Friday, May 17, 2019

Pope Francis “is a Great Friend of Liberation Theology”

Frei Betto: There is no future for humanity other than socialism.

One of the leading ideologues of Marxist liberation theology, the Brazilian Dominican Frei Betto, was interviewed by the daily Diario Libre in the Dominican Republic. In it he described Pope Francis "as a great friend of liberation theology" and talked about the future of humanity and celibacy.

The son of a journalist and a writer who studied journalism himself, he was in his youth a member of Catholic Action, which was close to the Communist Party in Brazil. His role-model was the Communist leader and later guerrilla Carlos Marighella. Betto also became politically active at the time. At the same time he joined the Dominican Order in 1964, which was aligned to the Marxists in São Paulo. In the year of his entry into the Order, he was arrested and tortured by the military for two weeks because of his political activism. In 1966 he resigned from his profession and was arrested again in 1969, this time for two years.

Consultant of communist dictatorships

After his release, he became the liaison of revolutionary circles of Brazil to the communist regime in Cuba. In 1973, he retired to the Favela district of the poorest and joined as a non-combatant of the communist guerrilla movement Ação Libertadora Nacional Marighellas. The ALN kidnapped the then US Ambassador to Brazil. Betto's role model, the guerrilla leader Marighella, was tracked down and shot by the military in the Dominican monastery of Sao Paulo in 1973.

In the 1980s Frei Betto worked as an adviser to socialist dictatorships, alongside Cuba for Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, Poland, the People's Republic of China and Nicaragua.

In 2003 he said there had been three "traumatic" moments in his life: the overthrow of the Chilean Popular Front government of Salvador Allende, the overthrow of the communist government of Granada of Maurice Bishop, and the collapse of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua.

Past times: Frei Betto with Brazil's President Lula and Cuba's President Fidel Castro

Together with his friend and liberation theologian Leonardo Boff, Betto supported his friend Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and his workers' party in Brazil. When Lula became head of state in 2003, he made Fei Betto a government advisor. UNESCO distinguished the Dominican "for his commitment to human rights and social justice". In the circle of like-minded people they honors each other.

"I believe in a god without religion"

His journalistic work also includes a "New Credo" in which he confesses:

"I believe in the God liberated from the Vatican and all religions existing today and in the future. The God who is above all baptisms, before all sacraments, and who goes beyond all religious doctrines. Free from the theologians, he disinterestedly spreads himself in the hearts of all, the faithful and the atheists, the good and the bad, those who consider themselves saved and those who consider themselves children of damnation, and also those who are the secret, who will face death with indifference.
I believe in the god who has no religion [...]
I believe in the God who hides on the back of atheist reason [...]. "

Already on January 29, 2019, Frei Betto spoke in an interview with the Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano:

"Cardinal Bergoglio was not progressive, but as Pope Francis, he became a promoter of liberation theology. In his social-ecological encyclical Laudato si (2015) he explores the causes of environmental degradation. And his positions on communion for the divorced and the confession for the children of homosexual couples are big leaps forward, even if he has to struggle between all the hurdles that are thrown between his legs. "

Pope Francis "is today the most important head of state"

At the beginning of May, Frei Betto was a guest at the International Book Fair Santo Domingo in 2019. On this occasion, he was interviewed by the Dominican daily Diario Libre, who presented him on May 4th as "Leftist intellectual, Dominican and central figure of liberation theology".

In his replies he defended the socialist regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, declaring that "there is no country in the world that has violated human rights more than the US,” and that "the rights" in Brazil are "drastic measures" eliminating the elected left-wing government.

Overall, according to the Dominican, there is "no future for humanity other than socialism.” It could be said that socialism did not work in the Soviet Union, but that did not mean that socialism had failed.

Of Pope Francis he thinks:

The incumbent Pope needed time because before him there were "34 years of conservative pontificates.” However, the election of Francis was a big step forward because:

"The Catholic Church today is a conservative body with a progressive head."

And further:

"Francis is a great friend of liberation theology. Francis is certainly today the most important head of state, who has the courage to defend the poorest, and the refugees in Europe, who have the courage to accuse the Geldimperialismus and the Marktvergötterung. "

"The celibacy thing must stop"

On the current celibacy debate Frei Betto raved:

"Yes, that's another problem. As long as the Church does not stop with this obligatory celibacy thing ... that must stop. There was no idea of ​​compulsory celibacy in Jesus' head. (...) The problem lies in the macho tradition that started after Jesus in the Church and imposed this compulsion. It should be like in the Protestant churches that a pastor can marry.”

In contrast to many progressive hierarchists in the Church, one can at least not blame the Brazilian Dominican for disguising his convictions.

On April 10, 2014, Frei Betto was received in audience by Pope Francis. Of the topics discussed, the Brazilian then revealed to have sided with an excommunicated brother:

"I asked the pope about his brother, who was burnt at the stake and asked him to rehabilitate Giordano Bruno officially. I think the Church should finally do justice. "

Pope Francis had given him no negative answer, but said that he would "pray" for Giordano Bruno.

