RIFLES AND CASSOCKS – Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot – Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Alvaro Vargas Llosa, and Michaela Ames –
Trigger warning: i frutti amari del Vaticano II – cattocomunismo all’ennesima potenza – il mitra sotto la tonaca – la salvezza?… un affare terreno – umanizzare la rivoluzione marxista – teologia come scienza sociale – rivoluzione unica via – il dialogo come frode – i clienti impauriti passano dal fanatismo cattolico alla bottega evangelica – carità come esproprio – retorica della periferia – la “chiesa dei poveri”: una chiamata alla rivoluzione permanente – perdona chi ti scomunica e tira dritto –
When the Church rejects class warfare, it becomes part of the dominating system.
Note:IL PROCLAMA DEL CLERO SUDAMERICANO
The Church as a soldier of class struggle? The earthly representatives of the universal God taking one side over the other? God’s agents of peace howling in favor of war? Who are these strange ministers of Marx?
Note:I MINISTRI DI MARX
a movement that surfaced after a bishops’ meeting in Rome—the famous Second Vatican Council—where they had the very decorous mission of modernizing the Church and bringing back a certain unity to Christianity, shattered some thousand years ago.
Note:FIGLI DEL VATICANO II
If poor John XXIII and Paul VI had known what was going to emerge from that ecclesiastic Babel with the passing of time and a little twisting of the matter, they surely would have become devout Hare Krishnas.
Note:W GLI HARE KRISHNA
Several orders heard the call, but among them there immediately stood out the Jesuits, the order founded by the judicious soldier from Spain’s Basque province of Guipuzcoa, who in 1521, after being wounded in battle, decided that the priesthood was a more sensible calling than the military.
Note:GESUITI IN PRIMA LINEA
During the time of the Second Council the order began to be dominated by progressives, inspired by the theologian Karl Rahner, who had become a kind of “star” at that gathering and who through his disciple, Johannes Baptist Metz, taught that theology could not be separated from politics.
Note:RAHNER E METZ
So far, great! The emissaries of Christ want to descend from heaven to earth, stick their noses into Man’s mire,
Note:OCCUPARSI DELLE COSE TERRENE
The problem is something else: the nature of this commitment. There are two serious matters in the case of liberation theology, a term coined by the Peruvian Gustavo Gutiérrez in 1971 …First, this commitment on earth is through socialism and its instrument, the revolution. Second, focusing on a kind of fundamentalist Marxist reading, liberation theology gives the most trivial battle carried out on behalf of socialism the exclusive and enlightened appearance as the path to salvation. …
the primary concern is class struggle: a dispossessed majority exploited by a privileged minority, a microcosm of a greater injustice: rich countries against poor countries.
Note:LOTTA DI CLASSE
priests who are helping guerrillas in Colombia, priests in Mexico who are backing Marcos in protest against NAFTA, and priests who are condemning the Satan that is driving children into hunger in Brazil’s favelas, as well as priests who are criticizing the peace talks between the URNG and the Central American Government of Guatemala.
What the “trendy lefty” theology calls “conflictual”—a really irritating word—is nothing more than a Marxist reading of reality
The term “liberation” is in itself conflicting. It urges the existence of an enemy that has to be fought in order to emancipate the downtrodden.
Ever since the Church abandoned the catacombs many centuries ago to become the religion of the Roman state, it has been a participant in power. Even when the Roman state returned to its secular status, the Church retained its power, and its spiritual role was never separated from its social role of being close to the government.
Note:LA MACCHIA DA CUI EMENDARSI
The Church should demonstrate those elements of the revolutionary process that are truly humanizing
The clergy is to determine and emphasize the humanizing aspects of their heroic deeds, because heaven forbid that the revolutionaries should lose their perspective on those key aspects that morally justify revolutionary action. The idea is twofold: First, make a distinction between the role of the clergy and that of the other revolutionary functions…Second, feign moderation and balance in such a way that these “humanizing elements” suggest that there could be other, less-humanizing aspects that have until now obscured the positive side. …
Note:MISSIONE: UMANIZZARE LA RIVOLUZIONE
Revolutionary priests look at the Church’s past and condemn it. They do, however, take a few grams of virtue from certain periods of its history that, when combined, make the perfect recipe. The early Christians’ idea of theology was too spiritual…The inspiration they received from their readings of the Greek classics was too literal, …
Note:CONDANNA DEL PASSATO
In the fourteenth century there befell what “progressive” priests believe to be the great catastrophe: theology was separated from spirituality, and their functions were then fulfilled by different people. A bad thing. This separation took away the critical, historical spirit from religious thought. Scholasticism then ruined it completely.
