Choose a topic from Vol 4:

Religion - Yes or No

Necessity of Religion
Reality of Religious Experience
Religion and life
Religious statistics
Nature of religion
Necessity of worship
Neglect of religion
Religion and history
Conversion of mankind

The Christian Church

Nature of the Church
Necessity of the Church
Visible organisation
Hierarchical constitution
Papal supremacy
Perpetuity of the Church

"This Shall Be the Sign"

Notes of identification
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Apostolic succession
"Roman" but not "Roman Catholic"

Dogmatic Authority of the Church

Authority in religion
Catholic Church infallible
The Pope infallible
Papal definitions
Dogmatic spirit of the Catholic Church
"Religion of the spirit"
Individual freedom
Re-stating Christianity
Athanasian Creed
Meaning of faith
Faith and reason
Faith and science
Religion and education
Religion and morals
Catholic countries backward
Universities and religion
Natural Moral Law
Christian principles of morality
Catholicism versus the world

The Power-Complex Illusion

Legislative power of the Catholic Church
Coercive power of the Catholic Church
Catholic Church and political ambitions
Divided allegiance of Catholics
Rome and totalitarianism
Aim of the Catholic Church in America
Catholic Action
Political freedom of Catholics
Catholic infiltration of civic life
Catholicism anti-democatic
Rival totalitarianisms, Rome and Moscow
Catholic attitude to Protestants
Spanish Inquisition
Church and State
Federal Union or "One World State"

Life-Or-Death Social Problems

Social reform necessary
Socialism
Trade unions
Communism
Protestant Churches and Communism
Capitalism
Social apathy of Churches
Catholic social teaching
Marriage
Family life
Primary purpose of marriage
Religion and marriage
Form of marriage
Mixed marriages
Birth control
"Catholic birth control"
Divorce and re-marriage
Catholics and civil divorce
Nullity decrees
Therapeutic abortion
Euthansia or mercy-killing
War

Those Exclusive Claims

Divided Christendom
Do divisions matter?
The "Only True Church" claims
Cause of sectarian bigotry
Reunion Movement
Catholic non-cooperation

Religious Liberty

Religious freedom
Catholic intolerance
Protestants and the principles of religious liberty
Rome and the "Four Freedoms"
Heresy and heretics
Religious rights of Protestants
Religious persecution
Anti-semitism
"Rome's historical record"
Protestant missionaries in Spain
In Italy
In South America
Conditions in Colombia

Are Only Catholics Saved

"Outside the Catholic Church no salvation"
Beliefs of Catholics
Salvation of Pagans
Salvation of Protestants
Why become a Catholic?
Duty of inquiry
Salvation of apostate Catholics
Test at the Last Judgment
Obstacles to conversion
Truth of Catholicism

Communism

893. How does Communism differ from socialism?

Communism is one type of socialism, and is known as "Marxian Socialism." It differs from other forms of socialism from several points of view. Religiously, it is of its very nature atheistic and labors to destroy belief in God and the practice of religion. Other forms of socialism as a rule ignore God and religion, leaving people free to believe personally as they please provided they do not invoke religious principles in the field of politics and economics. As regards social change, Communism aims at establishing itself by revolutionary methods, using violence if necessary. Other forms of socialism aim at establishing collective ownership by constitutional means; that is, by evolution rather than by revolution, gradually modifying existing laws to permit transition to a completely socialistic State.

