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It is vital that children — including adolescents — know the truth about left-wing totalitarianism.

Even though the horrors of Venezuela have been unfolding before our eyes, young Westerners are in thrall — thanks to schooling — to socialism and communism.

I saw this tweet and read the woman’s story:

Carmen Alexe left Romania for the United States during the Cold War and has been a real estate lender for many years.

The Foundation for Economic Education — FEE — recently published her story, ‘I Grew Up in a Communist System. Here’s What Americans Don’t Understand About Freedom’. Please share it with the young people in your family.

It is so important that young people understand what leftism ultimately produces: poverty and endless restrictions.

Excerpts follow, emphases mine.

Socialism or Communism?

I was born and raised in communist Romania during the Cold War, a country in which the government owned all the resources and means of production. The state controlled almost every aspect of our lives: our education, our job placement, the time of day we could have hot water, and what we were allowed to say.

Like the rest of the Eastern European countries, Romania was often referred to as a communist country. In school, we were taught it was a socialist country. Its name prior to the 1989 Revolution to overthrow the Ceausescu regime was the Socialist Republic of Romania.

From an economic standpoint, a petty fraction of property was still privately owned. In a communist system, all property is owned by the state. So if it wasn’t a true communist economy, its heavy central planning and the application of a totalitarian control over the Romanian citizenry made this nation rightfully gain its title of a communist country.

Shortages — food and hot water

Despite the fact that Romania was a country rich in resources, there were shortages everywhere. Food, electricity, water, and just about every one of life’s necessities were in short supply. The apartment building in which we lived provided hot water for showers two hours in the morning and two hours at night. We had to be quick and on time so we didn’t miss the opportunity.

Bubblegum and chocolate bars were treasured treats. People had to make use of the black market for certain things:

Fruity lip gloss, French perfume, and jeans were but a few of the popular items available only on the black market and with the right connections. God bless our black-market entrepreneurs! They made our lives better. They gave us the opportunity to buy things we very much desired, things we couldn’t get from the government-owned retail stores which were either half-empty or full of products that were ugly and of poor quality.

The food situation was dire:

The grocery stores were not any better. I get it, maybe we didn’t need to be fashionable. But we needed to eat. So, the old Romanian adage “Conscience goes through the stomach” made a lot of sense.

During the late 1970s, life in Romania started to deteriorate even more. Meat was hardly a consumer staple for the average Romanian. Instead, our parents learned to become good at preparing the liver, the brain, the tongue, and other giblets that most people in the West would not even consider trying.

When milk, butter, eggs, and yogurt were temporarily available, my mom—like so many others of our neighbors—would wake up at 2:00 a.m. to go stand in line so she’d have the chance to get us these goodies. The store would open at 6:00 a.m., so if she wasn’t early enough in line she’d miss the opportunity.

In 1982, the state sent their disciples to people’s homes to do the census. Along with that, food rationing was implemented. For a family of four like us, our rationed quota was 1 kilogram of flour and 1 kilogram of sugar per month. That is, if they were available and if we were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time when they were being distributed.

There was one television channel. It showed programmes about poverty in the West notionally caused by capitalism:

The one television channel our government provided for us often focused on programs related to crime and poverty in the western world. After all, people were poor and suffering because of capitalism, so we were told, so we needed socialism and communism to solve the inequalities of humanity.

Schools pushed the same line:

When in school, we learned that private property makes people greedy and is considered detrimental to society. Private property was associated with capitalism, the system that our textbooks claimed failed.

Ultimately:

In a centrally-planned environment, the various government individuals who are assigned the task of planning the economy could not possibly know how to properly allocate the scarce resources of an entire nation, no matter how smart or educated they are. Shortages are one of the consequences of improper allocation of the scarce resources.

Consequently, there was no innovation, no injection of capital. Only the party higher-ups and black marketeers were doing well.

I was glad she mentioned Venezuela:

Similar to the old Soviet lifestyle, let’s remember what the typical Venezuelan family of our times worries about on a daily basis. Food to put on the table and the safety of their children. They wake up in the morning wondering how many meals they can afford that day, where to get them from, and how to pay for them.

That’s putting in mildly.

It’s a far cry from what Westerners experience:

We, the lucky ones to live in a relatively free-market system, don’t have these kinds of worries. We go to work, get leisure time to be on Facebook, watch TV, be with our families, read books, and enjoy a hobby or two. In short, we have the personal freedom to engage in and enjoy a variety of life events because of capitalism.

But there’s another important motive to desire to live in a capitalist society. We are free to create and come up with all kinds of business ideas, no matter how crazy some might be. Because we don’t have to worry about tomorrow, we have—or make—the time to read, explore, and innovate.

Capitalism makes it possible for us to challenge ourselves, to have goals, and to put forth the sweat to achieve them. It gives us the freedom to try new things and explore new opportunities. It gives us the chance to create more opportunities. It helps us build strong character because when we try, we also fail, and without failure, how do we know we’ve made mistakes? Without failure, how do we know we must make changes?

I agree with her conclusion:

Aside from better economic and legislative policies, what America needs is a more intense appreciation of individual freedom and capitalism. Such a crazy idea is not acquired through public schools or becoming a public servant. Young people don’t need more years of schooling with more worthless college degrees and student loans in default. America needs more entrepreneurs and businessmen. It needs more people with drive and ambition, more self-starters, more innovators, more people who are willing to take chances.

The same is true in other Western countries, too.

I am deeply concerned about our education systems, whether they be in the US, UK, France or elsewhere. Almost all educators are left-wing to varying degrees. They teach students that big government is the only means of survival for the ‘poor’.

Very few Europeans classified as ‘poor’ actually are, by the way. Most are on the dole and have modern conveniences in their council flats along with plenty of junk food.

I pray that none of our nations ends up like Venezuela, which, in the 1970s and 1980s was a thriving nation. Now the best and brightest have fled the chaos, understandably. How and when that country’s troubles end, no one knows.

As I mentioned in my July 4 post, last Saturday — June 29, 2019 — journalist Andy Ngo was seriously injured in a melée in Portland, Oregon. He is suffering from a brain haemorrhage.

Incredibly, no one in mainstream media has said much about this attack. Andy Ngo’s ‘crime’ is that he is a gay conservative.

