Catholic Herald Reporter ROME, Wednesday.
ACCORDINGto unconfirmed reports, Pope John told Mr. Adzhubei, son-in-law of Mr. Khrushchev, that he would be willing to meet the Soviet leader, if the latter were to visit Rome.
Mr. Khrushchcv may in fact be going there at the end of June by invitation of the Italian Government.
But Vatican officials see little likelihood of diplomatic relations being established between the Holy See and Moscow. This occurs only with countries which recognise the Holy See's spiritual, as well as its temporal, authority.
The week before Mr. Adzhubei visited the Vatican, an article by Mgr. Cardinale in L'Osservatore Romano referred to the possibility that the Holy See could establish
consulates abroad, even where there were no diplomatic relationships. Officials insist that this article had no bearing on Mr. Adzhubei's visit.
It is possible that a broadcast on Radio Vatican last week was meant to underplay the Adzhubei incident, It declared that Communism has not relinquished its theory and practice, and that it remains atheist, materialist, and militantly denies religious creeds and values.
Naturally, Mr. Adzhubei's visit has been used as propaganda by the Nenni Socialists for the general election campaign, just beginning. Signor Nenni himself welcomed the Pope's attitude as "vindicating the neutralist vocation of the Church in race of power conflicts" and his line is to convince the electorate that Church concern with politics is no more.
This is a shrewd policy and it is becoming obvious that the rightwing is worried about the effect of the Pope's careful diplomacy. By giving the impression that the politically-aware Catholic favours neutralism in the cold war and in internal politics, the Nenni Socialists are almost adopting the Pope as their champion.
Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Adzhubei themselves are leaving Rome with small gifts from the Pope and, according to Mrs. Adzhubei, a gift given her by the Pope "for your father".
Picture : Page 9