894. Could you tell us something of the origin and history of Communism?

Influences leading up to the origin of Communism can be traced back to the Renaissance in the 14th and 15th centuries, to the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, to the French Revolution in the 18th century, and to all the divisions, decline of religion, industrialization and economic inequalities which followed from or after these things. In the middle of he 19th century, in 1848, Karl Marx issued what is known as the "Communist Manifesto." Karl Marx taught that the material welfare of man in this world is the only thing that really matters, and that the whole of life should be governed by economic considerations. Religion is evil because it denies that man is absolute and independent of any law beyond his own will; and because it distracts man from attention to the affairs of this life only. It must, therefore, be abolished. Then, without any scruples the workers, whose labor alone produced the wealth of the world, should revolt against capitalists, seize their possessions, and run the State on a basis of common ownership for the common benefit. To distinguish this more radical system from milder forms of socialism, Marx chose the name "Communism." From then on, Communist parties began to arise in various countries; and in 1917, towards the end of World War I, the Russian revolution put the Communists into power under Lenin. In 1920 the "Third International" or "Comintern" was set up in Moscow to dictate the policy of all Communist parties in other countries, in the interests of world-revolution and the establishing of Communism everywhere on the face of the earth. In Russia itself, after the death of Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky fought for control. Trotsky wanted to cling to the plans for world-revolution, whilst Stalin favored concentrating on making Russia a separate Communist State, leaving world-revolution to the future and merely nursing and directing small Communist parties in other countries for the time being. Stalin secured control, brought in various plans for the industrialization of Russia, and really instituted a form of "State Capitalism." From 1935 onwards he adopted the "Popular Front" policy of collaborating with democratic capitalist countries against Fascism and Nazism. By shrewd propaganda he deceived many people and the press of nearly all countries into accepting Russia as a democratic country, overlooking the fact that it was a totalitarian dictatorship every bit as bad, if not worse than Fascism or Nazism, small governing clique ruling by a cruel and inhuman despotism, suppressing criticism, liquidating millions, and offering only a monstrous perversion as the ideal of society.

895. What do Communists mean by "Historical Materialism"?

"Historical Materialism" is the Marxian interpretation of history on purely materialistic basis. Marx had adopted the philosophy which holds that matter alone is the basis of all reality. By blind evolution, according to this theory, matter produces life, sensation, consciousness, thought and all human activity. In order to continue living, however, man reacts against the blind forces of nature and transforms matter to make it satisfy his physical needs. History is simply the record of man's economic struggle with these forces of nature. All religious, moral, political and philosophical ideas are merely a by-product of material evolution and have no real value. The economic task is the only earthly activity which has any real significance; and the nature of society itself is determined by economic forces. According to Marx man is not really the master of history, but history is the master of man. Whether he likes it or not, man will be driven on by the evolutionary process towards a Communist Utopia.

896. Communists speak also of "Dialectical Materialism". What do they mean by that?

With the ancient Greek philosophers dialectics meant simply the art of argument, a logical process by which one gets at the truth. They said that in order to arrive at the highest truth one should not only take a statement or proposition, but also its contradictory. Then efforts to solve the contradiction would give further light and lead on to a still higher knowledge. The Germany philosopher Hegel (1770-1831) went beyond mere logic and said that our very lives were subject to this process. He declared that an Absolute Mind asserted itself, then created the material universe as contradiction of itself, and that the whole of life and thought is the result of a perpetual effort to solve the contradiction. He called the positive assertion of the Absolute Mind the "Thesis." The world of matter set up in opposition to it he called the "Antithesis." And he maintained that the solution of the struggle will be the "Synthesis." Karl Marx borrowed this explanation of Hegel, but adapted it to his materialistic conception of history. Marx would have nothing to do with Hegel's idealism, and rejected all talk of an Absolute Mind. Matter for him is the only basic reality. There is no God. By a blind evolutionary dialectical process material forces produce within the universe their own opposite with resultant conflict and by that means a necessary development. In the economic field, the only one that really matters for man, capitalized society creates its opposite, the proletariat of wage-slaves and unemployed. The result is the inevitable class-struggle. So you have the materialistic "Thesis of capitalism and the "Antithesis" of the underprivileged proletariat. The class-struggle will result in the undoing of the capitalists and in the wonderful "Synthesis" of a class-less society in which all human beings will be equally well provided for, and of course supremely happy. Such is the theory of "Dialectical Materialism." It is but a utopian dream, false to the facts of history, and calculated to stimulate a most unhappy class hatred which can cause only greater distress instead of leading to the promised blessings upon the human race.

897. How can one refute such theories?

It would take too long to do it adequately here. Firstly, Communists merely expound their theories without offering anything resembling proof for them. As for disproof of them, I can but suggest the lines it should take. Historical and Dialectical Materialism is based on a misinterpretation of the facts of history. It has no notion of the true problems of philosophy. It contradicts itself in theory, condemning philosophical idealism, yet relying on a blind faith in the messianic mission of the proletariat. If the driving force of the whole of history is the dialectic process and class-warfare, then to eliminate these things by a class-less society would mean the end of historical development. The system, too, would mean the end of morality, Lenin admitted that. In his book "Sur la Religion," p. 73, he wrote: "We Communists know no other ethics than the choice of tactical measures to bring-the struggle for a class-less society to a successful issue . . . We must be determined to put into practice every possible device, trickery, artifice, unlawful methods; ready to conceal or to dissimulate the truth; in short, it is from the interests of the class-warfare that we deduce our morality." Christians, of course, cannot but reject Dialectical Materialism's contempt for the spiritual life of man; its view of him as a "technical animal" who exists to satisfy his material cravings, eating, drinking and mating; its subordination of man to the Absolute State, enslaving him and robbing him of his dignity, personality and independence. It is Dialectical Materialism which is the real "Opium of the People," the narcotic drug inducing the masses to bear patiently the exploitation of their labor and their persons for the benefit of the Communist State.

