5. “Abyss Calleth on Abyss”: From the Exacerbation of Egoism, Contemporary Society has Reached Collectivism
1. “The Indians Already Live the Beatitudes. They Do Not Know of Private Property, Profit, Competition”
4. A “New Church” of Communist Inspiration, Where Property Is Heresy and the Proprietor Is a Heretic
11. A Tribal Paradise, Where Ownership of the Means of Production Is Collective and Authority Does Not Exist
18. The Main Purpose of the Church Is Not to Convert the Indians to the Religion of Jesus Christ But to Preserve Their Tribal State
19. The Updated Catechesis: To Bring to the Surface the Religious Message That the Indian Carries in His Subconscious
27. Errors of the Missionaries: Teaching Shame For Nudity, the Use of Clothes, and the Rejection of Collective Life in the Village
28. The Traditional and Progressivist Catechist Faced With the Abominations and Crimes of the Savage
38. The Solution of the Indian Problem Requires “A Radical and Profound Transformation of the Brazilian Agrarian Structure”
43. The Missionaries See in the Indians a Prophetic Sign to Put Into Question the Church and Society
* * *
An Introduction to the Terrifying Tribal World Being Proposed
Sometimes you hear and learn things while napping.
In the relaxed ambiance of a resort, imagine a tourist enjoying a full-month vacation stretching out in a comfortable easy chair where he closes his eyes for a nap.
He gently lets his memory wander in search of comforting memories that will be enticing to sleep.
People’s imaginations, however, are almost always tricky. By nature, every whim is stubborn. Without knowing why, the images that come to his mind (perhaps because of the beautiful forest in the distance), are photos or films about Indians, their customs, huts, feasts, mourning and war rites, which he had seen on different occasions.
The would-be napper finally manages to escape this indigenous persecution (not conducive to relaxation). He closes his eyelids in his insistent quest for sleep while softly and gently bringing to mind some great Western city such as Venice, Rome, London or New York. Or else, São Paulo, Rio, or Buenos Aires.
Now relaxed, our tourist feels sleep drawing near. Yet, his ears suddenly begin to hear the din of a conversation between people who just sat down in a nearby group of chairs in the same hotel lobby. Two people are talking.
By a rare coincidence (or perhaps telepathy?), they seem to be chatting precisely about the wild scenarios that had just plagued the unfortunate siesta hunter. One voice asks,
“So, what kind of group should serve as a model for human society: the tribe, or the big city?”
Between being surprised and indolent, the tourist wonders, still with eyes closed, who is asking this question with such an obvious and even banal answer.
However, he does not lose his hope of napping, as that which is dreary can also be sleep-inducing. Who knows if this conversation will help him fall asleep?
But then he hears another voice, which emphatically responds:
“The tribe is the model of the future. It represents for people a style of being, thinking, desiring and acting that should shape the crumbling societies of our century, and especially those that will form over many centuries to come.
“On the contrary, the great urban agglomerations of consumerist civilization, which still enchant or excite so many people today, represent the past, decrepitude, and death. At any rate, it represents everything that must disappear.” This time, the tourist couldn’t resist. He opened his eyes, looking for the “madman” that had just spoken. He could no longer sleep.
* * *
Meanwhile, the emphatic voice continued, “It’s not just me saying this. In Brazil, leading-edge missionaries think precisely the same way. Have you heard of aggiornati missionaries? ”
“No. What’s that?”
“You might as well learn about it. Aggiornato comes from ‘giorno,’ Italian for ‘day.’ Aggiornato is, therefore, a missionary who proclaims himself up-to-date with the post-conciliar New Church.”
“Aggiornati missionaries want to protect indigenous populations still living happily in their huts, scattered here and there deep in the jungles, from the risk of being taken over by today’s ‘civilization.’ Undoubtedly, the Indigenous peoples are remnants of an ancient past, but above all, they are living lessons for a very wise future.”
“In the so-called savage tribe, there are neither bosses nor chieftains. The chief is just a counseling leader. The consensus of all resolves everything. Among the Indians, there are no farmers, settlers, bosses, employees, owners, marginalized, rich or poor. There are no laws, regulations, departments, fees, taxes or all the hellish harassment that you know. There is nothing to divide, put in order or suppress. The spontaneous nudity of both sexes is complete or nearly so. Everyone roams the jungle looking for snacks to eat: fishes, birds, beetles or fruits. They then share with the families everything they gather. No one wants to be more than anyone else or thinks much about tomorrow. In short, it is a paradise on earth.”
Unsurprised by that unexpected tirade, the other party asks:
“What about us? Are we to remain stuck in our lifestyle?” The answer comes quickly:
“Don’t you realize what must happen? We must put an end to this mania for money, capital, profit, luxury, status and inequality in the world of whites as well. In the future, everything must be shared equally to end competition and “careers” and liquidate the huge economic, political, administrative and social structures. We must dissolve the megalopolises and countries to form galaxies of small, autonomous, spontaneous, free, equal and kindred groups. In short, the indigenous lifestyle is much more of a model for us than we are for him.”
“Are you then preaching a general dismantling?”
“Yes, but it is a constructive dismantling because a new world will be born from it.
“And how is this dismantling to be done?”
“I know that a lot of people already want this, and they are celebrities. They are world-renowned scholars, thinkers and writers. Have you heard of Lévi-Strauss, for example? He is a famous ethnologist, a chaired professor of anthropology at the Collège de France, in Paris, and leader of structuralist thought in our day. For him, having ‘resisted history’ and fixed the way of life of the pre-neolithic period, indigenous society is the one closest to the human ideal. And it is to this kind of society that we must return.”
“When people who want this become a majority, their victory will be irreversible. In fact, it doesn’t even take that much. It is sufficient that it becomes fashionable to want it at any given time. How many revolutions were victorious being carried by the winds of fashion?”
“But, besides this celebrity scholar you mentioned, who else supports this right now?”
“Look, I am very cognizant of what is going on in the Church right now because I am a missionary priest.”
Wearing shorts so short as to look more like a loincloth, the emphatic young man draws a long puff from his cigarette and continues in a lower tone:
“We are gradually convincing priests, nuns and some laypeople too. Most notably, there are bishops, but don’t ask me their names.”
“Oh, I see. You are communists and don’t want trouble with the police.”
“Nonsense! Communism the way it is in Russia, is an old hat! The dictatorship of the proletariat, state capitalism, elephant-sized administrative networks, all that has to end as well. In a sense, of course, we are communists, but we don’t stop there. For example, take state capitalism: it is outdated because we want neither capitalism nor the state. Let’s go beyond these old-fashioned ideas…”
At this point, the poor would-be napper definitely can no longer sleep and wants to get away from the dreadful news hurting his ears. Curiosity, however, keeps him alert. Many questions assail his mind. It is easy to imagine what they are.
* * *
Editor’s note: The above text does not describe a scene from a hotel near the Pan-Amazon Synod held in Rome on October 6-27, 2019, although it could be. Indigenous tribalism as a model for the West was a major part of the discussion at the Synod. “Updated” missionaries, like the one mentioned above, told the Synod that the Indians have much to teach the Church.
The above text was actually the introduction to the book, Indian Tribalism: The Communist-Missionary Ideal for Brazil in the Twenty-First Century, by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira in 1977. He foresaw the threat of this new form of missiology at that time.
The introduction continues below by introducing this most-timely book. We invite you to read this prophetic work and apply it to the afflictive conclusions of the 2019 Synod.
Thus the introduction returns to the story and invites the poor eavesdropper and Brazilian readers to find the answers to his questions in the book. We extend this same invitation to our readers.
* * *
Nothing is better, to answer such questions than to hear Church voices, especially missionary voices, from the highest-ranking to the lowest.
To make it easier for the reader, the work will present both the attractive and complex task of analyzing what these voices say. Thus, we will first deal with the traditional conception of what a Catholic mission is (Part I) and then a summary of what the “updated” missionaries think (Part II).
Having made this comparison, the reader will feel entirely comfortable interpreting the voices – that is, texts – of these latter missionaries, offered below in Part III.
When you read these texts, do not go over them quickly. Stop before each one and accurately gauge the depths of the chasms to which it invites. Listen to them preach about the dismantling of the family and contemporary society, the extinction of modesty and the death of the whole Christian tradition. Listen to them accuse white settlers of being tyrannical oppressors and bloodthirsty thieves. See how they set out to destroy the accomplishments of the pioneers and missionaries of bygone centuries, not even sparing the sacred work of the great Jesuit missionary Anchieta, whose almost superhuman moral profile achieved such a magnificent missionary success with the natives. Hear them call upon youths in seminaries and convents throughout the country to join this tribal “neocommunism,” which boasts of going beyond communism. Think about this cohort of utopian demolishers led by two bishops, Pedro Casaldáliga and Tomás Balduino.
Finally, understand that this perspective poses a real danger to the Indians, but even more so to those in the civilized world. It is ultimately an onslaught by ecclesiastical figures against the Church; it pits those who are civilized against civilization. What is the poor Indigenous peoples’ role in all this? They serve as a bone of contention in the struggle between the civilized peoples who seek to preserve civilization by re-Christianizing it, and others who try to sink civilization into the errors that cause agitation, and still others, that raze it.
* * *
After reading this work, my fellow Brazilians, what should you do? Unless the Christian fiber and the pioneering spirit of yore are dead in your souls, resist! If that fiber is dead, there is no remedy at all: In a suicidal act, the demolishers will destroy the work of their forefathers. Of course, they will do this to the advantage of the new forms of red imperialist propaganda. If even the best among us lack the Faith or fiber of old, this suicide will be an inevitable consequence of this situation. We hope things will not descend to that point. There are many encouraging reasons to hope the contrary will be true. Thus, dear reader, take an interest in this material. Spread the word about this “neo-communist” onslaught. If you raise your voice, you will have the glory of contributing to a cry of alert that can save Brazil.
The Traditional Catholic Concept of the Missions
The end is to evangelize.
In evangelizing, to civilize.
In civilizing, to do good.
If the reader were to scan, even casually, the texts in Part III – taken predominantly from “up-to-date” missionary sources – he will note here and there ideas that will shock him. This certainly would not have happened years ago, if he had had some exposure to missionary literature that was not “up-to-date.” The contrast illustrates a radical modification in mission doctrine. For some time now, this modification has deeply penetrated Brazilian missionary circles, where it spreads with the discretion and speed of an oil slick.
As we shall see, this transformation interests not only specialists, but it profoundly affects the future of the Church and the country, and thus everyone should be alerted to it.
This transformation is aimed at producing a dangerous wave in the world of the jungle, a wave which would join a yet greater one to be introduced into the cities and cultivated lands. In this manner, the whole country can be touched in some way.
Since this doctrine corresponds with the way of understanding and feeling of the average Catholic reader, we can already be certain that the following paragraphs will not shock anyone. On the contrary, they will seem quite normal.
Mission comes from the Latin word “missio,” from “mitto,” that is, “I send.” The missionary is thus someone who is sent (bishop, priest and by extension, a religious or a layman).
The missionary is one sent by the Church in the name of Jesus Christ, whom he represents, to non-Catholic peoples in order to bring them true Faith.
2. The Highest End of the Mission: Essentially Religious – the Glory of God and Eternal Happiness
The Church teaches that the normal way for a man to be saved consists in being baptized, in believing and professing the doctrine and law of Jesus Christ.
To draw men to the Church is therefore to open the gates of heaven for them. It is to save them. This is the purpose of the mission.
This salvation has the extrinsic glory of God as its supreme end. The soul that has made itself similar to Him through the observance of the law amidst the struggles of this life is saved. Thus, this soul will give glory to God for all eternity.
All likeness is, in itself, a factor of union. United to God in this way, the soul attains the plenitude of happiness.
3. Effects of the Mission in Temporal Life
The glory of God and the perpetual happiness of men are missionary goals of the highest transcendence. This does not prevent the mission from having temporal effects that are also most elevated.
Indeed, God created the universe in a sublime and immutable order. And since man is the king of this universe, this order is admirable above all in what relates to Him.
The precepts of the natural order are expressed in the Ten Commandments (Cf. Saint Thomas, Summa Theologica, Ia. Ilac. Q. 100, aa 3 and 11), confirmed by Our Lord Jesus Christ (“I did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it.” Matt. 5,17). and perfected by Him (Matt. 5, 17-48; John 13,34).
Now the observance of order, in any sphere of the universe, is the condition necessary not only for its conservation but also for its progress. This is true above all for living beings and particularly for men.
b) The Greatness and Well-Being of Nations
Hence it follows that the Law of God is the basis of the greatness and wellbeing of all nations (Cf. St. Augustine, Epistle 138 al. 5 ad Marcellinum, Chap. 11, no. 15).
To christianize and to civilize are thus correlated terms. It is impossible to christianize seriously without civilizing. Likewise and reciprocally, it is impossible to de-christianize without disordering, brutalizing and forcing a return to barbarity.
4. The Mission and the Indians
a) Contact with Jesus Christ
To be a missionary in Brazil is mainly to take the Gospel to the Indians. It is also to carry the supernatural means to them so that, by practicing the Ten Commandments, they may reach their celestial goal. It is to persuade them to free themselves from superstitions and barbaric customs that enslaved them in their millenary and unhappy stagnation. As a consequence, it is to civilize them.
It is fitting to insist: while it is proper for christianized and civilized man to progress continuously in the upright and free exercise of his intellectual and physical activities, the Indian is a slave of stagnant immobility which, from time immemorial, has hindered all possibilities of true progress for him.
