George Walford: In Religion Also

Adherents of the more advanced ideologies tend to be more individualistic in their thinking, to distinguish themselves more sharply both from the general community and from each other than do those of the less advanced. This is notoriously so in politics; there are not many articles on the Labour Party which do not compare its divisiveness and its tendency toward schism with the cohesiveness of the Conservatives, and toward the more extreme left these features become even stronger.

This same tendency, for adherents of the more advanced ideologies to be more individualistic in their thinking, appears also within the Roman Catholic Church. The Church, taken as an organisation, is not advanced ideologically, but Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is quoted by the Sunday Times of 2 December 1984. as speaking of “theologians who accept that illusory myth – which is using class struggle to create a classless society;” if we accept that the Cardinal knows what he is talking about then there are some people of advanced ideology in the Church.

The individualistic tendency which s.i. predicts of such people appears in the response to changes since the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65, particularly “Pope John XXIII’s declaration that the church should have a special concern for the poor and oppressed.” Cardinal Ratzinger complains that these changes (which would appear to be, in political terms, a move toward accepting the views of the left) have failed to produce the expected result: “One expected a new unity among Catholics. Instead, we have met with dissent which seems to have gone from self-criticism to self-destruction.”

Anybody who has had dealings with the advanced left will know just how he feels.

from Ideological Commentary 16, January 1985.