VATICAN CITY (CNS): Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has praised the late Cardinal Agostino Casaroli for his role in drawing back the Iron Curtain and called the former Vatican diplomat a “man of dialogue”.
Speaking through an interpreter on June 27 at a news conference marking the release of Cardinal Casaroli’s memoirs, The Martyrdom of Patience: The Holy See and Communist Countries (1963-89), Mr Gorbachev said he was struck by the Vatican diplomat’s “great vision and great openness”.
“Cardinal Casaroli made the first steps toward a new Europe”, said Mr Gorbachev, whose own policy of perestroika during his 1985-1991 term as president of the Soviet Union helped bring an end to the Cold War.
Calling on civil and religious leaders to prevent the rise of new problems in Europe, such as violence, social ills and religious divisions, Mr Gorbachev praised Pope John Paul II’s vision of a “new European order based on more justice and stability”.
He said Cardinal Casaroli’s legacy could help lead Europe toward a lasting peace.