The Seductive Lie

04-03-2022Weekly Reflection

One of the marks of the Evil One noted by our Lord and the teachings of the Church is the lie. However he’s a seductive-liar giving people the impression of truth and love for God and neighbor. God’s grace is required to unmask the lie and we are aided by the clear teaching of the Church in this regard.

After the collapse of the former Soviet Union, and the reunion of East and West Germany into one country, many thought that communism was dead ignoring places like China, Vietnam, North Korea, and Cuba still virulently communist. The history of communism shows that it is responsible for much poverty, slavery, concentration camps, and persecution especially against Christians. It has never brought about real justice, only repression and mass murder.

About that evil history, readers can consult The Black Book of Communism and other writings by former communists like Whittaker Chambers, Louis Budenz, Bella Dodd or by people who have suffered under communism like Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Particular mention should be made of With God in Russia, and He Leadeth Me by Fr. Walter Ciszek S.J., who may be canonized one day. Moreover it is still amazing to note how many churchmen and Catholics, especially in the sixties and seventies of the last century, thought communism and Marxist ideology the solution to social injustice and poverty so much so that the Church had to issue a correction to so-called liberation theology.

The churches, notably in South America, were chattering about social justice using Marxist categories, while ignoring the totality of the Catholic faith, so much so that evangelical Protestant groups have been making great inroads in these countries, for example in Brazil, because they are preaching Jesus Christ, the need for conversion, the commandments, heaven and hell, things Catholics were no longer hearing to a great extent in their parishes and in many places still are not hearing.

Pope Pius XI unmasked the dangers of communism in his encyclical, Divini Redemptoris where he notes that communism is intrinsically evil meaning it cannot be cured. (See the Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching.) However, Catholics should also consult the pivotal encyclicals of Rerum Novarum by Pope Leo XIII and in addition to Divini Redemptoris, Pope Pius XI’s encyclical Quadragesimo Anno and Pope John Paul II’s encyclicals Centesimus Annus and Laborem Exercens all on the Vatican’s website. Here are some bullet points to consider from these teachings:

Communist propaganda acts as a messianic message to cure society’s ills and appeals to people’s sense of wanting to correct injustices and past wrongs. It often operates as a pseudo-religion to which Christianity must get in line with and adjust its doctrines accordingly. Under various names which do not suggest Communism, they establish organizations and periodicals with the sole purpose of carrying their ideas into quarters otherwise inaccessible. They try perfidiously to worm their way even into professedly Catholic and religious organizations. Again, without receding an inch from their subversive principles, they invite Catholics to collaborate with them in the realm of so-called humanitarianism and charity; and at times even make proposals that are in perfect harmony with the Christian spirit and the doctrine of the Church.

Communism is unable to correct any of these ills and cannot sustain any notion of an earthly paradise of social justice and already has been proved to be thoroughly false. It is the Frankenstein monster marching across countries bringing slavery as it promises emancipation and enchaining nations as it promises liberation. Communist China operates concentration camps which the media and governments ignore, while the Chinese communists pursue their vision of world dominance. The virulent communist Lenin remarked that the capitalists of the West would provide the rope that the communists would use to destroy them.

Communism promises a classless society, an earthly paradise or utopia, where the State withers away, but to get there, socialism has to be installed as a first step in the communist objective. Pope Leo XIII pointed out socialism is fundamentally flawed, seeking to replace rights and Catholic moral teaching with the ideology of state power. He believed that this would lead to the destruction of the family unit, where moral, productive individuals were taught and raised most successfully. There is no doubt that today the nuclear family as the building block of society is under assault by government policies and the popular culture. One of the great crises being ignored is the crisis of men and of fatherless families, which often breed poverty and crime especially among young men.

Pope Leo strongly criticizes socialism for seeking to replace the rights and duties of parents, families and communities with the central supervision of the state. Pope Pius XI reminds that no one can be a true Catholic and a true socialist. The civil government should not intrude into the family, the basic building block of society. However, if a family finds itself in exceeding distress due to illness, injury, or natural disaster, this extreme necessity should be met with public aid, since each family is a part of the commonwealth. By the same token, if there should occur a grave disturbance of mutual rights within a household, public authority should intervene to give each party its proper due. Authorities should only intervene when a family or community is unable or unwilling to fulfill its mutual rights and duties.

