Why Did Vatican II Ignore Communism? | Edward Pentin | Catholic World Report
The veil of mystery over the Council’s omitting any reference to Communism has gradually been lifted.
As the Church celebrates the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, there is one lesser-known—and some would argue highly disturbing—aspect of the Council that has tended to be overlooked: the absence of any reference to, or condemnation of, Communism in the Council’s documents, despite the fact that the Soviet Union was at that time at the height of its powers.
Over the years, many have speculated over the causes of the omission, while others have pondered the consequences, both for today’s Catholic Church and the wider world.
In recent years, the veil of mystery over the omission has gradually been lifted, as historians have uncovered irrefutable evidence explaining how the absence of any reference to Communism in the documents came about.
The omission came as a surprise at the time, as until the Second Vatican Council, the Church had repeatedly spoken out against Communism in its teachings. Its condemnations were clear and unmistakeable, consistent with those of Pope Pius XII, who was unfaltering in his denunciations of Communism until his death in 1958.
In the vota of the Council Fathers—thousands of recommendations gathered from key Church figures just prior to the Council sessions—Communism figured high on the lists of concerns. Indeed for many, it appeared to be the most important area singled out for condemnation.
Historians argue that a number of factors contributed to Communism not being mentioned at all during the Council. The first was the unfortunate timing of the Council. “It was the sixties and a new spirit of optimism hung over the world,” explains Italian Church historian Roberto De Mattei, author of Il Concilio Vaticano II – Una storia mai scritta (Vatican II – An Untold Story). “It was during this period that a ‘thawing’ of realities, already defined by the Magisterium as antithetical, ensued.”