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Pius XII and Anti-Communism

Pius XII devoted his whole life to the struggle against Communism, which he hated with all his being and nature. To this end he concluded pacts with the darkest of forces - fascism and imperialism. He put himself, the Vatican, and the Catholic Church under the banner of "anti-Communism."

In 1917 and the years immediately following, Russian Communism (including the Communism exported by the Third International) was definitely atheistic and avowedly anti-religious. In his Marxist classic. Materialism and Empirio Criticism originally written in the Reading Room of the British Museum where Marx had also written Das Capital, Lenin fiercely inveighed against the supernatural, expressly praised the old French Materialists of the "Enlightenment" (such as Diderot) and denounced in the strongest terms the attempt of some contemporary revisionist Marxists to "smuggle in Idealism by the back door". After the 1917 Revolution, the Bolshviks conducted an organised campaign against religion as-in Marx's words -"the opium of the people", a prehistoric relic of animism deliberately cultivated by a decadent bourgeoisie which had opposed it during its own early revolutionary period for the express purpose of keeping the exploited masses in material and mental subjugation.

The Vatican, as is generally known, met with a hostile attitude the Great October Revolution and entered into an active and implacable struggle against the Country of Soviets and the other socialist countries, collaborating on anti-communist, anti-Soviet basis with the forces of imperialism. Especially broad actions against communism were extended by the Vatican during the years of the pontificate of Pius XII (1939-1958). Pius XII nurtured the hope that Hitler would be victorious over communist Russia and that Catholic Christianity, under the protection of the German armies, would be able to receive freedom of actions there.

Filled with a hatred toward communism, Pope Pius XII proved to be incapable of evaluating "soberly" the new political realities and the international situation that had been created as a result of the defeat of Hitlerite Germany. Even in the mid-1950's, when the worldwide socialist system had already become noticeably stronger and had begun to exert an increasing influence upon international life, he continued to assert that the socialist way of life represented an accidental, temporary phenomenon which was doomed to disappear from the historical scene within a short period of time. "We also reject the opinion," he stated in his 1955 Christmas message, "according to which a Christian today must view communism as a phenomenon or stage in historical development, or even as a necessary factor in historical development.

Developing the doctrine of his predecessor, Pius XII pointed out the danger that the " working class " may make the same " mistakes " as capital in " withdrawing . . . the management of means of production from the personal responsibility of the private owner [individual or company] and transferring this management to the responsibility of collective, nameless groups ... [a situation to which] a Socialist mentality would accommodate itself very easily. . . . The same danger arises when one insists that paid workers in an enterprise should have the right of economic comanagement, especially when the exercise of this right depends ... on organizations managed outside the enterprise." [Cf. Text of Papal address to Congresses of Social Studies and Christian Social Union, NCWC News Service release June 5, 1950].

In setting up puppet Communist regimes in several of the border states, Russia ran head-on into the interests of the Roman Catholic Church. This was particularly true in Poland and Hungary whose people are overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. In addition to being itself a religion committed to atheism, Russian communism was a totalitarian system brooking no interference with its complete control over government and education. In Poland and Hungary, the Roman Catholic Church had for centuries been a great property holder, a powerful influence in government, and a dominant influence in education. The Russian-dominated Communist regimes set out to break the hold of the Church on all three. Furthermore, the Communists regarded the Roman Church as a Western-oriented institution which was wedded to property and capitalism and which had been at war with the great majority of the Russian people for a thousand years. The Roman Catholic Church fought the new Communist regimes, excommunicated all Communists and those who aided communism, and sought to rally world opinion against the Soviet Union and her satellite governments. The Communist governments declared those who followed the orders from Rome to be traitors to their country and saboteurs of their government.

The thesis concerning the "temporary, transitory" nature of the socialist system served as the basis for the construction of the foreign-policy strategy of Pius XII, who, according to certain authors, was convinced that communism would be eliminated during his lifetime. Pius XII expected an armed conflict between East and West. Pope Pius XII gave his blessing to the formation of military blocs, designating the North Atlantic bloc as "a mighty army against atheism and the enemies of God."

Pius XII himself promoted the aggravation of the relations between West and East and participated actively in the development of the Cold War against the USSR and the other socialist countries. That is attested by the published works of many authors. For example, the French researcher on Vatican policy, M. Mourin, characterizing the Vatican's policy during the Cold War Years, writes that during that period "the anticommunism of the Catholic Church took on a clearly expressed political nature, the consequences of which were reflected not only in the foreign policy of the states; as it entered the international area it inevitably took on an anti-Soviet nature and under the conditions ofthe Cold War between West and East became pro-American."

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Page last modified: 05-08-2011 20:02:39 ZULU