Friday, August 24, 2007

When the Priest was a Trot

Father Ray Blake's blog is a gentle stroll through contemporary English Catholicism, filled with entries typical of the Catholic blogosphere; newsy pieces on Chinese bishops, wry observations about modern ecclesiastical architecture and an entry about Russian martyrs from the Communist era accompanied by an image from an Orthodox icon.
Scrolling down a bit further however, I came across an entry piquantly entitled When I was a Trotskyist. The post is fetchingly illustrated with a logo associated with The Fourth International. Father Ray reveals that in his youth his love for the beautiful revolutionary, Sue BM, led him for a while to Trotskyism.
While outwardly pitted against each other - historical materialism famously predicts the ultimate demise of all religion - Catholics and Communists have often had a sneaking regard for each other. The weightier kind of Catholic commentator (one's mind turns to Clifford Longley) have on occasion lamented the receding influence of Marxism on the wider British left. A few years ago, Longley wrote in his Tablet column that Marxism took an eschatological view of human history.
Not that only Cafeteria Catholics have been influenced by Marxism. Towards the end of his life, it became commonplace to hear Pope John Paul the Great of blessed memory described as more of a liberation theologian than the liberation theologians. And in his later years, he used self-consciously leftist language in calling for Solidarnosc to be a genuinely workers party. As a young playwrite he explored his interest in revolutionary socialism in a play entitled Brother of Our Lord. He also had an impressive record as an anti-racist, accompanying Jewish children in the 1930s to school past anti-Semitic Endeja thugs. Could this in part have been due to the influence of Marxist internationalism? Its an intriguiging question.
In the past this aquatic creature has been the target of both SWP and Opus Dei recruitment efforts. I wonder if it would have been possible to be a member of both at the same time?

4 Comments:

Blogger voltaires said...

It'd probably be possible to join both these days, our kid. Swoppers are probably trying to set up an Opus wing of the Respect "coalition"...

8/24/2007 3:24 PM  
Blogger neprimerimye said...

If so called cafeteria Catholics have been influenced by Marxism then it is a Marxism that no genuine Marxist would recognise. We may pass over in silence 'Red' Marias confusion that views the revolutionary regime of Lenin and Trotsky and the brutal tyranny of Stalin as simply one undifferentiated 'Communism'.

What we cannot ignore are her remarks concerning JP2 and Solidarnosc which are simply grotesque. JP2 may well have called upon Solidarnosc to become a genuine workers party but what does that mean? For Marxists it does not refer to a party or movement that consists primarily of workers, as Solidarnosc undoubtedly did, but of a party which exists to further the aims of workers power. Which Solidarnosc without doubt did not aim for given in part the influence of the Roman Catholic church and JP2.

Indeed we know that Solidarnosc, a movement which at its high popint could command the allegigance of the overwhelming majority of the Polish working class and muc of the peasantry of Poland, was held back by those elements of its advisors who were Catholic in faith. Not that we should underestimate the pernicious role of those advisors such as Jacek Kuron who held similar views.

In fact this has consistently been he role of Catholic elements in the workers movement due to their opposition to the class struggle. Lets be clear here the Roman Catholic hierarchy from the Pope downwards is united in their adherence to the reactionary doctrines of Rerum Novarum which denigrates the struggles of the workers movement for social justice and independence from al sections of the boss class.

Which is precisely why when the RCC in the late 19th century backed backed small yellow unions which opposed the development of real workers unions which fought for the decent pay and conditions with an eye to building 'heavan on earth' - that is to say founding a socialist society. All this flows, must logically I might add, from the doctrine of social peace preached by the RCC which always ans everywhere works to the advantage of the exploiting classes - give unto ceasar as it were but not unto Spartacus and his children!

8/24/2007 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Neprimerimye said...

As is so often the case poor VP has no evidence for his assertion. Certainly the SWP has in recent years been weak in criticising religious belief but unlike his own organisation it is not led by a former altar boy. Weak on religion and the causes of religion the SWP may be but unlike the AWL it has not yet adopted a petty bourgeois stance on the question that all too often comes across as mere petty bourgeois secularism if not bigotry.

8/24/2007 4:42 PM  
Blogger voltaires said...

God, you're so incisive and provocative I was almost inclined to yawn. Matgamna's an Irish Catholic by upbringing, yes (I presume this is what was meant by the derogatory statement about "ex alter boy"). So what?

Same old blithering Neppers, like a 70s sectarian preserved in (particularly bitter) vinegar. I would go into greater depth but I've always been inclined to be kindly to life's unfortunates.

8/27/2007 4:45 AM  

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