Jose Ureta begins chapter two with this statement:
“Catholic doctrine teaches that communism is ‘intrinsically wrong.’ However, Marxist movements and leftist regimes around the world see Pope Francis as a point of reference. Indeed, the current pontiff has shown himself very close to the claims of these groups and governments.”
When asked Francis always denies he is a communist, but on more than one occasion, he has said it was the communists who stole the flag of Christianity. In an interview with Eugenio Scalfari, avowed atheist and founder of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Francis was reported to have said the following:
“It has been said many times and my response has always been that, if anything, it is the communists who think like Christians. Christ spoke of a society where the poor, the weak and the marginalized have the right to decide. Not demagogues, not Barabbas, but the people, the poor, whether they have faith in a transcendent God or not. It is they who must help to achieve equality and freedom.”
Forgive me, Holy Father, but I can’t recall reading that anywhere in my New Testament. If you wonder whether the pope actually said that or if he was misquoted by the journalist, you should know, quoting footnote #79, “at an international meeting for journalists, Scalfari said that before publishing the interview he sent it to the pope and obtained approval for the publication from his secretary. This fact was never denied. Moreover, the controversial phrases were all published verbatim in L’Osservatore Romano, in the book Interviews and Conversations with Journalists, published by Liberia Editrice Vaticana, and on the Vatican website, where they were online for several months. Therefore, official and semi-official (in the case of L’Osservatore Romano) organs of the Holy See have given credence to its veracity.”
Francis believes that “inequality” is at the root of social ills. He longs for a society without social classes, where everyone is equal. Never mind the fact that isn’t how God made us. None of us has equal talents, we have our own talents. We have our own individual roles to play in society. Some are regarded as more significant than others, but as the author points out, some of the fingers on our hands are actually more important to us than others. Each of our organs has a specific job to do and must be appreciated for what it is. Where would my voice be if my lungs were not doing their job? We should remember that Satan was cast out of heaven because he longed for equality with God instead of accepting the role he was given. He refused to humble himself.
1 Peter 3:8-12 “Finally, all of you, be of one mind, sympathetic, loving toward one another, compassionate, humble. Do not return evil for evil, or insult for insult; but, on the contrary, a blessing, because to this you were called, that you might inherit a blessing. For: ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep the tongue from evil and the lips from speaking deceit, must turn from evil and do good, seek peace and follow after it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears turned to the prayer, but the face of the Lord is against evildoers.”
1 Peter 5:5-9 “Likewise, you younger members be subject to the presbyters. And all of you clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble.’ So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you. Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.”
The introduction to 1 Peter in my St. Joseph edition is noteworthy. It says,
“This Letter presents the Christian life as something simple and right, without any complicated rule of life but with the sense of love and loyalty. When they are threatened by persecution and when they live in a perspective of the end of the world, these Christians do no construct any new project for society. They accept the structures and conditions of life that form part of their world. However, in this real context, they want to bear witness to righteousness, loyalty, and the meaning of human duties.”
Pointing this out is a diversion from the book review, but I believe it is important to bear in mind what we can read and know is the Truth as we are surrounded by confusion.
In the 1980’s a movement arose that was condemned by the Vatican known as Liberation Theology. It never really went away and today it is alive and well under one or maybe more new names. One in particular that appeals to this pope is known as “Theology of the People.” Francis has honored the founder of this theology, Fr. Lucio Gera by interring his remains in the crypt of the cathedral in Buenos Aires.
According to Ureta, “The difference between this and other strains of this erroneous theology is that the driving force building the Kingdom is not left wing political groups or unions---generally secularists. Instead, the Argentine form of liberation theology has a Gramscian matrix and a third world, Peronist bias. It attributes the role of fomenting revolution to the Latin Americans in their struggle against Anglo-Saxon imperialism and considers the dynamism of their religious beliefs as the greatest potential element for advancing the revolution.
Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez, founder of Liberation Theology was invited to the Vatican six months after Francis’s election for a private audience at which he was given a handwritten preface authored by Francis, for his new book titled Poor for the Poor: The Mission of the Church.
In footnote #96 Ureta gives us this quote from Francis:
“In the 1980’s there was a tendency toward a Marxist analysis of reality, but later it was renamed ‘theology of the people.’ I do not really like the name, but that is how I got to know it. To go with the people of God and do the theology of culture. There is a thinker you should read: Rodolfo Kusch, a German who lived in northeastern Argentina, a very good philosopher and anthropologist. He made me understand one thing: The word ‘people’ is not a logical word. It is a mythical word. One cannot speak of people logically because it would only be a description. To understand a people, to understand the values of this people one must enter into the spirit, the heart, the work, the history and myth of their tradition.”
This reminds me sadly a lot of Rudolph Steiner, founder of the movement known as Anthroposophy (an-thro-pos’-o-fee), which has been condemned by the Church. Steiner was thrown out of Germany by Hitler who believed much the same thing but ONLY FOR GERMANS whereas, Steiner’s ideas were universal. Hitler it should be pointed out had a minister of ideological matters, named Alfred Rosenberg. Rosenberg’s masterwork is a book titled, The Myth of the Twentieth Century. It was condemned by the Church. (Read the book, The Devil’s Diary, Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen Secrets of the Third Reich by Robert Wittman and David Kinney) I refuse to read The Myth book because it contains the German plan to reinvent religion excluding Christianity and basing new beliefs on ancient German myths “of the people.” The Volk, if you will. This is why the whole flirtation with indigenous people and their "way of thinking" frankly frightens me.
Also in footnote #96 is this tidbit quoting Vatican analyst Sandro Magister who said, “Kusch took his inspiration from Heidegger’s philosophy to distinguish between ‘being’ and ‘dwelling’ describing with the first category the rationalistic and domineering vision of Western man and with the second the vision of the indigenous Latin American peoples, in peace with nature and animated by none other than a ‘myth.’”
It was news to me to read about the World Meetings of Popular Movements, which is apparently a common ground that brings together many organizations supporting “Francis’s call for the poor and organized peoples not to resign themselves but to be protagonists of change.” (Note to self: recall 1 Peter) These groups are part of international “social justice” ministry that has none other than the socialization of the means of production and the power given to the people as its primary agenda.
The first of these world meetings was held at the Vatican on October 7, 2014 and featured the president of Bolivia who is well known in the fields of social and indigenous movements. His mission is the struggle against capitalism. The second meeting was held in Bolivia in 2015. The third was also at the Vatican in 2016. Another was held in 2017 in Modesto, California. These people are dedicated to the ideals of Karl Marx and they have the blessing of the pope. Naturally, they talk a lot at these meetings and much of what they espouse hits the floor, but some of it gets through to publications and sinks in to the minds of people around the globe. Ureta says, “The World Meetings were sponsored by the now dissolved Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, as well as by the enormous Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, both presided over by Cardinal Peter Turkson.
Also troubling has been Francis’s “sympathy” for the Castro brothers and the leaders of Venezuela which is now a complete economic disaster. The poor there now can only wish they were just poor and not literally starving to death. But the worst alliance Francis could possibly have made was with the leaders in China and allowing them to select the bishops for that country instead of the Vatican. The Chinese communist rulers insist on a “Patriotic Church,” one whose bishops are loyal to China and not to Rome. Faithful men like Cardinal Zen feel the pope has sold them out in a willingness to appease the dictatorial regime.
(Chapter 3 tomorrow, titled: Promoting the Green Agenda, World Governance, and an Ambiguous ‘Mother Earth’ Mysticism. )