The communist manifesto and catholicism


­This Term paper is based on the study giving an understanding of history and culture and how it is necessary to understand religion to understand history. The discussion here is that culture originates from religion and is the central point of history, and for this reason, to get a full grasp of culture, first study of religion is crucial. The term paper uses Christopher Dawson’s view point of history of Europe. He studies the fields of anthropology and sociology to analyze Christian past. Dawson’s ideas on history of Religion and communism are accepted by many conservatives today. He wrote that denial of the religious basics of European Union proves that nationalist and ethnic hostility persists to terrorize Europe. Then term paper reveals that how Europe in the past was Catholic and now it’s in post-Christian. As a verification of that claim, it gives a study of The Communist Manifesto reflecting on the relationship between The Communist Manifesto and Catholicism with references to documents Rerum Novarum, by Pope Leo XIII and Pius IXs `Syllabus of Errors

Religion: A Focal Point of History of any Culture

Religion is one of the most momentous characteristic of human culture and history. It is indeed impossible to grasp a full picture of culture and history without having sound understanding of religion. The recognition of religion is incontestable, but the question is why religion has such a strong grasp on people’s mind. How it has influenced the culture and history of Europe. The fact of the matter is that culture originates from Religion, and that is the best way to understanding history. For centuries, we are trying to understand the personality of religion and whether there is something of essence at the back the curtain but not enough people get curios enough to ponder. Mostly people are pleased to agree to what spiritual leaders tell them and on the other hand, atheists choose to live in complete seclusion to religion and religious communities. For this reason, we never get an opportunity to see some of the clashes, controversies, and tribulations which occur in the life of a church.

Europe Past and Present in light of Christopher Dawson’s view on History

Christopher Dawson, a leading Catholic historian, sought to restore the history of liberation and religion in Europe. Dawson’s idea is strongly accepted by conservatives today and is considered an original intellectual among his peers. Dawson looked on the promising fields of anthropology and sociology to create a brand new analysis of the Christian past and included accepted culture in his historical examination. Christopher Dawson in his book “The Making of Europe: An Introduction to the History of European Unity” underlines the essential factors which played and important role in the structuring of European unanimity which includes the Roman domain, Traditional Culture, Christianity, the Barbarians, and Islam. He factors in the contribution other culture and religions. Dawson explains the dual temperament of Christian history: while the Christian belief represents timeless principles and the knowledge of God, it however alters entirely the cultures it associates. When the Christian faith in inserted into a culture, it starts a spiritual revival that influences not only the outer culture, but the interior foundation of its members. Dawson believed that it is not compulsory to be a Christian to identify that Christianity has intensely participated in shaping European culture and that there is no facet of European life which has not been intensely changed by that faith. (Christopher Dawson, 67) Basic concern for Dawson was the nature of the history to be educated once the significance of Christianity to West became customary. In mid 60’s, Dawson observed the rise of a severe nationalism amid the nations of Europe during the earlier decades, a progress that directed each and every European citizen to persist on what differentiated it from the rest, as opposed to what combined it with them.(Christopher Dawson,  95) This excessive pressure on nationalized diversity united with a rejection of the religious foundations of European unity makes it clear that nationalist and ethnic aggression persist to terrorize Europe and that the wall of separation remains high.

Europe’s Past as Catholic and Present: Post-Christian

It is one of the most inquisitive paradoxes in political philosophy that the resolution of an ideology of autonomy since 1960s seems to really end up annihilating political independence. In Europe, we see that in enormous cathedrals there are just a few people, typically elderly women, who worship and pray to God. The rest are normally traveler with cameras hanging around their necks, twisty through. There was a newspaper articles stating that there are about three hundred abandoned churches in the Scottish countryside, inquiring if they should be smashed or turned into saloons and cafes. Europe herself, in her projected establishment, denies the traditions of Judaism and Christianity even when Greece and Rome and the Enlightenment are recognized. Europe is moving towards becoming an orphan as it cannot remember its origins of Judaism and Christianity. Europe is abandoning her holy customs and as a result, the idea of Europe in dying. Religious control is losing influence and there’s a noticeable increase in the number of people, one in three or four, who asserts no religious identity. Ironically, though Catholicism has become a defender of human rights and equality as the political structure that chains human dignity and submits to be the political form which allows human flourishing. Communism is becoming an unbending cultural philosophy that ridicules religion as fallacy and observes scientific rationalism as the only correct and smart way to think and to be in the world.

