While other popes have become political figures in the same way that Pope Francis has, almost none in modern memory has been quite as partisan — or as risible — as the current pontiff.
He’s previously gone on record as saying that “Muslim terrorism” doesn’t actually exist and that the “mother of all bombs” somehow represents an insult to mothers. Now, the official daily newspaper of the Vatican is favorably discussing a thinker that one cardinal was tinkering with making a “father of the Church.”
Who might that thinker be? Karl Marx.
That’s at least the take from L’Osservatore Romano, Vatican City’s newspaper of record, which ran a piece Sunday called “Marx in Controluce.”
The piece quoted German Cardinal Reinhold Marx (no relation), who made favorable comments about the communist thinker in an interview with a newspaper in his home country.
“Human rights without material participation remain incomplete,” Marx told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Crux reported. “Without him (Karl Marx), there would not be any Catholic social doctrine.”
That’s why Cardinal Marx thinks “we should commemorate” Karl Marx’s birthday, according to CNS News.
“We are all on the shoulders of Karl Marx,” Cardinal Marx says. “This doesn’t mean that he’s a father of the Church. But his position has always been a point of discussion.”
While Cardinal Marx says the elder Marx isn’t a father of the church — which would be a ridiculous proposition no matter how you slice it — he also says “we should not have let ourselves be stolen by a capitalism without restraint, the banner of justice towards the workers and solidarity with those who are trampled on.”
While Pope Francis has gone on record as saying the state is “not the totality,” implying by association that communism is a “totalitarian lie,” the fact that Cardinal Marx has been quoted as such in the pope’s own newspaper without correction is a very curious thing.
“If anyone is looking for proof of who really has influence in the Church, then read the Osservatore Romano,” notes the conservative Catholic blog The Eponymous Flower, which has been critical of Pope Francis. “Anyone who is allowed to publish from the church representatives there and whose initiatives are taken up there and benevolently passed on, enjoys prestige and influence from Pope Francis or the closest in the papal circle.”
If that’s indeed the case, the article isn’t a good augury. The article is mostly comprised of Cardinal Marx’s remarks regarding the political theorist, and treats them as if they were every bit as Catholic as transubstantiation.
Cardinal Marx isn’t exactly a minor figure himself. He’s the president of the German Bishops’ Conference and the former bishop of Trier, the German city which the founder of communism called his hometown.
The Catholic church has always been an enemy of Marxism wherever the materialist ideology has dug its claws into those that fall under its purview. Pope John Paul II was one of the most vociferous opponents of the Soviet bloc and was inarguably one of the giants who helped hasten its fall.
A decade and change after John Paul’s death, the Vatican’s newspaper is now giving lip service to the greatness of … Karl Marx?
Even if Pope Francis himself isn’t exactly a believer in Marxism, allowing such talk to pass without comment in the official newspaper of the Vatican is still a frightening prospect. No, Catholicism isn’t about to embrace Marx as a father of the church, even if the preposterous Cardinal Marx may want to open the door to that.
That still doesn’t mean he doesn’t hold responsibility for this. The chair of St. Peter has developed a dangerous lean to the left since Pope Francis was placed upon it.
Most of the time, this has taken the form of the ridiculous, whether it’s classifying climate change as a sin or his steadfast refusal to acknowledge that terrorists killing in the name of Allah have anything to do with the prophet. Normalizing Marx as just another political figure, however, isn’t quite as silly as that.
It’s essentially the abrogation of millennia of church teaching, all because Marxism is suddenly fashionable again. This is a dangerous slide into moral relativism Catholics around the world need to pay very close attention to, lest this pope move the church in a deep and troubling way toward materialism.
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