Presenting himself to the Indian, the true missionary of Jesus Christ has the right to say, “Cognoscetis veritatem, et veritas liberabit vos” (“You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”) (John 8,32).
b) Contact with Modern Neo-Paganism
Of course, contact with the missionary necessarily brings, for the Indian, contact with civilization. It is not a contact with a chimerical civilization pulled from the clouds; it is contact with Western Civilization as it is concretely. In the measure in which this civilization still has authentically Christian ferments, it will be rich in spiritual and even material benefits for the natives. And to the extent that the germs of decadence and neo-paganism appear in this civilization, there is the risk that the Indians may be polluted in body and soul.
c) A Troubling Problem
This circumstance creates disconcerting difficulties for contemporary missionaries. How can they, carrying Jesus Christ to the Indians, keep the anti-Christ, or modern neo-paganism, from following close at their heels?
5. An Impossible Solution for the Missionary: To Do Nothing
a) The Power of Our Lord Jesus Christ Over Upright Souls
The problem, however intricate, cannot serve as a reason for the missionary not to carry Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Indians with the excuse that the modern anti-Christ will come immediately after Him. This would be to ignore the power and kindness of the Saviour. In all upright souls – obviously there are some among the Indians – Our Lord Jesus Christ is infinitely more powerful than the anti-Christ.
b) Contact With Western Civilization
When discussing this subject one must not boorishly confuse modern neo-paganism with Western civilization. The latter, which was Christian for more than one thousand years, though unfortunately one can no longer call it so, still keeps much of its former character. Even as some stone buildings retain the heat of the sun’s rays late into the night, so also Western civilization, though it cannot be called Christian, and in spite of being submerged in total decadence, is still warm from the beneficial action of the Sun of justice (Malachias 4,2), Our Lord Jesus Christ, during long centuries of fidelity.
Hence it should be concluded that it would be thoughtless, simplistic, and even fanatic to claim that, in contact with Western Civilization, the Indians have nothing to gain and everything to lose.
c) Influence of the True Priest
In today’s civilization the mission of the real priest is to fight. He fights on behalf of everything that comes from and leads to Jesus Christ. He fights against everything that comes from evil and estranges one from Jesus Christ.
If the Indian sees in the missionary this valiant attitude of discernment and struggle, he will have the grace and the good example to benefit from this civilization without being corrupted by it.
d) A Futile Problem
Furthermore, in the concrete reality in which we live, it would be completely useless to argue whether or not it is advisable for the Indians to receive, along with the missionaries’ presence, the influence of our civilization as well. In its dazzling technological development, our civilization will reach all of them soon, with or without missionaries. It would be better for the Indians if, along with the neo-pagan civilization, missionaries of Our Lord Jesus Christ went also.
e) The Communist Agitator, the Missionary of Satan
This is especially true since, wherever it goes, the neo-pagan civilization takes with it, more often than not, the worst of what it has: the communist agitator, the “missionary” of Satan.
The example of Africa shows how earnestly international Communism strives to take advantage of aboriginal tribes. Who can guarantee that Communism will not sooner or later try the same with non-civilized Indians, or with those who may become civilized?
Moreover – it is painful to say – who can guarantee that Communism, once having infiltrated Catholic circles, will not use bishops, priests, or religious whose sympathy it may have gained to influence the Indians?
Therefore, the good missionary has every reason in the world to approach the Indian, if only to warn him against the communist “missionary.”
The “Aggiornata”1 and Progressive Conception of the Missions
The end is to retrocede,
taking the aborigine as a model.
In order to retrocede, destroy.
To destroy: defame, divide and make war.
The missiology that boasts of being “up-to-date” and progressivist is very different from the traditional Catholic conception of the missions.
This can be found by analyzing some of its principal aspects, such as those which are inferred from reading the adjoining texts (Part III), collected mainly from episcopal documents and missionary publications.2
The “updated” missionary claims as his principal aim to establish a global, just, and functional order of things for society.
This order of things has a temporal end: Once it is established, it should shape man’s existence so as to prevent disorder and assure complete well-being on this earth.
Whoever might want to give this new situation a religious interpretation can view it as the kingdom of God on earth, since the principles enumerated below (whose observance is the substance of the new order) are considered by neo-missiology as the very essence of the Gospel.
2. What is the New Order Sought by the “Aggiornata” Missiology?
An analysis of man’s position in face of the situation that “updated” missionaries seek to implant, makes the connection between the future order and the supposed kingdom of God easy to perceive.
Such analysis, according to theses contained in the documents presented in Part III – some explicit, others suggested, others logically deductible from the first or the second – presupposes before anything else a criticism of the present-day proprietor. He is denounced as an egoist, as a defender and holder of an unjust privilege, that is, property. In turn, this privilege is the beginning of many injustices.
Inversion of Values Between the Individual and Society
The main enemy of the future order is egoism, which produces a complete inversion of values between the individual and society. According to neo-missiology, this inversion takes place whenever man breaks his bond with collectivity by adopting as his goal of existence a situation that is: A) fruitive, B) appropriative and C) competitive.
A) Fruitive, that is, that he may provide pleasures for himself considered individually and not as a member of society. This easily leads man to slight society in favor of himself.
B) Appropriative, in as much as the egoist produces more than is necessary for his daily subsistence and, rather than designating the remainder for collective use, accumulates it for his exclusive advantage. That is what makes him more provident and more “assured” than the others. Thus, appropriation is born from egoism and in turn stimulates it. Appropriation is an insult to equality, the supreme form of justice, and it therefore produces a sore that irritates social relations.
a) Egoism is a vice. That is, it is a moral defect transformed into a habit. Although its first outbreaks perhaps produced only ephemeral appropriations, from the instant egoism became a stable vice, it gave rise to an institution, private property. Through private property man takes possession of certain goods; goods not just for consumption, but also for production. Man works by means of his goods in order to achieve a more abundant production;
b) Thus the remote seed of capitalism is formed. Man benefits not only through the work of his hands but also through the productivity of the goods of which he egoistically became the owner. This is profit. According to justice, the difference between the value of his work and the value of the produced goods should not accrue to him alone but to all those who work.
c) To give value to the goods of which he took possession, the proprietor purchases the labor of someone who does not have goods. He gives this person only what is necessary for him to subsist. This is a salary. A salary is also unjust because it reserves the remaining value of production for the “capitalist” and gives to the salaried worker only what is indispensable for survival if he continues working. The latter never participates in the profit.
d) The exclusive power of the proprietor over his property enables him to exclude the salaried worker from any deliberative function. The worker does not participate in management.
e) This situation – unjust because it is replete with exclusive privileges for the owner – results naturally from the first injustice, egoistic appropriation (letter “B”): The salaried worker does not share in the ownership of the property with which he works;
f) As far as goods are concerned, the name of the injustice is theft, and this theft is called property (letters “a” and “b”);
g) Regarding dignity, the name of the injustice is “exploitation” and “alienation.” Stolen (letters “b” and “c”), excluded from participation, working for the advantage of another, commanded by another (letters “d” and “e”), the salaried man is a slave, “alienated” (from the Latin alienus – alien, that is someone who does not belong to himself but to another.)
C) Competitive. The proprietor moved by egoistical, fruitive, and appropriative impulses is not content to have much; he wants all. Hence comes competition, through which the proprietor strives to make himself owner, by means of production, trade, and money, of what belongs to other “thief-owners” and society. The economic life of our times, with its micro, medium and macro capitalism forms a structure taken to the acme of its complexity and its capacity for harm, because competition tends more and more to concentrate goods into the hands of a few, thus marginalizing multitudes of the alienated.
Egoism Generates an Unjust Society
Summarizing, egoism thus produced a structure that can only create new injustices: privileges, inequalities, alienations, marginalizations, etc. It is necessary to dismantle this unjust structure and repress egoism.3
a) Man Has an Immediate End in Himself and a Transcendent End in God
According to the traditional Catholic conception, man has a tendency towards egoism, but he is not all egoism. Egoism is only a moral deformity in him.
The use that man makes of his intelligence, of his will, and of his sensibility to provide for his own individual good, in conformity with the law of God and the natural order, is not condemnable but virtuous. It is a corollary of the fact that man is intelligent and endowed with a will – therefore a person, not a thing – and has a transcendental end. Man is thus the owner of himself.
It is true that man has duties towards his neighbor and, consequently, towards his family and country. But he does not live solely or principally for one or the other. Fundamentally, he lives for God and himself.
And even if the subject is considered merely from the point of view of the common good, each man provides for the common good first of all by providing directly for his own.
b) For Neomissiology, Man is Like a Part That Lives for the Whole
On the contrary, in the new conception studied here, man is not seen as a person who has an immediate finality in himself and a transcendental end in God; rather, he is viewed as part of a whole. The part lives for the whole. Separated from the whole – according to the view presented by neomissiology – man is worthless and, so to speak, nothing. Neomissiology considers that man receives everything from the whole; all inspiration, impulse, and one could almost say, life itself.
c) People and Mass, in the Description of Pius XII
The contrast between the two conceptions was set forth magnificently by Pius XII when he described the difference between “people” and “mass “:
The state neither contains in itself nor mechanically assembles an amorphous agglomeration of individuals within a given territory. it is, and in reality should be, the organic and organizing unity of a true people.
A people and an amorphous multitude – or as it is customary to say, a “mass” – are two different concepts. A people lives and moves by its own life; of itself, a mass is inert, and it cannot be moved except from without. A people lives from the fullness of life of the men who compose it, each one of whom, in his own place and in his own way, is a person conscious of his own responsibilities and his own convictions. A mass, on the contrary, relies on impulse from without and becomes a plaything in the hands of whoever wants to take advantage of its instincts or impressions, quick to follow, again and again, one banner today and another tomorrow. The exuberance of a true people imbues the state and all its organs with an abundant and rich life, infusing them with an ever renewed vigor and sense of self-responsibility. Furthermore, ably handled and utilized, the brute strength of the mass can be used by the state. In the ambitious bands of only one or of several men who may have been artificially united by egotistical tendencies, the state – supported by the mass, now reduced to a simple machine, can impose its will with complete disregard for the real people. As a result, the common good is seriously affected for a long time, and the wound is very often difficult to heal. (Pius XII, Christmas Radio Message of 1944 – Discorsi e Radiomessaggi . Vol. I, pp. 238-239).
4. Egoism and Contemporary Society
a) The Great Babels Born From Modern Technology
It seems undeniable that the description of “mass” made by Pius XII corresponds to the manner of being of the multitudes living in the great modern babels of today and that the word “people” corresponds to the human conglomeration – especially those of a Christian formation – existing before the babels.
In turn, it also seems undeniable that the formation of these huge urban concentrations resulted, among other factors, from the use, replete with serious lacks of temperance and wisdom, men generally made of the machine and other technological advances that came with the beginning of the 19th Century. In varying degrees, these results became manifest in all societies of the West. Those who have managed political or economic power in a purely egoistical manner, urged on by an unchecked desire for power or profit, have contributed toward these results. The great multitudes have also contributed to this by indiscriminately flocking to crowded urban centers, led by their fascination for the exciting and alluring life.
b) False Solution of the “Aggiornata” Missiology
In spite of this situation, whose profound cause is the growing influence of neo-paganism in our civilization and consequent moral decadence, the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church about man, work, property, and capital continues intact. Man did not heed this teaching and threw himself into the present crisis. The wrong course of historical events – urban massification, for example – led, then, to a situation that, if aggravated, will become untenable.
The solution does not consist, as new missiology wants, in altering sound doctrine in order to whitewash, in the opposite extreme, the madness we will mention later. The solution lies in renouncing all kinds of madness and returning to sound doctrine.
5. “Abyss Calleth on Abyss”:4 From the Exacerbation of Egoism, Contemporary Society has Reached Collectivism
Indeed, there was no lack of persons who sought solutions for the cyclopic crisis with which we are now confronted. They failed, however, because they did not revert to the practice of the principles of eternal wisdom, choosing instead to take the errors being committed to their ultimate consequences.
a) Confusion Between Person and Egoism
In the megalopolises there are those who, rightly attributing our present situation to human selfishness, refuse the just distinction in man between his person and his egoism. For those who think in this confused way, the person is egoism and is therefore the enemy. it is vital to the common good for the person to become totally absorbed, standardized, and directed by the collectivity. This is the only way for man to avoid the infernal chaos of egoism.
b) Communist Conception
One can easily see how much this view has in common with that of communism, that is, a massified society without personality, without classes, and subject to a dictatorship of an anonymous proletariat.
6. The New Abyss Leads to a Third: From Communism to Anarchy
a) Neo-Communism Seeks the Dismantling of the State
It is well known that the Russian regime no longer assembles around itself a totality of those seeking an entirely collectivized society.
Many “new” followers of communism think that the huge structure of the Russian State contains many of the inconveniences of a capitalist society.
Thus they vehemently desire the dismantling of the State and all super agencies. The State, as they affirm, should melt into a galaxy of more or less juxtaposed groups or corpuscles as autonomous as possible.
Within these corpuscles, the phobia against the individual – always and necessarily presumed egoistical – should logically continue, as well as their earnest desire to restrict as much as possible the natural and legitimate liberties that Catholic doctrine recognizes in the human person.
Furthermore, it is foreseeable that the communist ideal, egalitarian and massifying, would subsist in these corpuscles remaining entirely faithful to its most intrinsic principles, with the only difference being that it would be practiced in microscopic rather than macroscopic proportions.
b) The “Classical” Communist Already Foresaw This “Evolution”
The emergence of innovators that aspire to this “neo-communism” is no surprise for the perpetuators of the “classical” communists: these latter forecast, according to their most basic theoreticians, that in the evolutionary course of history a new phase would arise beyond state capitalism and the dictatorship of the proletariat in which the state would in turn be liquidated.5
7. “Aggiornata” Missiology in the Brazilian Jungle
All of the previous considerations were necessary in order to acclimate the reader to the panorama – perplexing for a man of good sense – that will now be presented to him.