Note:CONTRO LO SCOLASTICISMO
For liberation theologians, matters of God were considered a social science. A social science that lets the cassock wander in and out of the mysteries of the revolution
Note:LA TEOLOGIA COME SCIENZA SOCIALE
When a priest wants to leave the sacristy and jump into the pond to caress the human clay, he doesn’t want to do it to learn, but rather to teach. In the words of Paulo Freire, a Brazilian icon to liberation theologians, he wants to “enlighten.”
Note:IMPARARE O INSEGNARE?: ILLUMINARE (LE COSCIENZE)
Never mind that the ecclesiastic hierarchy has denounced the theology of revolution in every language and that the Pope has issued two harsh statements (one in 1984, the other in 1986) against this strange ideological alchemy… Let us forgive those popes who know not what they do. …
A revolution, not reform, is the choice of our cassocked idiot. The experiments of the religious political parties in the past and present centuries ended poorly. For Latin America, in the modern age, this was quite serious. First, the Christian Democratic party in Chile governed against the poor …Later, El Salvador’s Napoleon Duarte sold out to the gringos and, in exchange for $4 billion of economic and military aid throughout the 1980s, governed against the people and its vanguard, the FMLN. No more religious or Christian Democratic parties! To get to heaven, use the revolutionary shortcut! …
Note:RIVOLUZIONE… NON RIFORMA
The priests from the Universidad Centroamericana who were assassinated were not Marxist guerrilla sympathizers. All they did was commune with different sectors of society.
Liberation theology’s tactic has always been the same: denounce the false democracy and its military machine—clearly a popular appeal in areas where military brutality had been commonplace—and condemn hunger—another recurring Latin American characteristic—without ever mentioning the destruction carried out by the guerrillas or the plundering and poverty that the campesinos and laborers suffered in those “liberated” territories.
Note:LA STRATEGIA DELLA CHIESA DI BASE
the Salvadoran guerrilla Juan Ignacio Oterao once related how the Jesuits served as intermediaries for the guerrillas by purchasing arms overseas through their bank accounts, devastating proof that some had sold out their vow of poverty to the devil. The same happened in Nicaragua, where Christianity, communism, and the Sandinista movement began to confuse their dominions until Monsignor Obando y Bravo incorporated the cardinalate into his country’s political theology and destroyed the other less sophisticated, less spiritual version.
Note:GESUITI E GUERRIGLIA A EL SALVADOR
The insincerity of those calls for a dialogue was seen a few years later by the attitude of the Guatemalan Bishops’ conference concerning the negotiations in Guatemala between Ramiro de León Carpio’s government and the URNG. In August 1995, in a book with the pious title Urge la verdadera paz (“Urging True Peace”), the Guatemalan Diocese explained that true peace wouldn’t come with a cease-fire between the guerrillas and the military; peace would only appear when there was justice for all.
Note:IL NO AL DIALOGO DELLA CURIA
The same effort of “equidistance” has been made in Chiapas by the famous Samuel Ruiz, the bishop of San Cristobal who lives for Zapatista revolutionaries, not because they are considered the solution to the corrupt and socializing PRI, but because they preach the Marxist revolution—with some postmodern amenities like the fax and the Internet.
The atrocious murder of Ellacuría and his followers at the Universidad Centroamericana, the act of a death squad against one of the most powerful symbols of the de facto popular front, contributed in giving these priests the prestige of martyrs, making it very difficult to criticize their revolutionary escapades without appearing to condone the repugnant methodological homicide carried out by their executioners.
Note:ROMERO: IL MARTIRE PASTICCIONE
Father Ellacuria is the thinker who succeeded in attaining a higher union of Marxism and Christianity
While Jon Sobrino, Ellacuría’s principal collaborator, concentrated on the theological factor, the rector Ellacuría, with the Communist Manifesto securely concealed under his skullcap, was in charge of the ideological sermon scarcely disguised behind the veil of spirituality.
Note:ATTENTI A QUEI DUE: SOBRINO/ELLACURIA
Everyone in El Salvador knew that this center of indoctrination provided ecclesiastical dignity for the movement’s ideological fuel and shelter against the “artificial” and “bourgeois” Salvadoran democracy.
It was an ungodly lie that Romero was never a revolutionary or a partisan of liberation theology. Rather, it is said that he was a frightened man cornered by revolutionary nuns and priests
Note:LA PROPAGANDA SUL CASO ROMERO
Since then, Fathers Ernesto Cardenal, Miguel d’Escoto, and other relics of the Sandinista sanctuary have transformed his hesitancy and timidity into a self-sacrificing intrepidity for the socialist church.
