“If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.” The Virgin Mary at Fatima…The error is atheist socialism.
My child’s Catholic school sent home a letter to parents this week recommending “conversations about white privilege” to encourage “compassionate hearts and confident minds.” Regurgitating the radical-left bile that fuels the fires of resentment and division will not enrich students emotionally or intellectually. Instead, Catholic schools should teach students about the evils of Marxism.
Marxist apostles are orchestrating the chaos and violence plaguing our streets and undermining our self-government. Pope John Paul II once said, “If you want to understand the enemy, you have to know what he has written.” To start, you must know what the enemy has done.
Students need to learn about the gross violations suffered under 20th-century communist regimes, with a focus on the Catholic fight against it, as well as the atrocities committed against Catholic communities. Instead of encouraging students to feel bad about the skin color God gave them, Catholic schools should share lessons from last century’s experiment in communist totalitarianism.
Age-specific curricula should explore the church’s social teaching and its rejection of all variants of socialism, the brutal persecutions under communism, and the heroic examples of Catholic martyrs. We cannot allow another generation to emerge from our schools so ignorant of the horrors of communism that they see no problem in courting, dabbling with, or even just passively accepting one of history’s most noxious ideologies.
Culture’s Capitulation to Marxism
The church has emphatically rejected Marxism as a way of effecting social, political, and economic change. In 1891, Pope Leo XIII warned that radical socialism exploits social tensions by engaging in violent uprisings that pit “man against man.”
For the church, conflict and injustice of any kind are rooted in sin, for which there can be no remedy apart from God. As St. Paul said in his letter to the Ephesians, “A world without God is a world without hope.”
Pope John Paul II similarly condemned an ideology that removes moral restraints, strips the individual of rights and freedoms, robs human personality of its dignity, and reduces man to a mere cog in the state machine. Marxism fosters enmity and resentment by claiming partial truths, offering deluded promises, and delivering nothing but hatred, violence, and destruction. Partisan interest overtakes the common good and destroys whatever stands in its way.
The Marxist’s violent crusade against any form of resistance has been well summarized in recent weeks by various protest leaders. Black Lives Matter leader Hawk Newsome threatened on national television that “if this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down the system and replace it.” One of the leaders of Seattle’s Capitol Hill Occupied Protest warned, “You cannot rebuild until you break it all the way down.”
The liquidation of so-called political enemies and hostile ideas is the communist legacy in every country it has ravaged. For much of the last century, half of Europe was under its influence. Perceived adversaries — men, women, and children of every race and creed — were surveilled, informed on, arrested without charge, imprisoned, tortured, deported, and executed.
Communists often turned on each other, fabricating trumped-up charges against swaths of the political elite, as occurred during Joseph Stalin’s notorious show trials of the 1930s and the Slanksy trials in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s. Captive to its own lies, communism brutally suppresses anything that risks exposing the system for the sham it is.
Communism Hates Catholicism
The church has been on every communist hit list from the early 1900s. It should not have surprised anyone when radical left activist Shaun King tweeted last week that all images and statues of Jesus and the Blessed Mother should be torn down, and when statues of Spanish Missionary St. Junipero Serra were toppled.
Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan rightly expressed concern this week that once our culture starts banning historical works that depict prejudice and wrongdoing, the Bible won’t be safe. The reality is that any Marxist organization will eventually turn its attention to denigrating the church. Not only is Marxism irreconcilable with Christianity, it vehemently opposes it and seeks its destruction.
Communist regimes openly and shamelessly seek to erase all remembrance of Christianity and Christian civilization from the hearts and minds of the faithful. Their efforts are insidious at first; Catholics relinquished freedoms as communists compromised the rule of law. Sooner or later, to varying degrees and intensity, every regime suppressed public worship, closed religious orders, confiscated church property, desecrated and seized churches, laicized religious schools, and transferred Catholic institutions such as hospitals and orphanages to the state.
Countless Catholic bishops, priests, and laypeople throughout the world have been deported, imprisoned, tortured, and executed. Then they “disappear.” The church that had been brutally persecuted during the first 300 years of its establishment once again became the church of martyrs. Writing in 1937, when the worst horrors of communism were yet to be unleashed, Pope Pius XI said the barbarism overtaking the communist world surpassed in scale and violence even the oppression of the early church under Rome.
The ‘Satanic Scourge’ of Communism
In the Soviet Union, the Bolshevik revolution plunged the church into a 70-year period of persecution. By the time the Soviet Union collapsed in the late 1980s, the Catholic Church in Russia had been nearly obliterated.
The oppression in Albania, which in 1967 officially declared itself the first constitutionally atheistic state, was even worse. By the time religious services were permitted in 1990 for the first time in 56 years, Albania’s only cardinal resumed his duties, having spent 37 years in prison camps. The details of the torture and executions in these camps are enough to make your hair stand on end.
Imprisonment and even execution awaited families who gave religious instruction at home, prayed the rosary, possessed religious literature, made the sign of the cross, or even gave their children Catholic names. In Romania, the Communist Party came to power in 1948, and within a year, no Catholic bishops were active and almost all churches had been closed. Priests were being murdered as late as 1982.
This glimpse of the “satanic scourge” of communism, as Pope Pius XI described it, is just a sample of what students should be learning. Catholic schools need to emphasize what successive popes have unequivocally declared: There is no ideological compromise between Christianity and a system that has sought to “cancel” God.
We need to nurture in young people the spiritual fire and intellectual confidence to confront divisive “white privilege” rhetoric, which are empty ideological slogans and pseudoscience of neo-Marxists. Students should arrive on university campuses prepared to evangelize their faith in the knowledge that Jesus alone redeems our sins. There can be no solution to any injustice, violence, or conflict apart from him.