Pope's summit will discuss new diplomacy
From Michael Wilson in Rome
Vatican City: For the first tittle in the history of the Vatican a plenary assemblyof Holy See diplomatic.; chiefs of mission throughout the world k being convened in Rome. Pope Paul VI will personally preside over one or ail of the sessions of this assembly of papal "ambassadors", as he does over the synod of bishops, thus emphasizing the importance of its deliberations.
This assembly, called for a "fraternal exchange of views" — according to the official Vatican announcement — is tentatively scheduled for the lour-day period from Wednesday Sept. 5 till Saturday Sept. 8.
It will take place at Frascati. in the Roman hills. where a number of religious establishments have facilities and which is easily accessible to Pope Paul. who is now in summer residence at Castelgandolfo.
Theprimary purpose of this assembly of Chiefs of Mission far exceeds a mere "fraternal exchange views". It is to discuss how the Roman Catholic Church can play a more active role, through direct participation, in world affairs.
Since the congress of Vienna in 1815 the Vatican diplomatic role has been restricted virtually to observing — at the United Nations and other world bodies and at international conferences.
Pope Paul now hopes to inject the Church more actively into mundane affairs while retaining the "spirituality" of a confessional church devoid of the stigma of "temporality." The present assembly, convened for Frascati. is a "command" attendance despite the Vatican communique that it would be attended by those on vacation in Italy or who wanted to attend. The Nuncios, Pronunciosa, Apostolic delegates and observers were not ordered to attend but some weeks ago they were all notified by Cardinal Jean Villot. Secretary of State, that the Holy Fatherwould appreciate their taking part of their summer vacations in Rome during this period.
Several. coming from Oceania and Africa, for example. have scheduled this part of their holidays en route to or from their homelands. Most have notified the Iloly See that they will he in Rome from Sept. 4 to 12 to allow a slight shifting of the present tentative assembly dates if necessary.
Contrary to widespread