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Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich

GERMANY, May 1, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx' birth, Cardinal Reinhard Marx gave an interview in Germany in which he claimed that Marx unmistakably influenced Catholic social doctrine, adding that he was “impressed” by the Communist Manifesto. Karl Marx has often been referred to as the father of Communism, a political theory linked to the deaths of millions. 

Cardinal Marx, one of the council of nine cardinals chosen by Pope Francis to advise him, is at the forefront of pushing what is being hailed as a “new paradigm” in the Church that departs from previous Church teaching on sexual morality (here, here, and here) and marriage

As the news website of the German bishops reports on 30 April, Cardinal Marx, the archbishop of Munich-Freising and president of the German bishops' conference, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that the Communist Manifesto “quite impressed” him. That declaratory document had been written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and promulgated in 1848. 

In another recent interview, Cardinal Marx admitted to finding the writings of Karl Marx “fascinating,” adding that the Communist Manifesto has “an energy” and “a great language.” “One only has to read Karl Marx without prejudice, then his power will surprise,” the prelate explained. “There is an inspiration, a revolutionary impetus,” he stated.

According to Vatican News, Marx also said in his interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that Karl Marx “can be very helpful” in light of the current conflicts, revolutions and wars which very well might have their roots in economic injustice. “Human rights without material participation remain incomplete,” the cardinal said. Cardinal Marx – who himself was once a professor of social ethics – also called Karl Marx “the first serious sociologist.”

Quoting yet another news source about the same interview, Marx also said about Karl Marx: “Without him, there would not be any Catholic social doctrine.” Moreover, he made it clear that Karl Marx is not responsible for the crimes of Stalinism, even though the cardinal admitted that “there is to be found [in Marx's writings] here or there a totalitarian thought,” such as the collectivism which disrespects the individual person. However, added the cardinal, one may not put Karl Marx into a “direct connection” with the later political Marxism-Leninism, nor even the soviet prison system and work camps. 

Cardinal Marx related the little story that Pope John Paul II used to call him playfully “nostro marxista” – “our Marxist.”

In an earlier text written in 2007, Cardinal Marx quoted approvingly a statement of a professor for Catholic social doctrine which says: “We all stand on the shoulders of Karl Marx.” The prelate then added that “Marx was not a mere ideologue,” claiming that Marx “did not at all propagate an anarchical overthrow.” Karl Marx, rather, wanted a “comprehensive social participation,” which “we now also call for, also on the part of the churches.”

LifeSiteNews asked Professor Konrad Löw to comment on the recent statements made by Cardinal Marx. Löw is a German professor emeritus of political science and law, and a defender of human rights who has written books on the phenomenon of totalitarianism and is himself a Karl Marx specialist. His most important book in this field is Mythos Marx und seine Macher (Myth Marx and Its Creators).

He pointed out that the Communist Manifesto calls for “violent destruction” of current political orders which will produce “mountains of corpses and streams of blood.”

“The Communists despise it to hide their intentions and purposes. They declare openly that their goals can only be reached with the help of the violent destruction of the whole heretofore existing societal order. May the ruling classes tremble!” If I picture this future, I see mountains of corpses and streams of blood – Stalin sends his greetings!”

“With such quotations, I have filled a thick book: Marx and Engels – the Fathers of Terror (Marx und Engels – Die Väter des Terrors). He who does not want to take notice of it, cannot be helped,” said Löw.