The Secret Red Plan to Take Over
the Catholic Church
• All Catholics know that Communism is the enemy of the Church. Few know that the diabolical Communist plan is — not to make open war on the Church — but to capture it by subversion, infiltration and propaganda, and then use it for Communist purposes. In order for Catholics to be fully informed about the true nature of the enemy, we print here the text of a secret Communist document which outlines this plan. Published in Red China in 1959, but written in Spanish, the cover page and flyleaf of this document carry the following information:
"THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND CUBA: A PROGRAM OF ACTION, by Li Wei Han. Published by the Foreign Languages Press of Peking for the exclusive use of the Latin-American Section of the Liaison Department of the Chinese Communist Party. Printed in the People's Republic of China."
• According to the Vatican newspaper, L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO, this plan has been used against the Catholic Church in China, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Poland and Cuba. The Communists tried hard to keep this plan a secret. Let us work just as hard to make it known to all Catholics so they will see the viciousness and the cleverness of the enemy.
THE FOLLOWING IS THE COMPLETE TEXT OF THIS AUTHENTIC COMMUNIST DOCUMENT:
"The Catholic Church, whose headquarters is in Rome, is a reactionary organization which promotes counter-revolutionary activities within the People's Democracies. If the People's Democracies are to continue to progress toward Socialism and Communism, they must first and foremost put an end to the influence of the Catholic Church and the activities which it promotes. The Catholic Church is not infertile in achievements, nor is it powerless; on the contrary, its power must be recognized and a whole series of measures must be taken to counteract it.
"Once the political struggle has reached a high degree of intensity and the forms of production have achieved a high level of efficiency, we shall be able to destroy the Church. This is the objective towards which all our efforts are strained. But if we were to attack it frontally and strike it overtly while we are still ill-equipped and have not educated the masses properly, the only result would be to give the Church a still greater sway over the masses, for then the latter would feel themselves on the side of the Church and would secretly support its counter-revolutionary activities. We must also avoid making the counter-revolutionary leaders of the masses appear like martyrs. The line of action to be followed consists of instructing, educating, persuading, convincing, and little by little awakening and completely developing the political consciousness of Catholics by securing their participation in study circles and political activities. We must set about the dialectical struggle within religion through the work of our activists. We shall progressively replace the religious element by the Marxist element, we shall gradually transform the false conscience of the Catholics to the true conscience, so that they will eventually come round to destroying, by themselves and for themselves, the divine images which they had themselves created. This is our line of action in the struggle for victory against the counter-revolutionary Catholic Church.
"We shall proceed to outline a program of the tactics which have been successfully employed in the Chinese People's Republic to liberate the Chinese people from the imperialistic Church of Rome.
"The Church and its faithful adherents must be brought to play their parts in the regime of the People's Democracy, so that the masses can exert their influence on them. The Church cannot be permitted to retain its supra-national character, which places it above and beyond the will of the masses. A Bureau must be set up within the People's Government to deal with religious affairs and religious organizations. By thus imposing the procedure of "democratic centralization" on the Church, based on the activities of the masses, the way is opened to bring about patriotic developments which will weaken the Church and destroy its prestige. This Bureau will organize national, regional and local associations which will group the Catholics into patriotic organisms. Each of these associations will publicly demonstrate its obedience to the laws of the nation and avow its determination to obey them.
"Once these associations have been created and have proclaimed their obedience to the laws of the nation, the reactionaries and counter-revolutionaries will emerge and identify themselves. It is these counter-revolutionaries who make themselves evident within the Catholic Church who must first be rooted out firmly, yet without employing violence. In all cases, the measures taken must be in accordance with the law. The counter-revolutionaries' aspirations, by their very nature, lead them to actions against the Government. This principle shows us the kind of laws which must be applied against those who protest. They must be thought of as unpatriotic criminals obeying the imperialistic instructions emanating from the headquarters of the Catholic Church, the Vatican.
"During this period, the masses will be experiencing a psychological conflict for, on one hand, they will feel loyalty towards the Church and the Clergy, and, on the other, their patriotism will prompt them to support the People's Government. This conflict must be carefully studied and probed deeply. If precipitate action is taken, without proper allowance being made for the acuteness of the psychological conflict, there is a risk that the Party will be cut off from the masses. If the links between the Church and the masses are very strong, the principle of "Two steps forward, one step backward" must be followed. When the People's Government is performing the "one step backward," it must proclaim that it is defending religious liberty, and that it is in deference to the wishes of the masses that it is setting up Committees of reform in the associations, so that the patriotic masses can express their views more directly in the running of Church affairs.
"Vigilance is supremely important at this juncture. The Party militants must control the working of the reform Committees and eliminate the reactionaries whom they encounter among the masses. This must be achieved by plugging the following lines: it is patriotic to support the Government and obey the laws; disobedience is unpatriotic; the associations must publicly proclaim their patriotism; unpatriotic elements must be expelled from the associations and tried as criminals by the patriotic masses, for it is the duty of every citizen to punish criminals. The militants must incite the masses against the criminal elements. As soon as the masses have condemned the criminals and expelled them from the associations, they must be tried in accordance with the provisions of the laws of the People's Government. Simultaneously, the associations must renew their public protestations of loyalty to the laws, and take steps to unmask any hidden counter-revolutionaries in their midst.