In a short video, Stefan Molyneux explains that Antifa, Ngo’s alleged attackers, fit in the Communist mould of ‘sociopathy’, whereby any political opponents must be destroyed. Molyneux points out that Communist regimes around the world have slaughtered 250 million people over the years:

Incredibly, he got quite a few sceptical comments and denials to his tweet.

However, he is correct.

Michelle Malkin has a long Twitter thread with photos from the day’s events in Portland. They are painful to view, so I’m only going to post a few. It is hard to believe that such things are going on a) in the United States and b) with police passivity. What these attackers are doing is criminal.

He was not the only one injured that day. So was this man:

Ngo writes for a number of publications and is an editor at Quillette, which is a free-thinking multi-media magazine. On June 30, his colleagues wrote an article about his attack, ‘Antifa’s Brutal Assault on Andy Ngo Is a Wake-Up Call — for Authorities and Journalists Alike’. I highly recommend it.

Excerpts follow, emphases mine.

The article’s first paragraph ends with a reference to Communism:

as Bolshevik theorist Nikolai Bukharin put it, “In revolution, he will be victorious who cracks the other’s skull.”

Quillette describes their colleague, pointing out the irony in the attack:

Andy Ngo is an elfin, soft-spoken man. He also happens to be the gay son of Vietnamese immigrants—salient details, given Antifa’s absurd slogans about smashing the heteronormative white supremacist patriarchy.

The article reminds readers that Antifa also forced Milo Yiannopoulos to cancel a talk at Berkeley in 2017. Milo is also gay. He is British and has a black boyfriend. Again, his crime is that he is a conservative gay.

The article explains:

the reason Antifa activists were so eager to beat up our colleague Andy Ngo, a Portland resident who has been relentless in exposing the true face of Antifa. They attacked him for the simple reason that he has challenged their ideological propaganda—an Antifa tactic that any true fascist would recognize and applaud.

It points out that media attention is focussed on ‘far right’ groups, but never those on the left, like Antifa:

But this attitude of vigilance must be broadened to include all radical groups. It shouldn’t require an actual fatality to goad Portland’s mayor and police into real action. Surely, a brain hemorrhage should be enough.

We also are hoping that our fellow journalists might awaken from the delusion that Antifa is a well-intentioned band of anti-fascists with a few bad apples sullying the cause. As Quillette reported last month, a simple statistical study serves to show that the journalists who cover Antifa most often and most energetically have turned their outlets into pro-Antifa propaganda organs. Indeed, this bias is so entrenched that some left-wing media responded to our report not with introspection, but with paranoid and maudlin claims that Quillette and its authors must be secretly in league with Antifa’s fascist enemies. One might hope that the brutality inflicted on one of Quillette’s editors will help disabuse them of such conspiracy theories.

Also:

These are the same people who would (rightly) respond with howls of outrage if a journalist were assaulted by right-wing protestors. And it is appalling that anyone in our industry would excuse violence against a journalist on the basis of political orientation.

The article concludes as follows:

We wish our colleague Andy Ngo a speedy recovery. For more details about the attack he endured, interested readers can follow him on Twitter at @MrAndyNgo. Although we lament his ordeal, we salute his journalistic courage in exposing a movement that seeks to crack skulls under cover of fighting fascism.

Amazingly, many of the 700+ comments defend not only Antifa but also violent crime against political opponents!

Fortunately, there are still some decent people in this world:

I pray that Andy makes a full recovery soon. I am still wrapping my head around the fact that such a vicious ‘milkshake’ assault even happened, let alone in the United States.

It’s always nice to see how history can evolve in a positive way.

A Conservative Treehouse reader posted the following tweet from the London-based History Lovers Club over the weekend (full photo here):

Look how time has moved on — in a good way — since The Red Iceberg appeared in 1960. Not only is there a reunified Germany, but Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia all joined the EU in 2004.

Freedom, rather than Communism, prevails.

Happy days!

This year, President Donald Trump is negotiating with Kim Jong Un of North Korea. South Korea is holding talks with the North in the hope of reunification. Eventually, these could break the hold that China has on North Korea. Who knows what effect that will have on China itself?

This could be the last known remaining copy of The Red Iceberg, published by the now defunct Impact Publications. It is on sale at mycomicshop.com for $699.95 plus an additional buyer’s premium of $21.

Mycomicshop.com says The Red Iceberg was a Catholic anti-Communist publication during the Cold War:

“We the People” back cover identifies this 1st version of this rare Catechetical Guild (Impact Publishing) Catholic anti-communist comic book. Cover price $0.10.

Other issues — Numbers 2 through 5 — have been sold. These are mycomicshop.com’s descriptions:

“Impact Press” back cover identifies this 2nd version of this rare Catechetical Guild (Impact Publishing) Catholic anti-communist comic book. Today you have to go to Cuba, China or a western university to find people dumb enough to still embrace communism, but when this comic book was published, the commies of the world were still a threat to democracy. Cover price $0.10.

“Explains Comic” back cover identifies this 3rd version of this rare Catechetical Guild (Impact Publishing) Catholic anti-communist comic book …

“Impact Press” with World Wide Secret Heart Program ad on the back cover identifies this 4th version of this rare Catechetical Guild (Impact Publishing) Catholic anti-communist comic book …

“Chicago Inter-Student Catholic Action” back cover identifies this 5th version of this rare Catechetical Guild (Impact Publishing) Catholic anti-communist comic book …

What a fascinating bit of history.

In sensible hands, comic books can be an easy means of sound teaching.

Maybe I can just squeak by with this, as a local eatery near us is advertising Valentine’s Day dinner specials through the weekend.

I saw Jamie Glazov’s Front Page article about Valentine’s Day on February 15: ‘Hating Valentine’s: Why Islamists and the Radical Left loathe the Day of Love’.

Glazov starts by giving a near-comprehensive review of penalties for and protests against celebrating Valentine’s Day in Muslim countries. I’ll let you read that in your own time.

The more puzzling aspect, which he explains nicely, is why the notionally tolerant Left don’t like February 14. Aren’t they the ones in favour of love?

Glazov tells us (emphases mine):

As an individual who spent more than a decade in academia, I was privileged to witness this war against Valentine’s Day up close and personal. Feminist icons like Jane Fonda, meanwhile, help lead the assault on Valentine’s Day in society at large. As David Horowitz has documented, Fonda has led the campaign to transform this special day into “V-Day” (“Violence against Women Day”) — which is, when it all comes down to it, a day of hate, featuring a mass indictment of men.

