Matt Archbold graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in 1995. He is a former journalist who left the newspaper business to raise his five children. He writes for the Creative Minority Report.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx went total fanboy over Karl Marx, the author of the Communist Manifesto, saying that, “Without him, there would not be any Catholic social doctrine.” Funny, I thought Jesus was a little more integral to Catholic teaching but hey, I'm just a writer. But I'm willing to play along.
At first I thought this whole love fest between Cardinal Marx and the father of communism was a bit weird. And just in case you thought it was a slip of the tongue, LifeSiteNews has compiled a bunch of quotes including Cdl. Marx saying he was “quite impressed” by the Communist Manifesto. He also said Marx was “fascinating,” and complimented his "energy” and “great language.”
So let’s break it down with six or so easy to read bullet points. Let’s see what Karl Marx — who was not funnier than Harpo; I don’t care what you say — thought about religion.
I mean, hey, maybe Cardinal Marx is right. I mean, it’s not like Karl Marx said bad things about religion.
(6) Karl Marx said bad things about religion.
In fact, one of Marx’s most famous lines is that religion is "the opiate of the masses" which isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of religion. But hey, that’s a personal thought. I mean it’s not like he called for the abolition of religion.
(5) Karl Marx called for the abolition of religion.
Yup. Marx once said, “The first requisite of the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion.” Oh. Ok. So I guess, it's actually no surprise that Christians have been persecuted wherever Marxism has taken root. But hey, so many of the fascinating political theories have John Wick type body counts. And perhaps he was just talking off the cuff and didn’t really mean it.
(4) He really meant it.
Karl Marx wrote, "Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion and all morality." Ok. Ok. So he wasn’t a fan of organized religion. But it’s not like Karl Marx declared war on God or something.
(3) Karl Marx declared war on God.
In a poem, he once wrote: "I wish to avenge myself against the One who rules above." Let’s just say he wasn’t talking about the landlord.
But some would say, maybe Marx’s writing are being taken out of context and those who knew him loved him dearly. I mean it’s not like those who knew him bes thought he was the devil.
(2) Frederick Engels, who was kinda' like Andrew Ridgely to Marx's George Michael, said of him, "Karl Marx is a monster possessed by ten thousand devils."
Yikes. Sounds like there might have been a bad breakup, huh? OK. OK. But that still doesn’t mean that his writings shouldn’t at all be used as informing Christian thought, right? I mean Marx and Engels would probably love the fact that Christians thought highly of their work.
(1) Engels, whom you might remember from my pathetic WHAM! metaphor, said their writing was "totally opposed" to Christianity.
In fact, when Engels heard that some Christians were like totally gushing on the Manifesto he was like "uh-nuh no way!" He actually said, “These good people are not the best Christians, although they style themselves so; because if they were, they would know the Bible better, and find that, if some few passages of the bible may be favorable to Communism, the general spirit of its doctrines is, nevertheless, totally opposed to it.”
So in the end, I’m with Engels on this one. I believe Jesus’ teachings and the ramblings of Karl Marx are antithetical.
Jesus taught, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?" and "Seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness.”
Whereas Karl Marx said, “Seek first man’s kingdom and the stuff of this world.”
OK, that's like the most un-Jesus thing ever said. So as you can see Karl Marx probably shouldn't be held up as source for right Christian thinking. I'd sooner listen to the theorizing of Andrew Ridgely.