Dawson argued that it was exactly this gap stuck between Christian values and their awareness that is the basis of this drama of European history.

Communism, the Communist Manifesto and Catholicism

The communist Manifesto begins with noteworthy relationship between communism and spectre asserting that throughout Europe communism is dreaded like a disembodied spirit. It is feared but not comprehended, and for this reason communists should try to make their opinions known with a manifesto, “A spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of Communism” (Karl Marx, 1). The Communist Manifesto is the main foundation of the communal and financial principles of communism. This manifesto was written in 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engeles to offer a supporting curriculum that would institute a universal approach for the working-class progress. It projected that all record had up till now been a progress of class effort, and declared that the developed workers would ultimately institute an equal civilization protected by collective rights. Marxist communism pulled in far more followers and as a result more adversaries than any other type of communism.

There has been much deference between communists and other ideologies especially Catholicism. Most of these communist reforms have arisen in comparatively conservative countries, and most of the administrations deposed by communists had been conservative administration. These anti-communism parties typically come up for three reasons: protection of honored values, national uniqueness and common structures. Communists Manifesto support extreme social equality, “It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his ‘natural superiors’, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment’” .(Karl Marx, 4)  Communist is supposedly opposed to monarchy, nobility, and other forms of inherited advantage. There have doubtless been Catholic ideas for as long as there have been Catholics. They have tried to explain the world in terms of itself. Today’s shepherd tells a great deal concerning socialization. They claim that there is no need for women to cover themselves and to wear a veil as modern times customs doesn’t require it. Some people may believe that the culture encouraged by the 1960s was extra influential than the church; this however is merely a speculation. The Catholic Church is the spiritual body of Christ. It is superlative. Although culture is permitted to rule but it can be done only through give and take. The question here is that what are the ominous origins of inculturation? Like Marx and Lenin, Antonio Gramsci was also a communist but unlike these two; Gramsci didn’t think that aggressive rebellion would ever be triumphant globally.

Communism is the light of Rerum Novarum

Every grown Catholic ought to read the great Encyclical letters of Pope Leo X111 written around 100 years ago, for the insightful clarification of upcoming generations of Catholic people. He sheds the glow of loyalty on almost all main troubles of the world, especially those we still face.  We today observe the edge of the blunders Leo addressed and explained how the Catholic Faith is the answer. The primary purpose of encyclicals is to denounce a number of common types of fault, spot the hazards which threaten belief or ethics, urge the faithful to fidelity, or set down therapy for problems predicted or already present.

The most significant encyclicals composed here are those which deal with the social principle of the Church, from the frequent, unambiguous condemnations of Marxism, socialism and revolution to a tough disapproval of the division of Church and state or a protection of the inviolability of Christian matrimony in opposition to the invasion of the state. Traditionalist and conventional liberals may desire to have the these words pope to be imprinted in gold lettering on their bookshelf, “The first and most fundamental principle if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property” (Pope Leo, 119) In the previous age of history, we find roughly ubiquitously a problematical arrangement of the social order into various guidelines, which is a multiple progression of social status. The Pope gave out “Rerum Novarum” as a remedy to that vision, to illustrate those Christian traditions and teachings do not support an abusive and manipulative ruling category, but neither do they sustain the absolute deposition of the present social order. Its starts with an account of the injustice and ill-treatment of the working classes, it proceeds to disprove the phony conjectures of the Socialists, and to secure the right of personal possession. The Pope continues with a proper therapy to this problem, which is to be originated from the combined achievements of the Church, the State, the employer and the worker.

