I’m not sure if this is the right forum to post this in? But I often have protestant friends attack the Catholic church about its relationships with communist countries, leaders, and the inherent “communist foundation” of the Church. It’s like a pervasive talking-point. There’s never any real specifics, just the assertion that the Church is somehow communist in its doctrine and/or relationships over the centuries. I just have no knowledge or ability to combat this line of attack. Can anyone help me to learn the reality (good or bad) and defend the Church? Thanks
Communists are excommunicated from the Church…
First ask the person to define what communism is and how this is different from socialism. Then ask the person why the most successful and widespread religous groups that embrace communism are from Protestantism [Pilgrams, Quakers, other “utopian” style movements within American Protestantism in the 18th and 19th Centuries]. Then ask the person to explain how a pro-Communist Church could have such an anti-Communist leader [BJPtG] and why the CCC specifically rejects communism.
The Catholic Church is ardently anti-Communist.
Just look at His Holiness, Blessed Pope John Paul the Great, he was instrumental in defeating Communism in Poland. One of the times he visited Poland it’s estimated that one third of the ENTIRE COUNTRY saw the Pope in the flesh at an event. His visit was 11 days long.
And, if your friends won’t get specific, why don’t you get specific? Find some quotes of Popes condemning Communism. Because you won’t find one that praises Communism. Just look at Pope Benedict XVI less than 2 weeks ago in Cuba: “the Marxist ideology no longer corresponds to reality”.
In that link it says that the excommunication of Fidel Castro was publically announced for his involvement in the Communist Revolution. I’m pretty sure that it hasn’t been lifted.
Direct your friend to the Book of Acts in which the early Christians owned all things in common. Their purpose in relinquishing their worldly goods was to give themselves fully to our Lord.
Communism, on the other hand, rejects God and is atheistic in nature.
Perhaps you can ask your Protestant friends why then is it that the Catholic Church so strenuously opposed Communism.
In Eastern Europe, the Catholic Church was part of the resistance against Communism. Would the revolution in Poland have been as successful if not for the actions of Pope John Paul II and the clergy?
In Italy, the Church staunchly supported the Christian Democracy Party against the Communists, who were viewed as a threat to both democracy and the faith. Indeed, that is why the Church in Italy initially supported Benito Mussolini’s Fascist government, because the threat of Communist revolution was too great.
The Catholic Church certainly has a favoured economic system. This is neither capitalism, or communism; it is Distributism which has it’s basis in Rerum Novarum (Leo XIII), and Quadragesimo Anno (Pius XI, this Encyclical explicitly condemns communism).
Thanks for the imput. Our parish Priest actually suggested Rerum Novarum. I will check it out. To me, this is very similar to something I posted in a thread about refuting sola scriptura - because of inherent anti-catholic bias, otherwise intelligent, loving people just latch-on to things they hear or read, no matter the validity, because it feeds their bias. I guess we are all succeptible to that. And I’m talking about very well-versed Christians, that should and would know better if they did 5 seconds of honest research. It’s like they’re looking for and repeating everything possible to deny the role of the Catholic Church. Thanks again. I’m new to this “forum thing,” but it’s already helping me to refute these anti-Catholic attacks.
Much wisdom in your words. There is a real living history living in all the Apostolic Churchs from the begining. Truth be told it would go a long way for everyone to understand the similar ring to what all these Churchs had to say.
Desputes arrive in theological views often taken out of context or completely misunderstood to begin with. And they vary greatly.
Who shall he believe? These men I speak of, are the men who were there during Christs life and imediately after, there they documented the oral and written traditions in various ways including their own written works left by them. Were they all wrong knowing and living in this period of the Divine Master?
Its a journey all would be wise to make in clearer understanding and in Christian charity. Especially in this period of transition we partake in where many of the last 2000 years of heresy have resurfaced in our time.
Believe no-one the truth is out here, research it with an open mind.
It is pretty evident that the origin of all Christians (including Protestants) is in the Jerusalem church, which was very communal in social structure. It is pretty hard to escape that fact, even for Protestants, it is our common origin.
As some say: sharing is caring, that is the basis for ideological Christian Socialism. However the poster above is correct, the church itself does not take such a position.
The movement most people today think of as historically communistic is a version of socialism influenced by Karl Marx, so it is called Marxist ideology. It is totally secular humanistic, removing God from the equation altogether and professing that mankind can be it’s own source of good and happiness. Marxism (Marxist Communism) is militantly atheistic because it sees religion as a part of the problem, and not a part of the solution.
The Catholic church has nothing whatever to do with Communism of this sort, and has battles with it continually. As an enemy of God it is an instrument of evil.
The Catholic and Orthodox churches have lost many martyrs to this ideology, most notably in the recent century.
If anyone wants to know what the church thinks about economics, there is plenty of material available these days on Catholic Social Teaching. It should be studied by all mature Catholics, but sadly, few understand it and fewer still are interested in even trying to understand it, so how can people defend their church on these issues when they understand so little themselves?
Hesychios - I totally agree with your last statement. Our parish Priest stopped by today (to get some kindling for the Easter Vigil fire tomorrow night - one of the side benefits of owning a cabinet shop-lots of hardwood scraps!), and we were talking about a few Catholic issues. I mentioned to him how much I have enjoyed my recent discovery of Catholic Answers radio. He made a comment similar to yours - that there’s so much information, so easily available, that there’s little excuse for Catholics to “not know.” Take the HHS contraception scandal - he’s put information in the bulletin for weeks now about exactly why does the Church oppose contraception, and what does it actually teach? I have to admit that I really didn’t know the answer to either of those questions in any depth. But just a casual dive into a few of the links he provided opened up a whole new world of info that I have never been exposed to. The problem, and his point, is that very, very few people ever take the time to look and learn. And if even Catholics don’t know…we’re in trouble.
I have recently found myself in a facebook controversy of sorts - there was a post from a protestant friend decrying a recent article about the Vatican supporting a new “one world” government. There were dozens of comments about it - more comments than I normally see about anything. They were all negative. So I did just a little research, realized that the whole thing was taken completely out of context (imagine that!) and couldn’t be much further away from actual Church teaching. So I uploaded a few links pointing to Papal encyclicals and Vatican documents. Not one comment, not one response. Not sure if anyone took time to read any of it. My suspicions are, as I posted earlier, that they don’t want the truth - they want the original story that feeds their bias. But I’m learning more every day, and I’m actually excited about defending the faith! Thanks
This is not just a problem for Protestants. I have a Catholic friend that unfortunately listens to the gloom and doom of many of those that speak of the One World Government. He told me about this idea that the Pope was in favor of the One World Government. I asked him for the reference. He said he did not know. I asked him if it was from a secular source or the Vatican. He did not know. I then researched it and as you say it was a distortion of something said that was taken out of context. I warned him not to go around spreading this information that he obtained from reading “Los Angeles Times” or whatever and suggested he research the source and determine the truth before spreading what he thought was true.