[TFP.ORG] The Pope was Benedict XV (1914-1922). He warned the faithful against the evils of socialism in a document issued exactly one hundred years ago this month on March 11, 1920.
The title says it all: “Epistle Soliti Nos: On the Need to Beware of Socialist Propaganda.”1 Although a century old, Pope Benedict’s warning remains perfectly up to date. It seems appropriate to present a summary here.2
However, the facts that gave rise to this pontifical warning must first be told.
Ideal Culture Medium for Socialist and Communist Propaganda
The pontificate of Benedict XV (1914-1922) took place during one of the most troubled periods in history. There was the First World War, which the Pope called “the suicide of civilized Europe,” with all its horrors of death and destruction. The conflict was followed by a sinister procession of revolutions (notably the Bolshevik Revolution). The “Spanish flu,” one of the deadliest epidemics in human history, struck at this time.
The “chaos and dramatic change that had arisen from the ashes of devastated Europe — the fall of empires, the creation of new states, the seizure of Russia by communism”3 — created an ideal culture medium for the germination of socialist and communist propaganda: political and social unrest, economic crisis, unemployment, misery and hunger.