898. What is the significance of the class-struggle?

Communists mean by the class-struggle the opposition between those who own the means of production and the workers who have only their labor to sell for wages to their employers. They argue that the worker creates the value of what is produced, but that the capitalist who owns the factory and the machinery gets the profit. It is of course false to say that labor is the only source of value. Without any increase in the labor required, additional production is due very often to the inventive and directive ability of others, and to the capital people are prepared to risk in establishing new enterprises. The Communist scheme for the confiscation of all the means of production is quite unjust.

899. Would not the class-struggle be eliminated in a class-less society?

Communists say it would. But you do not change human nature merely by changing social systems. People under Communism will be no more exempt from corruption than under Capitalism. Scrap one system and start another, and evil men will bring abuses into the second as into the first, Throughout history social systems have come and gone, merely altering the forms in which human self-sacrifice and human selfishness have been able to express themselves.

900. Would not the absence of sectional interests tend to make all men comrades in national and international unity?

There will never be an absence of sectional interests. Communists aim at securing working-class unity against Capitalism. They have not yet attained it on a world-wide scale. But even if they obtained world-wide unity against Capitalism, that would not necessarily mean unity amongst themselves. We have an example of that religiously in Protestantism. The Protestant Churches are at one in their protests against the Catholic Church But they are riddled with disunity amongst themselves. So Communist with one voice denounce Capitalism in the economic field. But dissension amongst themselves is a by-word, and exemplified by frequent purges order to liquidate what they call "counter-revolutionary" elements.

901. Is there anything unchristian in the ideal of a class-less society?

Yes. It is just that inequality of services to the community should result in inequality of remuneration. Class-distinctions inevitably follow. Also class-distinctions necessarily result from different degrees of authority without which an orderly society is inconceivable. Everywhere the New Testament insists upon respect for and obedience to lawful authorities. The Christian religion, therefore, is not opposed to the existence of different social classes as such, although it is opposed to any abuses for which such differences may be made the excuse. In any case the idea of a class-less society is an idle dream which can never be realized, human nature being what it is.

902. Christ Himself was the first Communist.

You are repeating what many unthinking people say, reading their own ideas into the New Testament quite against its teachings. When Cornelius begged St. Peter to explain the Christian religion to him, the Apostle gave him a list of facts which had no immediate connection with social reform and which no Communist would accept. Quite against the concept of historical materialism, St. Peter said God Himself had directly interfered with the course of history by sending His own Divine Son into this world. He told Cornelius that this Son took the name of Jesus Christ, was crucified, and rose miraculously three days later. After His resurrection, Christ bade the Apostles to preach everywhere that those who believed in Him and followed Him would have their sins forgiven and would save their souls. And the day will come when Christ will return to judge the living and the dead. Acts, X, 34-48. To be a Christian, therefore, one must accept these facts and live in their light, looking forward to a goal beyond this world, to be attained at the hands of Christ as Judge of all mankind. That does not sound very much like the program of Communism!

903. Christ denounced the rich and said that it would be very hard for them to enter heaven.

How do you reconcile that with the Communist doctrine that there is no heaven for them to enter?

904. In His eyes, to be wealthy was to be a criminal.

That is not true. He never denounced the rich who are not unjust, who are not over-attached to the goods of this world, and who are willing to help those who are in distress. He did say that it is more difficult for the rich to enter heaven than for the poor, because of the danger of becoming absorbed by thoughts of their earthly possessions to the neglect of any effort to secure heavenly and spiritual wealth. No Communist would see any force in that consideration.

905. In Luke VI, 24, Christ said: "Woe to you that are rich, for you have your consolation."

Communists want that same consolation in this world which Christ described as woeful, neglecting all attention to the spiritual welfare of their souls and not wanting any alternative consolation in heaven. That they contemptuously describe as "pie in the sky when you die"!