"Although the reactionaries have been unmasked, the psychological struggle within the masses must continue. It is important that the ecclesiastical authorities and the Bishops should assure the masses that religion has become purer as a result of being liberated from criminal and unpatriotic elements. To our Communist militants who are members of these associations falls the important task of bringing the Church leaders to make these declarations. They must also assure the masses that the Government and the party take their wishes into account in these matters. During this period further disputes will, of course, arise. If arbitrary action is resorted to, we shall lose our control of the masses. The People's Government must ensure that all these disputes are exploited and envenomed to the maximum degree.
"During these controversies care must be taken to flush out any counter-revolutionaries who had previously escaped detection. The same watch-words must be observed during this period as during the preceding, viz.: it is patriotic to obey the laws; disobedience is unpatriotic and criminal. The masses must also be kept informed of the results of the negotiations between the State and the Church, as well as of the resurgence of patriotism among the religious masses; and of the fact that this patriotic upsurge is rapidly supplanting their former sentiments. Except in the field of spiritual affairs, any hint or reference to a link with the Vatican must be pilloried and vilified as being motivated by imperialistic interests and supporting counter-revolutionary activities. The experiences of sister-countries prove that the Vatican will lodge public protests against our campaign. These protests must be utilized as constituting further proofs of the Vatican-directed conspiracy of the Church.
"This brings us to the next stage of our attack, the objective of which is the destruction of the link existing between the Church and the Vatican. During this attack, it is to be anticipated that the clergy will react violently, for they will sense that they are being assailed in their inner citadel and the very source of their power. They must be reminded that their protests against the attacks, to which they are subjected because of their links with the Vatican, are unpatriotic and are in conflict with the laws and the State. They must also be made to feel that they are the embodiment of something unpatriotic. The task of our militants is to convince the masses that individuals can have their own religion without the Vatican having the right to dictate in the affairs of all the Churches in the world. Our militants must also explain the principle of the coexistence of patriotism and religion. In this way, the masses are alienated from those who take their cue from the Vatican, and the way is opened for the establishment of an independent Church.
"A preparatory campaign must be carried through before an independent Church can be publicly proclaimed. Any clerical personalities who have resisted all persuasion to conform to the wishes of the Government will be denounced at gatherings of the masses. Their protests on these occasions will be turned against them to destroy their influence on the masses. The best way to achieve this is the simple tactic of anonymous accusations. Our militants must initiate such denunciations of these clerics and other personalities. History provides innumerable precedents proving the possibility of legal action against those who are opposed to the separation of the Church and the Vatican. During this phase, we must accumulate all the arguments necessary to convince the Catholic intellectuals that a break with the Vatican is a step forward and not a step backward. The legal provisions of the Constitution of the People's Republic protecting all religions, and the history of the different Protestant movements, will help to convince these intellectuals. Simultaneously, our militants will have the task of inducing the Catholic associations to unite in a unanimous demand that the People's Government should authorize the setting up of an independent Church in order to cleanse the Catholic associations of any unpatriotic stigma caused by a few elements which still cling to the link with the Vatican. The necessary authorization will be granted by the People's Government, and the independent Church will be organized. It should be borne in mind that that break between the Catholic Church and the Vatican has no importance except for theologians. The masses are but tenuously linked with the Vatican in their religious practices.
"We now reach the final stage. Once the separation between the Church and the Vatican has become an accomplished fact, we can contrive things so that we select those to be consecrated Bishops. This will lead to the most protest from the Vatican, accompanied by a major excommunication. Those primarily involved in this crisis must be brought to realize that this phase of the struggle takes place at a level far above the rank and file of the faithful. The Catholic associations will continue to function, and the masses will be encouraged to practice their religion within the bosom of the new Church. If this phase of the struggle is conducted with tact and dexterity, the liturgy will not be destroyed and the masses will perceive but few differences in the new Church. The protests of the Vatican against our consecration of the Bishops will percolate only to the Hierarchy of the Church, and the People's Government will undertake the responsibility for rejecting the Vatican's protests. We shall thus gradually isolate the "Old Guard" of the Vatican. Once they have been thus isolated, we shall find it increasingly possible to take legal action against them, for they will feel irresistibly impelled to make spectacular protests and play the role of martyrs. As a result of this, they will necessarily compromise themselves by indulging in unpatriotic actions.
"Although our struggle against the Catholic Church is by this time already victorious, we must still employ persuasion in dealing with the rear-guard of the clergy. This moderate policy will bring the masses to realize that the People's Government is really concerned to ensure freedom of religion for everyone, and, at the same time, those who protest against its policy are lumped in the category of those who oppose the sentiments of the people and the Government. Once the time comes when the posts of responsibility in ecclesiastical affairs are in our hands, and their incumbents are docile to the will of the People's Government, we shall proceed to the progressive elimination of those elements of the liturgy which are incompatible with the People's Government. The first changes will affect the sacraments and the prayers. Thereafter the masses will be protected against any pressure or obligation to attend Church services, or practice their religion, or organize societies with some devotional purpose. It is notorious that when the practice of religion becomes simply a matter left to the individual's sense of responsibility, it is gradually forgotten. The rising generations will succeed the older, and the religion will become merely an episode of the past, important only as a topic to be considered in histories of the world Communist movement."