holy See would make the future the rule of abstaining from all these official condemnations. [2] “Cardinal Pietro Parolin on the objectives of a four-day visit to Russia,” Vatican Radio, August 21, 2017 (en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/08/21/cardinal_pietro_parolin_on_goals_of_4-day_russia_visit/1331826). As a secret verbal arrangement, concrete evidence proved elusive, but De Mattei says he found “a handwritten note” of Paul VI in the Vatican`s secret archives, confirming the existence of the agreement. Madiran also supports De Matteis`s assertion and asserts that Paul VI stated in the memo that he would explicitly mention “the Council`s commitments,” including “not to talk about communism (1962) “. Mr. Madiran pointed out that the date in brackets was significant, since it referred directly to the Metz agreement between Weaver and Nikodim.

“Moscow`s condition that the Council should not say anything about communism was therefore no secret, but its isolated publication had no impression on the general opinion, for it was not taken up and disseminated by the press as a whole, either because of the apathetic and sensitive attitude towards communism, which is common in clerical circles, or because the pope took steps to impose the act. Nevertheless, the agreement had a strong, albeit silent, effect on the Council`s direction, when the demands for an extension of the condemnation of communism were rejected to change this agreement, to say nothing about it. [4] See Devin Sean Watkins, “Vatican, Russia agree visa-free diplomatic travel, need for dialogue in Venezuela,” Vatican Radio, August 22.