Why, oh why, oh why?

Because:

Islam and the radical Left both revile the notion of private love, a non-tangible and divine entity that draws individuals to each other and, therefore, distracts them from submitting themselves to a secular deity.

Valentine’s Day is a day of two people celebrating their love and devotion to each other — not to a collective or to a government regime. Therefore, opponents want it stopped.

Incidentally, I wrote about the St Valentines various and the traditions behind the day. The following post from 2015 discusses the different St Valentines, all of whom brought two people together in the name of love:

A bit of history about Valentine’s Day

The next post, from 2016, describes ancient traditions surrounding Valentine’s Day and the meaning of ‘x’, symbolic of the cross of St Andrew:

More history about Valentine’s Day

From its post-Lupercalian origin, Valentine’s Day has been about two people and their fidelity to each other.

This brings us neatly back to the present day and the totalitarian resistance — whether religious or socio-political — to the Day of Love.

Glazov explains:

The highest objective of both Islam and the radical Left is clear: to shatter the sacred intimacy that a man and a woman can share with one another, for such a bond is inaccessible to the order. History, therefore, demonstrates how Islam, like Communism, wages a ferocious war on any kind of private and unregulated love. In the case of Islam, the reality is epitomized in its monstrous structures of gender apartheid and the terror that keeps it in place. Indeed, female sexuality and freedom are demonized and, therefore, forced veiling, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, honor killings and other misogynist monstrosities become mandatory parts of the sadistic paradigm.

Totalitarian regimes are similar:

In Stalinist Russia, sexual pleasure was portrayed as unsocialist and counter-revolutionary. More recent Communist societies have also waged war on sexuality — a war that Islam, as we know, wages with similar ferocity. These totalist structures cannot survive in environments filled with self-interested, pleasure-seeking individuals who prioritize devotion to other individual human beings over the collective and the state. Because the leftist believer viscerally hates the notion and reality of personal love and “the couple,” he champions the enforcement of totalitarian puritanism by the despotic regimes he worships.

Some may say that the earliest Communists promoted promiscuity — and abortion. Yes, they did, but note that a) promiscuity violates tender, loving fidelity between two people and b) abortion prevents the fruit of that beautiful union.

Glazov goes on to discuss famous dystopian novels, each of which involves a totalitarian state that forbids love between two adults. HG Wells’s novels described the totalitarian atmosphere. A Russian literary editor and novelist, Yevgeny Zamyatin, who had edited translations of Wells’s works in Russian, was inspired to take the concepts further in his 1924 novel We, which the early Soviet government banned. Zamyatin’s novel describes a couple who experience devotion to each other. Because this is illegal, the protagonist D-503 must undergo the Great Operation, which deadens the parts of the brain dedicated to passion, imagination and, by extension, love. D-503’s lover O-90 gives birth to his child. O-90 cannot bear to give their child up to the state, so D-503 manages to get her and their child smuggled out of the state to safety.

We inspired other dystopian works, the most famous of which are Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984. Those also contain story lines of forbidden love.

Totalitarianism encourages promiscuity, but not faithful love. Religious totalitarianism values sexual segregation, but not mutual devotion:

And that is why love presents such a threat to the totalitarian order: it dares to serve itself. It is a force more powerful than the all-pervading fear that a totalitarian order needs to impose in order to survive. Leftist and Muslim social engineers, therefore, in their twisted and human-hating imaginations, believe that the road toward earthly redemption (under a classless society or Sharia) stands a chance only if private love and affection is purged from the human condition.

However, as we know, that is impossible. We are hard-wired to be like Adam and Eve. God created them so they could be loving, supportive companions who could create a family.

This brings us to the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Those of us who are old enough to remember recall slogans of ‘free love’ and so on. Various sexual positions, some of them non-procreational, were vaunted. If couples weren’t engaging in these, they were not ‘doing it right’. The Joy of Sex was a newlywed’s go-to book in the 1970s. Swingers’ clubs were popular amongst small segments of the middle class.

And, yes, there were swingers living near my home in the 1970s. My parents and I knew two. This middle-aged couple — second marriage for both, grown children — tried to recruit my parents. Mum and Dad were appalled. My mother tried to engage the couple in a philosophical discussion about the nature of love and marriage. Their response was, ‘Who needs it?’ Not surprisingly, they divorced and moved away within the year. If I remember rightly, the woman started cavorting with a fellow swinger and left her husband. He was very angry with her and changed his tune. ‘What happened to her fidelity to me?’ he asked my parents. Lesson learned? For him, yes. For her, it came afterwards when her swinger boyfriend dumped her. That was the last we heard of or about them.

The sexual revolution — still continuing today, with teenagers engaging in oral or copulative sex as if it were nothing — is something sensible people must resist. Sex education in schools is not designed to tell children about the birds and the bees in a biological way. It is intended to subvert the sanctity of married life and bringing children into the world.

During this same era, Bill Ayers — a longtime educator who goes on public speaking tours across America — was a radical who escaped a prison sentence on a technicality. You can read more about him here:

Obama friend Bill Ayers’s magnum opus: Prairie Fire

Obama friend Bill Ayers’s commitment to radicalism … and state education

He was one of the leaders of the Weather Underground, a group of violent radicals. Glazov tells us:

as Peter Collier and David Horowitz demonstrate in Destructive Generation, the Weather Underground not only waged war against American society through violence and mayhem, but also waged war on private love within its own ranks. Bill Ayers, one of the leading terrorists in the group, argued in a speech defending the campaign:

Any notion that people can have responsibility for one person, that they can have that ‘out’ — we have to destroy that notion in order to build a collective; we have to destroy all ‘outs,’ to destroy the notion that people can lean on one person and not be responsible to the entire collective.

That was at the time of the ‘free love’ sexual revolution in the late 1960s.

Similarly, promiscuity was the order of the day in communes, also popular then, whether large or small. Invariably, even though they started out with an egalitarian programme, all of them ended up with an alpha male leader who seduced the women in the group, creating a harem. Other men ended up being marginalised. Couples were fractured. People got hurt emotionally. Some required deep therapy to bring them back to a trusting, loving state of mind.

Although I digress somewhat, these vignettes from half a century ago tell us that we should be wary of deviating from a biblical norm when it comes to love.

