ness to praise life under socialism seems in Polish eyes to have compromised him unnecessarily. The same characteristic -- political reliability -- would make him a useful tool to be exploited by the Soviet government in an attempt to mend fences with the Vatican. For the Moscow patriarchates serve the purposes of Soviet foreign policy in the sphere of religion. It takes no initiatives on its own.
Lékai is in Rome for the consistory that started Nov. 4. No doubt he will be invited to give a report on his travels. What he will say is his own business.
But what the Soviet Union will expect him to say is that things are not so bad as they have been painted, that no one is ever charged for religious offenses but only for political crimes, and they may have a minor concession or two to sweeten the pill.
The last time John Paul met Lékai was at Czestochowa in June. He joked with the crowd and quoted an old Polish proverb which said that Poles and Hungarians were either getting drunk together or fighting each other.
There will not be many jokes at this meeting. The stakes are too high.
( November 16, 1979) "One should not cheat with the doctrine of the church," said Pope John Paul on November 3rd, "when it has been clearly expounded by the magisterium, by the council, by my predecessor -- and I am thinking of Pope Paul VI with his encyclical Humanae Vitae."
John Paul was speaking to the Liaison Center for Research (CLER is the acronym in French), a group of doctors, psychiatrists, marriage guidance counselors and others who have been working on a reliable "natural" alternative to artificial contraception. He strongly supported their work and at the same time delivered a broadside against his critics.
"One must constantly aim," he said, "at this ideal of conjugal relations which involves self-mastery and is respectful of the nature and purpose of the marriage act, rather than make any concession,