The On-Going Marxist March Against The Western Mind
By Frank Morriss
Shortly after the Second Vatican Council, this writer had a public discussion with two young priests from Holland. They were in this country touting the new theology of Church, one which emphasized social liberation, a social mission to the powerless and impoverished, to women, etc. The Dutch priests had little or no concern for doctrine or Catholic tradition, ignoring my evidence that Catholic young people were being deprived of knowledge of the fundamentals of their Faith and receiving in Catholic schools only a social Gospel.
At last, in a question-and-answer session, I told someone in the audience,
"The Catholic Church doesn't exist to solve your problems."
Before I could explain the traditional mission of the Church as held for all the Church's history (and confirmed, by the way, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church), there was an outburst of indignation against what I had said. Shouting from the audience rebuked my statement. One of the priests jumped up to proclaim he would not have become a priest if it didn't mean he was ordained to do just that: solve people's problems meaning, of course, their economic, secular problems, not the problems of their consciences and their souls.
This same revisionary view of the Church's mission is given prominence in Fr. Richard McBrien's book, Catholicism. The Notre Dame theologian finds that Vatican II's Declaration on Christian Education "insofar as (it) does reflect something of the spirit of the Council itself. . . insists that education must be broadly humane, in keeping with advances in all of the sciences, and with a concern for nurturing personal maturity and social responsibility (n. 1-2).' 1
McBrien cites the "notion of mission" of the Dutch theologian Edward Schillebeeckz, one "solidly liberationist in approach":
"To bring the gospel to all the needy in the world, not only through words but through solidarity in action and thus through a praxis of liberation is the very nature of Christianity." 2
The author of Catholicism repeats the insolent idea of the theolgian and one-time priest Gregory Baum that "it was . . . dialogue with the secular world that taught the Church to cherish religious liberty, pluralism, critical interpretation of texts, etc., as religious values." 3
We learn in Catholicism, 4 courtesy of the theologizing of Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez, that the Church in Latin America "must take a clear stand against social injustice and in favor of the revolutionary process," and via Leonardo Boff that "the Church must be defined in terms of energy, charism, and the progress of the world. . . . " 5
From the feminists comes the view of the Church as "an exodus community . . . called to abandon the established social order and its religious agents of sacralization and to witness an alternative social order . . ." 6 and:
"The mission of the Church is one of service to the people, especially the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized. Although structures of authority are necessary for this mission, those structures always subordinate to it and are to be judged by their capacity to enable the Church to fulfill the mission." 7
Fr. McBrien labels the above ideas as belonging to the "change-agent" or "servant" model of the Church which stresses proclamation and praxis of the Gospel "by application of the Gospel to the struggle for social justice, peace, and human rights."8
It seems to be Fr. McBrien himself theologizing when we read:
"The Church's activities on behalf of social justice or human rights are not merely preparatory to the real mission of the Church, as the notion of 'preevangelization' had it before Vatican II . . . the Church's commitment to and involvement in, the struggle for social justice, peace, and human rights is an essential, or 'constitutive,' part of its mission." 9
Rebuttal and/or clarification of these revisionary "theologies" of Church and its mission will be given elsewhere in this monograph. But at this point, we wish to suggest where such questionable opinions have their origins, whether they are from within genuine Catholic theology or rather from outside it and, in fact, from an anti-religious, anti-Catholic (if not anti-Christ) philosophy which disguises itself as liberating but aims at a materialistic and dehumanizing enslavement of human nature. If the latter origin is true, then such enslavement can occur only after a destruction of the force and authority of the Catholic Faith which for centuries has guarded human nature along with the liberty and dignity that belong to it.
Seeds Of Change
Are we to believe that simple evolutionary development or "progress" has changed the purpose of our Faith from being an offer of salvation and eternal life (Catechism of the Catholic Church*), to being a means for social and cultural improvement (McBrien et al., supra)? If not, then we should be able to find who planted the seeds of the notion that such change should happen; a planting which has resulted in a germination of those seeds into that change itself.
If a computer could be programmed to search for such seeds of change, it would certainly come up first and foremost with the Marxist theories of Antonio Gramsci, an Italian socialist critic of the early Twentieth Century.
