Pope Francis met with a group of Marxists in the Vatican on Wednesday and exhorted them not to let up in their pursuit of dialogue with Christians.
On Wednesday, the pontiff received a delegation from the Transversal Dialogue Project (DIALOP), a group devoted to producing a “differentiated consensus” from Christian social teaching, Marxist critical theory, and feminism.
For many years, DIALOP has “been committed to promoting the common good through dialogue between Socialists/Marxists and Christians,” the pope said in his address, calling its endeavor “a fine program!”
“Never lose the ability to dream!” he told them. “Don’t back off, don’t give up, and don’t stop dreaming of a better world.”
The leaders of DIALOP credit Pope Francis as the inspiration for their project, noting that the pope met with two left-wing politicians in 2014, Alexis Tsipras and Walter Baier, and discussed the environmental crisis and the worldwide social crisis.
“At the end of that audience, Pope Francis called the visitors to launch a transversal dialogue, capable of involving the broadest strata of society and above all of the youth,” DIALOP’s website states.
“We agreed on the need to continue the dialogue between the European left and the Christian church,” Tsipras said. “There is a need to create an ecumenical alliance against poverty, inequalities, against the logic that markets and profits are above people.”
In its 2022 position paper, DIALOP compared the words of the Virgin Mary in the Magnificat to Karl Marx’s “categorical imperative.”
“As careful readers of the Marxian tradition rightly stress, to overthrow the powerful from their throne is similar to the categorical imperative of Karl Marx, which demanded that all conditions should be reversed in which man is degraded, enslaved or abandoned,” the paper states.
“And in the Magnificat and in Marx as well, the view of the weakest in society leads to the demand for a fundamental change,” it adds.
Little by little, the Catholic Church has moved from its position of early condemnations of socialism to a more welcoming attitude, the paper asserts.
“Probably the best comment on the change in mentality that this represented came from Liberation theologian L. Boff when he stressed that the pope (Francis) has made liberation theology a full part of the official narrative of the Church,” it declares.
“And he commented that for the pope, a poor person is not intrinsically a pauper but an impoverished person: one is not poor, one is made poor,” it contends.
“Pope Francis’ message ‘This economy kills’ unites us,” the paper asserts. “It also unites us in the knowledge that it is the economic, political, cultural, and international relations that generate unholy destructive tendencies.”
As an interesting side note, in 2015, Ion Mihai Pacepa — a three-star general and former head of Communist Romania’s secret police who defected to the United States in 1978 — stated that Liberation Theology was the creation of the KGB, which exported it to Latin America as a way of introducing Marxism into the continent.
“Liberation theology has been generally understood to be a marriage of Marxism and Christianity. What has not been understood is that it was not the product of Christians who pursued Communism, but of Communists who pursued Christians,” Pacepa insisted.
Pacepa, who has been called “the Cold War’s most important defector,” said that Liberation Theology was not a grass-roots movement but was born of a 1960s top-secret “Party-State Dezinformatsiya Program” approved by Aleksandr Shelepin, the chairman of the KGB.
The program mandated that “the KGB take secret control of the World Council of Churches (WCC), based in Geneva, Switzerland, and use it as cover for converting Liberation Theology into a South American revolutionary tool,” Pacepa said.
For his part, Pope Francis has asserted that “Liberation Theology was a good thing for Latin America” but has also recognized that it had “deviations” that needed correction.