A recent issue of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies was devoted to dialogue between Christians and Marxists. Interest in the possibilities of reconciliation between Christians and Marxists was greatest in the 1960s and 1970s in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council and the Ostpolitik of Pope Paul VI. The interest has since receded, except in the Catholic Third World of Latin America, where rival forces for order and for change find themselves equally puzzled about the changing role of the Catholic Church and clergy. Europeans, with the demise of Eurocommunism and the growing alienation of intellectuals from Marxism, no longer pioneer in this sort of inquiry. American theologians and religious studies scholars who write for and read such publications as the Journal of Ecumenical Studies march to their own drum and write largely for one another. Certainly, neither American Christians nor any appreciable number of Marxists can be found to take their musings with any degree of seriousness. Nevertheless, the possibility of a Christian-Marxist dialogue is not without interest or importance. Both Christianity and Marxist socialism have in their prime appealed to somewhat similar human emotions and needs; and if followers adhere to both today, perhaps more out of habit than genuine conviction, Christianity and Marxism still seem to define two classically different ways of viewing the human condition. If there is any chance of a rapprochement between them, such a development would have enormous consequences for the modern world.
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