The Russian People ~ Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
Bishop Fulton Sheen ~ “Brothers Karamozov”
“Fyodor Dostoyevsky… ‘If you have no God, then you have no respect for man. A man can be persecuted. For there is no God then everything is allowable.’ So he predicted 40 years before WWI, that Europe was on the brink of a great catastrophe and he said that men were arising in the world that would completely destroy all morality and all order.
These were his words, ‘I should not be surprised if in the future there should suddenly arise some common face or rather cynically or snearing gentleman with his arms akimbo, will say to us, now then you fellows what about smashing all this order to bits, sending their logarithms to the devil and living according to our own silly will. The annoying thing is that there would immediately be plenty of followers. Men are just like that.’
So predicting the moral chaos, Dostoyevsky now goes on to the second principle. We get a little closer to the Russian people. Looking over the world, Dostoyevsky said, liberty today means doing whatever you please. And he said, this kind of false liberty is going to produce chaos. And in order to stop this chaos, he said that you would have to have a forcible and compulsory organization of society. He said because men have lost all sense of morality and decency, you will see millions of people in a future generation selling their freedom for a little bit of security. And so in “Brothers Karamozov,” Dostoyevsky says, (you see how this has come to pass in our day), he said ‘The day is coming when men will say, there is no crime, there is no sin, there is no guilt, there is only hunger. And men will come fawning to our feet saying, make us slaves. Just give us bread.’
And he speaks of the organization of society under communism, ‘And we shall persuade them, that they will become free only by surrendering their freedom to us. And in their leisure hours we shall make their life, like a child’s game, with children’s songs and innocent dance. We shall allow them to sin and they will love us as Children, because we allow them to sin. And we shall tell them whether they will marry or not marry, whether they will have children or not have children, according to whether they have been obedient or disobedient to us. And they will submit to us gladly and cheerfully.’
He had a name for it all. And this is where he became most prophetic. Now what I’m reading to you was written in 1871. He predicted Communism… as if he were writing for our own day. And he calls the system, this is his name for it, he does not call it communism, he calls it after the leader – Shigalov, who might very well stand for Stalin. And notice his description. ‘Shigalov suggests a system of spying. Every member of society spies on the others. And it is his duty to inform against them. Everyone belongs to all and all to everyone. All are slaves and equal in their slavery. Cicero will have his tongue cut out. Copernicus will have his eyes put out. Shakespeare will be stoned. That’s Shigalovism. Slaves are bound to be equal. There has never been either freedom or despotism or equality without despotism. But in a herd, all are equal, that’s Shigalovism. To level the mountains is a fine idea. Down with culture! The thirst for culture is an aristocratic thirst, the moment you have a family tie or love, you get the desire for property. We’ll destroy that desire! We will make use of drunkenness, slander and spying. We will make use of incredible corruption; we will stifle every genius in its infancy. We will reduce all to its common denominator. And all they need now and then is a shock, absolute submission, and every 30 years Shigalov will shed a little blood and they will begin to eat one another up.’
And then he speaks of those that would follow Communism throughout the world.( ex. in our own country – lawyers, newspaper men, professors and the like), ‘We will have an upheaval in the world. And do not think that our party consists only of those who commit murder and fire off pistols and fight colonels. I reckon them all up!
A teacher who laughs with children at their God is on our side!
A lawyer who defends an educated murderer because he is more cultured than his victims and could not help murdering them to get money is one of us. The school boys who murder a peasant for the sake of sensation are ours. The jury who acquits criminals are ours. The prosecutor, who trembles at a trial, or appear he would not seem advanced enough is ours! All of them, lots and lots of them.’
And then he said ‘We are going to set legends going in every scurvy group that will be of any use to us. And out of these groups, I’ll pick some fellows, that will be so keen, they’ll not shrink from duty. I tell you, there is going to be an upheaval! There is going to be such an upset as the world has never seen. Russia will be overwhelmed with darkness, and the earth will weep for its gods.’ ” ~ Bishop Fulton J. Sheen