Radical Catholic Movements Gather in Modesto, California: “We Must Disrupt!”


True Catholic social doctrine preaches

“the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ,” (Pius XI)

not revolt and the subversion of the civil order


The “First U.S. regional World Meeting of Popular Movements” was held in Modesto, Calif. from February 16-19 with the participation of two cardinals, Peter Cardinal Turkson, who represented the Vatican, and Joseph Cardinal Tobin, Archbishop of Newark, who spoke via Skype. Another twenty bishops attended, as did numerous priests, nuns and lay people totaling about seven hundred people.

“An Initiative of Pope Francis”

According to the conference’s official site, the World Meeting of Popular Movements is “[a]n initiative of Pope Francis… to create an ‘encounter’ between Church leadership and grassroots organizations working to address the ‘economy of exclusion and inequality’ (Joy of the Gospel, Nos. 53-54) by working for structural changes that promote social, economic and racial justice.”1

Prophecies of Our Lady of Good Success About Our TimesLearn All About the Prophecies of Our Lady of Good Success About Our Times

The meeting was sponsored by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the movement “Terra, Domus, Labor,” also a Vatican initiative,2 the Campaign for Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO), a network of “community organizations.”

Modesto was the movement’s first gathering in the U.S., following three world conferences—two in the Vatican (2014 and 2016) and another in Bolivia (July 2015). The previous conferences included the participation of subversive leaders such as João Pedro Stédile, of Brazil’s “Movimento dos Trabalhadores sem Terra” [Landless Rural Workers Movement], which promotes invasions and occupying of farms and rural properties, and Argentine Juan Grabois, a convinced neo-Marxist activist, who also attended the Modesto meeting.3Radical Catholic Movements Gather in Modesto, California: “We Must Disrupt!”

During the second gathering, in Bolivia, socialist President Evo Morales gave Pope Francis a gift of a crucifix with the hammer and sickle, the communist symbol.4

Among all of the conference’s co-sponsors, Pope Francis singled out PICO for praise in his written message to the participants:

“I would also like to highlight the work done by the PICO National Network and the organizations promoting this meeting. I learned that PICO stands for ‘People Improving Communities through Organizing’. What a great synthesis of the mission of popular movements….”5

So what is it about PICO that earned it an encomium from the Vicar of Christ on Earth? How does it embody “the mission of popular movements”?

Saul Alinsky and Liberation Theology

PICO was founded in 1972 by Fr. John Baumann.6 This Jesuit priest recounts how he was sent to Chicago after his first year in theology, and there he got in touch with Saul Alinsky:

“Saul Alinksy was one of the people who delivered a workshop for us, and he was a fascinating person. The way he could describe the importance of how to make democracy work in our communities and the importance of bringing people together was remarkable,” Baumann said. “So with that experience, with the workshops that Alinsky gave, we were given placements. And my field placement was under the direction of Tom Gaudette, who was an Alinsky lieutenant. Gaudette was really helpful in being a mentor to me over the years.”7

But who was Saul Alinsky?

Saul David Alinsky (1909-1972) was an American Marxist community organizer who established guidelines for revolutionaries.

In the opening pages of his book titled Rules for Radicals, we read: “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical….the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer.”8

What the Popes Have to Say About Socialism

Along with Alinsky’s subversive tactics, this powerful network of social agitation is based on Liberation Theology, a blend of the old Modernist heresy with the theories of Karl Marx.9 Indeed, as part of its women’s leadership training program, PICO includes feminist Liberation Theology, as its web site reports:

Women’s Theology of Liberation: During A Women’s Theology of Liberation training sessions we will come together as women clergy, lay-leaders and staff in the PICO National Network for an interactive workshops on feminist, mujerista and womanist theologies from various faith traditions, reflect on how gender and race intersect in our work, and developing tangible skills in how we can bring a gender lens to our campaigns for racial and economic justice.”10

A Message From Pope Francis

Peter Cardinal Turkson—Prefect of the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development—presented the message Pope Francis sent to “The first U.S. regional World Meeting of Popular Movements.” The document is shocking for its anti-capitalist tone, very akin to liberation theology, and the absence of any criticism of socialism. Here are a few quotes:

“I am speaking of a system that causes enormous suffering to the human family, simultaneously assaulting people’s dignity and our Common Home in order to sustain the invisible tyranny of money that only guarantees the privileges of a few.… The economic system that has the god of money at its center, and that sometimes acts with the brutality of the robbers in the parable, [of the Good Samaritan] inflicts injuries that to a criminal degree have remained neglected.”

