Despite the death and destruction wrought by Marxist governments, the ideology is enjoying something of a resurgence these days. As troubling as that is, perhaps even more shocking is the rapid rise in anti-Christian sentiments. Together, these trends make for an alarming mix.
Marxism has led to more murder than any other ideology in human history. Including the famines brought on by the planned starvation in the Soviet Union (in Ukraine especially) and China (as part of the “Great Leap Forward”) the number of politically motivated killings easily passes 100 million. The purges ordered by Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong were horrifying, but they were by no means the only such instances. In other communist countries, a tragic amount of blood has been spilled in the name of Marxism. The barbaric regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia, which massacred nearly a quarter of the country’s population, comes to mind.
Both Communism and National Socialism are inhuman ideologies. Besides all of the death they have caused and their use of the term “socialist” to describe their views, they share something else in common: a hatred of Christianity, especially the Catholic Church.
One could have hoped that the West would realize Marxism was a total failure.
Here it must be noted that although the Catholic Church did have official relations with Nazi Germany, it remained in strong opposition to its policies, especially on race and ethnicity. Many Catholic priests were imprisoned in concentration camps. The official stance of the party and its leadership was fiercely anti-Catholic. The only reason the Nazis did not persecute Catholics more than they did, was because they feared it would weaken the war effort.
Fortunately, it is generally accepted that National Socialism was a horrific aberration. Similarly, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, one could have hoped that most in the West would realize that Marxism was not only a murderous, cruel ideology, but also a total economic and social failure. Yet it now seems such hopes would have been misplaced.
Today, bureaucracy increasingly limits personal freedom and property rights. Bloated government programs, rising taxes and loose monetary policy are leading to a “soft” system of expropriation and redistribution. Certain aspects of political correctness are becoming dogma, stifling free and open debate. At some universities, this dogmatic mindset takes priority over hard evidence.
Strangely enough, Marxism is gaining acceptance. Few in the media and the political class see any problem with people who espouse Marxist views taking positions of leadership. Of course, everyone has the right to believe Marxist theories as long as they do not impose them on others. But the momentum of this sentiment has reached staggering proportions. Just two years ago, Jean-Claude Juncker, who was president of the European Commission at the time, participated in the unveiling of a monument of Karl Marx and praised his philosophical views.
Mr. Juncker paid no political price for this gaffe, and he offered no apology. Yet Marxism, at its core, is incompatible with freedom and democracy.
Christianity under fire
In contrast, antagonism toward Christianity in general, and the Catholic Church in particular, is on the rise in Europe. Unfortunately, misdeeds were committed in the name of the Church, and by some of its officials, who bear responsibility. The Church is now addressing these problems.
Christianity has allowed a liberal and secular society to flourish.
However, being a Christian does not hurt democracy or a free society. Quite the contrary. Christianity, with its notions of personal choice and freedom of conscience, is one of the foundations that has allowed a liberal and secular society to flourish.
Nevertheless, there is something of a witch hunt underway in European politics. It became clear in 2004, when the Italian government put forward Minister for European Affairs Rocco Buttiglioni to take on the Justice and Home Affairs portfolio in the European Commission. The Commission president at the time, Jose Manuel Barroso, accepted the nomination. The European Parliament, however, rejected his candidacy due to his Catholic views.
There is more striking evidence of this trend, and it can even be seen today. In the German election campaign, the Social Democrats are trying to defame Christian Democrat candidate Armin Laschet as being under the “dangerous” influence of the Catholic Church.
The growing popularity of the idea that Catholicism could be a threat to society is worrying. It is even more worrying than Marxism appears to be perceived as a lesser danger. The anti-Catholic movement is part of an increasing dogmatic propaganda wave against religion in general. Such aspersions are cancerous to a free society and an alarming new political dynamic.