The former Dominican Giordano Bruno had been burned on 17 February 1600 as one of the few heretics, by the Roman Inquisition at the stake in Rome. A total of 97 people were executed in Rome during the 250 years that the actual Inquisition was active, most were felons. After the Italian unification,  Church opponents, especially the Italian Masons, created a myth around Giordano Bruno to make his case an instrument in the fight against the Church. It was (and is) not precisely in line with the historical facts. That was also the reason why the Masons of Italy erected a statue on the Campo dei Fiori, where Giordano Bruno was executed. Militant atheism, which describes itself as a "humanism critical of the Church,” venerates the former Dominican brother as their “heretical anti-saint." This includes the atheist Giordano Bruno Foundation in Germany and Austria.

Frei Betto is in strange company, but that does not seem to have bothered him since his youth.

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Diario Libre (Screeenshot)
Trans: Tancred


JBQ said...

"I believe in a god without religion". The fear is that Bergoglio is of a like mind.

Peter Watson said...

Cardinal Mueller was a student of Fr Gustavo Gutierrez OP, often spent months with him in the barrios and co-authored a book with him. Gutierrez's theology of liberation centers on the integral dignity of the human person, not armed insurrection.

Tancred said...


Reagan's Bush said...

How is that working out for the people of the barrio?

Anonymous said...

The appointment of the Regensburg Archbishop as the guardian of Catholic orthodoxy was a cause for concern, as he was accused of having been in contact with representatives of liberation theology (he is a friend of Gustavo Gutiérrez, with whom he co-authored a book entitled On the Side of the Poor: Liberation Theology). Yet this theology was condemned by John Paul II and the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Liberation theology was therefore the main topic of our conversation.

As a priest and bishop, you have always been very sensitive to the values of justice, solidarity and human dignity. How did you become interested in social problems?

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller: I come from Mainz. Early in the 19th century there was a great bishop in my home town, Baron Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler, a forerunner of the Church’s teaching on social doctrine. As a child I lived in a climate of social commitment. We must not forget that if we managed to establish a democratic society in Europe after the Second World War and the defeat of dictatorships, this is also to be credited to the social doctrine of the Catholic Church. Thanks to Christianity, values like justice, solidarity and human dignity have been introduced into the constitutions of many countries.

Your CV features numerous connections with Latin America. How did your link with the Latin American Church originate?

I visited Peru and other Latin American countries for fifteen years. I stayed there for two or three months a year, living a simple life like the common people. At first this is very hard for a European, but when one gets to know the natives and becomes familiar with their way of life, one can accept everything. A Christian is at home everywhere; Christ is present wherever there is an altar; you are part of God’s family, no matter where you are.

When you were appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith last year, some accused you of being closely linked to Father Gustavo Gutiérrez, the initiator of liberation theology. How do you reply to this?

and, for his collaboration with the theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez, the University of Lima in Peru also granted him an honorary doctorate.

Francis reveals he concelebrated Mass with Cardinal Muller and Gustavo Gutierrez

Anonymous said...

It’s true, I know Father Gustavo Gutiérrez well. In 1988 I was invited to participate in a seminar conducted by him. I had my reservations, being familiar with the two declarations of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on liberation theology published in 1984 and 1986 respectively. Yet I noticed that it is necessary to distinguish between a correct version of liberation theology and an incorrect one. In my opinion, good theology has God and His love as its starting point and is about the freedom and glory of God’s children. Therefore Christian theology deals with the God-given gift of salvation. Marxist anthropology is quite different from Christian anthropology because it regards man as deprived of freedom and dignity. Communism is about the dictatorship of the proletariat; good theology, on the contrary, is about love and freedom. Both communism and neo-liberal capitalism deny the transcendent dimension of human existence, restricting their action to the material sphere of human life. Capitalism and communism are two sides of the same coin. On the contrary, true liberation theology draws upon the Bible, the Fathers of the Church and the teaching of Vatican Council II to build up God’s kingdom.

...The negative aspects of liberation theology referred to by Benedict XVI are the result of the misunderstanding and wrong application of this theology. There would be no such results if authentic theology were applied. Ideological differences create divisions in the Church. But this also happens in Europe where progressive Catholics are opposed to conservative Catholics. This reminds us of the situation in Corinth where some referred to Paul, others to Peter and others yet to Christ. But we must all be united in God because God unites, evil divides. Theology which divides is ideology. Authentic theology leads to God; therefore it cannot produce divisions.

Your Excellency, on receiving your honorary degree from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, you condemned in your intervention “the infamy of our age: neo-liberal capitalism.” Is this a structure of evil?

It is difficult to make comparisons between a structure of evil and personal sin, because every sin has a social dimension being committed within a social structure, be it the family, the place of employment, the social environment or the nation. Neo-liberal capitalism is one of those structures of evil of the 19th and 20th centuries which intended to do away with Christian values. But, as I said, behind each structure there are people who accept its principles; therefore behind each structure of evil there are personal sins.