Now to the present day. A bewildering series of protests have been taking place over the past few months. The most bemusing involve feminists veiling themselves as if they were Muslim. Why?

Glazov explains that totalitarian regimes rely on clothing that conceals one’s sexuality. Historically:

As sociologist Paul Hollander has documented in his classic Political Pilgrims, fellow travelers were especially enthralled with the desexualized dress that the Maoist regime imposed on its citizens. This at once satisfied the leftist’s desire for enforced sameness and the imperative of erasing attractions between private citizens. As I have demonstrated in United in Hate, the Maoists’ unisex clothing finds its parallel in fundamentalist Islam’s mandate for shapeless coverings to be worn by both males and females. The collective “uniform” symbolizes submission to a higher entity and frustrates individual expression, mutual physical attraction, and private connection and affection. And so, once again, the Western leftist remains not only uncritical, but completely supportive of — and enthralled in — this form of totalitarian puritanism.

With regard to today’s female protesters:

This is precisely why leftist feminists today do not condemn the forced veiling of women in the Islamic world; because they support everything that forced veiling engenders.

As Glazov points out, even European law enforcement officers have been advising women to cover up so they won’t be targets of immigrant Muslim men.

Before I conclude, it is essential at this point to offer documented proof that, 40 years ago, Muslim women — except for those out in the sticks — wore normal Western clothing. I wrote about this in 2015 with loads of links to photographs:

From the modern to the mediaeval in 40 years

Today, I saw two more items relating to Muslim women’s attire during that time. Rare Historical Photos has a good piece, ‘Women protesting forced hijab days after the Iranian Revolution, 1979’. Here’s an unrelated tweet from someone too young, perhaps, to know what I remember from my youth:

Glazov concludes that:

Valentine’s Day is a “shameful day” for the Muslim world and for the radical Left. It is shameful because private love is considered obscene, since it threatens the highest of values: the need for a totalitarian order to attract the complete and undivided attention, allegiance and veneration of every citizen. Love serves as the most lethal threat to the tyrants seeking to build Sharia and a classless utopia on earth, and so these tyrants yearn for the annihilation of every ingredient in man that smacks of anything that it means to be human …

This day reminds us that we have a weapon, the most powerful arsenal on the face of the earth, in front of which despots and terrorists quiver and shake, and sprint from in horror into the shadows of darkness, desperately avoiding its piercing light.

That arsenal is love

Love will prevail.

Long Live Valentine’s Day.

With work schedules and business trips such as they are, some readers might be celebrating a Valentine’s weekend. I wish you a very happy time. May it be love-filled today and always.

Hundreds of thousands of people attended the March for Life in Washington, DC on Friday, January 27, 2017. This year’s theme was ‘The Power of One’.

Local Marches for Life took place around the nation, and a Marche pour la Vie in France attracted tens of thousands of people.

The exact number of participants in Washington is not yet known. However, that is unimportant.

For the first time, a vice president addressed the pro-life crowd. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W Bush telephoned in to the march during their tenure but never appeared in person.

Mike Pence said, in part:

I’m deeply humbled to stand before you today. I’m deeply humbled to be the first vice president of the United States to ever have the privilege to attend this historic event.

More than 240 years ago, our founders wrote words that have echoed through the ages.

They declared these truths to be self-evident that we are, all of us, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

44 years ago, our Supreme Court turned away from the first of these timeless ideals.

But today, three generations hence, because of all of you, and the many thousands that stand with us in marches like this all across the nation, life is winning again in America.

That is evident in the election of pro-life majorities and the Congress of the United States of America. But it is no more evident, in any way, than in the historic election of a president who stands for a stronger America, a more prosperous America, and a president who, I proudly say, stands for the right to life – President Donald Trump.

President Trump actually asked me to be here with you today. He asked me to thank you for your support, for your stand for life, and for your compassion for the women and children of America.

President Donald Trump could not attend. He held a meeting and press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May. However, he sent this message:

Another speaker at the event, Christian talk-show host Eric Metaxas, explained Trump’s position to The Atlantic:

He’s been shockingly, and perhaps even ironically, the most pro-life president in the history of the republic. He is widely perceived as being anything but a social conservative. Somebody who has had three wives and who has been pro-choice most of his life … is not the kind of person you would expect to advocate for the unborn. But he’s 70 years old. I think he has a sense of the weight of his new position.

The Atlantic article also stated:

In just his first week, Trump has signaled that he will be loyal to the pro-life movement, whose members arguably helped him carry the White House. The March for Life showed that he’s not just amenable to pro-life policies—he’s aligning his White House with the culture of the pro-life movement, as well.

Trump’s senior counsellor Kellyanne Conway — the first woman to ever manage a winning presidential campaign in the United States — also spoke. Conway turned 50 on Inauguration Day. She is a married mother of four. Despite her hectic work schedule and responsibilities, she loves when her children call her ‘mommy’. None dare call this fearless woman — who gives interviews that male Trump advisers won’t — a feminist!

She told the crowd:

I am a wife, a mother, a Catholic, Counselor to the president of the United States of America and, yes, I am pro-life.

It is such an honor to stand with the vice president of the United States. And with so many leaders, families and students from places near and far, to defend the unborn. Your courage, your conviction, your resolve and your faith are impressive and consequential. This is a new day, a new dawn for life …

It is no coincidence that the first right cited in the Declaration of Independence is the right to life. It is a right. It is not a privilege. It is not a choice. It is God-given. It is unique and it is beautiful. This dismissive notion of out of sight, out of mind is over.

Science and medicine have joined religion and morality in causing many Americans to rethink just how fragile and how triumphant human life truly is.

Other speakers included Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Rep. Mia Love (R-UT), Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Benjamin Watson, Tight End for the Baltimore Ravens, Abby Johnson, Former Planned Parenthood Director and founder of “And Then There Were None”, Karyme Lozano, Mexican telenovela star, and Bishop Vincent Mathews Jr., President at Church of God In Christ World Missions.

Look — no Democrats.

Mia Love said:

Every time we kill a child, all of us suffer. We lose a little of ourselves and a whole lot of our future. We strip a child from their God-given potential when we, as a society, accept abortion as health care. My fellow Americans, we cannot accept what might have been. We won’t know what might have been if we allow an organization to convince our pregnant women that they have no choice but to abort the life and the potential within them.

