Page 1, 25th March 1937

25th March 1937
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Page 1, 25th March 1937 — " Divini Redemptoris : Successor To

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" Divini Redemptoris : Successor To

C Quadragesimo Anna "


Man's Attempt To Make Himself God



The first "Divitii Redemptoris " was signed on March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph, who has been solemnly chosen as the Church's protector in the giant battle of today between the Church arid Communism.

The second, addressed to the German Hierarchy, was issued in an unprecedented manner, demanded by the very conditions against which the Encyclical protests.

So bad have relations between the Church and State in Germany become that the Pope's own solemn words had to be distributed by motor-car secretly so that Germany might hear them before the State could prevent them being read.

"Divini Redemptoris" is a document of some 1,600 words, divided into five parts; the Church's Attitude in the face of Communism; the Doctrines and Fruits of Communism; the Luminous Doctrine of the Church; Remedies and Means; and Ministers and Helpers in the Church's social work.

The Encyclical contains nothing negative; the greater portion is devoted to the detailed exposition of Christianity as an alternative to Communism even for those " often of good faith " who have been most deceived by the promises of Communism, while the masterly demolition of Communism's " false redemption " is in purely construc tive and positive terms.

In the fourth part, Remedies and Means, the Holy Father speaks even more clearly than in Quadragesimo Anne, when he expounds the elements of Christian charity and social justice

"When we see that crowd of the needy overcome by misery and for reasons for which they we not responsible, and, beside them, so many rich who enjoy themselves without thinking of others, we cannot help noting with pain that not only is not justice sufficiently observed, but that the commandment of charity still remains misunderstood and not practised in daily life."

And later the Pope flays those Catholic employers " who have shown themselves hostile to a workers' movement which we ourselves have recommended."

In a special paragraph His Holiness speaks boldly and uncompromisingly about Spain and " the appalling destruction wrought there with a hatred, a barbarity, a savagery that would not have been thought possible in our times," one about which " no sane man, no responsible statesman, can think without trembling with horror."



After an introductory note showing that despite the coming of a Redeemer, the struggle between good and bad, " sad heritage of original sin," has continued, the Holy Father calls the present revolutionary menace one which " has become threatening nearly everywhere and which surpasses in extent and violence all that has been experienced previously by the Church in earlier persecutions."

In the face of this " boIshevistic and atheistic communism which aspires to upset the social order and eat into the very foundations of Christian civilisation," the Church could not be and has not been silent.

A Firm Confidence After recalling that as early as 1846 Pius IX condemned " that evil doctrine called Communism, in radical contradiction with natural law itself "; that Leo XIII defined it as " a mortal pest which attacks the marrow of human society and which will destroy it"; and that he himself had denounced it in various encyclicals, Pius XI explains the need for a new and even more solemn pronouncement in view of Communism's growing danger and the desire of the whole Catholic universe.

" We have a firm confidence that the echo of our voice will be heard wherever minds free of prejudice and hearts sincerely desirous of the good of humanity are to be found."

Then follows a detailed description of the nature and teaching of Communism and of the fruits which it has already borne in various countries.

Communism's False Redemption

Returning to the initial inspiration of the work of the Divine Redeemer the Pope insists that Communism carries within it " an idea of false redemption, a pseudo-ideal of justice, equality and fraternity in work." If this ideal appears to have had any success, it is to be explained by very different causes, such as the intensification of industrial production, the exploiting of enormous natural riches and the use of brutal methods to accomplish great works at a low cost.

The Pope then reviews the Marxian teaching of dialectical materialism, according to which there exists but one reality, matter, with its blind forces. Applying this teaching to man, human society and God, the Pope asks what would become of human society founded on such materialist principles.

" It would be," he answers, " a collectivity with no hierarchy but that of the

economic system. Its one mission would be the production of goods by collective labour and its one end the enjoyment of worldly goods in a paradise in which each man would give according to his forces and receive according to his needs. It is to this collectivity that Communism gives the right or rather the discretionary power to subject individuals to the yoke of collective labour without regard for their personal well-being, even against their own will, and, when necessary, by violence." Under this system Bavarian children whose parents have been forced by the Nazis to soul them to state schools run on neo-pagan lines.

the Pope shows that both the moral and the juridical orders would be subject to a material ccouomic system, and he summarises the ideal as " a godless humanity."

Few People Understand

The success of so false an ideal can only be attributed to the fact that so few people have understood its true nature and so many have yielded to the skilfully drawn picture of its ravishing promises.

Communism, the Pope declares, has insisted on its desire to improve the lot of the workers, to suppress " real abuses provoked by liberal economics. and to obtain a more equitable distribution of wealth (perfectly legitimate objects without

doubt) ". It has done this by taking advantage of the world economic crisis and by making the most of what truth there is in it which serves to hide " the repulsive and inhuman brutality of its principles and methods."

The Holy Father notes in particular how these promises have deceived the young and how Communism has profited from various present-day antagonisms, particularly the separation of science from religion, to insinuate itself into universities, and to found its principles upon pseudo-scientific arguments.

How Communism Got a Hold

A threefold explanation of success attained is then given.

In the first place, states the Pope, the abandonment of religion and morality by liberal economics prepared the way in that it left workers without the time or opportunity to attend to their religious duties.

" No one took the trouble to build churches near factories nor to facilitate the work of the priest." Secondly, Communist ideas have been propagated from a central source which cleverly adapted itself to the different conditions of people and which had at its disposition much money and the modern means of rapid communication, such as papers, the cinema, the theatre and the wireless: " A truly diabolical propaganda."

Lastly, the Pope declares that there has been a veritable conspiracy of silence in regard to Communism in the greater part of the non-Catholic Press: " We say conspiracy, because there can be no other explanation of the fact that a Press so eager to comment on the littlest incidents of daily life has been able to keep silence in regard to the horrors committed in Russia, Mexico, and a great part of Spain . . ."


The encyclical then gives a brief résumé of the consequences of the success of Communism. After referring to Russia and Mexico, His Holiness has the folldwing words to say about Spain: " And there in our dear Spain, where the Communist scourge had not the time to make felt the effects of its theories it has, alas, broken out with an even more furious violence. Not merely this or that church, this or that convent has been razed to the ground, but whereaer it was possible they have tried to destroy all churches and all convents and every trace of Christian religion, even when it was a case of the most remarkable monuments of art and science.

" The Communist fury has not been content with killing bishops and thousands of priests and religious male and female, choosing in particular those who were working with exceptional zeal for the workers and the poor, but it has made an even greater number of victims among the lay people of every class who, even now and every day, one might say, are inassacred in masses solely for being good Christians or at least opposed to atheistic Communism.

" This appalling destruction has been perpetrated with a hatred, a barbarity, a savagery, that could not have been thought possible in our time. No man of sane judgment. no statesman conscious of his responsibility can, without trembling with horror, reflect on the fact that what has happened in Spain may be repeated tomorrow in other civilised countries:* Fight Between Man and God

His Holiness explains that such incidents as these are not accidental, but " the natural fruits of a system which is deprived of all inner restraint." Even the pagans had this restraint, but today ".we.are assisting at a coolly-willed and cleverly prepared fight between man and all that is called God ' (H Thess. ii. 4)."

But the natural law and its Author, warns the Pope, are not trampled under foot with impunity. This is the explanation of " the terrorism, such as is seen in modern Russia, wherein old friends in conspiracy and fighting are destroying one another."

(Continued on Page 12)

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