Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s successful strategy for dealing with communists

“Kneel down and let me hear your confession.”

Being a former Catholic, one of Louis’s assigned tasks was to infiltrate the Catholic Church in the United States so as to soften its anti-Communist stance. Among his targets was the well-known radio personality and eloquent anti-Communist, Msgr. Fulton Sheen. Budenz got nowhere. At a dinner meeting in 1936, Monsignor Sheen refused to engage Louis on the issue of Communism’s merits. Instead, the monsignor invited Louis to “kneel down and let me hear your confession.” The two parted on less than amicable terms.

But grace gnawed at Louis. Once, during his Communist days, he wrote “Catholic” as his religion when checking into a hospital. Margaret noticed, was shocked, and supposed that he was jesting. They only spoke about it years later. Louis said that, even though he was officially atheist at the time, he did not wish to die without the consolation of the sacraments. It was but one marker on the long road back to faith.

When the signs of Louis’s return to Catholicism became clear, Margaret struggled to accept it. She remained certain of their love and unity, and so she applied herself to understanding the religion to which he was attracted. It wasn’t easy, but the dialectic of communist materialism gradually gave way to the harmony of faith and reason as the riches of Catholicism were opened up to her under the tutelage of Monsignor Sheen and the influence of her own diligent research.

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Editor’s note: This proven strategy often works on non-communists, too.