906. Did not Christ tell the rich young man to sell all his possessions, give them to the poor and to follow Him?

He did. But cannot you see that the advice to the rich young man was for the young man's own sake, not for the sake of the poor? Christ was urging the young man to get rid of his possessions and become one of the poor also. His advice was just the opposite of that of the Communists who say that the poor who have no earthly possessions should take them by violence from those who have. The advice of Christ that one does well to abandon all earthly goods in order to give one's whole attention to spiritual, heavenly and eternal things certainly has nothing in common with Communism.

907. In the Sermon on the Mount Christ said: "Blessed are the poor in spirit".

He added: "For theirs is the kingdom of heaven." If anything, his words give a reason why one should seek to remain poor, instead of envying the wealthy and seeking by fair means or foul to get hold of their wealth. Communists are not poor in spirit. The Communist is the rich man who has nothing as yet, but who lives for the prospect of getting all he can. All his thoughts are for this world only, and quite opposed to the Christian outlook.

908. The early Christian practiced Communism. Acts, II, 45; IV, 32, says: "Their possessions and goods they sold and divided them all, according as everyone had need."

That was a voluntary division, not compulsory. It was done only by the Christians at Jerusalem as a temporary arrangement in their special circumstances. It ceased when the special needs for the founding of the Church no longer existed. And the holding of goods in common was never universal in the early Church. Read the New Testament. You will find the Apostles urging almsgiving. Why, if everyone was equally provided for, and if all were common property so that no one had personal possessions from which to give alms? So, too, St. Paul arranged for collections to be made, each to give as he thought fit. I Cor., XVI, 1-2. How, if all things were already in a common fund?

909. Ananias was struck dead because he gave in only half of his goods instead of all.

That is simply not true. St. Peter made it clear to him that he did not have to sell his property, and did not have to hand in all the proceeds, But Ananias had promised God that he would give all, and then lied when he brought half, pretending it was all. And St. Peter told him of fthe punishment to come upon him "because he had lied, not to man, but to God." Acts, V, 4.

910. There is nothing unchristian about the ideal: From each according to his capacity; to each according to his needs.

Why you should want to prove Communism Christian, whilst Communists themselves angrily deny this and declare Christianity utterly incompatible with their system, is a mystery indeed! As for your statement, there is indeed nothing unchristian in saying that each ought to contribute towards the common good according to his capacity, provided he is not physically compelled to do so as Communism advocates. But it is not enough to say that society ought to render "to each according to his needs." Social justice demands more than that. Whilst provision should be made for the basic needs of all, so that no one is left in penury and want, society is bound by justice to recognize in an additional way the devotedness and merit of those who render greater services to the community.

911. To my mind Christianity does not condemn any political or economic system, but only the human greed and selfishness which spell ruin to any system.

If, as you say, Christianity does not condemn any system as such, then it does not condemn the capitalist system. Communism does, and in that, at least according to your own principles, it would be opposed to Christianity. Again, if human greed and selfishness would spell ruin to any system, Communism certainly has no chance of success; for it contains no remedy for human greed and selfishness.

912. Why don't you give Communists credit for intentions as good as those of Christians?

That Communists are sincerely convinced of the value of their own theories I have never denied, although I could safely deny it of many who profess to be Communists. But I certainly do deny that what the Communists want to do is as good as what Christians want to do. I deny also that their reasons for wanting to do it, and the means they wish to employ, are as good as those of Christians.

913. Communists are just as anxious to improve social conditions as we are.

Communists regard as improved social conditions much that Christians would regard as evil and disastrous.

914. They are honestly convinced that Communism is the panacea for all our social ills.

Of some of them that may be true. But with their sincerity we are not concerned. No purely secular movement, whether of Communism, or of any other secular philosophy, will prove a panacea for all the ills of mankind. Secular systems assume that man is naturally good and reasonable, and self-sufficient. They rely on human efforts only. And they think that the final purpose of human life can be realized in this world. But human nature is warped by sin. Nor, in any case, is man sufficient for himself. He cannot get on without God. As for his final perfection and emancipation from all ills, that will be attained in heaven, not on earth. It would be a mistake, of course, to say that because we cannot do everything we'll do nothing. We must do our best to remedy the evils in this world as far as we can. Christianity does not tell us so to concentrate our thoughts on a heavenly future as to neglect our obvious duties in this life. But Communism does concentrate on this world to the exclusion of all thoughts of the next. And whilst it is calculated to rob multitudes of their eternal destiny, it will fail miserably to realize its dreams of an earthly paradise. The Catholic Church cannot but oppose it. She would fail in her duty to God and in her duty to man if she did not.

