By Michael Wilson
CATHOLIC HERALD, Friday, September 14, 1973 3 Pope Paul's first conference of the Vatican's toplevel diplomats began meeting in the Alban hill town of Frascati last week.
The agenda of this meeting of' Holy See Chiefs of Mission is still being kepi officially quiet but if is no secret that the talks are far-ranging and cover world areas in which the Church feels that human rights and even Christianity itself are being threatened.
Pope Paul has made it abundant1)) clear that under his aegis the Church in Rome intends to press on all world fronts for greater recognition of human rights and liberties.
Sonic of the Vatican diplomats at this conference are
old hands at getting inspiration from the "new line" Vatican policies. Others, such as Mgr. Giovanni Chcii, the veteran negotiator with East European countries over Church-State relations. who was appointed Permanent Observer to the United Nations a few weeks ago. are setting out to implement the new line.
The Vatican is not a member of the U.N. As an observer. Mgr. Cheli will certainly he able 10 make Pope Paul's views known to the delegates and representatives in New York.
Rumours that the Holy See intends seeking full membership in the United Nations in the near future are generally discounted. it is quite possible that such full membership may he sought in the Future, and even requested of the Holy See if the Church's role at other conferences and in other "milieux" proves as effective as her representative Archbisop Agostino Casaroli's intervention at Helsinki in early July.
For the moment. there would appear riffle chance of her either tieing invited or seeking membership. This would involve the agreement of the Big Five on the Security Council and while Britain and France,
both of whom have diplomatic relations with Rome, would probably give approval there is much roam for doubt over not only China but Russia and even the United States. the other three members of the Security Council, China and the Vatican could scarcely be in a more anomalous situation: the China of Chiang Kai Slick's Taiwan is still accredited to the Holy See; the China of Mao's representatives in Rome have rebuffed Holy See attempts to institute even informal talks. Yet the China of Peking seems to be paving the way for a possible resumption of pastoral relations. Neither the United States nor Russia has diplomatic relations with the Vatican (Amb. Cabot Lodge's "personal representation" of President Nixon does not signify official government relations). While the United States might not oppose Holy See membership it is unlikely that Russia would endorse any U.S.A. move.
But the Popes interest in what lies beyond what used to be considered the limits of Church domain, or in the method of expressing his disapproval, were typified last week when Pope Paul broke his vacation routine of spiritual messages to take forceful issue with current events in both Latin America
and Europe. ,
On a Sunday address from the 'Castelgandolfo courtyard balcony, Pope Paul set a precedent for his pontificate by publicly denouncing not only a specific film but by mentioning the country which was sponsoring it, virtually inclusive in his denunciation: Denmark.
Later, he recieved the new Brazilian Ambassador to the Holy See and quite openl) defended the Brazil clergy and laity in their actions against government persecutions. Ambassador Antonio Castel° Branco, escorted to the summer residence with the customary pomp of Swiss Guards and escorts from his residence in Rome,' was told forthrightly: "We are with their pastors, their priests, their'religious men and women and with the laity who collaborate in seeking their aspirations . . ."
This was clear enough language but Pope Paul made it even clearer when he told the ambassador that "common good itself could not he attained without the guarantees and measures for the rights and duties of the human person" laid down by Pope John XXIII in his encyclical Pacem in Terris.
And, after the audience, Pope Paul told the ambassador that the Vatican intended to pursue . the matter of the many Brazilian • bishops, priests and religious now being persecuted for their ' campaigns on religious freedom.