Pope John Paul II says:
Marxism is at war against the Church
Pope John Paul II has realized that the Vatican-Moscow Agreement of 1962 is bad for the Church. The Communists still persecute the Church and have not kept the agreement. Pope John Paul II in February-March 1984 repeatedly denounced the persecution of Catholics in Lithuania, Russia and Albania. In September 1984 the document on Liberation Theology which sharply criticized the Communist regimes in general was published on the explicit order of Pope John Paul II. In 1985, Pope John Paul II in his discourse to the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops concurred with their conclusion that they still suffer persecution under Soviet Russia. In May 1986, for the first time in almost 25 years the Pope wrote against communism in the encyclical "Dominum et Vivificantem". Here is the key passage:
"Unfortunately, the resistance to the Holy Spirit which Saint Paul emphasizes in the interior and subjective dimension as tension, struggle and rebellion taking place in the human heart finds in every period of history and especially in the modern era its external dimension, which takes concrete form as the content of culture and civilization, as a philosophical system, an ideology, a programme for action and for the shaping of human behavior. It reaches its clearest expression inmaterialism, both in its theoretical form: as a system of thought, and in its practical form: as a method of interpreting and evaluating facts, and likewise as a programme of corresponding conduct. The system which has developed most and carried to its extreme practical consequences this form of thought, ideology and practice is dialectical and historical materialism, which is still recognized as the essential core of Marxism.
In principle and in fact, materialism radically excludes the presence and action of God, Who is Spirit, in the world and above all in man. Fundamentally this is because it does not accept God's existence, being a system that is essentially and systematically atheistic. This is the striking phenomenon of our time: atheism, to which the Second Vatican Council devoted some significant pages. (242)
It follows, according to this interpretation (of the Marxists) that religion can be understood only as a kind of "idealistic illusion," to be fought with the most suitable means and methods according to circumstances of time and place, in order to eliminate it from society and from man's very heart.
It can be said therefore that materialism is the systematic and logical development of that "resistance" and opposition condemned by Saint Paul with the words: "The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit." But, as Saint Paul emphasizes in the second part of his aphorism, this antagonism is mutual: "the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh." Those who wish to live by the Spirit, accepting and corresponding to his salvific activity, cannot but reject the internal and external tendencies and claims of the "flesh," also in its ideological and historical expression as anti-religious "materialism."