915. Eventually by Communism men will attain to the perfect social and political system.

You are an optimist if you think that; and at the same time a pessimist if you believe that human beings have nothing more to look forward to beyond your eventually perfect social and political system in this world. lt does not even make sense that countless generations of men should pass away before your perfect society is reached—as though all that human life were merely expendable material in order to build up a final Utopia for the brief enjoyment of a lucky last few! Both as an interpretation of history and as a political philosophy Communism is absurd. Religiously, no Christian has any choice other than to reject it.

916. Why should not Communism be accepted in our country?

Because, with all its faults, our own country has an immeasurably Detter way of life than Communism can offer. Although constitutionally our country professes no religion, it respects it. And we can at least hope that the majority of our people do not want to see religious ideals destroyed and the moral foundations of society undermined. Nor, even in the temporal and material order, does Communism offer better prospects than our own system. The average standard of living here is higher, and social legislation enforced by representative government has meant progressive all-round benefits. And we certainly prefer orderly State control by representative government rather than State despotism. Personal liberty and dignity are precious to us. Moreover, we want the administration of justice to be independent of political interference.

917. I am a Christian, but I am not blind to the good characteristics in Communism.

If you support Communism because of the partial good you think it may do, you will be supporting a system directly calculated to destroy the religion in which you say you believe

918. If the Catholic Church condemns the bad in Communism, why does it not at least advocate what is good in it?

There are no really good social reforms advocated by Communism which cannot be attained without Communism, and which the Catholic Church is not prepared to support. Your mistake is in thinking that support for some measures proposed by Communism demands support for Communism itself, and reliance upon Communism to provide you with the benefits you have in mind. You forget that, in doing so, Communism would provide much else that you wouldn't like, and that it would not rest content until it had suppressed your Christian religion. Keep in mind the fact that, whilst some foolish Christians seem to have fallen in love with Communism, no Communist has shown any sign of falling in love with Christianity. No Communist has written books of fulsome praise of our Christian faith, of our Christian hopes, or of what we believe to be the first and greatest commandment—that we should love God with all our hearts and souls; for these things Communists have nothing but contempt and say that the sooner we grow out of them the better. For a Christian to throw in his lot with Communists is to betray Christ.

919. Communism is not necessarily opposed to religion.

It is necessary for the establishing of the Communist dictatorship of the proletariat that religion should be stamped out and that man should . acknowledge no higher authority to be obeyed than that of the State. Karl Marx, therefore, said: "Religion is the opium of the people. At best it is a delusion; at worst a vice, and even a disease." Lenin said: "Behind every ikon of Christ is to be seen nothing but the brutal gesture of Capital." Lounatcharski, the Commissar of Public Instruction in Russia, said "We hate Christianity and the Christians. Even the best of them must be regarded as our worst enemies." The "A B C of Communism," an official publication of the Soviet says: "All religions are one and the same poison, intoxicating and deadening the mind, the will and the conscience. A fight to the death must, be declared against them." Yaroslavski, head of the "League of the Militant Godless," declared "We must convince the masses that Communism and religion cannot go together." And again: "Only opportunists believe that religious men can be Communists." These are not the utterances of mere propagandists; they are the utterances of the inspirers and leaders of Communism, and the Soviet has neve repudiated them. The duty of a Christian is to christianize himself first and then as far as possible the society in which he lives. And no Christian can sell his soul for any prospective material advantages offered by any scheme for social reform, however many abuses it promises to eliminate. Had you a headache, and I were to offer you some medicine, telling you that it would cure your headache but poison your blood-stream and eventually wreck your health entirely, you would think twice before taking it.

920. Communists declare that they are not opposed to religion, though they frankly admit that they are opposed to the Roman Catholic Hierarchy, not because of their religious beliefs but because they identify themselves with Fascist views and politics.

