Damian Thompson Damian Thompson

Why do church leaders suck up to Marxist regimes?

When Fidel Castro died, Pope Francis ‘grieved’. That’s right: he grieved for the man who – in addition to murdering and torturing his opponents – spent half a century persecuting the Catholic Church in Cuba. But perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised: when Francis visited the island last year, he was gushingly appreciative of the regime’s hospitality and pointedly ignored dissidents. Even the liberal Washington Post accused him of ‘appeasing the Castros in repressive Cuba’.

It all reminds me of the way, in my youth, churchmen soft-pedalled their criticism of Communist regimes because, whatever their ‘flaws’, they were supposedly on the side of the oppressed. Is that fair? I asked my guest on this week’s Holy Smoke podcast, Edward Lucas of the Economist, a leading authority on east-west relations.

You really have to hear what he said. Warning: if you are one of those hand-wringing clerical boobies who think Marxist tyranny is no worse than the excesses of free-market capitalism, then you won’t enjoy this podcast. Listen here:

And if you enjoyed that, please subscribe on iTunes for a new episode every fortnight.

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