Many missionaries, several of them still young, have entered the Brazilian jungles steeped, to a greater or lesser degree, in diffused progressivism and leftism. That is, the most moderate among them have general tendencies and ideas inspired in leftism and progressivism. If we group these two categories together into a vast doctrinal mosaic, they form, in their general outlines, the panorama just illustrated.
a) Tribal Organization, a Masterpiece of Anthropological Wisdom
It is not surprising, then, that these missionaries have formed – under the influence of such tendencies and opinions – an absolutely astonishing notion about the living conditions of the natives; that is, a life marked, among other things, by cruelty, by the most elementary primitivism, by the most dreary stagnation: the Indian seemed to them a wise man, his tribal organization a masterpiece of anthropological wisdom, in short, the model to be followed by the civilized people of the world.6
b) Tribal Life and Communist Society
The reason? The analogies between tribal life and the envisioned communist society: the tribe’s community of goods, the complete absence of profit, of capital, of salaries, of employers, of employees, and of institutions of any kind, The tribe alone absorbs all individual liberties of this small human group – a group non-fruitive and thus productive of little, being also not competitive in the least, and in which men live satisfied and without problems because they have divested themselves of their “I” and their “egoism.”
It might be said, en passant, that this tribal world is more than archaic; it is categorically pre-historic! It is a world composed of innumerable smaller worlds without personalities and distinction; that is, of tribes which have no authentic flights of spirit, no ascensional elan, no defined ideals. Their invariable and monotonous life fades away in the cadenced rhythm of equal days, sad or agitated music, and uniform rituals.
c) Are the Indians Communists?
Can the Indians be qualified as communists? This question can only bring a smile.
There is nothing communist about the Indian: neither the doctrine, nor the mentality, nor the designs.
The state in which he is found presents only traces of analogy with the communist regime.
It is one of those happenstances of coincidence that frequently appear when a comparison is made between stages of primitivism and decadence – for example, between infancy and old age.
It is not because he is doctrinally opposed to private property that the primitive has (or almost only has) property in common.
Likewise, the man of the chipped stone age did not avail himself of polished stone because he had not invented it and in no way because he thought he should not use it.
In this perspective, the Indian can not be compared to the “civilized” man who is acquainted with private property the monogamous and indissoluble family and everything that has risen and flowered from these fertile institutions, but who has an aversion to the trunks and fruits of these trees. This “civilized” man wants to take an axe to their roots.
To summarize, an Indian people can be compared to a plant that has not grown but which can still grow. Whereas the enemy of the family and of property, homesick for communitarianism or for tribal communism (the reader may characterize it as he sees fit), is a destroyer….
a) Uninhibited Superficiality and Enigmatic Parsimony
It is not a matter of asking what role the family plays in existing tribes or in those that have existed in Brazil; rather the question is what role do the neo-tribal conceptions that appear in our present missiological propaganda attribute to the family? (cf. Part II, no. 7).
Like so many other crucial subjects the new missiology treats this matter with an uninhibited superficiality and an enigmatic laconism, a parsimony of words that clashes with the insistency with which other subjects are broached for example, the supposed disadvantage of private property.
b) The Free-Love Community, Corollary of the Community of Goods
Text nos. 7-11, if interpreted in the light of text no. 7 – the most explicit detailed, and characteristic – show a tendency towards what could be characterized as calm sexual promiscuity.
There is nothing surprising in this if one considers that the free-love community is a corollary of the community of goods.
Neomissiology considers the Gospel to be anti-egoism. Thus – according to the “updated” missionaries – the Gospel already impregnates the tribal sphere so completely that it is not necessary to announce it to these native communities.
a) Goals of the “Updated” Missionary: To Free the Indian From the “Contagion” of Civilization – “Conscientization”
What, then, are the goals of the “updated” missionary? They consist of protecting the still “uncontaminated” Indian communities from the contagion of our civilization, the civilization of egoism. The “updated” missionary strives to “conscientize” the Indian about the excellence of his present living conditions and the need to refuse the situation being offered him by men roaming the jungle seeking riches and Indian manpower, followed by money, firewater, vices, machines, laws, social structures, etc. He strives particularly to have the Indian reject the multinational macro-capitalism which threatens to cultivate and exploit the land.
These missionaries contend that the Indian must suffer, in our century, what their elders suffered when our white ancestors first met them and settled here.
b) The “Error” of the Missionaries and the Colonizers
The Portuguese colonizers and missionaries – the new missiology says – committed the error of incorporating the Indians into our structure, that is, when they did not slaughter them.
To avoid this error, now the Indians and missionaries should resist the invasion of those colonizers who want to incorporate them into modern Brazil, even though they may have to shout at them like oppressed Brazil shouted at the revolutionary Portuguese Cortes: “Independence or death!”
10. Scope of This Study
This, in synthesis, is the picture which takes shape after researching, discerning the logical pattern of, and analyzing the available missionary propaganda: books, magazines, bulletins, pamphlets, news items, interviews, statements, communiqués, etc.
a) New Missiology and “Structuralism”
Now, it would not be difficult to show more fully the connection of such thought with structuralism and other more modern currents of thinking about the matter.
This would, however, deviate from the immediate subject of this study, which is not structuralist philosophy; this study merely seeks to examine some aspects of what the new missionaries are thinking and writing.
Since missionary literature flows abundantly in our Catholic circles, the object of this study is especially important to anyone interested in our country.
The literature of the new missiology pours forth profusely in circles that are culturally unequal – in which a considerable majority does not know how to define structuralism, leftism, or progressivism – and who unsuspectingly welcome whatever missionaries instill in their souls.
b) In Discussing the Indians, They Prepare for the Advent of the Communist Society
The average reader will be able to defend himself against this influence by analyzing the texts which follow in Part III. He will then be able to evaluate to what extent the literature of the new missiology is directed against private property and its derivatives. Further, he will be able to see how many missionary writers, discussing the Indians and tier problem, prepare the souls of their readers to accept the great socio-economic thesis of what used to be utopian communism but which is now called scientific communism: “Behold the theft: property” (Proudhon).
11. Catechesis and Agitation
a) Should We Waste Time Studying These Irrational Daydreams?
Is it really worth the effort to set forth, in such details, the daydreams of these insane missionaries? Doubtless they can be harmful to the Indians with whom they work, and they will certainly cause problems in this field. But in an historical framework so laden with problems of a greater magnitude, is it worthwhile to waste time on the solution of this question which, in one way or another, the victorious entrance of civilization will resolve?
These are objections which could be made to this study.
b) Absurdities That Wither and Absurdities That Thrive
The responsibility that Brazilians have towards their Indian brother is sufficient to justify the time and attention necessary to read this brief study.
In reality, however, behind what could be called the neomissionary question, a much greater question emerges. The ideas that the authors of the texts submitted in Part III – Brazilian missionaries and foreigners who work here – raise up as a rule of conduct and life for themselves and the tribes they “evangelize” are doubtlessly absurd. From this, however, one cannot deduce that these ideas are fated to die without a history.
The neomissionary absurdity can easily be one of them as it has marked affinities – at least in general lines – with a current of thought, such as structuralism, that has profound socioeconmic repercussions.7
c) A Bishop Declares Himself Transcommunist
Within our own boundaries, one Bishop Pedro Casaldaliga, of Sao Felix do Araguaia, declares himself ideologically positioned beyond communism.8 To what extent does he – so celebrated and supported by the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB) and the upper ranks of the episcopate – affirm his agreement with these deliriums? This is a question we could ask.
d) How Could This Philosophy Steal Into the Church?
The greatest problem caused by these deliriums is not in the missionaries themselves, I repeat, nor in the Indians. The problem is knowing how this philosophy managed to steal into the Holy Catholic Church with impunity, intoxicating seminaries, deforming missionaries, inverting the very nature of the missions. All of this has been done with such weighty ecclesiastical support that removing the Bishop who declares himself “beyond Communism,” though it be indispensable, is proving to be more difficult than lifting the siege of Troy. As Pope Paul VI is reported to have said to Cardinal Arns, “To meddle with Bishop Pedro Casaldaliga would be to meddle with the Pope himself.”9
This eruption of what may be adequately called Missionary Communo-Structuralism indicates the existence of a considerable infiltration in the Catholic structure of Brazil.
How does one explain the existence and the influence of this infiltration in the Church? This is a great and difficult question.
e) The Church and the Country Imperiled
Above all, it is not a matter concerning merely Indians and missionaries.
It is a matter concerning the Church and Brazil.
The question is: To what extreme may both of them be dragged if Communo-structuralist infiltration continues unchecked and highly esteemed in Catholic circles?
Indeed, this cancer becoming manifest in the missionary sector of the Church would be sufficient to justify or even oblige another question: will this cancer prove to be nothing less than the transfer of another tumor lodged in more decisive points within the non-missionary organisms of Holy Church?
For decades, throughout the whole country, impulses have been observed in different fields of Catholic activity that openly or covertly attempt to lead public opinion to a position increasingly more receptive of communist doctrine. These activities, from this point of view, afford communism inestimable support.
Regardless the labels, the leftist “basic reforms,” and particularly the socialist and confiscatory agrarian reform, are always advocated by the “Catholic left.”
Now, the “demented” missionaries which are treated here hold themselves part and parcel of this widespread national agitation.10
A study of this parcel constitutes an indispensable aid for another much more important one: a study of this vast agitation itself.
“Aggiornate” Missionary Voices
The reader will certainly want to become familiar with texts in which institutions, personalities, and missionary bodies directly express their thoughts about the important subjects set forth in the previous sections.
Presented here are forty-eight texts selected from a vast compilation of material. These texts were extracted from thirty-six documents, the list of which appears at the end of this work.
These texts were classified in sections according to the theme which was emphasized in each case. As several texts deal with more than one subject and furthermore, as the missionary authors frequently repeat themselves, the reader will find that themes treated in one section will reappear in following sections.
Section I – Community of Goods
Here are set forth and praised different concepts forming essential elements of communist doctrine: negation of private property, private initiative, profit, charity, etc.11
If the new missiology praised the community of goods implanted in communist countries, it would doubtless be exposed to embarrassing criticisms and refutations.
Therefore, dodging the dangerous subject, neomissiology extols the Indians’ way of life. Accordingly, it exalts the community of goods inherent to it and takes advantage of the opportunity to inveigh against private property as it exists in the civilized nations of the West.
One could ask what concrete effect results from this procedure for neomissiology , since a pro-communist tendency clearly emerges from its texts.
The fact is, however, that the torrential praise it gives to the collective property among Indian tribes fell far short of stirring up the alarm that a defense of the communist societies behind the Iron Curtain would provoke among us.
“The Indians are still uncorrupted by the system in which we live. The Church needs to bring a real hope to the oppressed. ‘They were brothers, they had everything in common.’ This answers the real need of the poor. The Indians already live the Beatitudes. They do not know of private property, profit, competition. They lead an essentially communitarian life in perfect equilibrium with nature. They are not plunderers; they do not disturb the ecology. They live in harmony. The native communities are a future prophecy for this new lifestyle where man is the most important.” (Doc. 1, p. 7).
“The Indians already live the Beatitudes.” This disconcerting sentence cries out for an explanation that soon follows: “They do not know of private property, profit, competition.” In other words, the document sets these three elements against the perfect temporal and spiritual status of man defined by Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount.
But what is human society without private property, without profit, and without competition if it is not a communist society?
The bishops, priests, and religious present at the First National Assembly on Native Ministry foresee the victory of this tribalistic lifestyle as a solution for human problems: They affirm that the Indian communities are a “future prophecy for this new lifestyle where man is the most important.”
Another question, although a little off the subject, nevertheless arises. The Beatitudes were taught by Our Lord Jesus Christ as the quintessence of Christianity. If the Indians already live them, what is the necessity of missionaries among them?
2. Praise For the Tribal System’s Community of Goods – Invectives Against Private Property
Article from the Bulletin of CIMI (Indian Missionary Council) commenting on the VIII Study Group on Native Ministry:
“It was observed that the Kaingang, Guarani and Xokleng peoples have a system of values different from ours. These people have, through the centuries, placed man as the principal end of existence itself. Thus, they live in a communitarian manner and the persons receive a permanent education for their responsibility within the group. The value of the land is essentially tied to man and therefore, it is common property.
“The Indian owner of this immense wealth – which is living in fraternity and sharing possessions in a society where marginalized persons do not exist – comes face to face with civilized society where profit, the accumulation of goods, and property are, rather than man, the center of the universe. This civilized society justifies, by its own characteristics, the exploitation of a large majority by a minority, Indian groups are a part of this exploited majority. Because these native groups refuse to surrender themselves and fail to renounce their natural way of living, they are patronized and considered ‘minors’ by our society. They are viewed in this manner to be better exploited economically, so they will continue to comprise part of the immense category of marginalized persons and better serve the interests of profit rather than man.” (Doc. 2, pp. 16-17).
A communist would not affirm differently:
a) The tribal system is eulogized as ideal, an abstraction excluding any consideration about God (the chief purpose of existence is “man,” states CIMI), and for its communist note which the text points out: in the tribal society goods are distributed and property is common;
b) Capitalist society is derided as inhuman, as having profit, the accumulation of goods, and property as the “center of the universe.” It consists in the “exploitation of an immense majority by a minority”;
c) The inclusion of the Indians in a category of “minors” is in conformity with capitalism’s blackest intents.
The land is for him [the Indian] like our country, or even more (because after all, this business of country …). It is a part of his life, it is the group’s link to the past, to its ancestors …
Now, they [the Indians] lead a different life. They lead a life in communion with nature. They lead a communitarian life of mutual respect, and have a perfect distribution of goods among themselves, without accumulation …
These paths of History are being changed. Several things are happening in spite of our economic system; this steam roller is trying to make its last assault against the poor, the marginalized, the Indians (Doc. 3, pp. 26-27).
