Among the many curious developments of modern ecumenism is the continuing interest in the Christian-Marxist dialogue, an interest that assumes important areas of accord might be discovered by an exchange of views. Theologians and Marxists grind out volumes of essays; letters are exchanged and subsequently published as milestones in the progress toward dialogue. Not all the effort is by professional Christian heretics and Party mavericks; several years ago, at the close of the world meeting of Communist parties in Moscow, an official statement expressed encouragement of continued dialogue:

Owing to the considerable aggravation of social contradictions, conditions have arisen in many capitalist countries for an anti-monopoly and anti-imperialist alliance of the revolutionary working class movement and broad masses of religious people.… The dialogue between them on such issues as war and peace, capitalism and socialism and neo-colonialism and the problem of developing countries has become highly topical, their united action against imperialism for democracy and socialism is extremely timely.
Communists are convinced that … the mass of religious people can become an active force in the anti-imperialist struggle and in carrying out far-reaching social changes.

Since that time the Communists have made progress toward this goal through the medium of dialogue. They continue to make it clear, of course, that their interest is not in reciprocal cooperation but in how they can use “broad masses of religious people” to advance the Communist program.

How is it, then, that churchmen, some highly placed in ecumenical circles, have become fascinated with the idea of dialogue with Marxists? It apparently is not out of concern for those enslaved ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.