Death of Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga: “Liberation Theology Loses Its Herald”

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Death of Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga: “Liberation Theology Loses Its Herald”
Death of Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga: “Liberation Theology Loses Its Herald”

Few realized it, but a powerful herald of liberation theology quietly passed away. The Spanish Claretian prelate and poet Pedro Casaldáliga died in Brazil in early August. He was the bishop emeritus of the Amazonian diocese of São Félix do Araguaia, and one of the most active exponents of liberation theology. While he did not participate in the recent Amazon Synod in Rome due to his advanced age, the Synod’s documents and even the apostolic exhortation, Querida Amazonia, paid homage to his leading role over the decades.

Amazon Synod: The Trojan Horse of Liberation Theology

Few people remember the dramatic gestures of this Catalan prelate in favor of his radical theology. On February 28, 1980, for example, he attended a “Sandinista Night” program at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil. During the event, Nicaraguan guerrilla leader Daniel Ortega paid homage to Bishop Casaldáliga by giving him a guerrilla military uniform. Ortega, who had just seized power, appeared with his chaplain, the liberation theologian Uriel Molina, and other new Sandinista regime members. In a climate of hysterical enthusiasm that resembled a mystical trance, the other countries of the region were explicitly incited to repeat the bloody Nicaraguan civil war road to Revolution. The prelate donned the military jacket and replied:

“I would like to thank you for this sacrament of liberation, which I receive with facts, and, if needed, also with blood! Dressed as a guerrilla fighter, I feel like a priest in his vestments. The guerrilla warfare and the Mass are the same celebrations that push us towards the same hope. We must bear witness to our commitment until death!”1

This episode and other similar cases, such as the invasions of agricultural lands, led Brazilian authorities to consider expelling him from the country. Although the ordinary of an Amazonian diocese, he was still a foreign citizen encouraging violent subversion. However, the feisty Catalan prelate always found strong supporters like the Cardinal of São Paulo, Paulo E. Arns, who in 1976 stated, “I heard from Paul VI himself that messing with Dom Pedro Casaldáliga is like messing with the Pope himself.”2Is the Amazon Synod Going to Lead Us to Eco-Socialism?

FREE READ: Indian Tribalism: The Communist-Missionary Ideal for Brazil in the Twenty-First Century

During the international conference titled “Amazonia: the Stakes,” organized by the Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute at the Quirinale Hotel in Rome on October 5, 2019, American TFP member James Bascom, in a speech titled “Green is the New Red,” stated:

“The pre-Christian, primitive Indian of the Americas serves as a model for both socialism and ecology. It was in Latin America in the seventies, specifically in Brazil, where these ideas were adopted and implemented by the Catholic left. (…)

“In response to this Revolution, in 1977 Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira wrote a book called Indian Tribalism: Communist-Missionary Ideal for Brazil in the Twenty-First Century.

“Prof. Plinio showed, in their own words, how Catholic leftist missionaries in Brazil see the lifestyle, morals, and religion of the Brazilian Indians as expressing the principles of socialism and ecology to the highest degree. Primitive Indians live without capitalism, private property, without Christian faith or morals, and live in harmony with the Earth. In other words, they live both the socialist and ecological utopias.

“Therefore, to save the Earth and themselves from destruction, Westerners must destroy their economic, political and social institutions and imitate the tribal life of the Amazon Indians.

Listen to the Amazon Indians Not Liberation Theologians!

“Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga, a leading figure of Indigenous tribalism in Brazil in the seventies, described himself and the movement as ‘trans-communist,’ that is, a movement based on the same principles of communism yet taking them to a more radical conclusion. The perfect fulfillment of communism, if you will. Likewise, this ecological indigenous tribalism, which the Pan-Amazon Synod aims to implement, is nothing less than old communism that has simply metamorphosed.

“Communism has not died, but lives on in the form of ecology. Green is the new red. Ecology is the perfect fulfillment of the egalitarian dream of Karl Marx and the total subversion of the hierarchical order that God placed in the universe. It would be impossible to conceive of a greater rejection of God’s order than this.” 3

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

In the seventies and eighties, the somewhat risky sallies of Bishop Casaldáliga multiplied. In an article titled “The Outburst begins” (Folha de S. Paulo, 7/20/81), Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira wrote:

… “There has been an outburst of reformist statements by certain bishops. It started with a speech in Rio Grande do Sul, by Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga of S. Felix do Araguaia. He began with a harsh reproach to the Church itself: if “during its twenty centuries, [it) had followed the program of the Beatitudes, we would have a socialized society … The Christian ideal is equivalent to the ideal of socialism.” A little later, the prelate is even clearer regarding his leanings and ideas: “I do not canonize the Soviet or Cuban socialism, but there are positive aspects: Cuba has given lessons in health and education to all of its people … The socialism of Nicaragua is a good path.” Finally, after denying that socialism is the cause of poor harvests in Russia, the uninhibited prelate affirms: “In the socialist countries the people live better, and there is less hunger there than in the capitalist countries” (cf. Jornal do Brasil, 6/17/81). As far as absurdities go, this one is really monumental.”4

Eternal and Natural Law: The Foundation of Morals and Law

Bishop Casaldáliga died at the advanced age of 92. He lived to see a resounding denial of his claim that “people live better in socialist countries.” He also saw many of his socialist-tribalist utopias, symbolized by the figure of Amazon Synod’s Pachamama, proposed as models of “good living” (Querida Amazonia 8, 26, 71), in contrast to the alleged or real drawbacks afflicting Western civilization, which the Catalan prelate vilified for decades. Like other leading exponents of liberation theology, Bishop Casaldáliga made the entire journey from old socio-economic Marxism to cultural and green neo-Marxism.

As seen on Fatima Today.

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  1. Catolicismo, July-August, 1980.
  2. O São Paulo, January 6, 1976.

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