The night before, Pence met with pro-life leaders:

Earlier on Thursday, LifeNews.com reported that Trump bashed the media, predicting little to no coverage of the march:

Trump first slammed the media in an interview with ABC News. Then today during his address to the Republican Leadership Retreat, Trump said that the March for Life will have hundreds of thousands of people but the mainstream media will barely cover it if it all.

“You know, the press never gives them the credit that they deserve. They’ll have three hundred, four hundred, five hundred, six hundred thousand people, you won’t even read about it,” he said …

“When other people show up, you read big-time about it, right?” Trump asked the crowd, referring to the pro-abortion Women’s March …

Trump also defended his decision to sign the Mexico City Policy, defunding International Planned Parenthood.

March for Life president Jeanne Mancini dismissed queries about crowd size. LifeNews.com reported (emphases mine below):

Mancini immediately dismissed any comparison to last week’s Women’s March on Washington, saying that the organizers were not concerned with crowd size or likes on social networks. Instead, Mancini said that the only number that she was concerned about was abortion’s death toll over the 44 years since the Roe vs. Wade decision.

“The only number I care about, and the only number that we all care about is – 58 million. Since 1973, 58 million Americans have died as a result of abortion. We stand here today for them – for the little innocent children who have lost their lives to abortion. We also stand here for the mothers who regret their abortion decision.”

I remember back in 1973 when women who supported Roe v Wade told me that very few women would seek abortions. I wonder what they think now that the number of aborted American babies is the size of a nation.

(We also have a figure in the tens of millions here in the UK.)

Now times are changing.

The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue wrote ‘March for Life Scares Death Industry’, which is an excellent article. Donohue says that Trump is sure to appoint a Supreme Court Justice who is pro-life. Last week:

the House passed a bill introduced by Rep. Chris Smith ensuring that the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal abortion funding, will be made permanent, thus vitiating the need for annual reapproval; the bill now goes to the Senate for a vote. On January 12, Rep. Steve King introduced a House bill that would ban an abortion after the baby’s heartbeat is detected.

He says that some states are also rethinking abortion:

Last year, Louisiana passed seven new laws restricting abortion. Texas introduced 17 new civil rights laws protecting children in the womb, and 2017 will see at least some of them enacted.

Kentucky just passed two pro-life laws, one of which bans abortions after 20 weeks. Just this month, lawmakers in Florida, New Mexico and Tennessee introduced bills that would also ban abortions after 20 weeks; New Jersey filed a similar bill last month. Moreover, Missouri legislators refiled 14 pro-life bills this month. And Iowa is considering a bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

Another worthwhile article is at American Thinker. ‘Obama and the Marxist/Communist View of Marriage and Abortion’, which appeared in 2012, is less about him than it is left-wing history from the 19th and 20th centuries, from Marx through to American communists in the 1950s. An excerpt follows:

The Bolsheviks advocated abortion.  It was one of the first things they legalized.  By the early 1920s, Bolshevik Russia had the most liberal abortion policies in the world.  And what happened?  Just like divorce, abortion exploded.  In fact, the proliferation in abortions was so bad that it shocked even Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger during a trip to Russia in 1934.  By the 1970s, when America was just getting around to legalizing abortion, the Soviet Union was averaging over 7 million abortions per year — dwarfing the very worst rates in America post-Roe v. WadeThe direct effect of this on the Russian population has been staggering.

For the record, Russia’s horrific abortion rates are common in communist countries, which to this day lead the world in abortions.

Marx, to my knowledge, did not deal with abortion — to think he would in the mid-19th century is unrealistic.  However, his disciples in the international communist movement a century later certainly did — including here in America.  To cite just one example, Whittaker Chambers noted how abortion “was a commonplace of Party life.”  He honestly and painfully wrote about his wife’s first pregnancy, when she had to plead for the life of their unborn child.  The blessed birth of that child changed Chambers completely, particularly regarding his views on God.  Interestingly, the termination of an unborn life was no mystery to Chambers’ nemesis, Alger Hiss.  Hiss’s wife, Priscilla, who aided him in his treason, had an abortion before she met him (for the record, it devastated her).

A final article worth reading on the subject is ‘Marxism and Abortion’, which recaps a 1988 article by an Australian Communist, Rebecca Albury, for The Tribune, the official newspaper for the Communist Party of Australia. It explains much of why Communists see no value in family. Excerpts follow, so please be sure to read all of it:

A Marxist believes that personality and human value are imparted by the external and economic environment, not by any inherent spiritual value, or even by biological processes.

The humanity of the fetus depends upon how the mother perceives the “social relationship” that exists between them. If the mother desires to keep the baby, then she “fantasizes” it into becoming a human being. But, if she does not want the pregnancy, “it is something else entirely.” Her opinion of the fetus thereby denies it of personhood.

According to Albury, “Material conditions of life change, and so do moral values.” This means that, to a Marxist, the unborn baby may be a human being for a time, but may then become depersonified and rendered ‘pre-human,’ all because his or her mother began to think differently about him or her.

That’s incredible. I now better understand how Communist regimes can go on killing sprees. They do not look at fellow human beings but rather at what they perceive as depersonalised objects.

This particularly struck me, because we Westerners have been pounded with this egregious message since the 1960s:

Material conditions of life change, and so do moral values.

Parents and church leaders would do well to make sure that youngsters in their care or congregations understand the background to modern immorality, abortion and the people who have supported both throughout modern history.

Posts over the past two days have looked at Communist influences in the Catholic Church. See Sunday’s and Monday’s — ‘Liberation theology — part 1’.

Before I start, this post explains how liberation theology spread widely in parts of the world.

This does not mean that there were never any Communist or Marxist influences in the Church before then. There were several:

The origins of ‘social justice’ — you might be surprised

Communism and the Protestant ‘social gospel’ — a long history

The left-wing origins of ‘What would Jesus do?’

The heresy of Modernism explained simply

Modernist thought and rhetoric influence our world

The heresy of Modernism — seriously

Modernism: 1922 illustration proven true a century later

SHOCK: Communist Catholic clergy and Vatican II – Agent AA-1025’s story

Communist infiltration of the Church – introduction — Protestant infiltration; social justice; Catholic Agent AA-1025

Insight into Communist infiltration of Catholic Church – Jesuit agents; destroying parishoners’ faith

The curious Vatican omerta on Communist infiltration – Pope Paul VI, Vatican agents, Vatican II

More on Communist infiltration of the Catholic Church – seminaries, parishes with sleeper agents

La nouvelle théologie — heretical menace to Catholics and Protestants

With that out of the way, let’s look at how the KGB masterminded propaganda to help spread liberation theology throughout Latin and South America.

