Monday, September 07, 2015

What could a Marxist possibly like about traditional Catholicism?!

The story of Dale Vree, founding editor of New Oxford Review, needs to be told again and shared abroad. The latest example is evidently found in John Beaumont's The Mississippi Flows Into the Tiber: A Guide to Notable American Converts to the Catholic Church(Fidelity Press, 2014), a tome weighing in at 1,013 pages. In the latest issue of New Oxford Review, now under the amply capable management of his son, Pieter, the elder Vree's story is briefly rehearsed as a thumbnail sketch in a review by Barbara E. Rose. She writes:
... Dale Vree, editor emeritus of this magazine, came through the civil-rights and peace movements, and Marxism-Leninism [and a period of living in the former East Germany], before landing in the Church. In Catholicism, Vree "could emphatically affirm both the rights of labor and the ancient creeds, reject both abortion and the use of nuclear weapons, affirm both lifelong marriage and the dignity of the poor, reject both laissez-faire capitalism and do-your-own-thing morals."

Another telling example touched upon is the Jamaican-American writer and poet Claude McKay. Rose writes:
Harlem Renaissance poet and writer Claude McKay for a time professed communism and atheism but came to believe in God and to love Catholicism. In the March 1946 issue of Ebony, the newly converted McKay warned black Americans to beware "the materialistic Protestant god of progress," and he called the Church "the greatest stabilizing force in the world today -- standing as a bulwark against all the wild and purely materialistic 'isms' that are sweeping the world."

Just a couple of details, maybe; but I know it was the little things, the tiny clues to the meaning of things, which helped me along my way, initially, toward the Church.

1 comment:

Robert Allen said...

Been there, done that. Capitalism is evil indeed, the driving force of Protestantism, as shown by Belloc. But Marx does not lovingly beckon the proletariat: 'Come to me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.' Matthew 11:28-9 For some reason that verse stuck with me the whole time I was touting Collectivism, PP, and finally it had its way with me: 'You seduced me Lord, and I was seduced.' Jeremiah 20:7