If there be no God or world of the spirit, as communism claims, then those precepts of morality arising from God’s commandments or from any other “ideal” source, as Lenin stressed, do not hold. Any measure, legal or illegal, moral or immoral, may therefore be applied if it tends to win the desired goal. It is the failure to grasp this inherent use of deceit by the Communists, which they regard as the highest mark of moral value that has led to the successes gained by recurrent Communist lies.

The doctrine of modern Communism, which is often concealed under the most seductive trappings, is in substance based on the principles of philosophical and historical materialism, previously advocated by Marx, of which the theoreticians of Bolshevism claim to possess the only genuine interpretation. According to this doctrine, there is in the world only one reality, matter, the blind forces of which evolve into plant, animal, and man. Even human society is nothing but a phenomenon and form of matter, evolving in the same way. By a law of inexorable necessity and through a perpetual conflict of forces, matter moves toward the final synthesis of a classless society.

In such a doctrine, it is evident, there is no room for the idea of God; there is no difference between matter and spirit, between soul and body; there is neither survival of the soul after death nor any hope in a future life. Insisting on the dialectical aspect of their materialism, the Communists claim that the conflict which carries the world toward its final synthesis can be accelerated by man. Hence, they endeavor to sharpen the antagonisms which arise between the various classes of society. Thus the class struggle, with its consequent violent hate and destruction, takes on the aspect of a crusade for the progress of humanity.

On the other hand, all other forces whatever, as long as they resist such systematic violence, must be annihilated as hostile to the human race.” With this statement, Pius XI puts his finger on the basic Communist premise, its world outlook, dialectical materialism. He shows that it leads to the theory of the class struggle as a prelude to the classless society. We have a cancel-culture right now to enforce the ideology of political correctness seeking to destroy people who get in its way.

In man's relations with other individuals, besides, Communists hold the principle of absolute equality, rejecting all hierarchy and divinely-constituted authority, including the authority of parents. What men call authority and subordination is derived from the community as its first and only font. Nor is the individual granted any property rights over material goods or the means of production, for inasmuch as these are the source of further wealth, their possession would give one man power over another. Precisely on this score, all forms of private property must be eradicated, for they are at the origin of all economic enslavement.

It is of the utmost importance that this fundamental world outlook of Communism be thoroughly grasped. So many people (including leaders of opinion) have no acquaintance with it or they compromise with it. This lack of knowledge or understanding of what Communism is causes much of our inability to handle it both locally and in the international scene. It is this lack of understanding which is basically the cause of so many defeats of the United States and the West at the hands of communist governments.

Communism is not a danger of the past. It is impossible not to see in our own age the heavy influence of Communist ideology, that "new gospel which ... Communism offers the world as the glad tidings of deliverance and salvation", in the perversion of modern Civilization, in the destruction of family life, and of the dignity of women - and in the ongoing debate on the redefinition of marriage to include the protection and promotion of unnatural and abhorrent practices and of an "objectively disordered" lifestyle:

Finally, the right of education is denied to parents, for it is conceived as the exclusive prerogative of the community, in whose name and by whose mandate alone parents may exercise this right. ... Communists claim to inaugurate a new era and a new civilization which is the result of blind evolutionary forces culminating in a humanity without God. Communism proceeds planned and in stages in agitating and promoting its views without calling itself communism as a device to deceive. Communism, socialism, political correcteness are all related. In the Serbo-Croat language the communists have a phrase for people who consent to collaborate with them for “democracy:” “useful innocents or fools. Fellow travelers cooperate with the aims and goals of the communists or their front groups without necessarily being a party member. Some cooperate also for monetary or political gain. They’ve been bought. The communist government of China uses this method of distributing cash to politicians, media figures, universities, buying debt, and real estate in countries they seek to dominate.