Sometime ago I was introduced to Joseph McCabe. In 1883 in the UK (aged 15) he entered a Franciscan Monastery in the UK. He trained for 12 years solid without a break and mastered the enter academic syllabus and contemplative lifestyle. He was placed in the monastery by his devout Catholic parents without his consent. At the time, it never crossed his mind to question their decision or protest against the lifestyle – as he was just brought up to dutifully ‘accept’ and ‘do’ without question. Well, whilst studying advanced theology and learning to pray for hours on end in isolation, one or two other monks slowly introduced him to Marxism. Marx had died in 1883 in London – and by the 1890s – much of his work was being translated into English and causing a stir. Some these monks, however, could read the original German-language editions and spent time explaining key aspects to Joseph McCabe when their busy schedule allowed.
Travelling (between monasteries – and countries) in enclosed spaces such as train carriages and horse-drawn coaches were often excellent times for such exchanges. By the time he was 28, Joseph McCabe knew that he did not believe in God and had no interest in pursuing a monastic career. He contacted the Abbot and explained the situation. The Church Authorities sent an administrative cleric to see him, and this man spent hours threatening him with all kinds of retribution if he did not change his mind. Joseph did not change his mind and so was discharged from the monastery. The Church had him stripped naked and all his possessions taken away. He had to contact a friend to ask for some clothes to be bought together with a small amount of travelling money, etc. Anyway, all of this is recorded in his many books he wrote exposing the Church and its support for fascism during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, etc.
He wrote copious amounts of books about the importance of science, secularism and tolerance of difference. He even wrote a very good biography of Joseph Stalin (1944) free of all the usual lies now included in various versions. I managed to acquire a copy of this – and it is very good as Joseph McCabe knew that many lies were being peddled by the Catholic Church against Stalin! Furthermore, Stalin’s mother worshipped St Joseph and made a vow that if her son survived early childhood, she would send him to be a Russian Orthodox Priest! Interestingly, it was in the Georgian seminary that a 14-year-old Joseph Stalin (in 1883) was introduced to Marxism by other novices and priest! It is as if the lives of Joseph Stalin and Joseph McCabe overlapped and were linked in some way! It is interesting that the year ‘1883’ seems to recur quite often in this text! It is the year Karl Marx passed away in a house in London, the year Joseph Stalin was 14-years-old and sent to the Seminary in Georgia and the year Joseph McCabe was 15-years-old and sent to be a Christian monk (at Gorton Monastery, Manchester, UK)!