“The system’s gangrene cannot be whitewashed forever because sooner or later the stench becomes too strong; and when it can no longer be denied, the same power that spawned this state of affairs sets about manipulating fear, insecurity, quarrels, and even people’s justified indignation, in order to shift the responsibility for all these ills onto a ‘non-neighbor.’”11

This economic system which, according to Francis, “poses a grave danger for humanity”—is not socialism, which has destroyed thriving economies and reduced hundreds of millions to enslavement and the most abject misery12—but free enterprise and the market economy!

Some phrases in the papal message are hard to understand, as when he exhorts popular movements “to defend our Sister Mother Earth.” In what sense is the “Earth” our “Sister Mother”? What does it mean to have a “Sister” that is also a “Mother”?

Bishop Robert W. McElroy: “We Must All Become Disruptors”

In his speech, Bishop McElroy, of San Diego, after accusing President Trump of being a “disruptor,” calls on those present:

“Well now, we must all become disruptors. We must disrupt those who would seek to send troops into our streets to deport the undocumented, to rip mothers and fathers from their families. We must disrupt those who portray refugees as enemies rather than our brothers and sisters in terrible need. We must disrupt those who train us to see Muslim men, women and children as forces of fear rather than as children of God. We must disrupt those who seek to rob our medical care, especially from the poor. We must disrupt those who would take even food stamps and nutrition assistance from the mouths of children.”13

In his turn, Joseph Cardinal Tobin stated that the “concentration of wealth in our country in the hands of a few has created historic levels of economic inequality, which has placed a great burden on working families and the poor.”14

Delirious Anti-Capitalism

Francis’ criticism of capitalism was fleshed out in the meeting’s final “Message from Modesto.” We see the document affirm, for example:

“We live every day the reality that Pope Francis describes when he says that our families and communities are being assaulted by a ‘system that causes enormous suffering to the human family, simultaneously assaulting people’s dignity and our Common Home in order to sustain the invisible tyranny of money that only guarantees the privileges of a few….’”

“We understand that a small elite is growing wealthy and powerful off the suffering of our families. Racism and White Supremacy are America’s original sins. They continue to justify a system of unregulated capitalism that idolizes wealth accumulation over human needs.”15

General Mobilization

The document calls for a general mobilization with “practical actions”: “We urge every faith community, including every Catholic parish, to declare themselves a sanctuary for people facing deportation and those being targeted based on religion, race or political beliefs.”

It calls for actions to be taken by “using tools that include boycotts, strikes, and non-violent civil disobedience.”

Quoting Bishop McElroy, the document says “popular” movements should become “disruptors”:

“As Bishop Robert McElroy said to us, ‘We must disrupt those who would seek to send troops into our communities to deport the undocumented, to destroy our families. We must disrupt those who portray refugees as enemies. We must disrupt those who train us to see Muslim men & women as a source of threat rather than children of God. We must disrupt those who would take away healthcare, who would take food from our children.’”

The document, based on the words of Joseph Cardinal Tobin, requests the bishops to chart the course of action, “We ask our Catholic Bishops to write a covenant that spells out specific actions that dioceses and parishes should take to protect families in the areas of immigration, racism, jobs, housing, and the environment.”

“We propose meetings of popular movements in each of our states over the next six months to bring this statement, the vision of the World Meetings and the Pope’s message of hope and courage to every community in the United States.”16

Bitter Fruits of Liberation Theology

In short, Modesto’s gathering of “popular movements” is yet another bitter fruit of the Marxist-Modernist ideology of liberation theology, which has set ablaze several Latin American countries by promoting land squatting and violence in the countryside and the “conscienticization17 of the heretofore pious faithful, turning them into hate-filled agitators.

It is to be feared that the fruits of “The first U.S. regional World Meeting of Popular Movements” will be social agitation, upheavals, and increasing disorientation among Catholics.

This needs to be countered with true Catholic social doctrine, which does not preach revolt and the subversion of the civil order, but “the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ.”18



