THE FINAL REVOLUTION: The Resistance Church and the Collapse of Communism by George Weigel

THE FINAL REVOLUTION: The Resistance Church and the Collapse of Communism

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A persuasive argument that the ""Revolution of 1989"" that brought freedom to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union was, at bottom, a ""revolution of the spirit."" According to Weigel (president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.), customary explanations for the collapse of the Iron Curtain fall short. Gorbachev was no more than a reform Communist who never abandoned his faith in Marxist-Leninism. Nor do economic, political, or historical forces explain the cataclysm. The key player, says Weigel--echoing Lech Walesa's analysis--was Pope John Paul II; the fall of Communism really began in June 1979, during the first papal visit to Poland (""a moral, even spiritual earthquake""); moreover, the '89 revolution was part of what Weigel calls ""the final revolution"": the turning of humans to ""the good, to the truly human--and, ultimately, to God."" Detailing the moral degradation of Communism, Weigel argues that it is, at bottom, a sort of monstrous, upside-down religion--and that, as such, its main enemy has always been the Church. The disagreement, Weigel suggests as he traces the history of Church/Communist antagonism, is as basic as can be: While Marxist-Leninism sees people as pawns of history, Christianity proclaims the absolute dignity of the individual. During the earlier years of John Paul II's pontificate, the Church promoted its view energetically. The effort bore fruit in 1989, says Wiegel, when the revolutionary tradition of Jefferson and Madison triumphed over that of Marx, Lenin, and Stalin, restoring ""the natural rhythms of history and society."" And what of the future? Drawing from the writings of John Paul II and Vaclav Havel, Weigel maintains that society henceforth must be based on metaphysical truths about ""the transcendent destiny of human life."" God is on our side, updated. And maybe this time God is; Weigel, at least, is convinced, stating that ""the Lord of history--the Lord of the final revolution, if you will--is still capable of surprises.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1992
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press