Marx is now a bishop and he's still lashing capitalism
A German Catholic bishop from the birthplace of his famous namesake, Karl Marx, has hit out at the greed and excess of top management salaries at a time of great economic duress for many.
Bosses salaries and perks have gone up by some 30 per cent at the same time as companies have been plunged into bankruptcy jobs for workers cut. This has caused widespread anger and resentment.
Bishop Reinhard Marx, the Catholic bishop of Trier and chairperson of the German Episcopal Commission for Society and Social Matters, told the local newspaper, Trierischer Volksfreund, that he thought salary hikes of this kind were "audacious".
There are concerns within the churches in Germany, especially the Protestant (Lutheran and Reformed) EKD and the Catholic Church, that public policies are creating greater divides between rich and poor ñ with the continuing struggles of the East since reunification are a particular challenge.
Situated on the western bank of the Moselle River, Trier is the oldest large city in Germany. It is the seat of the Archbishopric of Trier ñ but is best known as the birthplace of the philosopher and political activist Karl Marx.
The house where the founding-father of modern communism was born was opened in 1947 and renovated in 1983.
Marx is a controversial figure in religious circles. An ardent atheist who reacted against a pious background, he is blamed for the evils of Soviet and Eastern European totalitarianism by many ñ while his advocates say it misrepresents him to lump him uncritically with Lenin and Stalin.
Liberation theologians have often supported the Marxist moral critique of society, while distancing themselves from his thoroughgoing materialism and suggesting that the way his ideas have been adopted by ëMarxistí movements is the problem ñ not Marx himself.
Indeed the German revolutionary has been described by some academics inside and outside the churches as ìthe last great Hebrew prophetî, because his attack on injustice parallels those of the Old Testament prophets.
Theologian Jose Portifa Miranda is among those who have written on the Bible and Marx as twin ìcritiques of the philosophy of oppressionî. He has also sought to reclaim Marx for a humanistic Christianity in a book called ëMarx Against the Marxistsí.
Though he believed that a superior socialist, and finally communist, society would succeed through struggle and the inherent contradictions of capitalism, Marx had great respect for the system he sought to overthrow.
Christian writers have pointed out that Marxism is a ësecular eschatologyí, replacing the gift of the kingdom of God in Jesusí message with a conviction about the triumph of a perfect society through purely human effort.
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