Tancred said...

Cardinal Thorne thinks Müller is a good Theologian, but is naive about LT. He further complains that when he was corrected by Cardinal Ratzinger to make changes in his book, he doesn’t seem to have done so.

Anonymous said...

Betto never was an advisor to the communist regime in Poland. He visited communist Poland two times for several days in ’80. For the first time Betto visited polish communists in 1986 before the amnesty for political prisoners. I was the lack of solidarity with the opposition activists imprisoned by communist regime, most of them Catholics. During his stay, he did not meet with the representatives of the Polish Church, but discussed the prospects for “dialogue” between Catholics and Marxists. He visited Poland for the second time in the autumn of 1987. Among others He gave a comprehensive interview to the communist party's "Trybuna Ludu", in which he "dialoged" about the cooperation of Catholics with the "left". In a country where the authorities treated the Church as an official enemy, and no priest could count on any publication in the state media, it was a very unpleasant break of the catholic community.

Of course, Frei Betto tangled Christianity with Marxism. But his choices, though not excused, can be understood. As a twenty-year-old, before he could learn anything about the world and communism, he learned im prison the "justice" of a brutal dictatorship that declared the defense of traditional order. After 4 yeat=rs in prosuon he commited himself to the poor, whose poverty and the primitive conditions of material and spiritual life that follow him shake so many consciences. He had permanently lived on high emotional revolutions and accepted the principle that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". Therefore he became communist, because communists were enemies of the dictatorship. Yes, this principle is a detail of the general rule "the goal justifies the means" - not very evangelical, but several times even the popes happened to apply it. Whoever never applied this principle can throw the stone.
Despite of that, there are some common points. In the interview after the election of Franciszek, Betto about John Paul II expressed his respect revealing that he had the head on the right side, but the heart on the left. Doctrinely conservative in social matters, the pope about neoliberalism, the international financier, the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few and unjust redistribution, spoke similarly to the liberation theologians. In the interview with the Castro, the only matter in which Betto did not accept the dictator's point of view is the encyclic of Paul VI "Humanae vitae" about the sanctity of human life. He recognized the financing of abortion in poor countries from western aid funds for health care as a sign of neo-colonialism ("A woman goes to a health center with a headache caused by pregnancy, and immediately to terminate her pregnancy was proposed to her"). Elsewhere, he pointed out that erasing the history from education was aimed at easier governance by the neo-liberal establishment deprived of memory of its past by the poor. And a few years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the Church triumphantly finished the end of history, Betto gave such an assessment of theology: "Having lost his reference to the world of the poor, he must face modernization in accordance with Nietzsche's optics. And he does not know who to send his discourse to. Everything points to the fact that soon the crisis will also embrace theology proclaiming the apologies of freedom (allegedly) to be achieved in capitalist countries. At present, the wave of consumerism, once again bringing with it a promise of social inequality and total permissiveness, is already beginning to worry those who have always believed that the West is Christian."
From the perspective of almost 30 years since this prophecy, it can not be denied that with all errors, the liberation theologians have something important to say.

Anonymous said...

"Cardinal Thorne thinks Müller is a good Theologian, but is naive about LT. He further complains that when he was corrected by Cardinal Ratzinger to make changes in his book, he doesn’t seem to have done so."

(1) only opus devils would care what Cardinal Thorne thinks: "He was the first priest incardinated into Opus Dei to be made a cardinal"

I guess like Ratz, as long as say they are 'mistaken,' Thorne can look the other way when Muller is awarded for his 'mistaken' (heretical) 'theology.' [Guess that's why all the 'prolife' protestors can continue to congregate & prey w/the pro-abortion & pro-sodomy heretical and wicked]

(2) "when he was corrected by Cardinal Ratzinger to make changes in his book, he doesn’t seem to have done so" --guess that was Wuerl's fault; surely that means Muller is a pedophile and a coverupper of pedophiles (but oh Vigano never mentioned it because Muller is an opus devil).

Kramer convicted, Müller rewarded "In March 2008, Fr. Peter Kramer pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of one of the boys of the Riekofen parish. He was charged with abusing the ten-to-eleven-year-old boy 22 times during a period of two years (2004-2006)....Bishop Müller’s complicity resulted in tremendous damage to boys and their families. But for him, there were no consequences. His career, under the smile of his protector Pope Ratzinger, soared."

(3) Does Cardinal Thorne & opus devil deny transsubstantiation?

(4) Are Novus Ordo Catholics, Protestants, opus devils and SSPX united in the same visible

More and more we were told that the Catholic Church and the official Church are one and the same thing, both being visible, whereas the profession of the true Faith is the first criterion for being a member of the Catholic Church

(5) Does Opus Devil believe good thelogians deny the perpetual virginity of BVM?

(6) Does Opus Devil believe good theologians are public heretics? [So funny how you opus devils are using public heretics to question francis'heresies]

Tancred said...

I’m not a member of Opus, but I have been critical of them.