"As Gramsci noted, religion must be approached 'not in the confessional sense but in the secular sense of a unity of faith between a conception of the world and a corresponding norm of conduct. But why call this unity of faith "religion" and not "ideology," or even frankly "politics" '." 10
In other words, Gramsci suggested putting aside concern for Catholicism as a teacher of doctrine or a body of belief, and concentrating on it as a potential ideological or political vehicle which could be put at the service of the new Communist order proposed by Marx.
In order to achieve this purpose, Gramsci proposed an entirely different sort of revolution from that of doctrinaire Lenin-Stalinism, that is, promotion of an uprising of workers and peasants against their capitalist masters. Gramsci recognized that bourgeois capitalism was too deeply entrenched in the Western mind for that. Rather, his revolution would be an intellectual invasion of the mind, and consequently of the institutions within which it functioned.
Invasion Of The Mind
Rather than making Communists of Catholics, Gramsci conceived of letting Catholics remain Catholics, but mutating the Faith they adhered to into a secular Marxist approximation. This fit in with Gramsci's concept of "hegemony" (spheres of influence or domination) far more than with Lenin's understanding of hegemony through power, class conflict, and an eventual revolution of the proletariat.
"Gramsci most often conceived of hegemony as an historically-defined system of beliefs and values nationalism, Catholicism, liberalism, cultural traditions, and so forth which mediate the class struggle in various ways. He located these ideologies less within the sphere of production (though of course this was a factor) than within the larger realm of civil society, which meant that the dialectic of hegemony and counterhegemony could in principle unfold . . . in the large societal arena of schools, churches, the family, mass media and the neighborhood as well as the workplace. According to this rather diffuse schema hegemony was more often linked to a bloc of social forces than to singular class formations. The very notion of non-class sources of ideological mobilization represents a dramatic break with Marxist orthodoxy" 11 (emphasis in original).
Readers may now better understand the grouping that appears whenever sides are taken over issues that involve traditional values and what are called euphemistically liberal or progressive values. And the seeming anomaly of Catholic "liberals" often joining the anti-Catholic side is understandable if we grant success in the Gramscian enterprise of establishing a Marxist hegemony through religion, churches and schools.
Gramsci is little known popularly. Even recent encyclopedia carry no entry under his name. His name, for example, is not entered in many quite adequate libraries in this country. Yet what he called a march of his ideas (Marxist, that is) through the institutions of the West is quite evident:
"The belated 'discovery' of Gramsci by Marxist intellectuals in Western Europe and North America is understandable given the number of striking parallels between Gramscian theory and various themes incorporated by social movements in advanced capitalism. At the same time, Gramscian motifs have begun to penetrate a number of academic disciplines notably history, political science, sociology and education but also literature, film, and anthropology . . . His work has been taken up not only by Marxists but also by new leftists, libertarian communists, Third World nationalists, and even liberals. Politically he has been praised as the architect of an 'open,' rejuvenated Communist tradition and of the extraparliamentary left; of a 'modified' Leninism and of Eurocommunism, of the dictatorship of the proletariat, of the parliamentary road to socialism, and of council or 'soviet' democracy. Apparently the list of possibilities, is endless. . . ." 12
Marxist Virus Spreads
There was perhaps no more dangerous carrier of the Marxist virus than the Brazilian disciple of Gramsci, Paulo Freire. Freire carried out Gramsci's march through Western institutions in that which is most basic, second only to the Church education:
"The ideal is to fight against the system taking two fronts, the one internal to the schooling system and the one external to the schooling system . . . Of course, we have much space outside the schooling system, much more space to work, to make decisions, to choose. We have more space outside the system, but we can create the space inside of the subsystem or the schooling system in order to occupy the space. That is, I think politically, every time we can occupy some position inside of the subsystem, we should do so. But as much as possible, we should try to establish good relationships with the experience of people outside the system in order to help what we are trying to do inside." 13
What Freire is taking about is Marxist subversion of education, with the help of the good will of those outside that institution who can be won over to the Marxist hypotheses.
