Monday, June 30, 2014

Memo to Pope Francis and Patriarch Kyril

Communism is not compatible with Christianity. It is arguably the most patently evil ideology yet devised and widely subscribed to by human beings. How these two men could not grasp that is a mystery to me. I am especially embarrassed by Patriarch Kyril's action which I find indefensible. But the Pope should know better too.


The Hymn Selector said...

He didn't mean what the headlines say, but as usual, Pope Francis just talks way too much and almost always Fr Lombardi has to issue clarifications.

Unknown said...

Pope Francis continues to shoot himself in the foot and shows himself as an intellectual featherweight compared to his illustrious predecessor. Frankly, I can't help but think that JPII did a big facepalm when he heard Francis' comments, considering what an anti-communist JPII was.

rick allen said...

As I recall, Karol Wojtyla entered the 1978 conclave with Marx as his light reading.

Both popes knew different local outgrowths of Marxist thought, and both, I think, knew that to judge Marx strictly by Stalinist terror and Cultural Revolution was akin to knowing Christianity only from the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades.

I have read enough Marx myself to feel little attraction to Marxism, even apart from the later atrocities. But I have to acknowledge that, whatever his scientific pretentions, and ugly controversial stances, Marx's concern arose wholeheartedly out of the impoverishment and exploitations of the workers, and in that he drew upon a Christian sentiment, even while repudiating the ethical foundation upon which it rested. To her credit the Church developed a "social doctrine" when prompted by the raising of such concerns.

In short, I think Pope Francis is right in treating Marxism as a Christian heresy. Its own inner contradictions eventually shipwrecked it. But the wretched conditions that made the despairing look to Marxism still obtain in much of the world, and we Christians act at our peril if we exalt over the falsity of the diagnosis while ignoring the squalor that produced the disease.

As I have said before, I think we all lose out when we play one pope against another, when we think we have to take sides. Each of the remarkable popes of the last century has had unique strengths and perspectives. John Paul II was much more than an anti-communist, and Francis, despite his reputed "popular style," is not a Jesuit for nothing.

Tawser said...

I don't believe it is correct to regard Stalin and Mao as perversions of Marx. Dostoevsky, writing decades before the revolution in The Devils, foresaw with astonishing prophetic accuracy, the murderous implications of revolutionary socialism. If your intention is to build the kingdom of God on earth without God but with fallen human beings as building blocks, you are going to have to kill people. Robespierre understood that long before the Russian Revolution.

As far as the bizarre action of Patriarch Kyrill is concerned, I have the sense that Russians are now struggling with the problem of what to make of the Communist decades. Was it all simply a tragic mistake or is it possible to find some good in it? I have no problem with the first option, which I am sure is the correct one. But I am not Russian. I am not faced with the awful task of tossing seven decades of my country's history into the waste bin of history (where it belongs).

As for Pope Francis, thankfully I am Orthodox and he isn't my problem.