On May 1, 2015, the CNA — Catholic News Agency — published an interview with Ion Mihai Pacepa, a Romanian dissident who defected to the United States in the 1970s. Pacepa was the highest-ranking defector that decade.

Pacepa spent his career up to then as general for Communist Romania’s secret police.

What follows are excerpts and a summary of what he said about liberation theology — a concept from the KGB which is now, as planned, a basic way of thinking for millions in Central and South America. Emphases mine below.

In the 1950s, Pacepa worked for Soviet General Aleksandr Sakharovsky, communist Romania’s chief razvedka (foreign intelligence) adviser. In 1956, Sakharovsky was promoted. He became the head of:

the Soviet espionage service, the PGU1,  a position he held for an unprecedented record of 15 years.

On October 26, 1959, Sakharovsky was working for Nikita Khrushchev. Pacepa says that the two went to Romania which, in Soviet eyes, was a Latin country (linguistic reasons). It was notionally a six-day vacation for Khrushchev, his first of such a long duration, however, as Pacepa explains:

Khrushchev wanted to go down in history as the Soviet leader who had exported communism to Central and South America. Romania was the only Latin country in the Soviet bloc, and Khrushchev wanted to enroll her “Latin leaders” in his new “liberation” war.

It was difficult for the Catholic News Agency journalist to research Sakharovsky. Pacepa replied that he was one of many KGB agents during the height of the Cold War who went undetected by Western and Israeli intelligence. That said:

Sakharovsky played an extremely important role in shaping Cold War history. He authored the export of communism to Cuba (1958-1961); his nefarious handling of the Berlin crisis (1958-1961) generated the Berlin Wall; his Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

As for liberation theology, Pacepa stated:

The movement was born in the KGB, and it had a KGB-invented name: Liberation Theology.

The KGB enjoyed creating ‘liberation’ movements, including these:

The National Liberation Army of Columbia (FARC), created by the KGB with help from Fidel Castro; the National Liberation Army of Bolivia, created by the KGB with help from “Che” Guevara; and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), created by the KGB with help from Yasser Arafat are just a few additional “liberation” movements born at the Lubyanka — the headquarters of the KGB.

Liberation theology started the year after Sakharovsky and Khrushchev visited Romania. They worked quickly, didn’t they? This part is very important:

The birth of Liberation Theology was the intent of a 1960 super-secret “Party-State Dezinformatsiya Program” … This program demanded that the KGB take secret control of the World Council of Churches (WCC), based in Geneva, Switzerland, and use it as cover for converting Liberation Theology into a South American revolutionary tool. The WCC was the largest international ecumenical organization after the Vatican, representing some 550 million Christians of various denominations throughout 120 countries.

It sounds like a somewhat impossible goal. However, Pacepa explains that, in order to accomplish it, the KGB created an intermediary organisation, the Christian Peace Conference (CPC), headquartered in Prague:

The new Christian Peace Conference was managed by the KGB and was subordinated to the venerable World Peace Council, another KGB creation, founded in 1949 and by then also headquartered in Prague.

Pacepa said he managed the Romanian operations of the World Peace Council:

It was as purely KGB as it gets. Most of the WPC’s employees were undercover Soviet bloc intelligence officers … Even the money for the WPC budget came from Moscow, delivered by the KGB in the form of laundered cash dollars to hide their Soviet origin. In 1989, when the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse, the WPC publicly admitted that 90% of its money came from the KGB3.

By 1968, the Christian Peace Conference was bearing fruit and:

was able to maneuver a group of leftist South American bishops into holding a Conference of Latin American Bishops at Medellin, Colombia. The Conference’s official task was to ameliorate poverty. Its undeclared goal was to recognize a new religious movement encouraging the poor to rebel against the “institutionalized violence of poverty,” and to recommend the new movement to the World Council of Churches for official approval.

The Medellin Conference achieved both goals. It also bought the KGB-born name “Liberation Theology.”

Pacepa thinks there was probably some active connection between the KGB and the most prolific authors of liberation theology books, but he has no concrete evidence. Yet:

I recently glanced through [Gustavo] Gutierrez’s book A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, Salvation (1971), and I had the feeling that it was written at the Lubyanka. No wonder he is now credited with being the founder of Liberation Theology. From feelings to facts, however, is a long way.

Moral of the story: stick to the Gospel message as related in Scripture.

There are a lot of useful idiots, to borrow a Soviet expression, who have been drawn in by liberation theology, including prominent clergy. As a layperson, don’t be duped into feeling guilty for being a struggling member of the middle class who, in their eyes, has too much but, in reality, is just trying to have enough to live on.

The call for service is another aspect of this. Note that it’s not service to poor or otherwise needy members of your congregation but service to ‘the poor’, a general term encompassing much. Take care of your own congregation’s needs first, then exercise outreach to others.

—————————————————————————

In closing, after I wrote this post I read the comments to the CNA article. They were incredible. Many commenters did not believe what Pacepa said.

More fools they.

It is now understandable how Obama could have won two terms.

It is worse how none of these Catholics knows church history, especially from 120 years ago.

Please pray for these people.

May God grant them the grace and the Holy Spirit the discernment to recognise their error, through Jesus Christ our Lord, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

Yesterday’s post discussed the increasing influence of Communist thought among Catholic clergy.

Today’s post continues the theme with an introduction to the proliferation of liberation theology. Tomorrow’s post looks at its Communist origins.

What follows below are excerpts and a summary of an article on Bear Witness, ‘Pope Francis, Barack Obama, Raúl Castro, and the Liberation Theology’. It’s an excellent exploration of the subject from 2015. Emphases mine below.

The Revd Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann:

was minister of Foreign Relations in the communist Sandinista regime of Nicaragua and also president of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

At the time, Pope John Paul II requested that he leave politics and return full time to the priesthood. D’Escoto refused to do so. Consequently:

In 1984, his Holiness Pope John Paul II punished Miguel D’Escoto for refusing to get out of politics and did not allow him to officiate masses or offer sacraments.

