Thursday, October 18, 2007

Being a Catholic Communist..

Recent word exchanges between Pinarayi Vijayan and Mar Chittilapalli and the subsequent debates going on in the media poses a very serious question to many minds, who believe that Communism and Catholicism as two versions of the same ideology which stands for equality and welfare-for-all, former in a worldly point of view and the latter linked with the eternal life. The life and death of late Comarade Mathayi Chacko is pulled out to the streets just for silly gains and this has resulted the initiation of yet another ‘Vivaadham’ in Kerala. I’m sure Oxford will be enlisting this word in the 2008 or 2009 edition of their dictionary, for its wide frequent usage.

How does Communism and Catholicism contradict to each other? Elements of anti- religious, or to be specific, anti- Christian were evolved along with Communism because at the time when this ideology spread it roots, Church was one of the prominent feudal exploiting powers of the society. The unholy alliance between ‘Crown and Cross’ was considered as the biggest enemy by the upcoming radical thought streams. And prominent leaders of those days gave many messages against the church.

As far as the Kerala social scenario is concerned, Communists were branded as atheists from the day the ideology started spreading in this country. The right fraction political parties succeeded to convince the religious leadership of the society that the ‘Comrades’ were against religion and against Bible, quoting many examples from Russia and Eastern Europe. And majority of the priests and priest heads didn’t care to enquire more on this. But things have changed much, in the last two decades. Bishops like late Mar Paulose Mar Paulose identified Communism as a crude worldly form of Christianity and initiated friendly dialogues between leaders of both streams. Developments like this were accepted wholeheartedly by the socially vibrant Christians of Kerala.

Coming back to the current: It is very difficult to scan the whole issue with a neutral, impartial stand. But unfortunately both sides have their own valid points and neglecting any one of them will be an injustice, not to the fighting tycoons, but to that noble soul who gave his whole life to the ideology he believed.

Mar Chitiilapalli : Was trying to share his agony about a devotee been denied the right to be cremated in the church cemetery. But he used the issue, more to highlight the CPM party infrastructure and its rigid cadre system ,and hence sounded more political than religious. Even if the Bishop denies it upon God, UDF literally quoted him on many forums to encash it as votes .Also, he had to correct many of his comments after the family members of Mr. Chacko came out with explanations

Pinarayi Vijayan: Was trying to save Mr. Chacko’s stature in the society, and indirectly, CPM’s too. But the response was a bit out of the limits. Also, gave an impression that all party workers are atheists. But it should be mentioned that he never asked his party cadres to denounce their faith. But the church did it the other way.

Malayala Manorama: Well done!

This is my share of Oil to the Fire: Communism and Catholicism are complementary to each other. Jesus Christ is the biggest communist world has ever seen. Lal /Cross Salam!

25 comments:

Raakshas said...

Good post, but your understanding of communism is not quite right. Jesus preached love and equality (including minimum wage). Communists preach and practise inequality (class dvide) and hate.

yetanother.softwarejunk said...

Agree with this point..
"Jesus Christ is the biggest communist world has ever seen"

"randullavan onnu illathavannu kodukkatte"... if everybody follows this, at some point all become equal :-)

Soumya said...

"Catholic Communist"--Nice oxymoron, though :-)

nAtIoNdOmInAtIoN said...

I think the matter is gud....
Ur Communists views hav 2 change....dats wat i felt....

nAtIoNdOmInAtIoN said...

I think the matter is gud....
Ur Communists views hav 2 change....dats wat i felt....

The Common Man said...

@ Raakshas

I dont claim that my understanding are always right. But communism is not for class divide,in fact it stands against it. But when class division is a reality in any society, communis tries to bring forth the downtrodden working class..

anyways, thanx for the comment!

@yetanothers/wjunk

Thats correct... communism is basically practical socialism which dreas of a society of equality...

@Soumya..

and so does Smart SOumya.. :P.... kidding.. luf u...

@ nationdomin akak shinu..

What to change? how to change?

Tatwamasi said...

Kudos to you Common Man.... for being honest to the topic, for demonstrating how a catholic can be a communist and vice versa, for the daring attempt to touch a hot pot,for the open and bold criticisms rather than being "impartial"... and finally for the pat on Manorama's back...

the pondering ronin said...

kudos for choosing a refreshing topic, but i gotta say that being the communist catholic you're, you've been really careful not to step on anyone's toes..
the way i see it, any ideology/organization is only as good as its practitioners. As you rightly pointed out, the Church was an instrument of oppression during the medieval period, but today its the wind of social change in many societies.
Likewise, Communism too is a powerful ideology, but trying to implement it word by word is not really practical for the simple reason that men are not ants. You and me, both of us need to maintain our uniqueness, both of us need to feel we are better than the other other. And that's the tipping point where communism fails.
Like you, I too hope that both organizations will join hands for the betterment of the society, but with the current communist leadership and its tough take on ideology, that's going to remain as wishful thinking.

Richard Neva said...

