This week we've been treated to a nostalgic look back on both good and bad as to the politics of the Vatican in the eighties and early nineties. The news article yesterday about confirmation of the KGB's attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul II and disrupt the Church had to have sent chills up and down one's spine and a grateful prayer of thanks for that tragedy being mitigated. Today there's another story about it that elaborates even further on the communist plot to annihilate the Holy Father and totally infiltrate the Holy See, thereby undermining the Church. We can only surmise that the prayers of the faithful and the mission God intends for His Vicar on earth preserved us from this.
Also today there is an article on Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and his testament of the power of prayer. That all ties in with an excellent, but all-too brief article in this month's edition of THE CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT on the association of Rome and Reagan - President Ronald Reagan. The article, entitled "The Pope and the President" was actually an interview with Judge William P. Clark who is both the senior counsel for the law firm of Clark, Cali and Negranti as well as on the Board of Advisors for Thomas Monaghan's new Ave Maria School of Law. Judge Clark, a devout Catholic, served as Ron's chief of staff in California and National Security Advisor while Reagan was president. It confirmed several things which we knew and some that we suspected.
For those die-hard Democrats out there, we want to assure you this is not a political piece but it may sound that way for when you compare what the Democrats offer today in William Jefferson Clinton to what the Republicans offered in the eighties in Ronald Wilson Reagan, it translates into night and day. In fact the phrase so often heard by Reagan regarding the "Evil Empire" did not only refer to the Soviet Union and the Communist Regime but also the agenda of the Culture of Death that he could foresee was trying to break down man's moral code. We're talking abortion and the breakdown in morals. Reagan was truly a visionary in foreseeing the advent of men like Clinton, who has since become the "Darth Vader" of the Culture of Death Evil Empire. If you don't believe it, look at the statistics of unborn children slaughtered under his regime...a regime that has openly promoted abortion, contraception, illicit sex and mores that have greatly reduced the moral fiber of America.
Maybe it's a blessing in disguise that Ron is oblivious to what is happening today due to his terminal case of Alzheimer's Disease which has almost totally incapacitated this man who many believe will go down as the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln. We subscribe to that because of all he accomplished. And much of what he did accomplish came through the guidance of God and cooperation of the Vatican in ideology. As the article points out both men were exposed to the godless machinations of the Party line; Pope John Paul II growing up in Poland saw it first hand with the takeover of his country in the aftermath of World War II. After the Nazi devastation of the Polish people they were ripe for the spoils reaped by the Soviets, who marched right in and took over. Only through the grace of God, the will of the people and the heartfelt resolve of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla were the Poles able to overcome the trials and tribulations of the Soviet menace. Conversely in California, before young Mr. Reagan ever ventured into politics he was exposed to the communist ways while president of the Screen Actors Guild which was then a far-left union dominated by communist sympathizers and fifth columnists who had infiltrated the ranks of SAG and all levels of Hollywood. Ron saw through the veiled veneer of the psuedo socialists and vowed to fight communism from then on.
The article correctly points out the facts that the communists thought they were invincible and did not count on the power of the alliance between the Reagan administration and a devoted Polish Pontiff who brought the mighty red curse to its knees; not through force, but through determination and prayer. As the article points out, "A recent CIA study of this period concludes that in Afghanistan the Soviets lost face; in Poland they lost an empire." The CIA chief at the time was William Casey who, along with Vernon Walters, then United States Ambassador to the UN, were both practicing Catholics who were active in their parishes and true to the tenets of the Church. They collaborated often with the Papal Nuncio in Washington, D.C. who was Cardinal Pio Laghi, now Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. But from 1980 to 1984 he was apostolic delegate to the U.S. and from 1984 to 1990 first Pro-Nuncio to the U.S. Therefore we can see the strong "Catholic connection" that played a major role in the fall of the iron curtain.
With the recall of Gorbachev and Reagan it brings to mind the summit of the two in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1987 in which is it told that Ron, who was personally given a message from one of the Medjugorje visionaries during a visit to Washington, shared the message with Gorbachev as well as the messages of Fatima. The Soviet Premier was more open than many would have suspected. How else do you explain the sudden turn of events in which Gorbachev announced peristroika, agreed to destroy all intermediate-range missiles and called for reform, withdrawing troops from Afghanistanand reduced Soviet armed forces. Two years later communism collapsed throughout Eastern Europe and Gorbachev applauded the change. Recent interviews with the man reveal a deep spirituality that could very well have been triggered by the Medjugorje Message given to Ronald Reagan and shared with the Soviet Premier in a summit that could have signaled World War III. Instead, Reagan and Gorbachev were able to realize the value of human dignity and the message of Fatima that through prayer and consecration of Mary's Immaculate Heart, Russia would be converted. Conversion begins at the top and Gorbachev was a good indication of this.
In reference to the "evil empire" Reagan could have announced that the "evil empire was dead," but he realized only part of it was. Like a basiliskos lizard it was growing another head, one uglier than the first and ready to spew venom far deadlier than the communist curse. President Reagan and the Pope could clearly see what was happening and both spoke out strongly against it. The article states that Reagan made a speech that some wags criticized as his worst ever, but Clark correctly states that it was probably his finest hour. You be the judge after reading Reagan's words: "While America's military strength is important, let me add here that I have always maintained that the struggle now going on for the world will never be decided by bombs and rockets, or armies or military might. The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root it is the test of moral will and faith."
Whether it was popular or not, Reagan didn't care. He always spoke out strongly against abortion, something that only a few do today unabashedly with no reservations. What it comes down to is that Reagan's time has passed and we pray that during his last days his suffering is lessened by God's tender touch of Mercy for this man has been loyal to his Creator, despite his human faults. The same for our beloved Holy Father who continues stronger than ever today despite age and a growing infirmity that often leaves him shaking and exhausted. But, unlike Ron today, Pope John Paul's mind is sharp and that is a blessing we can all be most grateful for. Tonight, before putting your head on your pillow, or tomorrow morning at Mass, take a few moments and give thanks for these two giants of our century and for God's intervention in preserving them as long as He has in the face of threats that bring to mind Psalm 23, especially verse 4, "Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for You are at my side with Your rod and Your staff that give me courage."
Through this recent history we can also see Our Lady's hand in all of this for God works in strange and mysterious ways and, though satan has had a field day since Reagan stepped down, he hasn't been totally victorious because one-half of the Catholic connection is still very much in vogue - His Holiness John Paul II. As long as God keeps him alive and kicking, this great man will continue to fight the "evil empire" of the Culture of Death. Through the grace of God the forces of good have already defeated one "evil empire" but there is a far more foreboding one to conquer and we can only hope and pray God will raise up another "Ronald Reagan" in the coming presidential campaign, one who embodies all Ron did and who will be accepted by the people. One such man is Dr. Alan Keyes, one of the TOP 100 CATHOLICS OF THE CENTURY and a solid Catholic who also worked in Reagan's cabinet. Many say "forget it, he doesnt' have a chance." We understand that, but we also believe in Christ's words in Luke 18: 26, "Things that are impossible with men are possible with God." Call it an endorsement of Dr. Keyes as our choice if you will, and though few give him a chance, with the right media savvy and God's miraculous graces, he would be an excellent choice and the "key" to continuing the "Catholic connection" in fighting the "evil empire!"