For whom the Bell Tolls?

Light of truth

On August 01, 2018, the honourable Supreme Court of India described the back-to-back sex scandals involving Catholic priests as a ‘disturbing trend.’ A bench of the country’s top court expressed its disappointment with the cases of sexual assault emerging from one of the country’s most respectable churches. Jose’ Saramago, the writer, who secured a Nobel Prize for Portuguese culture, wrote a story titled “For whom the Bell tolls?” The story is supposedly taking place in Florence over 400 years ago. The villagers were at home or working in their fields when they heard the church bell. But the bell was tolling the death knell and no one knew of anyone dying in the village. The villagers soon assembled in front of the church, waiting to be told who was dead. Then a peasant came out of the church, not the usual bell-ringer. The villagers asked him where the bell-ringer was and who was dead. The peasant replied: “I rang the bell. I rang the death knell for Justice, because Justice is no more.” That knell was never sounded again, but Justice dies every day. It is a story of Marxist who considers the irrelevance of the Church bell.

Monsignor Quixote is a novel written by the Catholic Graham Green in 1982. The two characters the Marxist ex-mayor and the monsignor are seated under a hammer-and-sickle painted crudely in red upon the crumbling stone. ‘I would have preferred a cross,’ Father Quixote said, ‘to eat under.’ ‘What does it matter? The taste of cheese will not be affected by cross or hammer. Besides, is there much difference between the two? They are both protests against injustice.’ ‘But the results were a little different. One created tyranny, the other charity.’ ‘Tyranny? Charity? What about the Inquisition and our patriot Torquemada?’ Tomás de Torquemada OP (1420 – September 16, 1498) was a Castilian Dominican friar and first Grand Inquisitor in Spain’s movement to homogenize religious practices with those of the Catholic Church in the late 15th century, otherwise known as the Spanish Inquisition, which resulted in the expulsion from Spain of thousands of people of Jewish faith and heritage and the execution of 3,000 and 5,000 persons.

Marx copied heavily from Young Hegelian Moses Hess who later wrote: “The best recent writings on the essence of money have adopted ideas that I developed, that is, that money is for the practical world what God is for the theoretical world, that it constitutes the alienation of the idea of social value, in silver alloy from the Catholic point of view, or in paper money from the Protestant point of view. In other words, money is simply the inorganic symbol of our present social production that has broken free from our rational control and therefore dominates us.” The reasons for otherwise surprising critique of Marx are fairly clear; as Marx’s biographer Mehring observed, ‘How should a world which had enthroned money as its God aspire to understand it?’

Pope Francis during the Mass outside the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria in Cagliari on September 22, 2013 said: “The world has become an idolater of this god called money.” He further said. “It is not a problem of Italy and Europe … It is the consequence of a world choice, of an economic system that brings about this tragedy, an economic system that has at its centre an idol which is called money.” The Pope, who later celebrated Mass for some 300,000 people outside the city’s cathedral, told them: “We don’t want this globalised economic system which does us so much harm. Men and women have to be at the centre (of an economic system) as God wants, not money. The tragedy the church faces is the issue of avarice that has crept into the sanctuary. If you make money your god, it will plague you like the devil. One seduced by money succumbs to sex blindly.

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