  1. World Meeting of Popular Movements, http://popularmovements.org/ accessed Feb. 27, 2017. All emphasis ours.
  2. “‘Terra Domus Labor’ [Land, House, Work] was organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in collaboration with various organizations around the world that work toward social justice and stimulating social change to allow a more just world to be built.” See VeroNews.com “Migrant farmworker from Fellsmere meets Pope Francis,” http://www.veronews.com/32963_features/people/migrant-farmworker-from-fellsmere-meets-pope-francis/article_6c23ce14-8ab3-11e4-90fd-47f05ff8db95.html, accessed Feb. 27, 2017.
  3. Cf. “Quo Vadis, Domine? Reverent and Filial Message to His Holiness Pope Francis from Prince Bertrand of Orleans-Braganza,” Feb. 13, 2014, at http://www.tfp.org/quo-vadis-domine-reverent-and-filial-message-to-his-holiness-pope-francis-from-prince-bertrand-of-orleans-braganza/, accessed Feb. 27, 2017.
  4. “The ‘Communist Crucifix’: Are Socialism and Catholicism No Longer ‘Contradictory Terms’?” Aug. 19, 2015, at http://www.tfp.org/the-communist-crucifix-are-socialism-and-catholicism-no-longer-contradictory-terms/, accessed Feb. 27, 2017.
  5. “Message of His Holiness Pope Francis on the Occasion of the World Meetings of Popular Movements in Modesto (California) [16-18 February 2017], Feb. 10, 2017,” http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/pont-messages/2017/documents/papa-francesco_20170210_movimenti-popolari-modesto.html, accessed Feb. 27, 2017.
  6. “History,” at http://www.piconetwork.org/about/history, accessed Feb. 27, 2017.
  7. “Father John Baumann, SJ, Discusses PICO and Community Organizing for Passionate Leaders in Social Entrepreneurship Speaker Series,” Oct. 31, 2014, at https://www.hnu.edu/about/news/father-john-baumann-sj-discusses-pico-and-community-organizing-passionate-leaders-social, accessed Feb. 27, 2017.
  8. Rules for Radicals, at https://archive.org/stream/RulesForRadicals#page/n3/mode/2up, accessed Feb. 27 2017.
  9. Luiz Sérgio Solimeo, “Liberation Theology: A KGB invention? That’s Way Too Simple…” May 28, 2015, at http://www.tfp.org/liberation-theology-a-kgb-invention-that-is-way-too-simple/, accessed Feb. 27, 2017.
  10. “Women’s Theology of Liberation—Part I: How to Build Women’s Faith Power to Heal our Nation Training Vision,” at http://www.piconetwork.org/campaigns/womens-lib-theology, accessed Feb. 27, 2017.
  11. Message of Pope Francis. (Our emphases.)
  12. Peronist socialism, for example, destroyed the Argentine economy, which once matched the economies of the more advanced European countries. Cf. “Argentina era uno de los paises mas ricos del mundo,” at http://www.taringa.net/posts/noticias/17380247/Argentina-era-uno-de-los-paises-mas-ricos-del-mundo.html, accessed Feb. 27, 2017. Bolivarian socialism did the same to Venezuela, once a rich oil country and one of the strongest economies in Latin America. Cf. Jeff Jacoby, “As socialism shattered Venezuela, the useful idiots applauded,” The Boston Globe, Dec. 25, 2016, at https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2016/12/25/socialism-shattered-venezuela-useful-idiots-applauded/ZoQnAX5WksuCTauiAjCx4M/story.html, accessed Feb. 27, 2017.
  13. “Transcript of speech by San Diego Catholic Bishop Robert McElroy to community organizers,” The San Diego Union-Tribune, Feb. 22, 2017, at http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/religion/sd-me-mcelroy-speech-20170221-story.html, accessed Feb. 27, 2017.
  14. “Text of Address by Cardinal Joseph William Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark, to the US Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements” Feb. 17, 2017, at http://popularmovements.org/news/text-address-cardinal-joseph-william-tobin-c-ss-r-archbishop-newark-us-regional-world-meeting-popular-movements/, accessed Feb. 27, 2017.
  15. “Message from Modesto,” Feb. 19, 2017, at http://popularmovements.org/news/message-from-modesto/, accessed Feb. 27, 2017.
  16. Ibid.
  17. Lee Moriwaki, “Conscienticizing? Jesuit Leader Brings The Faithful Its Meaning” The Seattle Times, May 22, 1993, http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19930522&slug=1702547, accessed Feb. 27, 2017.
  18. Pius XI, Encyclical Quas Primas, Dec. 11, 1925, No. 1, http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_11121925_quas-primas.html, accessed Feb. 27, 2017.

Related Articles

Comments Policy: TFP.org reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of TFP.org. TFP.org will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages.

  • Scipio Africanus

    It is all as Our Lady warned. I pray for Pope Francis, that he may learn that he works for God, and not Karl Marx.

  • Joseph Cortes

    His words have constantly been twisted by media from the Left and the Right. I would take this with a grain of salt.

    • Sunisyde

      Really? So the media have been twisting Bergoglio’s remarks for the past four year’s…? I doubt it!

      • Johann du Toit

        In some cases they have and in some case they haven’t.

  • Peccatori

    If capitalism, which is a Marxist term, is the evil he says this it is, why are there so many poor, underprivileged, undocumented immigrants risking deportation and sometimes, their lives, to join into this evil? And why is he advocating that they be allowed to, illegally?

