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Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Unperceived Ideol. Transship. and Dial.

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7. Dialogue and the Italian Way of Communism


Until now, we have dealt with "dialogue" as an instrument of unperceived ideological transshipment.

Before we finish our study we should ask if international communism is not contemplating, along with transshipment, a large-scale political maneuver in light of the problem we set forth in the beginning of this work ‑ the global failure of its overt proselytism.

If so, the importance of unperceived ideological transshipment becomes even more obvious to the reader.

If we consider the line of conduct assumed by the Italian Communist Party (ICP) regarding the internal politics of the Peninsula, we will find certain things that suggest an affirmative answer to our question.

For a long time the ICP tried to destroy religion by a violent and feverish campaign. In view of the overpowering electoral influence of Catholic public opinion, after World War II the ICP gradually changed its attitude, and today its most qualified representatives state that if Catholics agree to collaborate in building a socialist economy, the communists on their part will be ready to admit religion as a valid factor of the social revolution, and allow the Church to have freedom of worship.

On these terms, peaceful coexistence with the Church would be established and communistic atheism would begin a regime of irenic dialogue with the Catholic Religion to search for a new synthesis. The book Il Dialogo Alla Prova (Item 4) has important passages in this line, and so does the aforementioned article of Fr. De Rosa (Item 3). The latter transcribes interesting communist documents that imply the recognition of the present indestructibility of the Catholic Religion in Italy, and they suggest dialogue and peaceful coexistence between the Catholics and communists on the Peninsula.

In opposition to the so‑called Russian Way (as in the nearly continuous ideological conflict and political persecution carried out in Russia), an Italian Way thus appears, inspired by the opportunistic sense of communism and formulated in terms of irenicism, relativist dialogue, and coexistence.

The basic document of the Russian line would be the famous Ilytchev Report (a speech given by the Committee on ideology of the Russian Communist Party's Central Committee, 11/26/1963, in one of its meetings). The main document of the Italian line would be the no less famous memorandum about the Ilytchev Report of August 1964, by Palmiro Togliatti, the now deceased secretary of the ICP.

The Italian Way of communism is related to the approach followed by the Polish communist dictator Gomulka, a politics of temporization in relation to the Church, while simultaneously giving full support to the "Pax" movement. The religious homogeneity of Poland creates problems for communism there analogous to those a Bolshevik government would have in Italy.

The Italian Way ultimately shows the communist hope that a majority of the Catholics of the Peninsula, pressured by the fearsympathy syndrome, will accept a veiled apostasy to avoid persecution.

We do not believe this maneuver will be successful against the great majority in a nation like Italy.

But, since the communists place hopes in it in Italy's case, should we not ask if they do not also expect something from it for other Catholic countries, as Brazil and its sister nations in Latin America?

Giving the question an even broader scope, we wonder if communism doesn't have a similar maneuver in mind for countries affiliated with other religions.

Everything inclines us to think so, and to us this is one of the most timely aspects of the matter dealt with in this study.


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