By Audrey Sightler
As a young Christian, like myself, it is essential to remember the legacy of President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II's friendship and their fight against Communism during the Cold War. President Reagan, a Protestant, built a great partnership and friendship with Pope John Paul II that ended the Cold War; the TIME MAGAZINE referred to this partnership as the "Holy Alliance." President Reagan and the Pope first met in 1982 at the Vatican and privately discussed the Cold War and the toll that Communism was bringing on human rights; this meeting led to their great alliance that turned the tide of the Cold War. 1
The Soviet Union was still a considerable threat to Eastern Europe; this included the Pope's homeland, Poland. Likewise, the Pope was very resolute on establishing a democracy in Poland while at the same time, throughout the world. President Reagan and Pope John Paul II had the opportunity to align themselves with each other and build a commanding coalition that created a political influence so strong it altered global affairs indefinitely. All of the stars were aligned, so to speak, after the rise of Margret Thatcher, John Paul II in 1979, as well as President Reagan in 1980, the alliance strengthened the fight against that Soviet Union, morally, economically, and militaristically. 2
In Pope John Paul II's 1991 encyclical, On the Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum, he examines the essential matters of economics, culture, and humanity. Here are some of the main points of his encyclical that can inspire all Christians alike in the fight against socialism and communism.
Fundamental error of socialism:
"…the fundamental error of socialism is anthropological in nature. Socialism considers the individual person simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated to the functioning of the socio-economic mechanism. Socialism likewise maintains that the good of the individual is completely subordinated to the functioning of the socio-economic mechanism. Socialism likewise maintains that the good of the individual can be realized without reference to his free choice, to the unique and exclusive responsibility which he exercises in the face of good or evil. Man is thus reduced to a series of social relationships, and the concept of the person as the autonomous subject of moral decisions disappears, the very subject whose decisions build the social order."
The Origin of Property:
"…the earth does not yield its fruits without a particular human response to God's gift, that is to say, without work. It is through work that man, using his intelligence and exercising his freedom, succeeds in dominating the earth and making it a fitting home. In this way, he makes part of the earth his own, precisely the part which he has acquired through work; this is the origin of individual property."
The Power and Limits of the Free Market:
"…on the level of individual nations and of international relations, the free market is the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs. But this is true only for those needs which are 'solvent,' insofar as they are endowed with purchasing power, and for those resources which are 'marketable,' insofar as they are capable of obtaining a satisfactory price. But there are many human needs which find no place on the market. It is a strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental human needs to remain unsatisfied and not to allow those burdened by such needs to perish … These objectives include a sufficient wage for the support of the family, social insurance for old age, and unemployment, and adequate protection for the conditions of employment."
Young Christians' greatest weapon against the evils of socialism and communism is their faith. In the words of Samuel Adams, "Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness." Therefore, it is up to the next generation to set the stage to continue the solid foundation that the Founding Fathers laid as President Reagan did with Pope John Paul II.
This article is dedicated to the memory of my second great-grandmother, Mary Leskovich, born in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Flatley, T. (2007). “The Convenient Alliance: President Reagan and Pope John Paul II, Cold Warriors.”
Elliot, B. (2020). “John Paul II & the Spiritual Victory Over Communism.” https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/06/john-paul-ii-spiritual-victory-over-communism-barbara-elliott.html
Audrey Sightler is a Louisiana native, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in International Business Administration, as well as a History Minor with Liberty University. She is an active member of the International Churchill Society and the Royal Economic Society. Moreover, Audrey has achieved multiple certifications in International Business with the University of London. Audrey is a fourth-generation American descendant of an Ellis Island immigrant; her forefathers also worked alongside the Founding Fathers to establish our freedoms during America's founding.