One of the closest ‘advisors’ to Pope Francis has effectively admitted to being an out and out Communist.
German Cardinal Reinhard Marx was in the news again last week because of the current bicentennial of the birth of Karl Marx, born 200 years ago this May. The cardinal gave at least two head-scratcher interviews on the nineteenth-century Communist father. The two interviews (both in German) were quickly picked up worldwide, especially after a posting at the website of the German bishops.
The bishops’ website quotes the German cardinal—who’s no less than president of the German bishops’ conference—saying that he is “impressed” with the Communist Manifesto. The title of that April 30 post at katholisch.de is “Marx: Without Karl Marx no Catholic social teaching.”
This should be repeated for emphasis. The title, again, was: “[Cardinal] Marx: Without Karl Marx no Catholic social teaching.”
The article quotes Cardinal Marx’s interview with the German magazine, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. It was in that interview, also posted by Vatican News, that Cardinal Marx said that the Communist Manifesto “impressed” him.
In a second recent interview with another German publication, Rheinische Post, posted at RP Online, Cardinal Marx further said of Karl Marx: “The Catholic social doctrine has worked hard on Marx, hence the words of Oswald von Nell-Breuning: ‘We are all on the shoulders of Karl Marx.’”
The prelate said that “Marx was not a mere ideologue.” No, he was much better than that. Cardinal Marx asserted of Karl Marx: “And when Marx criticized the merely formal freedoms in bourgeois society and demanded the enforcement of real social freedoms, he by no means propagated an anarchist overthrow, but voiced the legitimate claim to what we mean today with comprehensive social participation for all from the churches. Contrary to what others later made of his ideas, Marx himself by no means wanted to go beyond the achievements of the French Revolution, but rather to complete it.”
Completing the French Revolution, which was a ghastly event, especially against the Church, is no feather in Karl’s cap.
Of course, needless to say, Marx constantly talked explicitly of overthrow, an overthrow so thorough that it’s hard not to describe it as an anarchist overthrow. In the close of the Manifesto, Marx affirmed: “The Communists … openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions” (italics added). Note the words “forcible,” “overthrow,” and “all.”
As everyone knows, religion was one of the primary targets to be overthrown. That was because, as Marx said, communism not only seeks to “abolish the present state of things”—including abolishing everything from the family to religion to “all morality”—but represents “the most radical rupture in traditional relations.” Marx, in a September 1843 letter, called for “ruthless criticism of all that exists.”
Marx said all of that, explicitly and repeatedly, in the very book that so “impressed” Cardinal Marx.
The truth, of course, is that Catholic Social Doctrine, particularly as developed in the great Papal Encyclicals of the nineteenth century, was explicitly anti-Communist:
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