Central to Freire's purpose was Gramsci's theorizing. Freire called Gramsci one of three intellectuals who most influenced him. 14
Freire had his students read Gramsci, giving them his own understanding of liberation through ideas "... there is no creativity without raptura, without a break from the old, without conflict in which you have to make a decision.'" 15 We shall see later how Gramsci via Freire influences education in behalf of the Marxist cause even now. But it should be said immediately that Marx is at the root of both men's ideologies: Freire summarized that fact:
". . . I began to read Marx and to read about Marx, and the more I did that the more I became convinced that we really would have to change the structures of reality, that we should become absolutely committed to a global process of transformation." 16
Transformation To Economic Democracy
In his book, Covert Cadre, Dr. Scott Steven Powell, economist and academician, has documented how that process of "transformation" is proceeding in one very sensitive "public policy organization" in Washington, D.C., the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS):
"As a relatively unknown force, IPS has been working tirelessly to change the American political culture and bend public policy. While IPS finds no enemies on the Left, it considers anticommunism a dangerous ideology. IPS director, Robert Borsage candidly admits that IPS hopes to 'move the Democratic party's debate internally to the left by creating an invisible presence in the party.' There is a consistency between the way IPS operates and the revolutionary activity advocated by Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci. For both it is important to infiltrate autonomous institutions schools, media, churches, public-interest groups so as radically to transform the culture, which determines the environment in which political and economic policies are carried out." 17
Two IPS associates have provided the euphemism "Economic Democracy" as a mask for old-fashioned socialism. Powell's book unmasks that bit of strategy, however:
"Bringing down American capitalism characterizes economic democracy, as distinct from social democracy, where a welfare state is constructed on top of capitalism. Derek Shearer and Lee Webb wrote in the Nation: 'The comprehensive economic reform program which we've described will inevitably be labeled socialistic. If socialism is defined as both a democratic government and a democratic economy, accountable to public representatives and not to rich and powerful elite, then this is democratic socialism'." 18
Economic Democracy (or socialism as the two IPS figures admit) has helped the march of Gramscian revolution into Catholic organizations and institutions. Dr. Powell's book traces some of those developments. The Campaign for Human Development of the U.S. Catholic Conference (USCC), in its "study of social power" entitled Poverty in American Democracy, let IPS fellow Sidney Lens define and describe the kinds of poverty encountered in America. Lens is described by Dr. Powell as a sometime Trotskyite. The CHD borrows from his analysis of poverty to conclude that "poverty is powerlessness." The IPS and CHD remedy is Economic Democracy, a euphemism for public takeover of most institutions. There is at least a hint of that in Msgr. George Higgins' introduction to Poverty In American Democracy:
". . . It may be necessary to redefine what liberty' and 'justice' mean and to examine our basic operating social values." 19"
Catholic Conference Link
Dr. Powell links IPS to the U.S. Catholic Conference through Thomas Quigley, a USCC functionary at the time Covert Cadre was published (1987):
"WOLA (Washington Office on Latin America) was founded in 1974 by Joseph Eldridge with the help of Joyce Hill of the National Council of Churches and Thomas Quigley of the U.S. Catholic Conference. WOLA's mission was to monitor human rights to help church organizations lobby for political change in Latin American countries. Joyce Hill had worked with the Methodist church in Cuba and was quite taken with Fidel Castro. Likewise, Tom Quigley had traveled to Cuba and was enthusiastic about Fidel Castro's Marxist 'Christianity'." 20
Both Eldridge and Quigley serve (or served) in IPS's selection committee for the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award, 21** according to Dr. Powell." Quigley also led the Religious Task Force on El Salvador, part of a coalition called Committee In Solidarity With the People of El Salvador (CIPES). Papers captured in El Salvador belonging to FMLN guerrilla leader, Farid Handal, "documented CIPES' connections with member groups of the Latin network and the international communist movement. " 22***
The Marxist purpose and goals of all this are undeniable when Powell reports this:
"When Handal arrived in Washington, D.C., he met with Chencho Alas, a Jesuit priest attached to Georgetown University who had been expelled from El Salvador for collaborating with the Marxist guerrillas. The next day Handal addressed an IPS seminar, organized by Isabel Letelier. There he met with two other Salvadorans, identified as Andrea and Enrique of the Popular Revolutionary Bloc (PRB), which is linked with the guerrilla faction known as the Popular Forces of Liberation (PFL), itself formerly headed by the late Communist party leader Cayetano Carpio." 23
Theology Of Liberation Is Born
(Fr.) Gustavo Gutierrez was a prime mover in the conversion of Gramscian revolution into a theology specifically, the theology of liberation:
"This is a theology which does not stop with reflecting on the world, but rather tries to be part of the process through which the world is transformed. It is a theology which is open in the protest against trampled human dignity, in the struggle against the plunder of the vast majority of people, in liberating love, and in the building of a new, just, and fraternal society to the gift of the Kingdom of God." 24
Gutierrez overtly acknowledges that his idea of theology as a change agent in the hands of everyone was inspired by a similar idea of Antonio Gramsci about philosophy. 25 If Gramsci, therefore, is a sort of ideological grandfather of liberation theology, Paulo Freire is its midwife, putting into effective practice through "education" the transformational march of Gramsci's Marxism through institutions, bodies, beliefs of the Western world.
