Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

From the February AD 2007
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin

    Question:  If Communism is dead, why all the fuss about the newly appointed Archbishop of Warsaw and other communist collaborators in the Church.  Isn’t it time to move on?

    Answer:  To begin with, Communism is not dead!  We will get back to that presently.

    A great number of people in Eastern Europe, particularly the elder and middle generations, have a well justified visceral hatred of Communism.  Systemically unable to keep its promise of a “People’s Paradise,” Communism became the great meat grinder—the beast who ate the families and friends of all who stood in the way of collectivization—the Blue Danube and other rivers literally ran red with the blood of those who resisted..  Communism became the great thief that took everything and returned nothing.  It tried, indeed, even to steal people’s souls, for no god and no religion could be compatible with the dialectic materialism of Hegel and Marx—certainly not Jesus Christ, His Church, or any of the sects which claim to follow Him.  Even if Communism were to vanish from the earth, this reflexive loathing of it would remain for generations.

    Where Communist governments have been replaced with freer societies, the old records are gradually being released and the names of those associated with the regime are becoming public knowledge.  The Vatican has attempted to manage the release of information, in some respects, as it “managed” the pedophilia scandal—the appointment of a collaborator, Stanislaw Wielgus, as Archbishop of Warsaw is reminiscent of the appointment of Cardinal Law as rector of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major.[1]  On January 7, the people of Warsaw were quite correct to demand the resignation of Archbishop Wielgus.  Thank God the Vatican backed down and accepted it.

    A forthcoming book by one Father Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski will name thirty-nine collaborator priests (three of them now bishops) from the single Diocese of Krakow.  Perhaps it will now become evident why some priests and bishops endured severe restrictions on their speech and movements, while a few others always seemed free to flit about the world, speaking as they pleased:  “Yeah!  Why didn’t Fr. X ever do any time in the Communists' jail?”

    The problem is by no means restricted to Europe.  Marxism was powerful in South America under the guise of “liberation theology,” a sort of “Robin Hood theology” wherein justice came out of the barrel of gun.  Although discredited along with Soviet Communism, liberation theology is far from dead:

    Oct. 31, 2006 ( - Pope Benedict XVI has named Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes to become prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, replacing the retiring Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos.

    Generally regarded as a liberal, with a strong commitment to social-justice issues, the Brazilian cardinal was supportive of Latin American theologians who advanced the cause of liberation theology in the 1970s and 1980s. His appointment to a leadership position at the Vatican suggests that Pope Benedict XVI-- a leading critic of liberation theology-- is anxious to hear divergent viewpoints expressed within the Roman Curia. [2]

“Divergent viewpoints,” indeed!

Communism is not Dead!

    Marxism failed miserably as an economic system.  In spite of its claims to “scientific analysis,” it ignored the realities of man and human nature, which it tried to “reform” by crushing all resistance.  Many millions of people were put to death in the attempt to make a broken system work—the numbers are hotly debated, particularly by Marxists in academia.[3]

    [Through 1988] almost 170 million men, women, and children have been shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed, or worked to death; buried alive, drowned, hung, bombed, or killed in any other of the myriad ways governments have inflicted death on unarmed, helpless citizens and foreigners.  The dead could conceivably be nearly 360 million people. It is as though our species has been devastated by a modern Black Plague. And indeed it has, but a plague of power, not germs.[4]

    Whatever their numbers are—“170 million,” “360 million,” fifty million, a hundred, or whatever, coercive Communism was simply too violent to be a viable political system.  For it to be effective, a different strategy had to be employed.  Communism had to shift from military-political Marxism to cultural Marxism. Patrick Buchanan describes the change:

    Rather than seize power first and impose cultural revolution from above, [Antonio] Gramsci argued, Marxists in the West must first change the culture; then power would fall into their laps like ripened fruit. But to change the culture would require a "long march through the institutions"-the arts, cinema, theater, schools, colleges, seminaries, newspapers, magazines, and the new electronic medium, radio. One by one, each had to be captured and converted and politicized into an agency of revolution. Then the people could be slowly educated to understand and even welcome the revolution.

Gramsci urged his fellow Marxists to form popular fronts with western intellectuals who shared their contempt for Christianity and bourgeois culture and who shaped the minds of the young.[5]

    Antonio Gramsci died in 1937, well before Vatican II and the cultural revolution of the 1960s.  About halfway in between (1950), Pope Pius XII noted the progress of this cultural Marxism in his encyclical Humani generis:

    5. If anyone examines the state of affairs outside the Christian fold, he will easily discover the principal trends that not a few learned men are following. Some imprudently and indiscreetly hold that evolution, which has not been fully proved even in the domain of natural sciences, explains the origin of all this, and audaciously support the monistic and pantheistic opinion that the world is in continual evolution. Communists gladly subscribed to this opinion so that, when the souls of men have been deprived of every idea of a personal God, they may the more efficaciously defend and propagate their dialectical materialism.

