IN THE COURSE OF DISCUSSING SCHEMA 13 ON THE CHURCH IN THE MODERN WORLD, the fathers of the Second Vatican Council last week got around to a touchy question: What should be the Catholic attitude toward atheism?
The most militant answer came from the new Jesuit General. Father Pedro Arrupe. What “the Black Pope” had to say shocked a number of progressive bishops and and theologians. Arrupe charged that there is an atheistic conspiracy at large in the world the world which holds almost complete sway in international organisations in financial circles in the fields of mass communications, press, cinema, radio, television. Even worse he warned, was the atheistic mentality enters the very City of God, insidiously influencing the minds of believers (including even “religious and priests) with its hidden poison. and producing its natural fruits in the church: naturalism, distrust, rebellion.”
In a Crusade, to counteract the greet conspiracy of the godless, Arrupe urged the council to draw up a basic plan for “worldwide coordinated action” to be followed by Catholics in a crusade against atheism, under “absolute obedience to the Pope.” The Supreme Pontiff would then “assign various fields of labour to everyone, in order that the entire people of God may give itself vigorously to this task.”