The disparagement or the denial of the concept of one’s country is an essential element of communist doctrine.
Tribal property is not individual but collective. For Msgr. Tomas Balduino, the Indians “lead a communitarian life of mutual respect, and have a perfect distribution of goods among themselves, without accumulation.” This is exactly the praise that communist propaganda would give to the societies of Russia, Cuba, or any other satellite country.
4. A “New Church” of Communist Inspiration, Where Property Is Heresy and the Proprietor Is a Heretic
Here follows the communiqué, Povo de Deus no Sertao (The People of God in the Backlands) distributed on the occasion of the inauguration of the Cathedral of Sao Felix do Araguaia, of which Msgr. Pedro Casaldaliga is the Bishop:
“We are a Private Church, with our own style and already with a little history. We are the Prelacy of Sao Felix.
“[We are] a Church of families … a Church engaged in the struggle and hope of the Indians, the small land-owners, and the peons.
“[We are] a small Church serving without honors and without power. A Church against the large estates and against all slavery, and therefore persecuted by the masters of Money, Land and Politics. A Church in which the profiteers, the exploiters, and the traitors of the people do not belong. Because no one is of the People of God if he crushes the sons of God; no one is of the Church of Christ if he does not keep the Commandment of Christ” (Doc. 4, pp. 771-712).
This is a “New Church” shaped by communist inspiration its struggle is for one class only12 that of “the Indians, the small landowners, and the peons.” Its “hope” supports them.
Left out are the great landowners and those who live – according to the communiqué – by enslaving others, that is, the proprietary class, the “masters of Money, Land, and Politics.”
To sum up, it is a Church transformed into an instrument of social revolution. For this “new Church,” as one can see, private property is heresy and the proprietor is heretic. The text shows that a possible proliferation of the “new Church” is implicitly a proliferation of a pro-communist spirit.
The condemnation of large estates as being intrinsically unjust is found in all communist authors. On the contrary, Catholic doctrine considers them as essentially just, and merely unjust per accidens, when the large property becomes harmful to the common good. Pius XII, for example, after praising the class of small landowners in Italy, warned that “This does not amount to denying the utility and frequent necessity of much larger agricultural properties.”13
The affirmation that the sinner who “does not fulfill the Commandments of Christ” thereby ceases to belong to the Church is against the Faith and Canon Law. Only he who enters into persistent heresy, apostasy, schism, or is struck with the sentence of excommunication leaves the Church.
5. Private Property Presented as the Source of All Evils
Here follows an except from the Historia do Trabalbador Brasileiro (History of the Brazilian Worker), printed in the bulletin Grito no Nordeste and prepared by the group “Animacao dos Cristaos no Meio Rural” of the Archdiocese of Recife:
“[Among the Indians] all were equal. The land where the tribes were located belonged to all the, members of the same tribe…
“All participated equally in the work and had the same rights in the division of the fruits of the work. Rich and poor did not exist among the Indians, nor were there any social classes. All were equal among themselves. Therefore, among them there was no robbery, crime, or prostitution. Misery and all the problems common to ‘civilization,’ which we have been telling ourselves have existed since God created the world did not occur among the Indians” (Doc. 5, p. 8).
The obvious premise of all that is said here that private property is the source of all evils.
A communist could not be more radical.
The fruits of labor are distributed according to the communist principle, “From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs” (Marx, Critica del Programa de Gotha, Editorial Progresso, Moscow, 2nd ed., p. 15).
The classless society is a characteristically communist ideal and contrary to Catholic doctrine. Leo XIII writes: “Thus, the Church, preaching to men that they are all sons of the same heavenly Father, recognizes the distinction between classes as a providential condition of human society; for this reason, the Church teaches that only reciprocal respect of rights and duties and mutual charity will yield the secret of just equilibrium, of honest wellbeing, of true peace and prosperity for nations” (Leo XIII, Allocution of January 24, 1903, Bonne Presse, Paris, Vol. VII, pp. 169-170).
“‘Why do you say to help our neighbor is pride?’ – replied Satoko, profoundly hurt by that statement.
“When one speaks of helping, the one who helps is always above and the one who is helped is below. The person helped is therefore degraded. This is not true charity. Charity makes everything equal, on the same level, in joy or sadness. You Christians are all pharisees: You say that you want to help the poor, that you want us to help ourselves, ragsellers, but in practice your help is only contempt for us.
“Satoko was stunned by the revelation; she wanted to defend herself, to defend the Christians, but she understood all the truth that was in the words of the professor.
“‘Excuse me, professor, the fault was all mine.’” (Doc. 6, pp. 55-56).
Presupposing that one may legitimately possess more than another, charity contradicts equality and infringes upon justice: A characteristically communist thesis.
Section II – Tribal Life in Nonsavage Conditions
As shall be seen, statements of “updated” missionaries about the tribal life of Indians in the Brazilian jungle show striking similarity with what non-missionary “aggiornati” leftist Catholics write about hypothetical tribal life outside the jungles.
7. Longings for the Tribal Primitivism of Our Indians
Rose Marie Muraro, Coordinator of the series “Presenca do Futuro,” Editora Vozes, of the Franciscans of Petropolis, in a book by the same publisher:
The knowledge of the sexual behavior of pre-historic man is lost forever. We know it only through the study of the family and sexual life of the tribes still living in a savage state today. Through these studies we know that the primitive man was a sexually and intellectually uninhibited man, according to McLuban’s expression…
After the discovery of agriculture, sexual life changes its aspects completely. Man tied to the land had to work to survive (unlike the primitive who was a nomad and only worked sporadically, bunting or fishing in order to eat). The hard struggle to survive gave rise to disputes over arable lands. These had to be divided, whence came the several systems of property and principally private property, where the land belonged to the strongest and most able to protect it. Thus is born, in the traditional world, a competitive way of life (the primitive was not competitive, be did not struggle with other tribes for food)…
On the individual level, a new type of moral was produced that the primitive did not know: The moral of master and slave, where some, the proprietors, enjoy the fruit of the labor of others, the slaves or servants …
For the individual, the time to be dedicated to labor was obviously taken from other activities, among which was the sexual. Thus, repression of sexual life (free in the primitive) was gradually imposed with the progress of civilization. Little by little, this repression acquired ever more rigid rules and moral codes. With the passage of time, these codes were assumed by religious thinking, which made them more bearable with the promise of a happy life after death. This allowed man to endure domination as well as repression without revolting. (Doc. 7, pp. 25-27).
The text takes archaicism to a frightening extreme, manifesting longings for a hypothetical golden age preceding agriculture, the age of nomadism.
Many consequences supposedly resulted from the establishment of agriculture, one of the first being private property.
As one reads on, one sees that these consequences become a veritable cascade of misfortunes … and contemporary society is born.
This train of thought should logically lead to enthusiasm for the communist aspects of the tribal primitivism of our Indians applauded also by the neomissionaries.
It is also interesting to point out a very illustrative example … in Scandinavia, although rare and as yet not well studied: Family communes, Several families, sufficiently ‘conscientized,’ decided to approximate the ideal of a community … they usually began in a house large enough to accommodate a number of families (5 to 10), generally comprised of young married couples from intellectual circles.
At first, they made only some objects common to all: house, table, car, etc. In a more advanced stage, they also used their salaries in common so if someone earned more, it did not give him the right to spend more. Then they tried to raise their children in common. In the most advanced stage, attempted only a few times and which quickly and invariably failed, everything was common to all, including personal intimacy, such that the very distinction between the couples themselves would disappear. The basic idea normally introduced is that the children born from free unions would have the whole group as mothers and fathers, assigning to the whole group the full responsibility of upbringing. The children would not be told the identity of their real mother.
This causes a series of problems. First of all, we are of the opinion that such an experiment is more easily ridiculed that imitated. It is levity to see this merely as a sexual aberration, although it could very well be … Be what it may, the first question is whether or not the child of the group could already be characterized as a “new man,” born from old men … It is impossible to answer this question precisely because experimentation has not yet shown approximate results, especially since it hasn’t lasted long enough (it still has not gone beyond a period of 2 or 3 years). The second question is: is it possible to preserve the “newness” of this man from the adverse outside environment …
In addition, the parents themselves succumbed to their old problems: egoisms, jealousy, [mutual] rejection … since the capacity to indiscriminately give, one’s intimacy to any person in the group supposes such a spirit of renunciation that it approaches personal mutilation …
In any case, the constant failure of this experiment does not destroy its critical vigor and its good intention. Its value lies above all in the fact that it attempted community life not only as a form of cohesion among its members but as a concrete form of human association.
Here we abstract from any ethical point of view which according to the various [sic] conceptions might beforehand reject the Scandinavian experiment because it offends against what are considered to be the most fundamental values of the human personality. Nevertheless, the example retains its value since one of the most radical forms of communitarianization [sic] was sought . . . However, it is not within the competence of a sociologist to discuss the ethical characteristics of such studies.
… The community is a genuine utopia. It does not cease to attract men and it is capable of injecting them with unprecedented enthusiasm, It is a leaven that history renews rather than loses. Under the harshness of daily life, full of problems and miseries, a movement of strange profundity throbs continuously and loses itself in unattainable absolute hopes: the longing for a better world, for more human men, for more egalitarian societies; the anxiety for a lost paradise, but one perhaps recoverable at a certain point in history …(Doc. 8, pp. 104-107).
The formation of small “communist republics” inside a highly socialized state, as in the Scandinavian peninsula, can be theoretically carried out by stages. This text is very illustrative about such stages, their achievements and frustrations, and the hopes they still harbor. The attempt carried out by those “groups” amounts to a real experiment of tribal life under non-savage conditions.
The Commentary published by the CNBB is marked by an amorality that reveals sympathy.
Most notable, however, is the manner in which the author of this study responds to a question that is already doubtlessly formed in the minds of some readers: Isn’t all this tribalization nothing more than utopia?
Yes, answers the text, but utopianism is health for the soul. It is most laudable to tend towards it continuously, indefatigably, without ever entirely attaining it but at the same time managing to come ever closer to it.
A man of good sense will see that there is nothing more dangerous than guiding the state, not towards its natural and true end, but towards a finality that is admittedly utopian and therefore unreal and unattainable.
In collectivities, as in individuals, good order can only result from the tendency of all the parts toward the true end. The tendency towards utopia is a ferment of disorder. Whenever this tendency is victorious only disaster can result.
“The world of domination [today’s society] condemns nearly everything that might make man happy or feel pleasure: Good food, good drink, sex, substances which can augment his area of perception …
“The great majority of primitive societies, however, were much closer to their humanity with their sacred dances, their sexual permissiveness, their magic rituals, their emotional unity with nature. Thus, they possessed a psychic and physical equilibrium which we are rediscovering now and only now” (Doc. 7. P. 57).
“In primitive society … nudity is a form of adaptation to life and not merely the result of not knowing how to make clothes …
“The child becomes accustomed to nudity from the moment of birth. At each moment he has contact with global nudity ….
“The civilized world is a world of divisions and barriers; since we were born, our clothes separate us from our body just as in childhood the walls of the school separate children of different ages and sex, just as the walls of offices, departments, and factories separate human beings of different classes…
“In Western society, then, the difference between the sexes concerns only differences in clothing, roles, and privileges. But in the society where the differences between the sexes is based on physical characteristics, the infant becomes himself profoundly and unconsciously through his sex … [sic]
“Moreover, erotic and clandestine nudity is the fruit of the denial of the body.
Global and natural nudity, once accepted, opens the way for the acceptance of oneself and the world in a manner still unknown to us” (Doc. 7, pp. 62-63,66).
Indian nudity, so censured by traditional catechists, is seen through rosecolored glasses by the “aggiornati”, and hence they attack our present civilization anew.
What becomes of the passage in the Scripture that considers the shame of nudity to be a consequence of original sin? “And they were both naked: to wit, Adam and his wife: and were not ashamed” (Gen. 2,25) – before the sin. Immediately afterward, they were ashamed to see themselves naked. And God approved of this shame, making clothes for them (Gen. 3,21).
Section IV – Idyllic and “Evangelical” Description of Indian Life
The idyllic description of native societies made by the “aggiornati” missionaries, although they defend themselves against this, brings to mind the myth of the “noble savage” with which Rousseau charmed, excited, and inflamed France near the end of the XVIII Century.
In the swell of dithyrambic praise for the tribal life, these texts show a glimpse of the propensity towards communism, as well as the desire for a new world inspired in the primitive societies.
11. A Tribal Paradise, Where Ownership of the Means of Production Is Collective and Authority Does Not Exist
The document Y-Juca-Pirama-O Indio: Aquele Que Deve Morrer, “Documento de Urgencia” signed by the Bishops of Caceres (MT), Msgr. Maximo Biennes; Viana (MA), Msgr. Helio Campos; Maraba (PA), Msgr. Estevao Cardoso de Avellar; Sao Felix (MT), Msgr. Pedro Casaldaliga; Goias Velho, Msgr. Tomas Balduino, and Palmas (PR), Msgr. Agostinho Jose Sartori, and six other missionares states:
Without espousing the idyllic vision of Rousseau, we feel the urgent need to recognize and publish certain values that are more human and thus more evangelical than our ‘civilized’ values and constitute a true contestation to our society:
1. In general, the Indian peoples have a system of using the land – based in sociality and not on the individual – in profound consonance with all biblical teaching in the Old and New Testaments concerning the ownership and use of land (Msgr. Franzoni, La Terra E Di Dio). In this way, the possibility of the domination of some over others based on the private exploitation of the means of production is cut at the root. Antonio Cotrim Neto notes that ‘with the arrival of the white man, the concept of private property was established, provoking conflicts in the Indian settlements’ (Estado de S. Paulo, 8/20/1972).