I am Catholic and a Communist and I find that Communism is most consistent with the teaching of Jesus. Capitalism or greed is a mortal sin in the eyes of Christ and I eschew Capitalism and the greed that accompanies it! I have no guilt of conscience whatsoever for my beliefs and I suggest all Catholics to read the words of Karl Marx.

the pondering ronin said...

@richard neva:
to say that Jesus preached communist ideals is stretching it a bit too far. Certain ideals that were preached by Jesus and propounded by Marx are the same. But Jesus never suggested a person eschew his personal beliefs. If anything He exhorted his followers to develop whatever talents that they were blessed with. And yes, Christianity is very practical.
On the other hand, Communism by its very nature supports the trivialization of the individual, and is engrossed with his faceless contribution to nation building. And although communism claims to bring monetary equality among its followers, the truth is that money is not the currency in a Communist world. It is power. And that is definitely not equally distributed. You only have to read today's paper to see that. (AIYF march turns violent. Arrested persons let off unconditionally). The issue of power might not be mentioned in the Manifesto, but the human desire to be unique makes it surface in all implementation of Communism.

Richard Neva said...

These posts are absurd. Capitalism is crumbling and then you will see what folly the accumulation of wealth really is. Why do think we are the most hated nation on earth and why our babies are born dead more frequently here than anywhere. Universal health care is feared by all and all need it. Even doctors are ignorant to the reality of universal health care. I still maintain Communism is the way and all benefit. Don't judge Communism by what other countries have failed at! The teachings of Marx are golden and to be cherished and they will prevail eventually!

the pondering ronin said...

@richard
mindless materialism is detrimental to everyone involved. But capitalism encourages and inspires everyone to improve and innovate. It definitely has a few drawbacks, but when compared with the communist experiments in soviet russia and other east bloc nations, we find that the side effects are negligable.
Never lull yourself into thinking that communism is the answer. It might be so on paper, but humans are by nature oppertunistic- if you change from communism to capitalism, the only difference is that the smart ones, rather that accumilate wealth, will accumilate power. For that is the currency of communism.
Why do you think China, a nation that has been built on communist iideals is turning its back to it now? Why do you think the so called communist the govt of West Bengal(India) is wooing MNCs with fervor?

Another Catholic Communist said...

Downfalls of capitalism:
Class division
Racial hatred based on division of labor and competition
Concentration of wealth into fewer hands
Advanced stages of capitalism lead to imperialism/war
The imposition of business interests above all
Alienation of minority groups, most of which join street gangs
A sham of a democracy...
the list goes on.

...and not every communist is a materialist. You see, we communists do not follow doctrine dogmatically.

Chungath said...

Saying that what jesus taught and Karl marx taught is same , is just "kanndachiruttakal" Ofcourse the target of both were same.. upliftment of the mankind.. but the ways were different.. i am not going into detail.. I doubt whether any body who have posted the comments have read Das Capital completely.. as we all know it is the base of communism.. it is totally against religion.. so a genuine communist cannot be a religious person or a genuine religious person cannot be a communit person.. But what is dangerous is the leaders who sits on top of both these movement.. They make the followers mere puppets to reap benefits with their hidden agenda.. Did you notice an hidden partiallity in the whole story.. Mathai chacko was allowed to conduct the marriage in the curch.. bishop has given the permission.. Will an ordinary man get such permision... being a catholic , i can say no.. First you will have to obtain letters from your parish priest vouching tht you are a regular in church, follows all rules of church and later youshuld attend the Pre cana course.. Nothiong of these happened in his case ? Then where were these clergy.. it should be same yard stick for all ..But coming back to point.. if youare making a genuine study, it will be clear that both are not same.. THAALKALIKA KAARYASAADHYATHINU VENDI PARTIKALUM BISHOPUMARUM PARANJUNDAKKUNATHAANU , ONNANNENELLAM.. "

Nasty Murdah said...

I would consider myself a Catholic and a Communist. The posters who say "so-and-so is a Communist and an Atheist, therefore all Communists are Atheists," your logic is simply absurd. Hitler was a fascist and a vegetarian, does that make all vegetarians fascists? Of course not.

If you want to find the answer to the question of 'Was Jesus a Communist?', try going to the source. Matthew 5-7 quotes Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, the speech that defined the core of Jesus' ministry. Read it for yourself. He is explicitly anti-capitalist.

As for the failings of Communism, how do they compare with the failings of Capitalism? Thanks to the Capitalist 'victory' of the past 200 years, we are on the verge of ending life as we know it on this planet thanks to global warming and environmental destruction. In an unbiased survey by the World Wildlife Fund, they found that Cuba, a Communist nation for 50 years, is the ONLY environmentally sustainable country IN THE WORLD.

A common misunderstanding is that only in Capitalist societies are we allowed to trade goods. The basic ideas of trade: the buying and selling of personal items, of art, etc. are intrinsic to human interaction and will exist in Communist or Capitalist societies no matter what. What Communism aims to do is NOT to disable these private transactions, but to disable businesses/ corporations. Failings of past Communist efforts can be linked with a failure to understand that Centralized Government is, for all intents and purposes, just another corporation.