  • peter f

    This explains clearly about the Holy Father’s liberation theology/marxist/communist beliefs.
    Our Lady just before the revolution in 1917 of course warned of the errors of Russia spreading through the world.
    Hilary Clinton apparently wrote her disatation (or similar ) on Saul Alinski when she was at college.
    Does this mean our Holy Father is also a fan of Alinski who -from the quote from his book – was clearly a fan of Lucifer?
    These dots are so clearly joined up now.
    What happens next? I’m grateful for websites like this, The Remnant and OnePeterFive at least I can tell others think along similar lines and I must keep praying and trust in God. But I’m very tired – please pray for me.
    God help us all, Our Lady of Fatima pray for us, St Michael pray for us.
    Viva Cristo Rey!

  • kitty

    Well NOW I am totally confused….He is my Pope! I give and give and give and give…and now he asks me to give my entire way of life. This way of life is what enables me to give? I am a revert trying very hard to be a good returnee….but as a pre Vat II Catholic…I am very confused about where I have returned to. Mary, Mother of us all….PLEASE HELP US HERE, PLEASE!

    • Sunisyde

      I also am a revert but I will die a Roman Catholic. Just because we have a bad pope, does not mean we should give up on the Roman Catholic church Christ Himself founded. We have been given the grace to come back and now we have to fight to the end for her. After all, we are the Church Militant..!

      • kitty

        Yes…I hear you, and I do agree. I too will die a Roman Catholic. I pray for Pope Francis. I understand his priority of caring for all with less. I take it as seriously as I take tithing. However, he has misplaced himself into political reform, and addressed our elections via putting Trump down. I fear fuzzy morality, as Satan is the father of confusion. But leave? No, never! ! You are right Sunisyde….we are the Church Militant…!

  • Ru

    I read George Soros was a major fund contributor of the meeting!

  • Anthony Rader

    It isn’t enough to criticize those who support a socialist agenda. We need to offer an alternative that works. I’m not a socialist. Rampant socialism destroys incentive which in turn destroys economies. One only has to look to communist Russia or Cuba to understand this. However, I’m not a supporter of rampant capitalism either because there are some serious issues with this as the radicals are quick to point out. These issues are undeniable. The rich get richer, the middle class gradually disappears and the poor get poorer. While the rich are getting richer, they make up a diminishing percentage of the population. Mega corporations line up to support all candidates in an election so they will have a sympathetic ear in government no matter who wins. And these are just a few of the issues. How can a democracy continue to exist in this environment? One only has to look to some south american banana republics to see this. We think we are above this, but are we? If we are not, will we continue to be? Look at it this way. We believe that a government should have checks and balances for obvious reasons. Well, so should economies. Why? Because if these economic inequalities continue to grow, everyones rights will be endangered. Communists and radicals only have an ear when desperate people have no other place to turn and people who have nothing have a history of turning to desperate measures. I don’t think we are there yet, but if these trends continue we will get there soon enough. If high profile clergy are getting themselves involved with socialism we should be hearing alarm bells. While I agree that extreme socialism isn’t the answer, we should be looking for something that will balance things out. It is time for a change and if we who believe in capitalism don’t seize this opportunity then maybe the radical socialists will to the detriment of all.

    • Ann Hessenius

      This has to be one of the best posts on this subject I’ve read. Kudos, Anthony…Your assessment is SO accurate. Indeed we are in extremely dangerous times, and so very sadly, our pope is mightily part of the problem.

    • peter f

      Communism is the scourge of the world as foretold by Our Lady of Fatima – also by other saints/mystics. I think if we don’t pray enough we are all in for one heck of a major chastisement.
      I don’t know much about it but I think that Catholic social teaching may provide the blueprint you asked for.
      Viva Cristo Rey!

    • Brian

      Anthony, peter and Ann, agree wholeheartedly! Charles Koch (YES, those Koch(brothers) has written an essential text on this “Good Profit” which had me close to tears a number of times: tears of sadness remorse as I realize how much I have slipped in my dealings with self, other and therefore community at large; and tears of Joy when he so masterfully demonstrates the power of the virtues (yes he actually says nothing of “good profit” can endure without especially virtue based partnership and mutuality with an organization or mini-society. I study extensively and I hope intensively to study and act on the Social Doctrine principles and Mr. Koch wold be a superb spokesman for much of what Pope Pius Xi, St JPII et al exhort us to DO and also to avoid. I truly believe this to be an essential study for all leaders

  • Daniel Meegan

    socialism is against all religions it seeks its own wealth and power No American wants anything to do with it period

  • FrZeile

    I am amazed that those who so vehemently denounce the greed that animates captalism cannot see the envy that animates socialism. In civil terms, at least capitalism channels greed into constructive activity- we are all richer because Henry Ford and Steve Jobs built their fortunes. But how does mere income inequality affect me?