2. All production [whether it be the] fruit of labor or the proper use of natural wealth and therefore, the whole economy, is based on the needs of the people and not on profit. One produces to live, and labor is not exploited for profit. Jesuit Adalberto Pereira teaches the Indian does not bother with accumulating goods of any kind, nor does be have economic incentive in the sense of acquiring prestige or improvement of social status. He is ignorant of economic competition and has no thoughts of ambition. He lives according to a Communitarian system of production and consumption, with the division of’ labor made according to sex.” (Adalberto Holanda Pereira, Questoes de Aculturacao in Essa Onca – Federal University of Mato Grosso – 1973, 18).
3. The social organization’s only purpose is to guarantee the survival of the rights of all, not the privileges of some. The community prevails over the individual. All cultural expression aims at celebrating and strengthening this sense of community. Behold the source of peace and harmony of the backwoodsman’s longings: ‘Our brothers of the jungles’ – says Claudio Villas Boas – ‘without having all that technological sophistication, are fulfilled and happy, living a balanced and harmonious life’ (Estado de S. Paulo, 4/29/73). Francisco Meireles dreams: Personally, I wish they could be kept in their villages and that we, the civilized, rather than instructing them with our cultural standards, would learn from the Indians, who always live in harmony not only with the tribal group but with nature.'(Estado de S. Paulo, 6/26/1973).
4. The Process of education is characterized by the exercise of liberty. ‘They learn to be free from infancy,’ says Luiz Salgado Ribeiro, ‘since a father never obliges his son to do what he doesn’t want to do. A father never beats his son, however great his mischief might have been … the Indian is, above all, a free man. He does not depend on anyone for the support of his family – be himself bunts and fishes while his woman looks after the little garden – and this frees the Indian from owing favors or obligations to anyone: neither to this father nor to the chief of his tribe.'(A Voz do Parana, 10/29/73).
5. The organization of power is not despotic but shared. Thus the chief is not one who commands but rather a wise man who advises what should be done … whether the Indians follow his counsels or not is not the chief’s problem. He is only a leader who counsels; he is not a master who determines what has to be done. Even in case of war, the chief can never determine that all men will participate in the battle. This shows that, among the Indians, all authority is really a service to the community; it is not domination. It is clear that under these circumstances there is no place for institutions of policing and coercion.
6. The Indian peoples live in harmony with nature and her phenomena, in contrast to our integration with the various pollutions [sic] and ruins of nature ravaged and replaced by the habitat in which we live: the Indians, unlike the white man, have always lived in perfect harmony with nature, there being no cases of tribes that have destroyed the flora and fauna of any area inhabited by them. This is the position of anthropologists and specialists in native matters” (Estado de S. Paulo, 3/5/1972).
7. The discovery, evolution and ‘feeling’ of sex are part of the normal rhythm of the Indian’s life, in an atmosphere of respect, without the characteristics of taboo or idol that are manifest in our society and condition it so much.
This list of values does not pretend to be exhaustive nor are they uniformly practiced simply because each native group constitutes a people, with its own characteristics and whose greatest expression is language, We are not unaware that the native also shows signs of the shadow of sin which, under different forms of common selfishness, binder the full attainment and the authentic integration of these human values” (Doc. 9, pp. 21-23).
This text speaks for itself and its communist tone is obvious. Note only the charges made against the “private exploitation of the means of production”; against private property, indicated as the cause of conflicts in the Indian settlements; against the just desire of bettering one’s social status, etc. Further, one should note the sympathy for the collectivist and egalitarian aspects that the authors see in the tribal state (“the community prevails over the individual”) where, they claim, there is no form of authority, not even paternal.
The positions of Dom Tomas, however, are not his alone, but of CIMI as a whole, which early this month participated in a seminar with FUNAI (National Indian Foundation) in Manaus … on that occasion, the opinion was again expressed that the missions also had a harmful effect on the Indians to the degree that the missions attempted to impose on them a new religion and moral standards completely different from those they already had. Bishop Balduino:
I agree with that opinion. But since the CIMI began, four years ago, we have been instructing all Catholic missions to correct this catechetical function, respecting the organization of the Indians. . .
… the ideal would be for them to co-exist with our civilization, but without losing their communitarian, religious, and tribal values; without losing the right to build their houses, to continue to plant the way they always have and without being swallowed up by the voraciousness of the consumer society where private and financial interest is above all else …
The Indians are being marginalized, losing their place, this is the truth. This integration that the government proposes will only transform them into outcasts from society, which is deplorable, knowing that today they have a social status much superior to many parts of our society. Their lives are fulfilled, their chiefs are true chiefs, but with the knowledge that they are chiefs of oppressed peoples …
However, this is not the worst: greed is even more hostile. What they really seek is not to exterminate the Indians but to appropriate their lands at any cost. There were even attempts to poison the tribes … mortal hatred of the white man was explained …
At the time of Brazil’s discovery, they [the Indians] were more than two million. Today, it is estimated that there are about one hundred thousand, or one hundred and fifty thousand … the latter figure being very optimistic (Doc. 10).
“It is our civilization that is barren and condemned, and not that of the Indian.” With these words, Father Egydio Schwade, a CIMI advisor, interpreted yesterday in Sao Paulo the declarations of Orlando Villas Boas, who affirmed the previous day, that the end of the Indian civilization is inevitable and the Indian himself is aware of this.
Father Schwade said that “confronting the values of the indigenous society with those of our society, which is called civilized, we see that we can only learn from them. The irreversible march of history shows, with so many examples that now begin to appear in the world, that human societies are opening themselves up to values which the Indians always had, values such as the communitarian spirit, solidarity and respect for one’s neighbor.”
Schwade believes that “the more we endeavor to respect, defend, and preserve the physical, cultural, and even ecological identity of the native peoples, the greater the possibility of finding and saving ourselves, of overcoming the alienation into which the rhythm of life in our civilized society plunges us.”
The CIMI advisor added that “the whole world revolted, and justly so against the recent condemnation of five men to death. With how much more reason should the national and world consciences raise their voices against the extermination of our Indians, which have a history as sacred as the holy history of the people of God, revered by Jews and Christians” (Doc. 11).
The absurdities in this document are disconcerting. For example, those who live in “our society which is called civilized,” can only learn from the Indians. That is, all the Indians have a lesson for civilized man. For example: “the communitarian spirit, solidarity, and respect for one’s neighbor.” Something obvious in this topic is the admiration some “up-to-date” missionaries have for the roughly communist character they attribute to tribal life.
After the eulogy of such primitive societies and the disdain for contemporary civilization, the affirmation that “history is irreversible” is laughable.
The affirmation that the history of the Indians is “as worthy and sacred as the holy history of the people of God” leads to the following questions: How do the Indians profit by being evangelized? What are the missionaries for?
“The Indian communities should be received as evangelizers so that they may become a model for our society that has much to learn from them,” Archbishop Fernando Gomes de Oliveira stated yesterday upon opening the course on Perspectives on the Integration of the Indian into the National Community, organized by the Indian Missionary Council and the Institute of Socio-Economic Research of the Catholic University of Goias.
Bishop Fernando Gomes … spoke on the importance of the meeting, showing its necessity for the formation of a better vision of the Church regarding Indian matters, stressing the fact that their communities should be received as evangelizers, in the sense of becoming models for our society (Doc. 12).
If the small “Indian communities” ought to serve as models for our society, one asks how those models can be imitated by the cyclopic contemporary societies except by imposing a roughly or perhaps an entirely communist regime?
This must be so if one admits as true the image of the native societies presented by “updated” missiology.
15. The “Aggiornata” Missiology Inspires a Radical Transformation of Our Society
From the document Y – Juca – Pirama – O Indio: Aquele que deve morrer, [The Indian: He Who Must Die], signed by bishops and missionaries:
If we had the courageous humility to learn from the Indians, perhaps we would be led to transform our individualist mentality and corresponding economic, political, social, and religious structures so that, instead of some dominating the rest, we would be able to build the solidary world of collaboration” (Doc. 9, p. 24).
A horizontal solidarity established in the tribal societies – disregarding the principle of authority – is the ideal the Indians teach us.
This egalitarianism, which involves community of goods, absence of social classes, etc., if transposed to the great, modern, human concentrations, is translated in terms of communism.
Even the religious structure, instituted sacrally hierarchic by Our Lord Jesus Christ, must be leveled under the steam roller of Indian “wisdom.”
“The Indian has a mission to accomplish: to help the civilized rediscover civilization …
“It is not the Indian’s problem, it is the national society’s. It is not the Indian who should be conditioned by an educational system foreign to his culture and history, but it is the nation’s society that should be prepared to accept the Indian as he is; to understand and respect the Indian’s world and not to coerce him into approaching our world …” (Doc. 13, pp. 20 and 22).
Section V – Evangelization is Not Necessary
For “updated” catechists, tribal life is so meritorious that the Gospel – and the Christian Civilization derived from it – are relegated to a second level.14
“Today missionary work finds evangelical values in the Indian culture such that not only is the Indian evangelized but he is also capable of evangelizing us through the fraternal relations among themselves [sic], through their appreciation for children and the weak, through their education for freedom [sic], through their ties to religion. The world of the Indian is not shut up within itself; on the contrary, it opens itself up in a world of mystery, something which brings a great equilibrium to tribal groups …
“Evangelization can discover the presence of Christ in the tribal group, which lives in a more Christian way than we do, with our baptism and with our religious practice. Without professing the name of Christ, the Indians live in a much greater fullness of the life announced by Christ like an evangel of liberation, than we who live like pagans in our relations with each other” (Doc. 14).
With a communitarian regime, the Indians need nothing, not even the Church, since they already possess the fullness of evangelic life.
If one admits that things are as Bishop Balduino describes, it would be appropriate to ask what is catechesis good for?
Perhaps for this reason, catechesis is presented as merely concerned with an earthly duty, which is to preserve the tribal state, as seen in the following text.
The Bishops defend the thesis that the main mission of the Church is not to catechize and convert the Indian but to guarantee his values and to guide his cultural process such as to avoid conflicts and syncretisms (Doc. 15).
19. The Updated Catechesis: To Bring to the Surface the Religious Message That the Indian Carries in His Subconscious
Interview with Msgr. Tomas Balduino, Bishop of Goias and President of CIMI, for the newspaper Voz do Parana:
We do not understand catechesis as in the past: The transmission of a doctrine in preparation for entrance in a given period of time – initiation for worship, baptism, receiving the sacraments, etc. Today we understand catechesis as a global manner [sic], in which the evangelizing aspect, more oriented towards the restoration of the image of God in man than towards the bracketing of the individual within a definite religion, prevails. So, instead of being drawn by baptism towards the religious group or fraternity, the Indian is approached and encouraged to become conscious of and live the message already within him. This is, as I was saying, to stand beside [him]. The aim is to make the Indian understand that he can be the announcement [sic] and the denunciation [sic] of modern society which, although calling itself religious, Catholic, and I don’t know what else, is egoistic, individualistic, hedonistic, greedy. As for the Indian, be is none of these things; he gives his life for the other (Doc. 16, Col. 638).
The “new” catechesis consists much more of making the Indian conscious of the religious message that is already in his subconscious than in teaching him the Good News, brought by Our Lord Jesus Christ to all peoples.
In parallel, the work of “pacification and catechesis” – as the missionaries themselves now recognize – developed with a foundation in the spirit of Anchieta [Blessed Father Jose de Anchieta, Portuguese Jesuit missionary of the XVI Century] and without taking into account the need of preserving the native culture, also contributes towards instilling in the Indian a fatalistic disdain for his cultural values…
The participants of the Diamantino meeting established this revitalization of tribal values as fundamental, defending as a first step a better preparation of the missionaries, reaffirming that, in the process of integration, it is vital that the whole cultural structure of the groups be respected and that evangelization be only a secondary part of this process (Doc. 17).
It is no wonder that the “updated” missionaries scorn the work of the great Anchieta. He did not treat catechesis as only a secondary part of his mission.
The profound conviction of the missionaries linked to the Church is that these peoples (and I am thinking, for example, about the Indian peoples) are the true evangelizers of the world. We, the missionaries, do not go to them as someone who takes a doctrine or an evangelization that Christ brought and entrusted to us, and that we fitted out with civilized rites and cults. But we go to them knowing that Christ already preceded us in their midst, and that there are the Seeds of the Word. We have the conviction that they live the Beatitudes. For this reason, a conversion to their cultures is imposed on us, knowing that the Good News of the Gospel becomes incarnate in any culture. And beginning with the most marginalized and oppressed, it becomes the universal Good News with prophetic value for all men (Doc. 18, p. 16).
22. The Indian Cannot Be Considered as Having Undesirable Psychic and Cultural Characteristics
From the “Diretorio Indigena” [Indian Directory] developed by the Mission Anchieta, of Mato Grosso, as approved by the CNBB (according to a summary by Jornal do Brasil):
The acculturation of the natives … ought to be done without haste and even traits we claim to be offensive to human nature, such as infanticide or polygamy, should be eradicated only when and in the measure in which the Indian can understand what is negative about these traits …
The Mission Anchieta emphasizes that the Indians cannot be considered as primitive beings, having undesirable biological, psychic, and cultural characteristics (Doc. 19).
The second paragraph of the text takes the thought still dim in the first paragraph to its ultimate consequences: the Indians do not have any “undesirable biological, psychic, and cultural characteristics.” What about infanticide? Polygamy? These questions leap into one’s mouth: are they not the result of “undesirable psychic and cultural characteristics?”
The text insinuates that they are not when, referring to those aberrations, it qualifies them as “traits we claim are offensive to human nature.” “We claim” leads to a doubt: are they really offensive to human nature?