D’Escoto is a big supporter of liberation theology. He is also a Maryknoll priest.

The Maryknoll order is based in New York State. During my childhood, their priests and nuns did marvellous missionary work all over the world. I learned to read partly from perusing their monthly magazine at my mother’s suggestion. By the time I was at university in the late 1970s, my mother and I noticed the tone of the magazine was changing. The order was becoming steeped in liberation theology. My mother stopped donating to them in the 1980s. She couldn’t stand reading the magazine any more. She missed the real mission stories about schools, child care, hospitals and, most importantly, new Christians happy in the Gospel message. Maryknoll had become too political and somewhat anti-American. In fact, Bear Witness tells us:

Some Maryknoll nuns have supported and fought with communist guerrillas.

Returning to D’Escoto, in 2014, Pope Francis lifted John Paul II’s sanctions, allowing him to say Mass and perform other sacerdotal duties. The Bear Witness article says (emphases mine):

By taking this unwise action Pope Francis sent the wrong message of tolerance and acceptance to all the communists within the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, many now believe that Pope Francis sympathizes with the Marxist liberation theology of the Church.

Yep.

So:

After the punishment was lifted by Pope Francis, the communist priest Miguel d’Escoto immediately attacked the late Saint Pope John Paul II for “an abuse of authority.”

D’Escoto also said that Cuba’s then-líder máximo was divinely inspired:

Fidel Castro is a messenger of the Holy Spirit in “the necessity of struggle” to establish “the reign of God on this earth that is the alternative to the empire.”

Never mind that:

Totalitarian dictators Fidel and his brother Raúl Castro were responsible for assassinating 14,000 Cuban patriots, jailing over 300,000, and forcing tens of thousands to leave Cuba in rafts and small boats with an estimated 80,000 perish at sea trying to reach Florida. The serial assassin Fidel Castro is the messenger of the devil!

D’Escoto is now 82 years old. Surprisingly, perhaps, he was born in the United States. He was ordained in New York in 1961. Some years later:

He became one of the strongest proponents of the Marxist liberation theology. He collaborated with the National Sandinista Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional).

After the coming to power of the Sandinista dictator Daniel Ortega, the communist priest was named Minister of Foreign Relations. When Miguel d’Escoto became President of the United Nations General Assembly, he chose a communist, Howard Zinn, as his personal assistant. Zinn is the author of a communist textbook, A People’s History of the United States, which is used in many universities across the United States by socialist professors.

Howard Zinn as his personal assistant. Hmm.

Ortega is a great ally of Cuba. He also supports a network of Latin and South American countries that are members of:

the communist association ALBA, which was founded by the late Venezuelan communist dictator Hugo Chávez. The extreme radical political parties from these nations as well as those from Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina joined the Foro de São Paulo (FSP; English: São Paulo Forum) with the intent of working with Cuba, China, and Russia to bring communism to Latin America. It was launched by the extreme radical Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores – PT) of Brazil in 1990 in the city of São Paulo.

The São Paulo Forum continues today and has held its conferences in the capitals of most Latin and South American countries with a wide participation from:

more than 100 parties and political organizations … Their political positions vary across a wide spectrum. These political groups include communist parties, armed guerrilla forces, social–democratic parties, extreme radical labor and social movements inspired by the theology of liberation of the Catholic Church, and anti-imperialist and nationalist organizations. For many years, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC as is known in Spanish) met with the other radical leftist parties. Since 2005, the FARC had been not been allowed to participate.

But who among us has heard of the São Paulo Forum? Should we be concerned?

Ever since FSP’s first meeting (1990), the approved Declaration expressed the participants’ “willingness to renew leftist and socialist thought…” Hardly any Americans are aware of the danger to our national security present … by the Forum of São Paulo. Obama certainly is not going to tell the nation as he most likely sympathizes with the Marxist[s] and socialist[s] who belong to this anti-American anti-western organization.

There is no convincing leftist Christians (an oxymoron) that liberation theology goes against the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament.

In Jesus’s time, there were Zealots — a fringe Jewish group — willing to take up arms against Rome. In fact, Barabbas was thought to be a Zealot. Who did the crowd cry out in favour of on Good Friday? The mob thought that the Zealots could deliver Israel from oppression. That is not what Jesus came for. He came to deliver us from the oppression of sin and bring us to life everlasting.

Like the Zealots, the liberation theology supporters have forgotten that essential message of truth and light. Let’s make sure we don’t fall into their trap.

Tomorrow: the origin of liberation theology

j0313874Something is very wrong with the Catholic Church.

Something has been very wrong with it for decades, but only with the current pope is the rot becoming clear.

The spotlight is shining not only on him but also on renegade clergy. Yes, the Catholics have always had renegade clergy. (So have many Protestant denominations.) However, more and more are coming out of the woodwork, perhaps feeling ‘liberated’ in some sense by Pope Francis.

The following example comes from a former (?) Catholic, Daren Jonescu, who writes for The American Thinker. I commend his ‘Catholics and Communists’ article to everyone. He cites a Catholic priest from South Korea (emphases mine):

South Korea recently observed the third anniversary of the North Korean artillery attack against Yeonpyeong, an inhabited island which was the staging ground for a South Korean military exercise. The attack killed four South Koreans, including two civilians, and wounded many others. The Sunday before this anniversary, a senior Catholic priest, Park Chang-shin, gave a sermon in which he went all-out Jeremiah Wright [in damning his homeland, Wright being Obama’s former pastor]:

What should North Korea do if South Korea-U.S. military exercises are being carried out near the problematic NLL [Northern Limit Line, a UN-drawn maritime border]? North Korea needs to open fire. That was the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island.

“North Korea needs to open fire”? This statement was part of a general campaign by the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (which comprises roughly half of Korea’s priesthood) against President Park Geun-hye’s ruling Saenuri Party. The CPAJ, active since South Korea’s pro-democracy movement picked up steam in the 1970s, is essentially a leftist anti-war group promoting Korean reunification through appeasement of the communists, as evidenced by its two main platform items: opposition to sanctions against the North, and opposition to the South’s “National Security Law,” which in theory outlaws communism and Marxist activism, and is therefore vehemently opposed by all organizations sympathetic to the North.

In response, a member of the Saenuri Party enjoined the Catholic Church to discipline its pro-North Korean priests. Needless to say, the Church will do no such thing.