After citing the "vision" of Ernesto Che Guevara calling for an "intellectual audacity" in "development of a new human being by methods different from the conventional ones," Gutierrez says this:
"This vision is what in the last instance sustains the liberation efforts of Latin Americans. But in order for this liberation to be authentic and complete, it has to be undertaken by the oppressed people themselves, and so must stem from the values proper to these peoples. Only in this context can a true cultural revolution come about.
"From this point of view, one of the most creative and fruitful efforts which as been implemented in Latin American is the experimental work of Paulo Freire, who has sought to establish a 'pedagogy of the oppressed.' By means of an unalienating and liberating 'cultural action,' which links theory with praxis, the oppressed person perceives and modifies his relationship with the world and with other people. He thus makes the transfer from a 'naive awareness' which does not deal with problems, gives too much value to the past, tends to accept mythical explanations and tends toward debate to a 'critical awareness' which delves into problems, is open to new ideas, replaces magical explanations with real causes, and tends to dialogue. In this process, which Freire calls 'conscientization,' the oppressed person rejects the oppressive consciousness which dwells in him, becomes aware of his situation, and finds his own language. He becomes, by himself, less dependent and freer, as he commits himself to the transformation and building up of society ." 26
In this quotation, Gutierrez is explaining Freire's understanding of the workings of the Gramscian revolution as different from what Marx predicted. Marx foresaw an armed revolution of the proletariat as an act of desperation against bourgeois resistance to their attempts at freeing themselves from oppression. Gramsci (as presented by Freire in Latin America) recommended a "cultural" revolution through a takeover of institutions intellectually after the oppressed are "conscientionized" into first recognizing they are oppressed, and then using the instruments of power (politics, education), etc., to oust the capitalist oppressors, replacing them with socialists. This approach has been and is still being used by even Catholic social activists in Latin America, either consciously or not, either overtly or covertly. In other words, what is essentially Marxist is perceived and presented as Catholic social doctrine. This was the method of the liberation theologians and their disciples.
And it should not surprise anyone to see that in his work, Gutierrez cited Thomas Quigley (mentioned earlier as a link between the leftist IPS and the official Catholic structure in the U.S.) for a work he edited, Freedom and Unfreedom In The Americas: Toward A Theology of Liberation. 27
U.S. Cultural Shifts Underway
Not all the drastic changes in thought and culture are concentrated among Latin American countries where poverty makes the populace easy prey. Related to such cultural shifts in direction are policies supported by the National Education Association (NEA) here in the United States:
"July 2-3 (1993): At the NEA's annual convention in San Francisco, delegates approve resolutions supporting 'multicultural/global education,' abortion-rights, and 'comprehensive school-based clinics.' Resolutions are also passed advocating that teachers 'be legally protected from censorship and lawsuits' related to sex education, including education regarding sexual orientation. Resolution B-l states that 'The NEA supports early childhood education programs in the public schools for children from birth through age eight.' And concerning home schooling, Resolution B-58 indicates that 'instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used.'
"President Clinton addresses the delegates and thanks the NEA for 'the gift of our assistant secretary,' referring to long-time NEA activist and staffer Sharon Robinson, who has become U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education for the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) and who sits next to Hillary Rodham Clinton on the front row of the NEA convention. President Clinton goes on to say that he believes his goals for America closely parallel those of the NEA, further stating: 'And I believe the president of this organization would say we have had the partnership I promised in the campaign of 1992, and we will continue to have it. You and I are joined in a common cause, and I believe we will succeed'. " 28
Part of that "common cause" is certainly to have America's children raised by Hillary's "village," meaning in this day and age, the shamans, experts, academicians charged with creating the "new man" envisioned by Gramsci, Freire and other Marxist theoreticians much admired by many, if not most, of educational leaders both within and outside the NEA.
Education Counter To Our Values
Dr. Thomas Sowell, senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, economist and nationally syndicated columnist, has seen through what is afoot in education. Here is just a sample of the tactics used to create the "new man":
"... Sexual modesty is just one of a whole spectrum of things taught to children in their homes which the schools think it is their job to undo by systematic propaganda to the contrary. Sometimes the children are shown movies of naked individuals engaged in homosexual activity. Sometimes boys and girls have been paired to talk about sexual matters. The methods vary with the teacher, the school, and with what they think they can get away with in the particular community.
" 'AIDS awareness' programs are not about reducing the danger of AIDS. They are about getting people to look more favorably on homosexual activities. Nothing is more likely to increase the incidence of AIDS."
"The idea that strangers should be raising your children may sound very un-American but that is hardly a deterrent to people whose whole orientation is counter to the traditional values of this country. The teachers may in many cases be no more than dupes, but the educational gurus know exactly what they are doing and how to do it." 29
One of those gurus is Marc Tucker, president of the National Center for Education and the Economy (NCEE). Hillary Clinton received $102,000 from the NCEE in 1991-1992, ostensibly for work on the center's "Work Force Skills" program. The circumstances surrounding this are discussed in an article by Karen Iacovelli, constitutional law scholar and co-host of the syndicated cable television program, "Inside Education"
Concerning a letter authored by Tucker and addressed to Hillary Rodham Clinton, dated Nov. II, 1992, a week after William Clinton's first election to the presidency, Iacovelli comments:
"I am often asked if Tucker and his menagerie of NCEE colleagues represented a conspiracy to redesign every facet of American life. While I avoid conspiracy theories, the Tucker/Hillary letter certainly suggests a 'conspiracy of vision' and a consensus to implement that vision. . . .
"The letter outlines how the schools (all of them) and the workplace (every calling in America) will be forcibly united to implement a national human resources development scheme. Tucker calls this union a 'seamless system of unending skill development. ...'
"But I think Zbigniew Brzezinski calls this 'seamless web' by its rightful name 'coercive Utopia'." 30
All Utopias have been elusive fantasies. The very word comes from the imagination of Sir Thomas More writing about a society that didn't and couldn't really exist. All attempts at Utopias have failed. When you add coercion to the concept of Utopia the perfect society by force, if you will you further add the price of surrender of liberties and human rights in pursuit of the unobtainable.
And The Answer?
The computer now has been programmed with facts. Those who are interested may push the key of logic and deduction within their own minds for a search of what is behind so much of the phenomena of a leftward direction in state and church, in education, in media-provided propaganda a veritable march into the soul and mind of the Western World and all its foundations and surely the answer will appear:
"Marx, Gramsci, Freire, and their admirers and all unthinking enough to be fooled into accepting the 'coercive Utopia' that the Communist movement has never abandoned as its goal." ---Frank Morriss
* See particularly in this Catechism, the explanation starting on p. 115 (English-language edition) of Article 3 of the Nicene Creed. It is clear from this that the believer here accepts the traditional understanding of the Catholic Church that our faith is placed first and primarily in the salvation and eternal life made possible for us by Christ.
** This award is named for and is given in the spirit of Orlando Letelier and Michael and Ronni Karpen Moffitt. Letelier was an official in Salvador Allende's Marxist Chilean regime. With the overthrow of that government by General Pinochet, Letelier came in exile to the United States, where he propagandized against the Pinochet administration. The Moffitts were pro-Allende activists in the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies. Letelier and Ronni Moffitt were killed by a car bomb in the Capital's Embassy Row on Sept. 21, 1976. Michael Moffitt was injured, though not seriously, and survived.
***In March, 1980, the Unified Revolutionary Directorate, made up of several leftist guerrilla organizations, renamed itself the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front. (FMLN). It soon was fielding at least 8,000 Marxist revolutionary troops. Its components called themselves, variously, Marxist, Marxist-Leninist, or Marxist-influenced and so must stem from the values proper to these peoples. Only in this context can a true cultural revolution come about.
Frank Morriss is a well-known name in Catholic journalism. After obtaining his J.D. in 1948 from Georgetown University, he was an associate editor with the Register system of newspapers, 1949-1960, and 1963-1967. During that time he also taught English at Catholic colleges in the Denver area. He was a founding editor of Twin Circle in 1966. He has been a freelance writer since 1967 and a contributing editor to The Wanderer, a national Catholic weekly newspaper for over 25 years.
Bruce Publishing in Milwaukee published Mr. Morriss' historical fiction books for children, including Boy of Philadelphia (1955); The Adventures of Broken Hand (1957); Alfred of Wessex (1959); Submarine Pioneer: John Philip Holland (1961); and Saints for the Small (1964). Mr. Morriss also wrote The Forgotten Revelation (Franciscan Herald Press, 1964); The Conservative Imperative (Catholic Laymen of America, 1965); The Divine Epic (Prow, 1969); Catholic Perspectives; Abortion (Thomas More Press, 1979); The Catholic As Citizen (Franciscan Herald, 1979). He also edited the Wanderer Christmas Anthology (Wanderer Press, 1986). Mr. Morriss also has written many radio programs and has tapes available on saints and Catholic history.
1. Richard P. McBrien, Catholicism, Harper/Collins, NY, new edition 1994, p. 682.
2. Ibid., p.695, quoting Edward Schillebeeckx in Church: The Human Story Of God, p. 185.
3. Ibid., p.699, citing Gregory Baum's Faith and Doctrine.
4. Ibid., p.701.
5. Ibid., quoting Leonardo Boff in Church: Charism and Power.
6. Ibid., p. 704, citing Rosemary Ruether's Women-Church, Theology and Practice of Feminist Liturgical Communities.
7. Ibid., p.705, quoting Anne Carr in Transforming Grace.
8. Ibid., p.725.
9. Ibid., p. 738.
10. Carl Boggs, The Two Revolutions: Gramsci and the Dilemmas of Western Marxism, South End Press, Boston, 1984, p. 176, quoting from Gramsci's The Study of Philosophy.
11. Ibid., p. 281, referring to Rude's Ideology and Popular Protest.
12. Ibid., p. 276-277.
13. Paulo Freire in We Make The Path by Walking, ed. by Bell, Gaventa, and Peters, Temple University Press, c. Highlander Research and Education Center, p. 203.
14. Ibid., p. 36.
15. Ibid., p. 38.
16. Ibid., p. 246.
17. Dr. Scott Steven Powell, Covert Cadre: Inside the Institute For Policy Studies, Green Hill, Inc., Ottawa, Ill., 1987, p. 359-360.
18. Ibid., p. 191-192.
19. Msgr. George Higgins, introduction to Poverty in American Democracy: A Study of Social Power, Campaign for Human Development, U.S. Catholic Conference, Washington, D.C., 1975, p. 4.
20. Scott, op. cit., p. 230-231.
21. Ibid., p. 232.
22. Ibid., p. 239.
23. Ibid., p. 239.
24-25. Gustavo Gutierrez, A Theology Of Liberation, Orbis, Maryknoll, N.Y., 1973, p. 15 (including footnote).
26. Ibid., p. 91.
27. Ibid., p. 96, note 31.
28. Dennis Laurence Cuddy, Ph.D., Chronology of Education, Pro-Family Forum, Inc., Highland City, FL, 1995, p. 107.
29. Human Events, Nov. 8, 1996, p. 10.
30. Crisis, April, 1996, p. 19.
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