At this time, communions, doctrinal instruction, and the collective Masses, had already ceased among the tribes. All religious instruction was set aside and the Indians were treated scientifically.
We discovered [one of the mission fathers speaks] that the religious principles of the Indians themselves were natural and that what is natural is from God. Therefore, in their way, with their ideas, their ceremonies, they loved God and thus there was no reason for us to change everything in their heads merely so that they might love God according to our way (Doc. 20).
The “scientific” catechesis has surprises in store for anyone used to traditional catechesis!
The Mission Anchieta became known for its avant-garde position on relations with the Indians. In 1969, after many studies and debates, its priests decided to abandon the catechization of the Indians, allowing them to keep their own culture.
We discovered that the Indians had a religion based on what is natural, spontaneous, and what is natural comes from God. It profited nothing to give them a civilized form of loving God if theirs was purer. (Doc 21)
In the Catholic Church, baptized souls receive the supernatural life of grace and participate in the Mystical Body of Christ.
According to the text, all these treasures “profit nothing” since they constitute a “civilized form of loving God.” The religion of the Indians “which is natural” is also “purer.”
And this is all they need. Belittling thus the supernatural in relation to the natural, and the religion of Jesus Christ in relation to Indian paganism, evidently amounts to heresy and blasphemy.
Fr. Tomas was heavily besieged by inquiries and questionings about his work of pure and simple living experience with a recently contacted tribe, and about his religious experience in the mythical world of the Indians. He said that his attitude bad been one of respect and observation without any intention in the near or intermediate future, of any catechesis:
“Perhaps one day, many years from now, the moment may come to reveal Christ to them. In truth, I don’t know if I will ever see this day.
“The Mass is good for us. For the Indians, the expression of this same religious impulse is manifested with a maraca painted with urucum.”
And he revealed that he himself had participated in this Munku liturgy. (Doc. 22, p. 11)
Because of the foregoing, catechesis develops with almost hopeless delays; delays that did not exist with the resplendent actions of so many great missionaries.
The Catholic Church teaches that the Sacrifice of the Mass is the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary. The above text’s last paragraph appears to reduce it to the “expression” of a “religious impulse.” In this sense, “it is good for us.” That is, it expresses our impulses. But it can be perfectly substituted among the Indians by other ceremonies, since the “same religious impulse” that we express in the Mass, they express “dancing with a maraca painted with urucum.”
One could hardly be more offensive to the Holy Mass. Furthermore, if the “Munku liturgy” is equivalent to the Mass, what is the religious purpose of a Catholic mission?
As we in CIMI see it, the Indian should be the author of his own future, and protagonist of his own struggle. It is not a question of doing for them but with them. And not as they want to do: to create programs geared for the Indian, in which he is the last to know. Or better: to manipulate the Indian as if he were a thing.
The strength of this ministry is that it comes from the roots. It is not science developed in the laboratories of paternalistic theologians, sociologists, and anthropologists, but it is being born from simple and unpretentious experience of some priests who opted for a different kind of life. Like the Little Sisters of Jesus who have lived twenty years with the Tapirape Indians without any intention of catechizing, without wanting to build anything or set up a relief program. They want merely to live with the Indians on their level with the same agriculture, the same habitation, the same social life. Result: this is one of the few groups that acquired self-confidence, maintaining a perfect tribal relationship, recovering values lost through the influence of an entangling society, and now have a good relationship with the backwoodsmen of the neighborhood. This shows that if the Indian is respected by our laws and rules, he will know how to respect everyone … and be able to contribute solutions for our problems. (Doc. 18, p. 17)
This text deals with the precise application of the thesis that the Indian is the bearer, just as Catholics – and more than many Catholics – of authentically Christian values. The Little Sisters of Jesus, living many years in tribal promiscuity, strove for nothing other than to make the Indians be themselves, and to follow their own pagan paths without any help from Revelation and grace.
27. Errors of the Missionaries: Teaching Shame For Nudity, the Use of Clothes, and the Rejection of Collective Life in the Village
Sharing the views of neomissiology, Fray Betto, the Dominican sadly known for his part in the Marighela [Carlos Marigbela, a former communist Congressman in Brazil, was considered by some to be the “father of international terrorism.” (“Subversion to the South Threatening the U.S.,” Crusade for a Christian Civilization, no. 3, 1980, pp. 13-14)] case and later sentenced to two years in prison by the Federal Supreme Court, wrote in his book Cartas da Prisao (Letters from Prison):
If within a few years there are no more Indians in Brazil, the Church will have to recognize Her guilt in this. In the past, our missionaries entered the jungles without preparation and contaminated the Indians with their European culture medium. They believed that to civilize was to teach the Indian to be ashamed of nudity and to use clothes, to reject the collective life of the village, to learn our languages, and to acquire our customs. Many missionaries opened the way for hawkers who exploited the Indian, buying his crafts and his woman with a bottle of liquor.
Under the pretext of spreading the Gospel, we contributed to the extermination of the race. We took death where there was life.
Rare are the missionaries who respected the culture of the Indian and did everything to preserve it. Rare are those who became Indians with the Indians. But fortunately they exist. (Doc. 23, p. 118)
The pro-communist tendencies of neomissiology have already been shown. It is now necessary to list here the tendencies of the subversive friar supporting neomissiology.
A significant reciprocity…
Hostility for the missionaries of the past is flagrant in Fray Betto’s text.
28. The Traditional and Progressivist Catechist Faced With the Abominations and Crimes of the Savage
From a book published under the guidance of Fr. Eduardo Hoornaert, professor of the Recife Theological Institute:
What did this catechesis really mean? What was its true sense?
There is an interesting fact that happened in the village of Espirito Santo, in Reconcavo Baiano, in 1650, which sheds some light on the matter. In that year, Fr. Luiz da Gra convoked a meeting of the native chiefs and made them swear to four Christian pledges:
To have only one wife.
To remain sober.
Not to listen to witchdoctors.
Not to kill or eat human flesh.
In these four “commandments,” we see exactly, the process of subjecting “another” (the native) to oneself (the European colonizer), that characterizes colonial culture. Catechesis was an uninterrupted series of discourses whose object was to integrate the natives into colonial Christian society. The words dealt with God, salvation, heaven, sanctity, etc., but the meaning of the words dealt with integration. (Doc. 24, p. 336)
The most serious consequence of the identification of catechesis with indoctrination consists in the fact that catechesis is conceived as an active movement going from the colonizers towards the colonized. The colonizers do not discuss where they begin to catechize others, catechesis is not seen as a movement towards “another” [who is] completely different – and for this very reason mysterious and revealing of God, but as an integrating movement that encircles and subjects. This is the source of the repetitive, mechanical, passive and routine character that catechesis has had until our times, at least in the areas of religious subjugation, subjecting the “other” to “oneself.”
This type of catechesis does not establish a real communication, rather it impedes it. In 1555, Anchieta writes:
“Something we all here desire and beseech Our Lord is that this land become extensively populated with Christians to hold it subject, because these people are so indomitable and intent upon eating human flesh and so unwilling to accept superiors that whatever is planted will hold firm only with difficulty without this remedy, which the fathers and brothers here continually pray for.”
How can one establish human communication having these prejudices in mind? (Doc. 24, pp. 119-120)
A radical difference between the methods of catechesis used in Brazil until, the eruption of progressivism and the methods that progressivism is introducing today, can be noted in both these evaluations of the book published under the guidance of Fr. Hoornaert.15
According to what has been done in the Church since apostolic times, the missionary must teach the doctrine of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles: “Going, therefore, teach ye all nations … teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28, 18-19)
The zealous missionary must adapt the form of this instruction as much as possible to the psychology of the one being catechized and to the various peculiarities of the environment in which he lives. But the substance of the teaching is immutable. It was given by Jesus Christ, and no one will be able to alter it even until the end of time.
Doubtless, the reactions of those being catechized can vary from instant, profound, and heroic conversion all the way to aggression and even assassination of the catechist. Nevertheless, the substance of the teaching cannot be altered, and alteration means not only the introduction of elements foreign to it but the omission of aspects essential to the doctrine as well.
Concerning this point, the catechist serving as a spokesman for Jesus Christ, officially or not, is immovable together with the Divine Master, and he works to attract those catechized to Him. Such a task might seem impossible, and really would be without the help of grace. But the grace is never lacking. It is up to man to accept it or reject it.
The catechetical methods of Anchieta and Fr. Luis da Gra are the conversion of these principles into act. Confronted with the abominations and aberrations of the unfortunate savages, they did not conceal what is contrary to Catholic morality, and they formally asked the Indians to abandon their vices.
It is clear that such coherence and firmness of principles cannot coexist with the progressivist mentality. Thus it is not surprising that Fr. Hoornaert and his crew made the objections cited above.
We must beat our breasts in mea culpa because for a long time, at [least] until John XXIII, the Church mostly served colonialism, ignoring the principles that She now defends. But those missions were substitutes of their time. Today we are taking a new course, from ethnocentrism to respect. (Doc. 25)
The Bishop of Goias Velho affirms his incomprehension of the missionary tradition of the Church with some hostility: for four hundred years, that is “at [least] until John XXIII, the Church mostly served colonialism,” obviously tarnishing Her mission.
From the outset, Bishop Balduino’s criticism is limited to the action of the Church in Brazil, from the discovery “at [least] until John XXIII.” But he cannot ignore the fact that the Church used the same missionary methods throughout the world. His criticism cannot fail to wound the Catholic Church deeply, the Church which it is incumbent upon him to defend.
It is difficult to comprehend how such criticism does not touch upon the doctrinal authority and sanctity of the Church seen as a whole.
Section VII – Striking At Civilization
It is understandable that, deviating so profoundly from Catholic missionary tradition, the “updated” missiologists might formulate serious objections against it, as well as against its glorious corollary, the Church’s civilizing action.
30. The Methods of Anchieta and Nobrega Allegedly Caused the Dissolution and Death of the Indians
From the document Y – Juca – Pirama – O Indio: Aquele Que Deve Morrer, signed by bishops and missionaries:
Everyone will agree that, in the name of a policy of integration that failed to integrate even the civilized, one cannot violate a culture that, although primitive, has guaranteed the age old subsistence of its peoples. A civilized society only has the right of speaking about integration of the Indian on the day there is no one dying from hunger in its midst.” (O Popular, Goiania, 11/22/1973)
The brothers Villas Boas say about the Indians: ‘For centuries they have survived thanks to hunting, fishing, and a rudimentary agriculture. They are happy with their beliefs and their most beautiful rituals. Why then destroy this age old culture? Merely to impose our way of life on them? To civilize? What for? To destroy the existing tribal organization and afterwards leave the Indians marginalized in our society?(O Estado de São Paulo, 11/17/1972).
We should recognize that Christian entities, more concerned about ‘giving assistance’ to the Indians, frequently lacked this vision and sociopolitical conscience. As a consequence, under mistaken pretexts of an alienated charity, they frequently betray their evangelical mission of tenaciously defending the Indians from physical or cultural death or of respecting their liberty and dignity as human persons.
The Catholic priests themselves – as stated in a recent press article – after more than 400 years of catechesis, found themselves obliged to change their tactics, for if they continued with the same purpose as Anchieta and Nobrega [sic] they would achieve nothing more than the dissolution, marginalization, destruction and death of what remains of indigenous Brazilian groups. And this change in tactics was precisely in the sense of respecting the Indian with his beliefs and way of life, to value his culture rather than seeking to impose the culture of those who are civilized. (O Popular, Goiania, 11/22/1973) (Doc. 9, pp. 18-19)
Not everything is wrong in this description. But what unilaterality, what exaggeration, what injustice!
Compare the somber surrealism of this text with the rosy unrealism of the description of tribal life.
The other day, speaking with P., I asked:
“Who is more cultured? A physician or an Indian?”
“A physician, of course,” he answered me.
“Why the doctor?”
“Because the doctor went to school, read many books, learned to cure diseases and perform operations, and got a diploma.”
“Then tell me something: does the doctor know how to fish with a bow and arrow, to make dye from genipap, to recognize the cry of the copybara, form the trunk of a tree into a canoe, to cultivate cassava and maize, to weave the fiber of buriti, to light a fire without a match, to walk in the jungle without a compass and to prepare meat without salt?”
My companion thought a little and, half-surprised, answered:
“No. He doesn’t know how.”
“Then why do you say that the physician is more cultured than the Indian?”
“From what I’ve seen, the physician has the culture of a physician and the Indian has the culture of an Indian.”
From that moment on, P. came to understand something that the great majority of people with university diplomas do not know (in spite of the monumental work of Levi-Strauss): that men more cultured than others do not exist; what exist are parallel cultures. (Doc. 23, p. 116)
Here Fray Betto does not refer to two concretely existing characters: doctor X and Indian Y. If he had, he might be right. No one denies the possibility of a certain native in particular having, for example, an elevation of soul and an artistic sense greater than those of a given doctor. Now elevation of soul and artistic sense are cultural values. And from this standpoint, some privileged and exceptional Indian can, even in his savage state, raise himself above his peers.
Fray Betto, on the contrary, deals with general situations. That is, an average doctor as he customarily is and an ordinary savage as he usually is.
In the above text, he clearly denies the cultural superiority of the doctor over the savage. And he states uninhibitedly that the knowledge of medicine is in itself no more than “making dye from genipap, recognizing the cry of the copybara, preparing meat without salt” and the like. Now, in this, whether or not based on what he calls “the monumental work of Levi-Strauss,” he completely lacks the most elementary common sense. The subversive friar takes this position invoking another absurd principle, that “parallel cultures” are not susceptible of being compared with one another, and that the statement that some men are more cultured than others rings false. In the final analysis, Fray Betto denies the possibility of any social hierarchy. Nature admits horizontal structures, just as communism denies any vertical structure in society.