Note:LE ESITAZIONI DI ROMERO OCCULTATE DALLA PROPAGANDA
This perfect union of Marxism and Christianity personified in Father Ellacuría, the poet Cardenal, Bishop Ruiz, and so many others in Latin America sought, and still seeks, to revitalize and modernize the Church, only slightly rubbing its eyes and awaking from its slumber.
Evangelical sects and Protestantism have been growing in countries like Guatemala and Peru while the official Church keeps losing strength. …How much of this was caused by the supposed saviors of the Catholic Church and the liberation theologians is something that needs to be studied. But Ellacuria’s contribution, just like those of his peers, of authoring a book full of humble intentions and missions, Conversión de la Iglesia al Reino de Dios (“Converting the Church to the Kingdom of God”), is probably not insignificant. …
Note:EVANGELICI: I FEDELI MOLLANO
Where you find iniquitous social inequalities, there you will also find the rejection of the Lord.
Thanks to liberationist theological sociology, Satan has been transformed into an economic system. Evil has become manifest in, naturally, capitalism. …The obsession with assigning capitalism (which is nothing more than society’s way of spontaneously organizing itself) moral—no, immoral—qualities leads one to the perfectly logical conclusion that capitalism, according to liberation theology, is Beelzebub himself! …
Of course, if economic systems could be endowed with morality, the villain wouldn’t be capitalism but socialism, along with all of its Latin American derivatives, of which there are many: nationalization, mercantilism, nationalism, and others. What the “progressive priests” call capitalism has, in fact, been their own caricature. They exalt the powerful by attributing to them capitalist virtues when they have in fact been anticapitalist and parasitic, capable of buying laws and legislators, enjoying success without competition,
Note:POCO CAPITALISMO IN QUELLE LANDE
The more I beat you, the more I love you, they say in Peru about amor serrano. Liberation apostles practice a theological version of amor serrano: the more I take away from you, the more I adore you. It’s social envy turned into a factor of eternal salvation. Instead of providing economic compensation, the priests offer those from whom they expropriate one of the most precious of all rewards, celestial paradise.
Note:AMOR SERRANO VERSO I RICCHI
The opposite of pillaging is charity. The class-based society created by capitalist exclusivism, unknown to God, is countered by the kingdom of fraternity, a world where charity is the binding element among human beings, the only form of currency acceptable for interaction among bipeds.
Note:LA CARITÀ CONTRO IL CAPITALISMO
We’re not going to waste time explaining again that you can’t divide what doesn’t exist and that the desire to distribute what does exist just ends up reducing everyone’s quota to minuscule portions.
Note:E CHI PRODUCE?
Liberation theology’s Christ-like charity cannot be more touching: expropriate from the rich, punish the successful, and ruin the well-to-do in order to save them from the egoism that could condemn them to eternal flames on Judgment Day.
Note:CARITÀ = ESPROPRIARE CHI PRODUXE
It is a right and a duty to denounce the lack of daily bread as evidence of sin and evil.
the “progressives” got tired of preaching poverty. Now—and this they learned from the best capitalism—they hate poverty so much that they ascribe to it diabolical elements, an entirely metaphysical dimension of horror and evil that would delight Donald Duck’s greedy uncle. The “people’s Church” is tired of dignifying poverty.
Note:LA POVERTÀ NON PIACE PIÙ
If we were to establish a relationship between salvation and political institutions or economic policies, the revolutionary priests—although doing a good job preaching prosperity—would hit the hypogeum head-on, because their economic proposals are old recipes of failure.
Note:VECCHIE RICETTE FALLIMENTARI
The influence of the dependency theory that dominated Latin America’s political panorama at the end of the 1960s and during a good part of the 1970s is detectable amid all of the liberation theologian’s economic theories. Even literature from Vatican II, the unwitting mother of the liberationist priests, has a certain trace of the dependency theory
Note:TEORIA DELLA DIPENDENZA… AUTARCHIA
that some poor nations are being distanced from the rich nations, not because of their own failures but because of the advantages enjoyed (unfairly, it is to be understood) by the rich. For this reason, the theory calls for the rich to make the effort, not the poor.