That is the present party-line in every nation. Communist policy is to drive a wedge between the Catholic laity and the Catholic hierarchy. Constantly, therefore, Communists suggest that they have nothing against the laity, and that their opposition is reserved for priests and bishops from the political point of view. They feel that their greatest hope of undermining the faith of Catholics is by bringing elements of division and separation into the Catholic body. But that at heart these Communists have developed any sympathy for religion only a fool would believe. If Communism's volcanic hatred of religion is at any given time not actively manifested, the volcano is certainly merely dormant, not dead. And will flare up as soon as expediency no longer demands the pretense of tolerance. As for the Fascist views and politics of the Catholic hierarchy, such a charge is absurd. The trouble is that the Catholic hierarchy everywhere, as in duty bound, has warned Catholics that they cannot support Communism without betraying Christ and forfeiting the privileges of their religion. And it is in the hope of persuading Catholics to ignore the guidance of their Church that Communists are seeking to drive their wedge between Catholics and their clergy. Communists are utterly unscrupulous as to the means they employ for this purpose.

921. Communism simply refuses to impose any dogmas.

Only the thoughtless could entertain that idea. For Communism demands a blind belief in its own fundamental dogmas that there is no God that the universe is due to the mechanical evolution of matter and force only, that economic factors alone determine the progress of human history and that it is essential for the State to get all finance and industry into its own hands. Those who accept these dogmas are expected to look upon man as an enchanted wretch needing liberation from the God-idea. With religious fervor they are expected to devote themselves to the apostolate on behalf of Communism. They must have a rapturous devotion to the "saints" of Communism, Marx, Lenin, Stalin and others. Moscow is their Holy Place, as Mecca for Mohammedans. And they find a religious and emotional appeal in the glory of martyrdom for the cause. Communism is a kind of religion in reverse, an abnormal perversion of a natural human tendency.

922. Communists and Christians have the same ideas of brotherhood and comradeship.

Communists may call each other "Comrade" until for being out-of-step one or another is liquidated as a counter-revolutionary. But the Communist idea of brotherhood is nothing like that of Christians. The Christian holds that the only sound basis of brotherhood between men is dependent upon the relationship of all men to God as the common Father of all. If God is my Father, and God is your Father, then you are my brother. But deny God and abolish all relationships with Him, and there will be no true basis left for the brotherhood of all men. But Communism has no room for God in its philosophy, and its economic bond between men as between cogs in the mechanism of the servile State cannot rightly be called a bond of brotherhood at all.

923. If all that you say is true, how is it that Communism is spreading all over the world?

Certainly not because it is right and good. It is wrong and evil. How, then account for its growth? There are many reasons for that, too complicated to discuss at length in a brief answer. They are religious, economic and political. Religiously, Christians themselves are to blame in their own widespread driftage from Christian principles in practice and their acceptance of secularism both in outlook and conduct. Many Protestant clergymen, also, have been short-sighted enough not only to sympathize with Communism but even to commend it. Economically, the growth of industrialism and the huge profits from capital investments in productive enterprises with little concern for the welfare of workers led the latter to welcome the extravagant promises of Communists. Politically, Communists are absolutely unscrupulous, cleverly making use of the liberties allowed by democracy to undermine democracy itself, knowing that they allow no such liberty themselves once they obtain control.

924. During the 1940s it was almost a crime to say anything against Communism. The Press of all the democratic countries was at its disposal. But now nothing is too bad for it.

It is true that the international political situation from 1936 until the end of World War II in 1945 induced most of our newspapers, obsessed by war, to fill their columns with pink and red propaganda favorable to Communism, Above all, when in 1941 Russia was forced to become an ally of Britain and America by Hitler's attack upon her, even though she was fighting against the common enemy not for our interests but for her own interests, the Communist cause was identified with that of Russia and became suddenly popular. People would not listen to anything even remotely critical of Communism, and Communists made the most of it. However, I do not undertake to defend the attitude of the secular press in this matter.

925. Why all the reaction now against Communism?

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, that question is meaningless. For the Catholic Church has ever condemned Communism from the days of Karl Marx and Lenin onwards. When Communists were on the crest of the wave during World War II Catholics were repeatedly warned by their Church to reject any overtures on the part of the Communists' Popular Front strategy. They were clearly told that if they joined the Communist party they could not be admitted to the Sacraments unless they abandoned the party and repudiated Communism. The Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XI entitled "Atheistic Communism," in 1937, left Catholics with no room for doubt on the subject.

926. The Churches should have seen then that Communism is the enemy of religion.

The Catholic Church certainly saw that, and said it.

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