Atheistic Soviet Union

Father Feeney, Catherine Clark (first row), and members of the early Saiint Benedict Ceneter. "We had never been happy about America’s alliance with Russia during the war, and we were unpopular, often, for saying so."

Another closely related issue which had been festering at the center was the American alliance with the Soviet Union. The Jewish-led and inspired Bolshevik revolution brutally murdered the tzar and his family, established a vast police state terrorizing, imprisoning and murdering millions, and forcibly collectivized Russian agriculture, resulting in massive famines and major suffering.

The establishment of the Soviet Union, an avowed atheistic, anti- Christian state that promised to export Communism throughout the world, and its subsequent alliance with the United States was baffling to critical thinkers like Feeney, as it was to other thoughtful observers.

Despite all of this—and the fact that the U.S. itself had, for a time, not recognized the Soviet regime—the Roosevelt administration eventually aligned with Stalin and provided him with a tremendous amount of aid.

Had it not done so, or better yet, stayed out of the war, the USSR would most likely have collapsed, and the post-WWII world would have looked decidedly different. [See TBR, July/ August 2023, “American Support for Stalin Before WWII” and “American Support for Stalin During & After WWII” by John Wear, J.D.—Ed.]

Writing shortly after the war, when there were fears of an infiltration of Communist agents in America, Clarke spoke about the center’s courageous stand in questioning U.S.-Soviet relatio ns:

There was worried talk about the revival of Communism. We had never been happy
about America’s alliance with Russia during the war, and we were unpopular, often,
for saying so. (19)

Similar to its silence on the atomic bombing of Japan, the American Catholic hierarchy said little about the nation joining forces with an outright atheistic state hostile to Christianity. In fact, the American Catholic leadership enthusiastically joined in the crusade. After the war, there were some popular anti-Communist figures such as Bishop Fulton Sheen but, by then, it was too late. Nor did any of these spokesmen question why the United States supported the Soviet Union in the first place.

Neither did the Church ask more fundamental questions of itself about the war. Was it a battle to advance the cause of Christianity? Was the war in defense of Christendom as the Crusades once undertook, or the defense of Vienna in 1527 and 1683 against the Ottomans? What did these anti-Communist warriors think would happen if Germany, Japan and Italy were completely destroyed? Who was going to fill the vacuum in Eastern Europe and the Far East?

The answer to such questions is simple: American Catholics had long ago resigned themselves to not criticize U.S. foreign policy adventures, even when they went against Catholic interests. Many even actively supported such misguided endeavors.

From America’s war of aggression against Mexico, to its defeat of Spain in 1898, the taking of Spain’s possessions in the Caribbean and the Far East, and its entry into WWI under the maniacal drive by President Woodrow Wilson to destroy the Austro- Hungarian and German empires, neither the laity nor the hierarchy had any qualms about participating in the country’s foreign policy initiatives, no matter how unjust.

Nor was the New Deal questioned, which gave America its first taste of social democracy whose sociological effects would begin to change the character of the populace to the dependent, dysfunctional and effeminate cultural mess it is today.

The casualties of the New Deal (and the succession of social engineering schemes which came in its wake, such as the Fair Deal, the Great Society, the War on Poverty etc.) would be the traditional family, voluntary associations and charities whose functions and duties would be eclipsed by the welfare state. Public education would also be expanded with vast increases in government aid to universities and colleges that would espouse the glories of the liberal democratic order.

In her quest to find answers as to why the Church did not protest the atomic bombing or the alliance with the Soviet Union, neither Clarke nor other members of the center saw that American Catholicism had placed its country above that of the Church and Christian teaching. It was Feeney’s stance on the salvation doctrine and his criticism of Liberal Catholicism which could not be tolerated by the hierarchy that led to his condemnation.

While the term “cultural Marxism” did not become popular until decades later, its societal corrupting seeds were planted prior to WWII. Many of cultural Marxism’s theoreticians were Jewish intellectuals who had come to America fleeing Adolf Hitler. He had correctly seen their destructive effects on European, Christian society. A number of these thinkers landed in leading universities and began to disseminate their ideas on impressionable American minds.

The most important group of thinkers of cultural Marxism would become known as the Frankfurt School, which was originally associated with the Institute for Social Research at Goethe University Frankfurt. Some of these intellectuals included Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Friedrich Pollock, Erich Fromm and Otto Kirchheimer.

Because of its inconsistencies and internal contradictions (a deliberate tactic), cultural Marxism is hard to exactly describe. It does, however, have an underlying principle: to constantly criticize the traditions and morés of a culture and undermine the authority figures and institutions of society.

Thus, cultural Marxism promotes the liberalization of divorce and abortion, racial equality, women’s rights and homosexuality while it attacks traditional religion, the nuclear family and White heterosexual men.

The St. Benedict Center would see and feel the effects of cultural Marxism through America’s oldest and most revered school—Harvard— since many of its students took part in the center’s activities. More troubling, however, was that Catholic schools—and even seminaries—were being infected by it, which Feeney soon recognized:

Father saw the eagerness go out of their faces after they had been going to school
a few months. It was not the normal fading of enthusiasm which so often accompanies
the realization of that to which one has long looked forward. It was eagerness replaced
by a surprised disillusionment.

At the government’s expense and their own time … they were being taught, by pro-
fessors … the very doctrines that had brought on the war they had just been fighting. (20)

The veterans told Feeney and the center that they had not fought “militant Nazism” to return and be indoctrinated with the “philosophy of Hegel, the psychology of Freud and the sociology of Karl Marx.”21 Yet, while the Soviet Union was founded upon Marxism, the Allies themselves had adopted all sorts of socialistic programs largely based on Marxism, yet disguised by Marxist-inspired propagandists and sold to the American public.

While the militarism of Germany was railed against by the students, what of their own country’s militarism stretching back to the Spanish-American War, its numerous interventions in Central and South America and its own disastrous participation in World War I—a war that never threatened, in the least, the country’s national security?

Being mostly atheists, naturally the cultural Marxists would seek to undermine
religion. Some of the points taught to the students were that God did not exist,
that religion was devised and concocted as a means to control the masses, and
that there was no such thing as an immortal soul.22

A breakdown in traditional morality led to many not knowing how to distinguish right from wrong. This not only affected the social sciences, but the natural ones as well. A group of science students sought out Feeney to voice their concerns:

The concept of God had no meaning in physics, the students came to find out. …They
were shaken by the magnitude of the horror that could come upon the world from their
own work, and by what seemed to be a complete lack of moral responsibility on the part
of their teachers. …

Moral standards seemed completely to be breaking down everywhere. (23)

Outright despair was evidenced in many students which became so acute that some made the ultimate decision and ended their earthly existence:

More and more reports reached us of students losing their faith, of students committing
 suicide. A proctor brought to Father one night three students, each of whom had
been contemplating suicide for some time, Father did his best to talk them out of it. (24)

Catholics, as well, were not immune and saw that the work of the cultural Marxists was having its intended and de-stabilizing effects, wreaking havoc in the Church and its educational establishments:

One morning Father found two war veterans waiting for him. They were unhappy. “We
were just thinking, Father, of where we would send our children to school, if we had any.
We wouldn’t send them to any school we know, Catholic or non- Catholic.” (25)

A number had abandoned the faith, while many bewildered veterans lamented that “nothing adds up.” (26) ❖