In truth nothing nor anyone—except in domestic cultural factors—has prevented Mexico from producing television and radio sets instead of Japan, which stripped the Americans of their nearly total control of this domain since the beginning in the 1950s. Nothing nor anyone is preventing the very educated Argentines from the extraordinarily profitable creation of software programs, an industry the United States has excelled in. This is not—as Galeano believed—about predator nations taking advantage of their neighbors’ weakness to loot them. Instead, they exploit their own competitive advantages as much as possible in order to offer the market the best goods and services at the best possible price. Spain, for example, “sells” its sunny countrysides, its beaches, its ancient Moorish architecture, its romance, its wonderful fishing sites, and its art museums. For many reasons—almost all of them of a cultural nature—Spaniards cannot produce precision machinery at competitive prices like the Germans or Swiss can, but experience, trial, and error has made them become one of Europe’s best hosts. What’s wrong with that? By definition, almost every community now in existence can find its own survival niche, since if this were not the case the community would not exist. What country in the Americas—aside from Canada and the United States—has the highest standard of living and the highest income in the New World? Answer: the Bahamas. A few small islands with sand and palm trees placed by God in the Caribbean, inhabited by 200,000 dark-skinned people who receive a few million visitors every year. What did tiny Grenada live on before the revolutionaries wanted to have it emulate neighboring Cuba? Answer: tourism, a medical school, and nutmeg exports. If there is anything that shows the practical experience of the twentieth century, it’s that there is not a single nation, whether small, fragile, distant, or bereft of natural resources, that cannot survive and prosper if it knows how to intelligently utilize its comparative advantages.
TEORIA DEI VANTAGGI COMPARATI CONTRO TEORIA DELLA DIPENDENZA
liberation theology is in fact perpetuating the basic fallacies that were attributed to the famous “inward development” of the 1950s, so near and dear to Latin America and figures such as Perón.
Note:DI FATTO UN RITORNO A PERON
Dependency theory, just like the development idea that liberation theologians have sought to overcome, was indebted to the paternalistic vision of the relationship between the government and society and posited authoritarianism and nationalism as the keys to success for Latin American countries.
The poverty that the “people’s Church” wants is spiritual, not material. Salvation is coming, made reality by revolutionary decrees.
Note:LA SALVEZZA DALL’ESPROPRIO
The Church’s mission isn’t to “save” in the sense of securing one’s passage into heaven. Salvation is reality acting upon history.
Liberation theology criticizes—rightly so—the Church’s traditional efforts to develop its role as an official social institution, the bastion of the political establishment.
Note:UNA CRITICA ACCETTABILE
liberation theology harbors an embarrassing albeit not so secret nostalgia for the old times of the secular state. It yearns for a world where the Church doesn’t have an essentially spiritual role but rather a political one. In other words, it wants to have political power.
Note:IL LATO CLERICALE DEI RIVOLUZIONARI
The idea of salvation made history, of Heaven incarnate in Man’s conduct, is an attractive one. It’s also fair. Why condemn the poor to misery with the promise of posthumous redemption if it’s possible to accumulate wealth now?
Note:SALVEZZA NELLA STORIA
socialism is humanity’s salvation and revolutionaries, as agents of this salvation, are the second coming of Christ.
In Latin America, the Christian community should live and celebrate its eschatological hope in a world of social revolutions.
The concept that dominates the Latin American vision of the revolutionary fathers is that of the periphery being confronted by the center, a resounding echo from, yet again, the economic dependency theory. They want to create a Third World Church—an anti-imperialist Church.
Note:LA RETORICA DELLA PERIFERIA
Here the Third Worldist mythology is dressed in theological garb to explain to us that the Church has the mission to save the periphery
All of the discussions at Medellin, the cornerstone of the revolutionary proposal from then until now among the members of the “people’s Church,” is the vindication of a nation—the nation of Latin America’s poor—which embodies virtue against a foreign enemy—the rich countries that embody evil.
Note:CONFERENZA DI MEDELLIN: VENDICARE I POVERI
The revolutionaries are annoyed by this abstract salvation situated in the other world. They want to get there like Fittipaldi. They prefer a “qualitative” salvation, where what matters is that the human experience is one big theater where the question of eternal life is solved.
Note:AL DIAVOLO L’ALDILA’
Down this road full of Jesuitical curves, one arrives at the very simple conclusion that God is found in the exalted leader of Chiapas or the bearded Abimael Guzmán.
Note:ALLA FINE C’È SEMPRE IL SOCIALISMO
The “people’s Church” has open arms. It wants to put everyone into its bag, even though they may be from other denominations. …This new “ecumenism” is not a reconciliation of different churches affected by the separation of the “Easterners,” but a call to a revolutionary alliance, always opposing the class enemy; ecumenism without the bourgeoisie. …
Note:LA CHIESA DEI POVERI: UNA CHIAMATA ALLA RIVOLUZIONE
Long after the fathers of dependency theory have abandoned their insular mentality (like Cardoso, today the president of Brazil, did) and after some of the fathers of liberation theology have rejected Marxism as a central analysis of Latin American reality (like Gustavo Gutiérrez and others), God’s warriors continue to play havoc with Latin American souls.
LA CHIESA CATTOLICA COME LA FORZA PIÙ RETRIVA DELL’AMERICA LATINA