Naturally, it is easy for one based on this principle to attack the meritorious civilizing action inherent to traditional Catholic missiology.
But what glory for it to receive such an attack …
The fact that the white race deems culture to be only that which it knows, led it to ‘pacify’ the Indians. Whom do the ‘savages’ harm? No one. They lead their lives, their culture, their history. But we, the whites, consider ourselves a superior race (and this complex led us to decimate the red men, to isolate the yellow race, and to subjugate the Negros). We forgot that the Indian had his own civilization, which in many respects was more advanced than our own (eg. Aztecs and Mayans). And with our amnesia, we have continued to delve deeper into the jungles, polluting the air and water, bribing the Indian as gift-bearing Greeks and corrupting him with our illusory promises. (Doc. 23, pp. 116-117)
The thesis of “parallel cultures” underlies this passage from Fray Betto. Whence extending the goods of our civilization to the Indians seems useless to him and, in certain aspects, even harmful.
The question: “Whom do the ‘savages’ harm?” is astonishing. What about polygamy? And infanticide, which text number 22 admits as existing among them? Are these not harmful, especially for their weakest?
Concerning the specifically Christian benefits of the missionary’s civilizing work and the defense that these benefits provide against the neo-pagan influence of our civilization, see Part I, numbers 4 and 5.
At times I imagine the chief assembling his frightened tribe in order to explain what is happening: ‘Brothers, be always wary, because at any moment these pale-faced savages could overtake us. Until this moon we have enjoyed the same peace and prosperity in which our ancestors lived. We have kept our innocence, without our heart becoming contaminated by ambition and malice; we have lived with what nature has provided us, without having to appropriate the goods of the earth or to define our territory; thanks to our gods, we have never known sickness, hunger, enmity; our youth is strong and courageous, our women fertile and pure. It is now, however, that the savages shatter our age old tranquillity. They threaten us with their fire sticks and their blades of steel; they frighten us with their metallic birds and they set traps for us with gewgaws without which we have spent moons and moons of happiness. See how they are: they are ashamed of their own bodies and they cover their skin, they go about destroying the jungle, scaring away the animals and withering the plants. They want to imprison us and confine us in their parks so they can destroy our land and our tribe. However, do not give up without a fight. The land that we tread on knew man when our ancestors came here, who left it to their children and their children’s children. It belongs to us and for it, which gives us life and nourishment without demanding work, we will fight to the utmost of our strength. (Doc. 23, pp. 117-118)
Fray Betto tries to see the civilized in the savage and the savage in the civilized.
In this text, with disconcerting one-sidedness, the “Pale-faces” – the civilized – are seen exclusively as malefactors.
Who can deny that there were some malefactors among the civilizers? But who can affirm that all civilizers were this way?
Although the text refers specifically to a Japanese group that “just settled in Brazil in order to export Indian artifacts,” several of its criticisms are allusive in fact to all the settlers that have worked here. Therefore, allusive also to the great civilizing missionaries that are one of the glories of our history. If they did not use firearms or commit injustices, they nevertheless taught modesty, agriculture, etc.
Section VIII – The Indian, the Only Proprietor
Contrary to the hostile position it takes towards private property in contemporary society, updated missiology is extremely covetous of the collective property of the Indian tribes.
The native, even when settled in one place, does not develop the land such as to guarantee its satisfactory utilization for the common good of the country. Nevertheless, neomissiology most energetically upholds the Indians’ ownership over vast tracts of land. And in the following texts, it goes so far as to insinuate that the white man who came here began to steal from the Indian as soon as he arrived.
This contradiction between “aggiornata” missiology’s position regarding the Indians’ right of property and the right of property that exists in our society seems utterly unexplainable.
It is easily explained, though, if one considers that the white man’s property is private and, therefore, looked down upon, when not formally condemned, by leftism. But the Indians’ property is communitarian, the new missionaries assert, and therefore compatible with leftist standards.
It is commonly heard that, constituting only a little more than 1% of the country’s population, the Brazilian Indians ‘don’t need so much land.’ Whoever thinks so forgets that the Indian was the first inhabitant of the Americas. As the Indian-American Parliament of the Southern Zone concluded when meeting in San Bernardino, Paraguay in October 1974, ‘The American Indian is the millenary owner of the land. The land belongs to the Indian. The Indian is the land itself. The Indian is the owner of the land with or without property titles. (Doc. 26, p. 560)
The new missionaries, so hostile and restrictive in relation to private property, become fanatic upon affirming here, in the most unrestricted and absolute way, the tribes’ collective ownership of the areas in which they live. Thus, the American Indian is for them the only true master of the land.
The Indians are the first owners of Brazilian land since before the arrival of our parents and grandparents. And they have much to teach us, especially about the evangelic way of loving and working the land and the way to live together with others. Would this not be the reason we want to destroy them, for having a way of living and loving nature contrary to ours, so full of individualism, domination, and exploitation? (Doc. 27, p. 3)
Nothing can be more violent than to accuse someone of being an exterminator of indigenous societies, and above all with such an ignoble motive, that is, hating their virtues.
Besides, accuse what? The current socio-economic structure? Mysterious capitalist groups? The vague nature of an accusation is always a serious lacuna, and the more serious the accusation, the graver the lacuna.
According to the praxes of demagoguery, the proofs are lacking …
Any commentary concerning the exclusivism with which the property rights of the Indian over the vastness through which they roamed are affirmed can be dispensed with since it has already been done previously.
Section IX – The Indian Question, Fuse of an Agrarian Crisis in the Country
The multiplicity of pronouncements favoring agrarian reform, sparked by the Indian question, is frightening. It has gone so far as to make one wonder if the desire of stimulating socialist and confiscatory agrarian reform might not be the cause for such ado about the Indian problem these days. Following are some characteristic examples of the kind of statements we refer to.
We must work so that the peasants with no land or little land, numbering more than eleven million families, realize that the cause of the Indians fighting for their own land, is their cause. They also have a right to the land, they must conquer it. The enemy is the same: the money which buys the land, the few rich who daily acquire more land. We need to prevent the farmers from using the peasants to take the land from the Indians. The correct way is for the peasants to demand that the land, in the lands of so few, be distributed with justice. (Doc. 27, pp. 3-4)
The foregoing implicitly maintains the communist thesis that the work contract and the system of salaries are intrinsically unjust, and that the rural worker is not a victim of injustice only when he is the owner of the land on which he works. Hence comes the right of the peasant “to demand” the distribution of land.
And this “right” is the starting point for the country’s agrarian malady, a crisis in which the small landowners and Indians should become involved.
Finally, we are certain that no solution will be possible without a general change, a transformation of the agrarian structure. And this is possible only if a radical agrarian reform, not only in the Amazon but throughout the country, is decided upon and pursued …
Throughout this country the root of the problems involving landowners and leaseholders, or land grabbers, is the same as we found in the events of Meruri: greed for land, regardless of the knowledge that those in Brazil who are left without land are condemned to a slow death, a fact amply supported by the living and working conditions of the laborers and Indians already integrated. The people are resisting and are ready to die to obtain their right to the land. And this is what is happening in Arenapolis, in Mato Grosso, in PA 70, Para, in all of Maranhao, in Parana and all Brazil. When will the lords of capital and land recognize this right? When will national politics be defined and executed in view of the needs of the whole population and not just those of a minority? (Doc. 27, p. 4)
This is an eminently ambiguous and demagogic document. Demagogic because of its extremism and its exaggerated tone: it asks for a “general change, a transformation of the agrarian structure,” and thus it aspires to a “radical agrarian reform.”
It states that “those who are left without land [What is it to be “left without land?” Not to be a landowner?] in Brazil are condemned to a slow death.” This is a most serious affirmation for which the document gives less than rudimentary proof: the “living and working conditions of the laborers and the already integrated Indians.” There is no statistical demonstration capable of convincing serious minds.
The only effect of this demagoguery is to stir up class struggle. And this is where the document heads when it fancifully affirms that the “people are resisting and are disposed to die in order to obtain their right to the land” and so on.
In Brazil there are more than seven hundred thousand small landowners whose right to the land, like that of the Indians, is threatened. They are found among the ten million families of Brazilian rural workers without land.
Therefore, we see the problem of the Indian lands within the broader context of the irrational distribution of land in our country. Only with a radical and profound transformation of the Brazilian agrarian structure, beneficial to all rural workers without land, will it be possible to pave the way for the peaceful recognition of the Indian peoples’ right to the land. (Doc. 28, pp. 33-34)
Behold, the latter also create strife between the Indians and the whites by presenting the whites – with unjust and wrong generalization – as plunderers, guilty of genocide, etc.
Speaker: How is it that we ignore our elder brother, Brazilian before Brazil was baptized, owner of these lands and jungles before the arrival of him who calls himself ‘brother and Christian’ but who chose to give him a strange name: INDIAN… in order to dominate him, despise him, degrade him like a non-person or a half-person, an inferior race, ‘primitive,’ savage? …
Commentator: And we treat him so, snatching his land and culture from him, imposing our defective and vicious culture on him … slaughtering him without compassion or pity, through the ages…
Speaker: Let us not bide ourselves like Cain, let us not justify ourselves like the condemned at the Last Judgment …we cannot ignore … become disinterested … (Doc. 29, p. 63)
Bishop Pedro: … to a certain extent, Anchieta was a transmitter of a colonizing Gospel. The Church should do penance … it is evident that the discovery of America was in many aspects a colonialist crime. Further, it is clear that evangelization has been excessively tied to a culture and thereby to a dominion. Lately, in the most conscious sectors of the Church – and I would like to single out here in Brazil CIMI (Indian Missionary Council) – one can observe a passionate desire to re-do what was done and to find a new line of evangelizing, respecting to the utmost the culture of the people in question. The Faith is not a culture, it fits into all cultures. The Faith also is not properly a religion, but it can be expressed in a religious way.
. . . In fact, all those colonialist countries had from jurists, military strategists and frequently from theologians of that period – a group of advisors which became a kind of CIA, that is true. (Doc. 30. p. 6).
Bishop Pedro: … gathered in Vitoria, in an assembly of that church which is born of the people, we celebrated [sic] one night the deaths of Fr. Rodolfo and the Bororo Indian Simao, which took place in Meruri [State of Mato Grosso].
De Fato: What were they victims of?
Bishop Pedro: Victims of the farmers and regional politics and, shall we say, national politics, which has crushed the Indian for many centuries – as colonial politics once did, etc. In this celebration, which was essentially penitential, we all did penance in a very personal way. It was then remembered that the city of Vitoria is named ‘Vitoria’ because of the thousands of Indians that were killed. And the original name of Vitoria was: Our Lady of Victories. A backlander from Minas Gerais, however, who presently lives in Goias, spent the night without sleeping, greatly impressed by this celebration. He wrote a marvelous letter to the Bororo Indians of Meruri, which will probably appear in some CIMI publication. He said that ‘that was not Our Lady of Victories but rather Our Lady of Misfortunes.’ That farmer’s expression would abundantly symbolize the present attitude of the Church. We realized a little later that there was a fatal mistake, that there was collaboration with colonialism. Based on anthropology, on history, and on the faith itself, we see that, in many aspects, evangelization was misguided. (Doc. 30, p. 7)
What would Brazil be if it really counted with the Indian? It is quite possible that many Brazilian authorities with a capitalist and imperialist mentality might shudder at this question. This shows that, consciously or unconsciously, they support the extinction of these populations who constitute, through their positive values, a living contestation of the capitalist system as well as those alleged ‘values’ of so-called Christian civilization. (Doc. 9, p. 20)
The Indians here in the South, after years of extermination and exploitation, reduced to a handful, are becoming conscious of their situation as a people and have begun the war of liberation. And for us, this is a prophetic sign, helping us to put into question a whole structure of Church and society and demanding a radical transformation. (Doc. 31, P. 3)
“…helping us to question a whole structure of Church and society.” Everything leads one to believe that “us” in the plural means all “updated” missiologists involved in “questioning” the structure of Church and State; “…a whole structure…” shows that as the Southern Region of CIMI sees it, the structure of Church and society are seen as a unity. It is not that the text contains a denial of the distinction between the spiritual and temporal spheres. Still, there is almost an implicit affirmation that by analogy these structures form a unity in the opinion of the Southern Region of CIMI.
What is this analogy? For someone who puts himself in the perspective of neomissiology – someone enthusiastic about the horizontal structure of the rudimentary Indian settlements without hierarchy, the answer is easy. What CIMI’s Southern Region wants to put into question is the hierarchical character of both the ecclesiastical structure and the current socio-economic structure, based on private property.
The conclusion is not surprising. Progressivism and leftism are ferments working in the depths of the current missiology. And a characteristic common to both ferments – there are others – is egalitarianism. It is not surprising, therefore, that their action is expressed in a simultaneous “questioning” of spiritual and temporal hierarchy.
This is why one can say that “Catholic leftism” is the sociology of the progressivists. And progressivism is the theology of the “leftist Catholics.”
The participants [of the meeting], representing different outposts in Indian areas of the State of São Paulo, were better able to feel the situation in which nearly 700 Guarani, Caingangue and Terena Indians live, ‘surviving, they say, the robberies, plunders, and all kinds of injustices of which they were the victims in the land whence departed the greatest predators and Indian killers – today considered national heroes – the pioneers.’ (Doc. 32)
I have finally understood, and even felt, the whole mass of racist superiority, of deified dominion and inhuman exploitation with which the new worlds were discovered, colonized, and many times evangelized. ‘To colonize’ and ‘to civilize’ have already ceased to be human verbs for me, as have also the new colonizing formulas of ‘pacifying’ and ‘integrating’ the Indians here where I live and suffer. Imperialism, Colonialism, and Capitalism merit, in my ‘creed’, the same anathema. The monuments to the discoverers and the pioneers are repugnant to me. The monument to Anbanguera in a public square of Goiania causes me physical pain (Doc. 33, p. 176).
