The Catholic repression of South Vietnam was not the work of a fanatical individual, or of a group of individuals, like the three Diem brothers, dedicated to the Catholicization of a Buddhist country. It was the by-product of a well calculated long range policy conceived and promoted by minds whose basic objectives were the expansion at all costs, of a religion which they were convinced was the only true religion on earth. The main inspirer and prosecutor of such a policy, as we have already seen, was Pope Pius XII. Such policy was totally consonant with his global strategy, directed at two fundamental objectives: the destruction of communism, and the expansion of the Catholic Church.
Pope Pius XII had dedicated his whole life to the pursuance of both, with a dedication which was admired by friends and feared by his foes. He was one of the inspirers of the Cold War. The Vietnam War, in its turn, was the logical offspring of the greater global ideological conflict which had come to the fore following the termination of World War II, and which had involved the continuous expansion of Communist Russia, in Europe and Asia.
The U.S. determined to stop such Red expansion at all costs. As we have indicated earlier, such conflict had drawn the Vatican and the U.S. together in the pursuance of a common anti-Communist strategy. Each used whatever weapons it could muster, in their own respective military fields. Where the U.S. employed its economic and military might, the Vatican deployed the subtler weapons of diplomacy, political pressure and above all, of religion.
These weapons were used with increasing liberality in Vietnam, from the very beginning. The two partners had the same political objective: the elimination of communism in Indo-China. In the 50's the U.S. had attempted the same in Korea, and had failed. Encouraged by such American failure, Soviet Russia attempted another territorial conquest, this time in Europe. In 1956-7 justifying herself with the excuse of a Catholic-Nationalist-anti-communist plot, Soviet Russia sent her tanks rolling into Hungary, occupied that country, and set up an iron-fist Communist dictatorship in Budapest.
The latent tension between Soviet Russia and her Communist empire and the U.S.-Vatican partners, came to the fore once again, and talks about an impending outbreak of World War III were heard once more on both sides of the Atlantic. The fear was not caused by rhetorical threats or by empty diplomatic gestures.
How close to war the world had come at this juncture, only a few years after the Korean conflict, was eventually disclosed by the highest American authority who knew more than anybody else what had been going on behind the scenes, namely, John Foster Dulles, the U.S. Secretary of State. He knew simply because he was the one of the main organizers of the grand CIA-Fatima scheme.
As we have already said, John Foster Dulles at this time was the veritable foreign policy maker of the U.S. General Eisenhower, the President, a good, man, knew more about war than about the intricacies of foreign policies. As a result he left practically the entire field in the hands of Dulles, whose paramount obsession was communism. Such obsession matched that of Pius XII. Dulles mobilized all the immense resources of the U.S. to deal with it the world over. He turned into the staunchest associate of Pius XII.
The association became one of the most formidable working partnerships of the period. Dulles conducted his policies very often without the approval or even the knowledge of the President. He was helped in this by the fact that, in addition to the regular U.S. diplomatic machinery, he used more than anything else the secretive and omnipotent apparatus of the CIA. Indeed, it can be said that he conducted American foreign policy via the CIA. This was facilitated by the ominous fact that the inspirer, director, and master controller of the whole CIA was none other than his own brother, Alan Dulles.
The two brothers worked so closely together that President Eisenhower more than once had his official policy "nullified" by the CIA. The most spectacular example being the collapse of the American-Russian Summit Meeting of 1960, when the CIA sent a spy plane over Russia so as to prevent the American President and the Russian Premier from terminating the "Cold War." The meeting, thanks to the CIA plane, was canceled. It was one of the CIA's most sensational triumphs.
John Foster Dulles (whose son, incidentally, became a Jesuit) and Alan Dulles, in total accord with the Vatican Intelligence, conducted a foreign policy based on threats of "massive retaliation"that is, of atomic warfare.
At the height of the Hungarian insurrectionthat is, in 1956John Foster Dulles openly acknowledged to a horrified world that the U.S. had stood on the brink three times:
Mr. Dulles admitted that the U.S. had on three occasions in the past eighteen months come closer to atomic war . . . than was imagined,
as the London and New York Times soberly reported. "The Third World War had been avoided, they further commented, only because Mr. Dulles . . . had seen to it that Moscow and Peking were informed of the U.S. intention to use the atomic weapons.
What did Pope Pius XII do during these terrible crises? Particularly since he, more than anyone else in the highest positions, knew what was going on behind the scenes between the U.S. and Russia?
He intensified the cult of Fatima. The cult was given added luster and impetus. Catholic churches prayed for the "liberation," that is, for a speedy fulfillment of the "prophecy" of Our Lady. This also in view of the fact that the third "secret" of Our Lady of Fatima had to be revealed within a few yearsthat is in 1960.
Although no one knew what the Fatima "secret" was, it was whispered that it was the imminent liberation and conversion of Russia. Pope Pius XII, of course, could not let Our Lady's third and last "secret" remain a secret from him too. He had the sealed letter, containing the secret according to one of the children who had spoken to Our Lady at Fatima, opened. He then related that, upon reading it, he had almost fainted with horrified astonishment. It was as good a method as any to incite the Fatima frenzy to even higher expectations.
Not content with this, Pius XII came to the fore personally to condition the Catholic world to the oncoming war. Thus during the winter of 1956-7, immediately following the failure of the Hungarian counterrevolution, he brazenly called upon all Catholics to join in a veritable Fatima crusade. He urged them to take part "in a war of effective self-defense," asking that the United Nations be given "the right and the power of forestalling all military intervention of one State into another."
Indeed, at this very terrible period when the U.S. and Russia were truly on the brink of an atomic war, he went so far, as we have already quoted, as to reiterate "the morality of a defensive war," thus echoing the very words of his secret Chamberlain, the Secretary of the U.S. Navy, Mr. Matthews, in his famous Boston speech.
The following year (October, 1958), Pius XII, assailed by even more frequent attacks of nerves, asthma, and a general neurosis, died. For years he had been sustained by an immense amount of drugs, possibly the real cause of many hallucinations, promptly accounted as "miracles" by his admirers.
When during and after the Russian invasion of Hungary in Europe, communism set out upon a territorial conquest of Indo-China, the U.S., still smarting under the defeat of Korea, found a willing ally in the Catholic Church, as we have already pointed out.
1. The Times, January 12, 1956, also December 27, 1956. The New York Times and also the Manchester Guardian, December 27, 1956, Time Magazine, January 7, 1967.[Back]
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