Jonescu says that the Catholic Church is wrapped up in social justice aspects of Marxism and Communism. While the Church must reject the atheism of both, they have latched on not only to social justice but also to economic redistribution and the condemnation of financial security on moral grounds. Those dubious moral grounds are quickly becoming part of Catholic theology.

The Catholic Church is turning ever leftwards and this is overshadowing the Gospel message. Jonescu says most of the hierarchy — wherever they are in the world — are socialist and some clearly Marxist.

The pope has railed about:

The “new tyranny,” that of the pursuit of wealth, is “invisible and virtual”; and its only remedy is “state control,” i.e., visible and real tyranny. Pope Francis promotes the standard false dichotomy that has propelled progressivism forward for more than a century: the “uncontrolled free market” (a Marxist straw man if ever there was one) allegedly consolidates wealth among the few, while state controls (which are supposedly lacking) would allow the disadvantaged majority to rise. This dichotomy is, and always has been, a ruse to hide the truth: progressives regulate and distort the economy to protect their power, wealth, and privilege and to limit opportunity for potential challengers, and then they seize on the stagnation they have caused to launch populist appeals for even more restrictive and redistributive economic regulations, to further entrench their untouchable pre-eminence. (Take a good look at who supported, funded, and led the fight for the creation of compulsory schools, central banks, progressive taxation, socialized healthcare, and all the rest of the mechanisms of benevolent “control” throughout the prosperous West. Hint: it wasn’t the poor.)

Any decent Catholic clergy who disagree with the Left are marginalised, Jonescu says. He concludes:

The Catholic Church is no more defensible than any other institution that continues, against all historical evidence, reason, and decency, to embrace and defend — whether tacitly or openly — the politics of mass envy, of collectivist authoritarianism, of coercive redistribution of the fruits of men’s labor, and of the practical denial of the basic right of self-determination that ought to be at the core of a Catholic teaching that upholds the dignity of every living soul.

As the pope’s Year of Mercy draws to a close, notice that he spoke a lot about welcoming uninvited and illegal migrants. Europe is paying a deadly price for the tidal wave of millions coming in over the past few years.

It is unfortunate that his Year of Mercy did not extend to persecuted Christians. Maybe they were not on message enough with Marxism.

Canisius College, named after Counter-Reformation leader St Peter Canisius, is located in Buffalo, New York. It is a Jesuit institution of higher learning, founded in 1870.

One of their professors is Dr René De la Pedraja, who has been teaching there since 1989. His speciality is Latin America. He lived in the region for 20 years, mostly in Colombia and Cuba.

On Monday, November 28, 2016, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson interviewed De la Pedraja for his views on Fidel Castro’s death. This is a must-see interview in which, among other things, the professor claims that Cuba under Fidel symbolised freedom.

He says that Castro cracked down on dissidents because they were doctors educated for free who wanted to move overseas to earn more money. Other than that, there was no political oppression. When Carlson pressed him about refugees fleeing any way they could manage, the professor said those people were bored with their wives and families, nothing more. What he says is so absurd, it has to be heard to be believed.

Carlson is a great interviewer, far from the usual Big Media type. He is not afraid to disagree with crackpots. According to people who watch his show regularly, he seeks out leftists and asks them all the questions sensible people would ask. He gives no quarter, but does it conversationally.

At the end of the interview about Castro, he had this exchange with the professor:

Carlson: Well, Cuba is a hellhole. That’s why nobody moves there.

Professor: I’d have to disagree with you.

Carlson: Well, you’re still here, so I doubt that.

On a similar note, here’s a great graphic:

https://i1.wp.com/cdn.acidcow.com/pics/20120605/extremely_funny_graphs_and_charts_08.jpg

 

What a week and it’s only Tuesday! Lots of news to cover in the days ahead.

On Monday, November 28, 2016, Cardinal Joseph Zen, a former bishop of Hong Kong, warned that Pope Francis:

may not know the Communist persecutors who have killed hundreds of thousands.

The Guardian reported that the Pope is working on an agreement whereby Chinese officials could have a hand in approving Catholic bishops.

Zen criticised the move, pointing out that it would be:

a surrender

and

betraying Jesus Christ.

Zen made his remarks at the Salesian English School in Hong Kong, where, at age 84, he is still a teacher. He added:

Maybe the pope is a little naive, he doesn’t have the background to know the Communists in China. The pope used to know the persecuted Communists [in Latin America], but he may not know the Communist persecutors who have killed hundreds of thousands.

It’s amazing that anyone the Pope’s age would not know the statistics and nature of Chinese Communists, but perhaps the Cardinal was being charitable.

Currently, Chinese Catholics are free to worship at state-approved churches. The state-controlled China Catholic Patriotic Association appoints their bishops.

However, an underground network of Catholic churches also exists, thought to attract many more Catholics than the state churches.

Why does the Vatican seek this new agreement? Zen explained:

With “fake freedom” under a proposed deal, priests could more easily preach and more churches would open, Zen predicted, but “it’s only the impression of freedom, it’s not real freedom, the people sooner or later will see the bishops are puppets of the government and not really the shepherds of the flock.”

“The official bishops are not really preaching the gospel,” Zen added “They are preaching obedience to Communist authority.”

That brings to mind the warning from Jeremiah about leading one’s flock astray. The Pope and clergy agreeing with him on this subject might have a lot to answer for one day.

Oddly, some Chinese Catholics welcome the proposed Vatican agreement, still under negotiation for the foreseeable future:

“If they could really strike a deal, not only would us Catholics be happy, but all of the Chinese people should rejoice,” said Zhao, 36, who has been a Catholic for 20 years and works at the oldest Catholic church in China, close to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. He declined to give his full name because of the sensitivity of discussing religion.

“Chinese society needs faith right now,” he added, saying a warming of ties would increase the number of Catholics, “which is a benefit to all society”.

The Guardian says that China has an estimated 10m Catholics and 90m Protestants. The New York Times gives a more conservative estimate of 60m Christians.

Protestant churches are also required to be registered with the Chinese state and operate within government rules.

Unregistered Protestant churches are actively vandalised by the state:

a recent campaign by authorities in eastern China has seen more than 1,200 crosses removed from buildings and churches demolished.

The New York Times has more on vandalism and arrests concerning the Salvation Church and the Living Stone Church, both of which are unregistered and deemed to be dangerous to the state.

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