The Church is genuinely concerned about the societal question because of its spiritual and ethical characteristic; according to the Pope, the State has not only full right but duty to interfere on behalf of righteousness and individual and collective interests and safety; and employers and workers must arrange themselves into both diverse and detached relations for reciprocated defense and for self defense. Fundamentally, Leo XIII had two basic apprehensions. To begin with, he denied the atheistic attitude of communism but recognized its attraction to the working class. Communism presented people with a socio-economic and political substitute to the self-regarding association involving aristocratic advantages and wealth- work welfare. In a nut shell, it was a dominant element of a mounting movement for political and financial fairness. Because of this aspect of fairness and justice towards the working class, Church could not really overlook this movement. On the other hand, he observed that there was an abundance of industrialization growth in Europe. In the middle of these immoderation was the exploitation and dreadful poverty of workers and the simultaneous concentration of benefits and wealth in the hands of a few. Observing these circumstances, Pope reasoned for the identification and respect of human self-esteem, the safeguard of fundamental financial and political privileges which includes the right to a fair income and to arrange relations or unions to preserve righteous demand, the right to personal possessions, and the claim of struggle over assets, the just organizations of culture for the general good.

In short, Leo actually discarded communism and the beliefs on which it was established but at the same time, he did not overlook the roots of its appeal to employees and criticized the abusive nature of the free thinking industrialist alternative.

Communism in the light of Syallabus of Errors

The Syallabus of Errors was a manuscript delivered by Pope Pius XI in 1864. It was very divisive in its time and still is to this day, because it condemned the concepts such as Freedom in religion and Separation of Church and State. The Syllabus was written in idioms and interpretation from previous papal documents, down with catalog references to them, and offered as a directory of “condemned propositions”.  The Syllabus doesn’t really verify why each exacting proposition is incorrect, however it refers to previous papers written on such proposition so that the reader can have a reference for the Pope’s grounds for saying each proposition is fake. The Syllabus was divided into ten segments which destined as false various statements about many topics including “socialism, communism, secret societies, Bible societies, and liberal clerical societies”. (Pope Pius, 4) A lot of the mistakes condemned in this part were from a time when the popes were either Highest Pontificates of the common church or unsanctified princes in their own privileges. The Popes, after 1870’ apprehension by Italian army, were confined to Vatican until 1929 when the autonomous Vatican City state was formed by the Lateran Treaty of 1929. Because of these conditions, many of these mistakes are not valid in the present days as they were when they were subjected due to the altered political setting. This is a major gradation that is often not taken into relation by cynics be they conservative or else.


Monsignor Fulton Sheen said about communism in a Radio Broadcast, “In moral language, Communism is intrinsically evil. It is evil because it submerges and destroys personality to the status of an ant in an anthill; free government is made impossible through its basic principle enunciated by Engels, that freedom is necessity or obedience to a dictator” (Patrick N. Allit, 1) Even thought communism became very popular after 1960’s but at the same time, like any ideology, where it had supporters (who were mainly from Europe), it had a large number of opponents too and there was no larger anti-Communist and anti-Marxism group other than the Catholics especially in America. The American bishops, like the Vatican, had condemned Marxism for its atheism, its defiance of natural law ethics, and its philosophy of unavoidable class conflict. However since the last two decades, going over the history and present of Europe, Marxist Communism as an atheist ideology has faded away almost all its radiance.


-Dawson, Christopher. 2002. The Making of Europe. Published by Catholic university of American Press

-Elshtain, Jean. 2009. While Europe Slept. Published by First Things

-Marx, Karl and Engels, Fredrick. 1848. Manifesto of the Communist Party. Published by Progress Publishers

-Pope Leo XIII. 1891. Encyclical Rerum Novreum. Issued by Pope Leo XIII

-Pope Pius IX. 1864. Syallabus of Errors. Published by Holy See

-Allit, Patrick. 2009. Catholic Anti Communism. Retrieved on 10th May, 2009.


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