I've just caught up with an interesting article by Peter Stanford in last week's Tablet. He interviewed Harold Pinter in 1992 for a proposed Radio 4 series on those on the outer fringes of faith.
Pinter died an agnostic, but he had much admired the Sandinista Government, which contained (at least initially) three Catholic priests.
Stanford reports Pinter as saying: "The synthesis of politics and religion in this case was that these priests and these people in Nicaragua were seeing the two things as one – that there was no distinction between the fate of people on earth, and their fate in the universal context – the longer view, if you like." He adds, He seemed, at this moment, to be reaching for the phrase “eternal life” or “heaven”, but was holding back from saying it. Or perhaps I just imagined it.
Here in England, Pinter went on to say, "to put it mildly, such a synthesis is out of the question. All we have here is a very bleak separation of one life from another. Your life from my life. We are two totally separate individuals. There is no sense of coherent unity, of a shared world. The only thing that is shared is total misery by millions of people, being rejected by the status quo or taking their place in the status quo as rejects. What I think happened in Nicaragua, and what is expressed in the best minds of the Catholic priesthood, is a respect for life. Whereas we are faced with this very dark wall of contempt for life, which is expressed through so many of our leading politicians."