31. Jul, 2019

Jesuit magazine makes the case for communism

By TESS LIVINGSTONE https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/world/jesuit-magazine-makes-the-case-for-communism/news-story/e963239539723790c70bfa6377f76e6d

Capitalism is responsible “for the ongoing suffering of millions”, according to a Jesuit news outlet, and the benefits of communism should be explored.

In a striking abandonment of a century of Catholic opposition to communism, the Jesuits’ main magazine in the US has published a 3000-word article entitled The Catholic Case for Communism.

It claims communism has provided one of the few sustainable oppositions to capitalism, a political order responsible “for the ongoing suffering of millions … It is that suffering, reproduced by economic patterns that Marx and others tried to explain, and not the secret plot of atheism, that motivates communists.’’

The article, by the magazine’s Canadian correspondent, PhD philosophy student Dean Detloff, ignores the impact of the free market in lifting billions of people out of poverty across the developing world.

Detloff praises the Pope, a Jesuit, for “a truly radical ­moment’’ when he wrote: “The Christian tradition has never recognised the right to private property as absolute or ­inviolable.”

Detloff says: “Something like this is paralleled in the Communist Manifesto when Marx and Engels underscore that abolishing private property means abolishing not personal property, or the kinds of things an artisan or farmer might own, but the amassed property held by the rich.’’

Priests, nuns and laypeople, Detloff says, “have been inspired by communists and in many ­places contributed to communist and communist-influenced movements as members’’.

Some still do, he says, such as in The Philippines, where activists are fighting authoritarian President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Closer to home and outside of armed struggles, Christians are also present today in communist movements in the US and Canada,’’ he says.

The article appears with a photograph of the Pope accepting a hammer-and-sickle crucifix from Bolivian President Evo Morales in 2015. The gift sparked outrage among Catholics, ­especially in eastern Europe, where millions of Christians were killed during the Soviet era.

“Spanning over a century now, communists — Christians and non-Christians — have fought against a violent capitalist economy, putting their lives and freedoms at risk, enduring character assassination, imprisonment and war,’’ Detloff writes.

“The loss of a mass communist movement … has made organising opposition to capital­ism itself a difficult task; but even in its ­absence a majority of millennials reject capitalism.’’

He says “many Catholics, myself included, count themselves among the communists’’.

The piece was accompanied by a commentary from the magazine’s editor, ­Jesuit priest Matt Malone.

The magazine’s editorial position on communism had not changed much, Father Malone said. “What has also not changed is our willingness to hear views with which we may disagree but that we nonetheless think are worth hearing.’’