At this time of crisis in the Catholic church it is useful to consider in a concrete way what this organization actually is. First how big and powerful it is. Take the US for example. In that country alone it has over 1 million employees and an operating budget of nearly 1 billion dollars per year. This is a huge apparatus centralized under the dictatorial command of the so called Cardinals and bishops and from abroad by the so called pope. I use the term "so-called" as these are names they gave themselves to intimidate.
On a world scale the Catholic church has an estimated 3.7 million congregations. And of course it has its own state in the Vatican which it managed to get by making a deal with the fascist Mussolini. This is a gigantic organization. And it is a gigantic organization which exists more than anything else for one purpose.
Centuries ago the Catholic church was the church of feudalism, of the landlord class. Then when Capitalism became the dominant system world wide it adjusted and became the main church of capitalism. What this means is that this gigantic apparatus of wealth, buildings, full time organizers, supporters pumps out non stop pro-capitalist propaganda. When the liberation theology movement developed in the Catholic church in the 1950's and 1960's and began to question capitalism it was ruthlessly crushed by the Catholic church leadership especially the recently resigned so-called pope. It was seen as a bigger problem than child abuse.
Imagine if there was an organization of this size with this wealth and numbers of full time organizers which continually criticized capitalism and put forward a socialist alternative. This would have a huge affect on the international consciousness. Instead at every turn this outfit props up capitalism. The affect of this is not always obvious as the organization is very skilled at hiding the reality. It has beautiful buildings, it plays beautiful music, its services are full of high drama from the extremely ornate robes and symbols such as the crucifix to the staffs, it tells us we are all "sinners" and it says it can forgive us, like a drug dealer who creates the demand in the addict and then supplies the dope it makes people feel guilty about their natural urges and "forgives" them for expressing their natural urges. This is an utterly corrupt and dictatorial organization which props up capitalism.
In Ireland in the late 1960's 1970's there was a great surge to the left amongst Catholic workers and youth and also sections of Protestant workers. The Catholic church used all its resources to crush this left movement which could have united the working class and avoided the terrible next thirty years of sectarian war. When the IRA split it announced that the more right wing split which went on to become the Provisional IRA was the "authentic IRA."
A little noticed development as well was the rise of the powerful drug and gangster forces in Dublin. Many of the leaders of these had been child prisoners in the so called industrial schools in the Republic of Ireland, that is child prisons which were run by the Catholic church in collaboration with the State. Many of the leaders of these gangs which became major players in Europe's drug trade came through and were molested and abused in these juvenile prisons. As one major Dublin gangster who was not stupid said when explaining how he and many others took the road they did: "It was those mad monks in the bog" referring to the priests and the Catholic church who were responsible for brutalizing these children who later became major and vicious leading gangsters.
I will try and find the numbers of churches and mosques and synagogues etc around the world. But what we have to see when we look at the Catholic church is that it is part of a giant propaganda ring or religious organizations, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc., which pump out pro capitalist and pro-imperialist propaganda and suppress all socialist ideas. This when a democratic socialist world is the only way the human species and life on earth as we know can have a future.
What is needed is a revolutionary socialist international apparatus which can take on and defeat the mass religious pro capitalist forces and put forward the Democratic Socialist Alternative.
- The Future International
- Preparing for Revolution: A discussion document
- The Workers' International Network: Questions and Answers
- Reflections on the History of the CWI
- Some Comments on the Left Alliance in N. Ireland
- University of California workers and Unions
- AFSCME Local 444 negotiations assesment 1997
- On the slogan for a United Front to fight Fascism in Greece