Clergymen to Clash Tonight in Law Forum on Communism, Christianity

Two prominent churchmen will face each other on the Rindge Tech rostrum tonight at 8 o'clock when Reinhold Niebuhr and The Reverend John A. O'Brien, S.J., meet in a Law School Forum on "The Compatibility of Communism with Christianity."

Niebuhr is professor of Applied Christianity at New York's Union Theological Seminary, while Father O'Brien heads Boston College's Department of Philosophy and is president of the Jesuit Philosophical Society.

O'Brien is expected to present the social Roman Catholic thesis, established by papal encyclical, that Communism and Christianity are irretrievably opposed, and that one or the other must eventually perish.

Niebuhr Backs Compatibility

The opposite viewpoint will have Niebuhr as a defender. Law Forum officials postulate that he will either claim that all Communism must not be equated with the Russian model and that forms of Communism not based on a police state are theoretically compatible with Christian theology, or else espouse the view that no political system should be required to lean on a theological system.

Niebuhr is a leading exponent of liberal Protestantism and has authored many philosophical and religious works, including "An Interpretation of Christian Ethics" and "The Nature and Destiny of Man." He is a member of the national board of Americans for Democratic Action, a "liberal" but explicitly non-Communist group.

Kirtley F. Mather, professor of Geology, will serve as moderator for tonight's meeting.