    6. Such fictitious tenets of evolution which repudiate all that is absolute, firm and immutable, have paved the way for the new erroneous philosophy which, rivaling idealism, immanentism and pragmatism, has assumed the name of existentialism, since it concerns itself only with existence of individual things and neglects all consideration of their immutable essences.[6]

    If Pope Pius was in any way wrong in this, it was in that these false philosophies were not contained “outside of the Christian fold,” for by 1950 they had gained a firm foothold not only in Christianity but also in the upper echelons of the Catholic Church itself!  The urgings of Pope Leo XIII and the warnings of Pope Saint Pius X—largely ignored in the first half of the century, were soon to be fully justified.[7]  If the violent Marxism of the Communist collaborators and the liberation theologians was soon to peak and recede from Europe and the Americas (Asia and Africa are another whole story), the cultural Marxism of Gramsci and the Frankfurt School was just coming into bloom.[8]


    Cultural Communism attempts to destroy western society in a variety of ways.  For the purposes of this article we will address only the matter of existentialist philosophy.  The reader is urged to examine other articles on Cultural Marxism at

    Many people today have never taken a course or read a book on philosophy—they may be inclined to dismiss it as something esoteric, “high-brow,” and having nothing to do with real life—that would be quite wrong.  Philosophy examines the way in which we know and understand the reality around us.  Catholic philosophy views reality as being made the way it is by God—it holds that there is a fixed and unchanging truth which exists in the mind of God, and can be known by men with some degree of accuracy.  A man is a man because God has endowed him with human nature;  he is a particular individual man because God created him a particular soul.  Some truths can be known by examining the things around us and drawing logical inferences; other truths can be known only if God chooses to reveal them—all other things being equal, we can all reason to the same truths if we start with the same observations or revelations, and carefully follow the rules of logic.  The Catholic Church is the necessary guide to faith and morals because not all men will pursue such reasoned analysis.

    Existentialist philosophy agrees to none of this.  For the Existentialist, man is an accident of chance;  there are no essences, no human nature, no individual souls made by God;  there is no truth or morality in the mind of God or anywhere else;  and God, if He exists at all, leaves mankind alone and is generally unknowable.  To the Existentialist, each individual forms his own essence, his own nature, by his interaction with the world and with other men.  For the Existentialist, truth and morality are mere sentiments of the individual or the consensus of a group.  And, as sentiment or consensus changes, so does morality and truth.  Reality is not “cast in stone” in the mind of God—rather, for the Existentialist, reality is formed in a sort of “runny Jell-O.”

    Existentialism has its roots in the philosophy of Georg Hegel (1770-1831), the philosophical godfather of Karl Marx.  Hegel’s “dialectic” describes the process of one idea coming in contact with another and forming a third; the third unites with a fourth to become a fifth; and so on, as truth develops itself through sentiment or consensus.

    This “dialectic” has given place to the “dialogue” of modern Existentialism.  In doctrinal matters, it has put up for dialogue with non-Catholics such clearly defined matters as: 1) the relationship between Sacred Scripture and Tradition ... as the highest authority in matters of faith  2) the Eucharist, as the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; 3) Ordination as a Sacrament; 4) the Magisterium of the Church, entrusted to the Pope and the Bishops; 5) the Virgin Mary, as Mother of God and Icon of the Church..[9]

    The “dialogue” also extends to matters of Existentialist morality.  Who is to say that pedophilia, sodomy, abortion, contraception, and embezzlement were always wrong or will be in the future?

    And, of course, the dialogue extends to politics, where the Laws of God will or won’t be incorporated into society, according to the current consensus

    The concern about Communism, especially in its cultural iteration, is well justified, and ought to be on the minds of all Catholics—in sǽcula sæculórum!



[3]   For a discussion of the estimates  in Stalinist Russia alone, see Matthew White, “Source List and Detailed Death Tolls for the Twentieth Century Hemoclysm,”

[4]   R. J. Rummel, "Death by Government," The Schwarz Report, April, 2001.

[5]    Patrick J. Buchanan, The Death of the West (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002) p. 77 (emphasis mine).

[6]   Humani generis,  emphasis supplied

[7]   To the essential writings of Popes Leo XIII and Saint Pius X found in The Popes Against Modern Errors (Rockford: TAN, 1999) one must add Pope Leo’s Æeterni Patris on the restoration of Christian philosophy

[8]   There is an excellent article “Cultural Revolution:  The Frankfurt School,” in The Angelus, July 2006, pp.14-16, 25-32.

[9]   Pope John Paul, Ut unum sint,  paragraph 79


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