  • William Westchester

    Didn’t Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli), when Papal Nuncio to the Kingdom of Bavaria during WWI, investigate Karl Marx and find that he was a Satanist?

  • Johann du Toit

    Pope Francis was actually a pretty conservative Bishop and he opposed the Marxist tendency of the Jesuits when he headed the order in Argentina. He is also on record as condemning Fidel Castro as a dictator when he was Archbishop. However he does appear to support a form of Liberation Theology that does not contain elements of Marxist Leninism (although it is highly questionable whether it is indeed possible to separate the two, and hence calls the viability of LT into question). Also, we must take into account that the Pope comes from Argentina, where the economic system is an unholy marriage between Big Government Socialism and Crony Capitalism (whenever he speaks of “economy that kills” he is referencing this no doubt). Also, Pope Francis’s true economic views (of which he admitted he is no expert and therefore cannot advise the faithful) is more Peronist, aka economic populism finding a “third way” between capitalism and socialism.

    I do however believe that since his elevation to the chair of St. Peter the Pope has come under the influence of unholy and heterodox members of the hierarchy, such as Godfreed Daneels and Walter Kasper, and this explains the mistakes he has made.

    • GoldenRudy

      The Odor of Satan fills the halls of the Vatican these days.

    • Sunisyde

      I think Bergoglio does have a mind of ‘his own,’ he also has free will to choose good over evil….

  • Johann du Toit

    The problem with the Catholic Left is that they have become more and more left and much less Catholic.

  • barbaro70


    We can only hope that Bergoglio somehow realizes that his cute Jesuitic nonsense is just that, nonsense, and goes back to Argentina to work in a soup kitchen, or something. Oh, Benedict, what you have visited on us!

  • Fatima



    ALL SECRET SOCIETIES ARE JEWISH KABBALAH = ILLUMINATI = SKULL AND BONES = PIZZAGATE = NWO = LUCIFERIANS. Francis is a Jew, he is not a Catholic. Learn the truth and speak the truth for Heavenly Sake.

  • Gregory

    what a load of infuriatingly insulting nonsense!

  • Bo

    The antithesis of Pius XI’s Quad. Anne … very sad indeed.

  • Richard

    One of our Deacons started spouting this nonsense after the Trump travel ban.

    About 2/3rd’s of the congregation walked.

    • Johann du Toit

      Good, because a cleric who spews garbage like that is not a son of the Church. He is just a clown in a robe.

    • GoldenRudy

      Yet the pulpits were silent regarding the actual and visceral threat to religious freedom embodied in Hillary Clinton and the Democrat Party had she won the election. Not a word. Judas is yet alive and thriving in the catholic church it seems.

  • Jake Brinkman

    This wreaks of socialism and communism. This is a huge red flag! I recommend to stay away from this. The evil one is behind this!

    • scragsma


  • Thomas Drapela

    Doesn’t surprise me a bit, Pope Francis is from the Liberation Theology of South America so he has always held these beliefs. What surprises me is that he was ever elected Pope. Didn’t the Cardinals heed the teachings (or comments) of St Pope John Paul II when he condemned the Philosophy of Liberation Theology in the 90’s ? I only hope that Pope Francis comes to his seances before he causes a schism in the Catholic Church.

    • William Westchester

      Has any “Liberation Theology” been heard from the socialist paradise of Venezuela? Perhaps the clowns of Modesto could meet next in Caracas.

  • disqus_v5723Mqspa

    I knew it: “Pope” Francis is a communist agitator. When he was “elected”, I knew that it had happened too quickly, and I had a bad feeling about it. The commies peopling the Vatican voted him in, because they knew he was just their kind and he would do their evil bidding. He should be removed and defrocked, along with them, a total swamp-draining. One hundred years ago, at Fatima, Our Lady warned us that the corruption would come from the top. God help us.


    What I have read here shows that some people in the church have no pity or knowledge of what is going on. President Trump only wants to get rid of those who have committed crimes such as the murder of Kate Stinly in San Francisco. These people do not belong in this great country.
    My Father an Grand-Father came to this country the right way, became citizens married raised families, an became good hard working part of this country, not the type of person who murders, robbers an does great harm to the really good people. Those who commit crimes must be deported an kept out of this country for good.

  • Shaune Scott

    Where is the list of bishops who attended??