Papal Unity versus Communism
ON September 12, 1951, the pope again appealed for the unity of sects in the fight against communism. In an encyclical, he indicated his own as the sect to do the unifying, re-echoing the 1950 “Holy Year” theme of the “great return”. He had assured that all “separated for long from the Apostolic See” would be welcomed back.
Rome boasts of her own unity, but in fact she has been ripped by divisions since her very inception, to which fact the Greek Orthodox break and the Protestant Reformation can bear witness. Her history brims with political and religious compromises concluded in her frantic effort to survive. Is she then different today against communism, termed by the pope as “the tempestuous assaults of the infernal enemy”?
No, for even as the papal encyclical was coming forth, godless communism’s “tempestuous assaults” were breaking to bits the backbone of Catholic opposition behind Eastern Europe’s Iron Curtain. The Saturday Evening Post, in its issue of September 22, 1951, carried details of the Catholic collapse in one country after another, in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Albania, and Yugoslavia. Repeatedly, Catholic prelates have sworn loyalty oaths to godless regimes, withholding only a flimsy mental reservation that meant little and accomplished less. In some lands active organizations of “renegade priests” now openly and bitterly denounce Romanism.
Communist tactics have carefully weeded out all dissenters within the official Catholic hierarchies of the various countries, leaving only those willing to co-operate fully with the Red “new order”. The case of Poland is typical, as detailed in the Post article. In April, 1950, the Polish Catholic hierarchy displayed its idea of firm unity under fire. Completely surrendering to pressure, she officially condemned all “antigovernment” attitudes and promised to inculcate loyalty in her flocks and punish any wayward priests who did not fall in line. At first hearing this, Rome is said to have been stunned. Then she retreated behind a series of hazy delaying actions. She countered that she could endure any concessions as long as neither dogma nor moral principle surrendered. But if prostration of one’s free worship beneath the heel of a Red dictator is not conceding a “moral principle”, may we ask what is?
In unity there is strength. But unity to oppose a godless aggressor must be built upon God’s Word and godly fortitude. Did Jesus resist the Devil by swearing loyalty to him with only a “mental reservation”? No! Said he plainly and without use of diplomatic hedging or deceit: “Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’” (Matt. 4:10, NW) Likewise today, only by similar godly fortitude can true Christians resist devilish oppression, uphold truth and righteousness, and secure God’s approval.