Catholic Church v. Communists

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, those the Catholic Church considered irreconcilable enemies, America considered acceptable, and the American Government protected.  The Catholic Church cut Communists out of its institution, while the American Government protected it from getting cut out of its institution.

Which was the better?

Date:  13 July, 1949 > Catholics in the Communist Party are Excommunicated by Pope Pius XII

Pope Pius XII excommunicates all Catholics who are also members of the Communist Party.  According to the order, all Catholics “who make profession of the materialistic and anti-Christian doctrine of the Communists” are excommunicated.

This is the most sweeping excommunication order ever issued by the Roman Catholic Church and was written up by the Holy Office, originally known as the Inquisition and later called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The full decree says:

“This Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office has been asked:

  1. Whether it is lawful to enlist in, or show favor to, the Communist Party;
  2. Whether it is lawful to publish, read, or disseminate books, newspapers, periodicals, or leaflets in support of Communist doctrine and practice, or write in them any article;
  3. Whether Catholics who, knowingly and freely, take actions as specified in Nos. 1 and 2 above, may be admitted to the Sacraments;
  4. Whether Catholics who profess, and particularly those who defend and spread, the materialistic and anti-Christian doctrine of the Communists, Ipso facto, as apostates from the Catholic faith, incur excommunication.

The questions are answered as follows: No. 1, No 2, and No 3 in the negative; No. 4 in the affirmative.”

One Catholic Church representative says:

“Fellow-travelers and sympathizers who support the Communist programme and propaganda are automatically included in the excommunication.”

Only a few years later Joseph McCarthy pursued Communists in the American Government, particularly in the State Department, and in Hollywood.  McCarthy was vilified and in effect cut out of public life by the media onslaught against his actions to cut Communists out of American Government.

Growing up in a Protestant church I heard of the dreaded “excommunications” of the Catholic Church, and how antiquated and positively medieval they were.  But in its 1949 excommunication of Communists we see the gracious hand in this otherwise harsh sounding concept.

If the Russian and Chinese governments had excommunicated Communists from their ranks it would have saved over 100,000,000 lives that communism later took in their countries.

If American had excommunicated Communists from its ranks in the early 1950s it would have nipped in the bud the cultural revolution communism has brought over the last 50 years, with its legacy of divorce, higher taxes, dwindling prosperity, corrupt media and government, and separation of religion and morals from public life.

I have the feeling we are only at the tip of the iceberg of seeing what toll Communists will exact on the American people in the end.

 

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