Fulton Sheen ~ Communism & the Church



peace be to you now there actually is such a thing in the world as authoritarianism it is communism what is the essence of authoritarianism well I would say it was threefold first it subjects the mind to dogmas – it makes fear the basis of obedience three it destroys freedom of thought now the church has none of these qualities it could not have them because remember that our Blessed Lord lived in the midst of authoritarianism the people among whom we moved run with the power of the Romans furthermore all of the Pharisees were authoritarian so when therefore our Blessed Lord founded his church naturally he made it a bulwark against all forms of authoritarianism notice how he even contrasted his church and what would be likened to communism he said you know that among the Gentiles those who bear rule lord it over them and great men bought their power over them but with you it must be otherwise and whoever has a mind to be first among you must be your slave now how did our Lord save us in his church from authoritarianism we're going to contrast here the three characteristics of communism with three characteristics of the church first our Blessed Lord established a church in which one we do not obey a system but a person – in the church the basis of our obedience is not fear but love and thirdly in the church freedom of thought is saved by reverence for the truth now let's take these up one by one first of all dogmas in communism and in any other form of authoritarianism one has to submit to a system that is to say a very complicated network of assumptions codes and directives and orders which are very often abstract such as for example the dialectical materialism of communism the theory of class conflict and the labor theory of value but as Catholics we do not subscribe to a system of dollars we begin with the person the person of our Lord continued in his mystical body the church what is faith faith is the meeting of two personalities you and our Lord there's no adhesion to an abstract Dogma but rather a communion with a person who can either deceive nor be deceived the authoritarian starts with a party line we start with our Lord the Son of the Living God who said I am the truth I am the truth in other words truth was identified with his personality remember when you were a child what did you consider your home just the sum of commands even by either your mother or your father who's more than that was it not who's the love of their personalities our faith then is first and foremost in Christ lives in his mystical body the church it is only secondarily in the explicit beliefs if our vested Lord did not reveal them we would not believe them if we lost him we would lose our beliefs he comes first everything else is secondary there is no doctrine no moral no dogma no liturgy no belief apart from him he is the object of faith not a Dogma for example there is a kind of a dogma we might call it that that when a young man loves a young woman he should give her a ring when he becomes engaged to her but what is primary to that custom and that dogma that he should give a ring is it not a love of her person so with us to a Catholic there's nothing credible in the church apart from Christ who lives in it why if we did not believe that our Lord was God if we said that he was only a good man he would never believe in the Eucharist for the Trinity if we believe that our Lord was just simply a human being who perished in the dust we would not believe in the forgiveness of sins but we know that our Blessed Lord once taught governed and sanctified through a physical body which he took from his mother and now we know that he continues to teach them to govern and to sanctify in the mystical body which he took from the womb of humanity his first body was overshadowed with the Holy Spirit his mystical body was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost therefore we accept every single word of his not just what his secretaries wrote but we receive as Living Word living through the centuries you've heard it said I want no church standing between me and Christ there is no church standing between us in Christ the church is Christ why he no more stems between rather the church no more stands between him and us for example and my bodies stands between me and my invisible mind the church's website Augusta you called the totus Christos the whole Christ therefore is the truth living through the ages oh thank God for your faith your faith and the person of Christ who is the eternal contemporary now that brings us to the other charge that is made namely that if you belong to the church you are subject to fear it is true than in every single system of authoritarianism fear is the basis of obedience but because we start with a person of Christ the basis of our obedience is not fear it is love you cannot love dialectical materialism which you can love a person in between our Lord and us there's a bond of love and these two are inseparable that is why our Lord did not communicate to Peter the power of ruling and governing his church until Saint Peter told our Lord three times that he loved the power to command in the church comes only from obedience to Christ therefore the submission that we as Catholics make to the church is something like this submission that we make well to one of our most devoted friends it's like the obedience of a son to a loving father we do not feel any distance between our Lord and us as a pupil becomes more and more attached to his teacher the more he absorbs the truths of the teacher so too we become more and more United to Christ the more we love him and also the more of his truth that we absorb the more we know our Lord the more we obey the truth manifested through his church the less we that is why scripture says perfect love casteth out fear remoras truth is ours the more we love him and when we fall away from the faith god forbid it is not like falling away from or the love of a book or a song or a Trinity it's falling from the friendship it's falling from love I really cannot imagine anything more cold and war and slavery more paralyzing to human reason more destructive of freedom than that thing to which millions of people are prostrating themselves every day namely the terrible anonymous Authority of they they say they are wearing green this year they say that Catholics adore Mary they say that hair will be worn shorter this year they say that Freud is the thing who are they countless slaves and puppets or bowing down daily before that invisible tyrannical myth of they no wonder dictatorships arose to personalize that terrible slavery these millions will not accept the authority of Christ rose from the dead who continues to live in the church we know whom we obey they do not know whom they are obeying they cannot point to the person's order they object behind that terrible anonymous they but thank God we know we obey our Lord in the church the very negative proof of the fact that it is love that binds us is in the thousands and thousands of letters that I have received in the course of the years from persons who have fallen away from the church or who are outside of it because they entered into a second or a third invalid marriage all of these letters Express invariably the great unhappiness on the inside a Bourdon nun we discussed and an anxiety not because they have broken a law but because they have broken a bond new friendship with a Sacred Heart their loneliness also bears witness to the truth that when there is no person to love there's no certitude there's only subjection when there's the love of Christ then love begins to believe everything and since no one can ever surpass the love that Christ showed for us in redeeming us and founding as mystical body the church there can be no greater certitude in the world and that's the only kind of love that can save us from authoritarianism with its fear make us really loving creatures bound together in the tendrils of affection you do loved us even to a point of death now that brings us to the third point it is sometimes said that the church destroys freedom of thought and almost annihilates reason actually it is the conger if it is true authoritarianism destroys real freedom of thought you see you must always make a distinction between freedom from thought and freedom of thought the devil has pretty much convinced the world that if you accept God's truth you are not free in fact if you accept any truth you are destroying your reason yes very much convinced many souls in the world that any limitation that is put upon a reason is the destruction of that reason for example in the garden he suggested to our first Paris that if they did not know evil the God in some way was destroying their freedom so he asked why did God command you for him you really are not free until you know evil in so many words the devil was telling our first parents the purpose of God is to prevent free inquiry he wants to keep the human race in ignorance do not be fool God is an old fuddy-duddy he is a reactionary he does not want you to know evil be liberal those are the words of Satan so God is made to appear as the enemy of truth in just the same way that a father who refuses to let his son five-year-old son have a shotgun is said by the son to be denying freedom so to the devil to continue to be loyal to one wife or to a country or the truth is a mark of slavery and the water freedom let us analyse that assumption is it true that the more you subscribed to divine truth the less will you become well before I went to school I was free to believe for example that Shakespeare was born in 1224 but finally I was told the chicks Pierre was not born in 1224 and he was born in 1564 I'm saying that only for memory I hope that I am right but at any rate I was given an exact date I found out that education in truth was really restricting my freedom to fall into error before I went to school I also thought that h2o were really the initials of a spy and then I fell into the hands of a reactionary teacher he stopped all of my liberalism do you know what he told me h2o meant he said it was the symbol for water and that's the more I studied the less free I became to no error what the world forgets really is that freedom is a world that is very much abused we want to be free from something only for the sake of something for example I want to be free from communism in order to perfect my soul I want to be free from hunger in order to develop the body that God gave me I want also to be free from fear in order to be free for love you notice that freedom from something is always a freedom for something what's the use of being free from anything unless we know the purpose of freedom I heard once of a rich man who went up to a taxi driver he said to the taxi driver are you free the taxi drivers yes I'm free the rich man left shouting or all for freedom it was nonsense totally because they only read these reason our being free from something is to be free for something freedom therefore is not liberation from the truth it is rather the acceptance of the truth when are you really most free when you know the truth about anything for example you are free to draw a triangle on condition that you give it three sides and not 33 you are free to draw giraffe if you draw it with a long neck if you do not obey the truth and the nature of giraffe and you give it a short neck when you find that you're not free to draw a giraffe you are free to drive the automobile in traffic on condition that you obey the traffic laws you are free in the law you are free in truth you are free to pilot a plane on condition that you respect the law of gravitation and you acknowledge the truth of every Asian now that's what our Blessed Lord meant when he said the truth will make you free now our truth therefore in the church is a truth that has come down to us from Christ and it is a truth that really is so very very noble that when we begin to wander away from it we lose our way there's a tremendous satisfaction in having a map and that is what the truth of Christ is like in the church we may get off the road make it offered by sin we may get off it by error but as long as we got that map we can get back on the road there are indeed some people once they get off the road they tear up the map that's a still greater tragedy the church – really is very wise because it always teaches us both sides of the question I taught philosophy in the university for 25 years and I noticed that anyone and everyone who taught in the university always knew both sides of a question for example everyone in the Catholic University where I taught everyone knew the opinions of the modern world in any given subject in philosophy for example we knew marks and Sartre and Heidegger jasper's and Freud and alike what do you think that the teachers and secular universities knew anything about Christian thought they know only one side of the question no look at the papal encyclical on communism communists once told me that the clearest and finest explanation of communism that he ever read was in the Holy Fathers encyclical on communism he gave us sides of the question look at that great work of philosophy and theology called the Summa Theologica of st. Thomas every single question that great mine teachers begins with a doubt and in difficulty then he answers we know both sides of the question those outside the church oh no only one side and frequently it's the wrong side our freedom therefore is not an independence of truth but rather dependence in love that's the joy of being a Catholic perhaps I can make it clear with this analogy on an island and the sea there were children around the island were great high walls inside of those walls in the island children sang and danced and played one day some men came in a rowboat to that Island they were reformers and they said to the children who put up those walls someone is restraining your freedom tear them down and the children tore them down now if you go back you will find all of the children huddled together in the center of the eye afraid to play afraid to see Freddie afraid of falling into the sea that is the church the wall is truth and as Christ in the church set if the Son of Man makes you free you are free indeed




Comments
  1. In political and social sciences, communism (from Latin communis, "common, universal") is a social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socio-economic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.

    Communism includes a variety of schools of thought, which broadly include Marxism, anarchism (anarchist communism), and the political ideologies grouped around both.

    All these hold in common the analysis that the current order of society stems from its economic system, capitalism, that in this system, there are two major social classes: the working class – who must work to survive, and who make up a majority of society – and the capitalist class – a minority who derive profit from employing the proletariat, through private ownership of the means of production (the physical and institutional means with which commodities are produced and distributed), and that political, social and economic conflict between these two classes will trigger a fundamental change in the economic system, and by extension a wide-ranging transformation of society.

    The primary element which will enable this transformation, according to this analysis, is the social ownership of the means of production.

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