THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
LEARNING FROM COMMUNISTS
April 16, 2018
You have to hand it to the Communists of old and the liberals
of today. They are committed to their cause. They are persistent
and insistent. They do not give up. They chip away at what
stands in their way, eventually bringing it down. They persist
until they triumph.
In contrast, most Catholics today are laid back, striving
to live comfortable lives, not engaged in spiritual warfare.
They are unaware or just unmindful of the high ideals of Christianity,
which are holiness and authentic discipleship. They shun the
cross, when in fact the authentic gospel is that of the cross.
They dislike making sacrifices, when in fact their leader
is the One who made the greatest sacrifice of his own life
The early Christian Church spread like wildfire, because Christ’s
disciples were fired up, and of course empowered by the Holy
Spirit. It is such a contrast today. Our Church has lost much
of her missionary character. People are trying to make it
to heaven in first-class comfort. Self-denial and embrace
of the cross are alien to most Catholics. Political correctness
infects the body. No wonder our Church is losing Catholics
by the day, and 99 of the 100 sheep are lost.
We must get back on track. We must persist in the work of
evangelization and mission. We must strive to get lapsed Catholics
and others to meet, live and share Christ. And we must be
willing to suffer the consequences as we face a darkened and
antagonistic world. We must rejoice in suffering for the cause
Christians have a big lesson to learn from
the Left if we really want to evangelize
12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In March 1948, Douglas Hyde
resigned as news editor of the London Daily Worker, renounced
his twenty years as a member of the Communist Party, and became
a Catholic. He wrote a short book, Dedication and Leadership,
offering insights into the striking
success of the spread of communism during the first half of
the twentieth century, which contrasted with the relative
stagnation of Christian Churches.
I was reminded of Hyde’s book while listening to Janet
Smith speak at the Catholic University of America’s
symposium observing the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae.
Smith talked about how pastors
and mentors often don’t ask people “to do big
That is a huge mistake.
Here is a short litany of statements from Hyde, who shows
why during the 20th century,
communists did a far better job recruiting converts to their
cause than Catholics did winning converts for Christ. For
our purposes today, it may be helpful to substitute
the word "leftists" for "communists."
The paradox is that the Communists show a faith in their people
which Christians, who are supposed to be the great defenders
of the human person, are too often not prepared to show. They
ask for a lot and they get the big response they expect.
And here is the key:
They say that if you make little
demands on people, you will get a mean little response which
is all you deserve, but, if you make big demands on them,
you will get an heroic response . . . if you call for big
sacrifices people will respond . . . and moreover, the relatively
smaller sacrifices will come quite naturally.
Our own timidity, amplified
by political correctness, makes us afraid of offending people
with the full, sometimes hard, truths of the Gospel, but in
so doing we end up denying them the Gospel.
If the fullness of the Gospel is preached, we can expect more
than “heroic” responses; we can expect transformed
lives displaying the Gospel’s mighty power.
The Communists make far bigger
demands upon their people than the average Christian organization
would ever dare to make . . . they have discovered that it
is good psychology to ask for a lot. It is bad psychology
and politics to ask for too little.
You must believe in the human material you have at your disposal.
You must not be afraid to make big demands upon it and you
must skillfully and intelligently call for sacrifices, following
up each such call with another.
While Christianity trades in Absolute Truth, not psychology
and politics, Hyde’s point is well taken. And more than
When you have succeeded in making
men believe that change is necessary and possible and that
they are the ones who can achieve it; when you have convinced
them that they and the small minority of whom they are a part
can transform the world in their lifetime, you have achieved
something very considerable indeed. You have put into their
lives a dynamic force so powerful that you can bring them
to do what would otherwise be impossible. The dull and humdrum
becomes meaningful. Life becomes purposeful and immensely
more worth living.
Catholics talk about membership in the mystical Body of Christ.
But very few feel that sense of oneness which the Communist
feels with men everywhere.
The Communists were right when they said that there
is a great battle going on all over the world which in the
final analysis is a struggle for men’s hearts and souls.
This is a turning point in man’s history, a terrible,
yet tremendous time in which to live.
And here’s a final money quote:
The Christian may say that the Communists have the worst creed
on earth. But what they have to appreciate is that Communists
shout it from the housetops; while too often those who believe
they have the best speak with a muted voice when they speak
All of this bears upon the anemia, the malaise, of the Catholic
Church in the western world today: Despite possessing the
Truth––distilled, packed down and flowing over––we
are not as victorious as we should be in the battle for hearts
and minds. Because of this, Christianity
is losing its influence on civil society,
evident at the ballot box and in legislative, judicial and
executive measures. As a result, we live at a time when religious
liberty is seriously imperiled in the western world.
And all the while, the number
of committed Catholics in our hemisphere is dwindling.
The Catholic Church is a repository of the greatest truth,
wisdom and experience known to mankind. Yet there
are forces acting both outside and within the church now encouraging
us to cast aside the commandments and natural law in favor
of appealing to people’s own sense of what is best for
That is a losing strategy, behind
which one can detect the whispers of the ancient serpent.
The pastoral practice of “accompaniment” does
not reflect the Gospel preached in the early Church. On the
day of Pentecost, Peter told the crowd, “Repent, and
be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so
that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift
of the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 2:38).
Peter did not ask the 3,000 gathered to make the most generous
response possible based on their own personal truths. He asked
for the maximum, not the minimum: “Repent and change
your life.” Yet we are too timid to tell people this,
and theologians search for reasons to justify their own timidity,
if not their lack of faith, in the Gospel.
Cardinal Sarah has said, “To
omit the ‘hard sayings’ of Christ and his Church
is not charity.” We cannot be more compassionate than
Christ, who said, “go and sin no more.”
Personal experience has taught me this is true: Years ago,
while I was still living as a gay man, I would not have come
back to the Catholic Church if I had been told it was ok to
continue living the way I was and still call myself “Catholic.”
Instead, it was Christ’s words, “go and sin no
more,” coupled with the promise of the Holy Spirit which
drew me back, and brought healing to my life.
A few more words from Hyde:
Never in man’s history
has a small group of people set out to win the world and achieved
more in less time. Certainly [communists] have brought far
more people under their sway by the methods they employ than
anyone else has during the same period. Moreover, they have
always worked through a minority.
Yet that describes exactly the history of the early
Church, which spread like wildfire, despite the fact that
believers often risked their lives for believing.
If the majority of members of an organization are half-hearted
and largely inactive, then it is not surprising if others
who join it soon conform to the general pattern.
The gospel of “affirmation” is not the Gospel.
The pastoral practice of “accompaniment” pales
compared to the splendor of the Truth of the Gospel. These
are concoctions of the minds of distracted theologians. Only
the Gospel which points to the Cross of Christ––and
His blood shed there––is real and powerful, and
is truly Good News.
For discussion in households:
(1) Are you striving to be a holy warrior, fully engaged in
our work of evangelization and mission?
(2) Are you living out your covenant, including faithfulness
to meetings and generosity in financial giving?
(3) Are you willing to give of yourself and make great sacrifices
for the cause of Christ?