Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Tuesday, June 9, 1998 Published at 09:32 GMT 10:32 UK

World: Europe

Vatican foreign policy supremo dies

The Vatican has lost a long-serving diplomat

Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, the former Vatican diplomat and Secretary of State, has died in Rome at the age of 83.

The Italian Cardinal-diplomat worked at the Vatican under five different Popes, being rewarded by Pope John Paul II in 1979 with the number two job at the Vatican, that of Secretary of State. He had been appointed roving ambassador in Eastern Europe by Pope John XXIII in 1961.

Cardinal Casaroli was the inventor of a new Vatican foreign policy towards the Communist states of Eastern Europe, many of which had openly persecuted Catholic clergy and lay people.

[ image: Cardinal Agostino Casaroli - Mastermind of Vatican's
Cardinal Agostino Casaroli - Mastermind of Vatican's "Ostpolitik"
It was called the Ostpolitik, "eastern policy" in German, and enabled the Vatican to support Eastern European Catholics during the darkest days of the Cold War.

Cardinal Casaroli signed agreements between the Vatican and Communist Hungary in 1964 and with the former Yugoslavia in 1966. Later he conducted negotiations with the former Soviet Union, leading to the official visit by Mikhail Gorbachev to the Vatican in 1989.

When Cardinal Casaroli retired eight years ago, Pope John Paul thanked the Italian priest - his father was a tailor in the northern Italian town of Piacenza - for his work during such historic times. Cardinal Casaroli accompanied the Pope on many of his international journeys.

The BBC's Vatican Correspondent David Willey says:

"I remember meeting him once in the Vatican gardens with a book of Polish grammar under his arm.

"He told me he felt he had to learn Polish even though he was then in his late sixties in order to keep up with the diplomacy being conducted by the first ever Polish Pope."

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

09 Jun 98 | Europe
Death of Vatican's former number two

09 Jun 98 | Americas
Cuban Bishops meet the Pope in Rome

Internet Links

The Vatican

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift