Monday, September 4

The Beginning of the End

The Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, fficially denounced Liberation Theology--an odd mélange of Marxism and Christianity which had been growing in popularity in Latin American countries. At the time, Ratzinger was a close ally of Pope John Paul II, thus his pronouncements carried a great deal of weight. Indeed, his decree, issued on this day in 1984, marked the beginning of an all out war between the Vatican and Communism that would ultimately provoke the collapse of the Soviet empire. Of course, just over two decades later Ratzinger would succeed his friend, John Paul II, and ascend to the papacy himself as Pope Benedict XVI.

4 comments:

Lawrence Underwood said...

George, If I can ask a question, how would you rank the influnces that lead to the fall of Soviet Communism? I see at least the following: The aforementioned role of the Roman Church, Regan's policies of military buildup, the inherent problems with the Soviet economy, and the growing church in the satelite nations. Are there others of significance? How do you percieve the interplay of them?

Thanks.

George said...

Lawrence: My top ten reasons why Soviet Communism ultimately fell are:

1. The unworkable ideological and economic ideas of Marxist-Leninist Communism.
2. The Soviet Union's oppressive, tyrannical, and absurdist totalitarianism.
3. The Communist Bloc's intractable corruption.
4. John Paul II's courage.
5. Ronald Reagan's brilliantly executed foreign and domestic policies.
6. Margaret Thatcher's solidarity.
7. Mikhail Gorbachev's incompetence.
8. Boris Yeltsin's defection from party-line Communism.
9. The globalization of American culture and economic ideas.
10. The resurgence of Eastern Europe's cultural and spiritual legacy manifested in the growing influence of Vaclev Havel, Aleksandr Solzhenytisn, Nathan Saransky, and Lech Walensa.

Taken together, these factors not only gave rise to the power of Solidarity, the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, and the end of the Soviet Hegemony, but also to Reagan's spiritual, cultural, and economic "Morning in America."

Lawrence Underwood said...

Thanks. That gives me even more to chew on. I've been thinking about the growing socialism in our own nation and how it may bring about our own demise.

Ben said...

George,
Your list of the top ten reasons why Communism fell is TOO good to be on the back-burner comments section. (Did you get this from Dave Letterman?) I plan on using your list for lectures and will in time forget who I got the list from and begin claiming originality for the lecture. Of course, in its brilliance, there are still a few gaping holes. Churchill's rhetoric, insight, and prophecies alerted many people early on to the nature of the beast. Orwell's two novels continued to puncture the idealism of Westerners. And there used to be a species of Democrats who were Liberals (not Leftists) in social policy, but Hawks and Patriots in foreign policy. From Harry Truman to Scoop Jackson and Jeanne Kirkpatrick, these men and women added to the political coalition that opposed and ultimately helped topple Communism.

Ben