I hope we can all agree on this: Capitalism - while it may be the best answer we've come up with so far - is certainly not the best answer possible. Keep your mind open.

I hope this helps clarify the position of Catholic Communists. This was a great post, btw. This is a discussion that needs to happen more and more.

DJK said...

Communism is probably the greatest evil to befall the world in the 20th century. Our Holy Mother referred to it as "Russia's errors" at Fatima, and unfortunatly, they have spread across the world. It is an ideology thought up by a bum, Karl Marx, who was too lazy and worthless to get a job like responsible people. He is the world's first welfare whore.

If communism is so great (and if Jesus were a commie---probably the most blasphemous thing you could say), then:
* why have people fled commie nations in rafts made of tires and driftwood?
* why has every commie nation failed miserably?
* why do these nations KILL THEIR CITIZENS?
* why do they need REEDUCATION?
* why are their citizens TREATED EQUALLY AS SERFS---except of course for the "GREAT" LEADER?
* why is "religion the opiate of the masses?"

I suggest you re-read your catechism. You're definatly a commie, but you're no Catholic. I'll pray a rosary for you.

Richard Neva said...

It seems those that abhore the merging of Catholicism and Communism can only point to the few failures of Communism in such countries as China and Russia. They also believe that capitalism is so wonderful for all when in fact it only serves a minute segment of greedy business moguls. How does that affect the common man that Jesus was so good at comforting? Capitalism is the antithesis of Christianity and if anything is against God it is. Don't pray for my Catholic Communist view point but I will pray for your ignorant praise of selfish and greedy capitalism!

The Common Man | പ്രാരാബ്ദം said...

Thanx for all the comments.

@djk,

I would really appreciate you praying a rosary for me, and i am thankful for that.

But i dont think I need to re-read my catechism text books onemore time for an understanding. The point I stressed was simple. communism is not blindly against religion. It opposed religion at a time when religion was the most cruel exploiting force in many countries. But this fact should not hide the fact that this ideology has always stood against exploitation and has always raised its voice for social equality. So th whole essence is the same for christianity as well as communism, what communism lacks is the spiritual aspect of life.

Anonymous said...

I am a communist, a member of a US communist party, and am also preparing to join the Roman Catholic Church. Despite what many may feel, Christianity and Communism are not at odds. Many communist leaders have rightly pointed out that religion is used as a tool to oppress the working class by promising them an afterlife, if only they accept the miseries of the present one. This is not what Christ intended; to help the poor and the oppressed is our duty, and capitalism does not do that.
As for supposed communist regimes downplaying religion, it would be helpful to note that there has never been a communsit government. Socialist ones, yes, but in early stages of even that.

Anonymous said...

Well, there are some benevolent ideas to "all movements" otherwise, their "cause" would not be appealing. And nothing appeals more to the human being as "equality" and "health care" and lots of buzz words that sound so kind. But, Communism seeks to advance their made-up "state" and they advance their power by accentuating the natural antagonisms which exist in all societies: inequality; race; economics;poverty;absentee landowners, etc., but the real true aim of Communism is to reduce the individual's worth to that as defined by the Communist State; to that level of superficial "individual tolerance" ONLY to the extent to which he or she can be of service to the state; otherwise whatever "rights" were originally granted to that "Loyal Communist" will discover how quickly their beloved state will "withdraw" those rights, at the Behest of the State--and Dare Not Protest-
This is NOT Christianity, my friends

Sincerly,
your Russian Christian Orthodox Friend Konstantin
BTW, I lived under Communism nearly all my life.
It is exactly the same as Fascism.
Less Brutal on the Outside; more Brutal on the Inside.
And, for all your Smart Friends who say, "Fascism is to the Right-"
Wrong- Fascism and Communism are both to the Far Left-

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Christopher said...

Do Catholic communists accept Natural Law? Property rights are protected by natural law. How do you justify the coersion necessary for your utopia? There's a reason communism always leads to horror...it is contrary to human nature. Our Church knows human nature better than anyone.
Also...a comment earlier mentioned that onl a few benefit from capitalist systems. Nonsense. Put any capitalist country up against any communist country and the wealth created is not comparable. Even the poorest of the poor here in Canada are wealthier than the richest in communist nations.
Capitalism changed the world for good. We are much better off now with it.

bmarie said...

Only two areas can you say Jesus and communism agree. That is social welfare and equality. Elsewhere they are worlds apart. Even though Jesus preached against us judging our fellow humans. We are to maintain morals ( so as not to harm ourselves or others) To put God above all ( including selves and family) but to be loyal to our spouses. Children are to obey our parents and parents treat our children well. Marx opposed family, morals and religion and God. If you doubt me please pick up a manifesto at the library. Those are major differences. In fact one just needs to read the entire text and get a broad understanding rather than surface reading to see they part company on some major points. Most people share caring for others.