Doubtless colonialism, in America and elsewhere, sometimes conquered through the practice of abominable crimes.
Nevertheless, it is absurd to affirm that colonization is intrinsically evil, and moreover, to hold that the discoveries are evil.
It is contrary to historical fact to maintain that there was nothing but crime in the colonization of the Americas, and that no considerable advantages for humanity derived from it.
The unilaterality of Bishop Casaldaliga’s assessments becomes especially clear in the last two phrases of the text which designates the “discoverers” and “pioneers” as nothing more than malefactors.
Section XII – “Independence or Death” Proclaimed in Brazil—Against Brazil
Agitators among the clergy want to transform the historical cry of “Independence or Death” into a cry of revolt and separation of the Indians from the white landowners in order to later make it a motto of social revolution for workers against employers. All this appears in a climate where the concept of the Brazilian nation, united and thriving, is apparently fading (Cf. text no. 3).
It is not clear how this Indian movement can reach its goals, exposing even the lives of its constituents, and at the same time refrain from using arms. Will it seek to bring about a peaceful insurrection in the style of Ghandi?
I am going to present to you the words of my brothers, of those called ‘Indians.’ I do not know if through ignorance, scorn, or simply to give something a name, but for many people we are merely a thing. These words are going to tell you the last part of the drama that we are living since the men of another race, another culture, and another world set foot on our lands. The White man, he who calls himself civilized, stepped heavily on the land as well as on the soul of my people and the rivers swelled and the seas became saltier because the tears of my people were many.
I said that the words you are going to read are the narration of the end of a drama, but I do not know exactly how this drama is going to end. I only know that we are encouraged by a great hope and we are resolved to change the paths of our history.
Whence comes this hope to us? Have the civilized become more human? No, unhappily, no! It is we who want to be treated as human beings and not as things. And how are we going to change the paths of history? Are we going to take up arms? Are we going to confront the whites as they confronted us? No, true Christians do not do this because this would be to equate themselves to the whites, and arms do not solve problems. Arms are the arguments of cowards. We do not want to imitate the whites in what they should be most ashamed of: the use of arms in order to kill their fellow creatures! We are going to unite, we are going to die if necessary, but we will no longer accept the imposition of the will of others. We are going to demand that everyone, from the government to our neighbor, treat us like free people, without depending on anyone.
Did not the Brazilian people once say: ‘Independence or Death’? We also are going to say this, not only in word but also in our attitude. When the Indian wants, he knows how to be independent. We prefer to die free and not to live as a slave. (Doc. 34, pp. 35-36)
This reeks with subversion, being visibly written under missionary influence (the Indian to whom its authorship is attributed is a member of CIMI cf. “Bulletin of CIMI” Year IV, no. 22, July-August, 1975). It shows a categorical tendency to proclaim the independence of the Indians from Brazil.
This document is subversive in the sense that it is separatist.
Furthermore, for some time now, the Indian separatist movements have figured among the objectives of the international communist revolution, as one sees from the following document:
The Second Declaration of Havana raised the issue of’ the Indians, the Mestizos, the Negros and the Mulattos in the hope of finding in these racial groups a powerful reserve army for the revolution. These racial questions were raised in the Declaration of Havana with special persistence, and the passages in consideration recall several statements on Latin America made by pre-war Communist International in which the Indian problem usually held an important place.
Already in 1928, on the occasion of the 6th Congress of the Communist International, the parties of Latin America were instructed to develop a series of special measures regarding self-determination for the Indian tribes, special propaganda in the Indian languages, and special efforts for the conquest of key people among them. In reply to this general orientation, the Peruvian communists advocated the formation of the republics of Quechuan and Aymaran, and even the communist party of Chile demanded the creation of the republic of Arauco, though there were only a few thousand Araucan Indians in the southern part of the country. By 1950, the Mexican communists came out with the slogan: ‘Autonomy in local and regional administration’ for the Indian peoples.
The assertions contained in the ‘Declaration of Havana’ notwithstanding, the communists were no more pro-Negro, pro-Indian than they were pro-Tibetan, pro-Guyanese, pro-Hungarian or pro any other people. Negroes, Mulattos, Indians, and Mestizos were destined simply to be used as sociological and political raw material to aid the Latin American communist parties’ rise to power. (Doc. 35, p. 99)
Section XIII – To Meddle With Bishop Casaldaliga . . .
The Church could normally heal these evils, but to what extent are they finding a remedy in Her? It is not credible that evils such as these can find a remedy without the intervention of Paul VI.
Now, one does not see that he has made up his mind to intervene. This is what one concludes in believing the following information published in the bulletin Alvorada, in the Prelacy of Bishop Pedro Casaldaliga, and by the semi-official organ of the Archdiocese of São Paulo (Cf. O São Paulo, 1/10/1976).
The Pope appeared [upon receiving Cardinal Arns] very touched and united with the people of God of the backlands and with their persecuted Bishop.
At the end, the Pope said to Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns that the Bishops and missionaries working in these parts of the country are true heroes and that to meddle with the Bishop of Sao Felix would be to meddle with the Pope himself. (Doc. 36, p. 1)
Paul VI’s expressive words of support for Bishop Pedro Casaldaliga (released to the press, incidentally, in an unofficial manner) were such as to influence the reader to favor the Bishop of São Felix do Araguaia, noticeably weighing in the controversy over the Bishop.
This leads us to believe that without a filial but general clamor of the Brazilian people to Paul VI it will not be possible to restrict the nucleus, or better, the smoking crater of missionary agitation that seems to be swallowing up our jungles as a vehicle to fill our cities with sparks.16
What are the probabilities that this clamor will be heard?
They are not great, if one takes into account a significant precedent. In 1968, the TFP collected 1,600,368 signatures for a petition to Paul VI asking for measures repressing communist infiltration in the Church.
This petition – the largest in the history of our nation – was delivered by a trusted representative in the Vatican. And it has remained without an answer …
Concomitantly, analogous petitions to Paul VI from the Argentine, Chilean, and Uruguayan TFPs totaling four hundred thousand signatures, are unanswered.
Since then, communist influence in Catholic circles has continued to grow.
And in Chile it was the decisive factor in Marxist Allende’s ascension to the Presidency.
Not even this should diminish our hopes for a solution. It is necessary for Brazilians to oppose “Catholic leftism” and progressivist and leftist neomissiology with all the licit means within their reach. Once this is done, Providence will do the rest.
It is not in vain that Our Lady of Aparecida was crowned Queen of Brazil in 1931 by the National Episcopate. It is possible that, for superficial souls, this coronation may have seemed an empty and meaningless ceremony.
However, Our Lady does not consider empty and meaningless Her sons’ homage of love! On Her they may rely, provided that they do not become discouraged in battle and move towards victory with their best efforts and all their ardor.
Doc. 14. “Indio ensina ao branco CIS valores cristaos,” interview of Bishop Tomas Balduino with the weekly Opiniao, apud CIC – Catholic Information Center, Vozes, Petropolis, year XXV, no. 1279, February 22, 1977.
- “Aggiornata” (“Aggiornate”) – Italian word meaning “up-to-date.”
- Concerning “aggiornata” missiology, see the essay “El Marxismo en la Teologia de Missiones” in the book El Marxismo En La Teologia (Speiro, Madrid, 1976) by Fr. Miguel Poradowski, Prof. of the Catholic University of Valparaiso (Chile), well known by the Brazilian public for the memorable conferences that he gave here about communist infiltration in the Church.
- The socialist doctrine set forth in this manner is diametrically opposed to the Manchesterian liberal school. Pius XI defines the Catholic position in view of both errors, liberal and socialist, with admirable wisdom:
“Capital, however, was long able to appropriate to itself excessive advantages; it claimed all the products and profits and left to the laborer the barest minimum necessary to repair his strength and to ensure the continuation of his class. For by an inexorable economic law, it was held, all accumulations of riches must fall to the share of the wealthy, while the workingman must remain perpetually in indigence or reduced to the minimum needed for existence. It is true that the actual state of things was not always and everywhere as deplorable as the Liberalistic tenets of the so-called Manchester School might lead us to conclude; but it cannot be denied that a steady drift of economic and social tendencies was in this direction. These false opinions and specious axioms were vehemently attacked, as was to be expected, and by others also than merely those whom such principles deprived of their innate right to better their condition.
“The cause of the harassed workingman was espoused by the ‘intellectuals,’ as they are called, who set up in opposition to this fictitious law another equally false moral principle: that all products and profits, excepting those required to repair and replace invested capital belong by every right to the workingman. This error, more subtle than that of the Socialists who hold that all means of production should be transferred to the State (or, as they term it, socialized), is for that reason more dangerous and apt to deceive the unwary. It is an alluring poison, consumed with avidity by many not deceived by open Socialism” (encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, May 15, 1931, National Catholic Welfare Conference, Washington, D.C., pgs. 19-20).
- (Ps. 41,8)
- Cf., For example, Engels, in The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (Civilizacao Brasileira, Rio de Janeiro, 3rd. ed., 1977, pp. 195-6):
“Therefore, the State has not existed eternally. There were societies that were organized without it, they had not the slightest notion of the State or its Power. Upon reaching a certain phase of economic development, that was necessarily tied to the division of society into classes, this division made the State a necessity. We are now rapidly approaching a problem of development of production in which the existence of these classes is not only no longer necessary but has even become an obstacle to production itself. Classes are going to disappear and in a way as inevitably, as they arose in the past. With the disappearance of classes, the State will inevitably disappear. Society, reorganizing production in a new form, on the basis of free association of equal producers, will ordain all the machinery of the State to the place which it necessarily corresponds: the museum of antiquities, next to the spinning wheel and the bronze axe.”
- Concerning the first Pan-Amazonian meeting on Indigenous Pastoral Policy convoked by CELAM’S (Latin America’s Conference of Bishops) Department of Missions and by the CNBB (National Conference of Brazilian Bishops), held in Manaus from June 20-25, 1977, Fr. Cesareo de Armellada, Capuchin and delegate to the above mentioned meeting, expressed himself as follows:
“In the reports of certain missionaries, some native peoples appear adorned with all kinds of virtue and capable of provoking the envy of the angels. It is clear that, with this presupposition, we cannot carry out any other role than that of serpents in paradise. One of the bishops said to me: ‘I would like to be chosen as a Visitor in their paradise, which unfortunately I found nowhere else, though I have been in many places’” (La Religion, Caracas, 7-7-77).
- For a more profound comparison of this study with structuralist thinking – which today embraces ethnologists, psychoanalysts, Marxologists, semiologists, philosophers, linguists, epistemologists, etc. – the works of Levi-Strauss are especially interesting. Levi-Strauss is considered the founder of “structural anthropology” which distinguishes itself from the ethnology taught until recently by minimizing and even denying evolution.
Levi-Strauss was in Brazil in 1935, where he was the first Regent of the Chair of Sociology of the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences, and Letters o the University of São Paulo. He directed several scientific expeditions in Mato Grosso and the Southern Amazon. He taught in New York; he was cultural advisor to the French embassy in the United States, a duty from which he resigned in 1957 in order to dedicate himself to scientific studies in the “Museum of Man” and in the “School of Advanced Studies.”
His main works are: La Pensée Sauvage: Les Structures Elementaires de la Parenti; Le Totemisme Aujourdhui; Le Cru et le Cruit; Antbropologie Structural.
Other structuralist authors and their respective works: Michel Foucault, Les Mots et les Choses; Histoire de la Folie à L’Age Classique; L’Archeologie du Savoir; Algirdas Julien Greimas, Du Sens – Essaies Simiotiques; Semantique Structurale; Louis Hjelmsler, Prolegomenes a une Tbeorie du Language; Louis Althusser, Du Capital a la Philosophie de Marx; L’Object du Capital; Jacques Derrida, Nature, Culture, Ecriture, Julia Kristeva, La Semiologie – Theorie d’ensemble; Bernard Pottier, Presentation de la Linguistique; Jacques Lacan, Ecrits.
- Cf. Our study A Igreja ante a Escalada da Ameaca Comunista? Apelo aos Bispos Silenciosos, Vera Cruz, Sao Paulo, 4th ed., 1977, p. 22.
- Cf. O São Paulo, the semi-official newspaper of the São Paulo Archdiocese, January 10-16, 1976 – See also the same information in the paper Alvorada, of the Prelacy of Sao Felix do Araguaia, November, 1975.
- Cf. Part III, text nos. 36–38.
- The emphasis in bold is ours.
- The concept of class in current usage does not seem to coincide precisely with that of communist language. Thus, the struggle white man vs. Indian is a struggle of classes for the communists. In current language, such struggle would assume this character accidentally but it would essentially be a racist struggle.
- Discourse of July 2, 1951, to the International Congress on the Problems of Rural Life – Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, Vol. XIII, pp. 199-200).
- Vicente Cardinal Scherer, Archbishop of Porto Alegre, showed his disagreement with this position of neomissiology. His Eminence said: “One notices a tendency to restrict the action of missionaries to the defense of the Indians … putting aside with some disdain the primary essential goal of illuminating their intelligence with the light of the Gospel and leading them to integrate themselves with the community of Faith? (Cf. Correio do Povo, 10/25/1977).
- The unjust position taken by Fr. Hoornaert against the traditional missionaries was also censured by Fr. Sellitti. (Cf. O Lutador, Belo Horizonte, 9/4/1977).
- The subversive character of neomissiology was denounced by Fr. Jose Vicente Cesar, President of the Institute “Anthropos do Brasil” who declared that it disagreed with the new orientation of CIMI “aimed at using the Indian to dispute the political and socio-economic system of Brazil.” (Cf. O Globo, 1/25/77).