How Christ Met Marx in Brazil

    Karl Marx and the Catholic church in BrazilAlthough Brazil has a great number of religious denominations, about seventy-five percent of its population profess to be Roman Catholics. This makes of Brazil the largest Catholic nation in the world.

    Unfortunately, the history of Catholicism in this country has historically involved condemnation of liberal democracy as well as of entrepreneurs as ‘parasites’ enriching themselves at the expense of the poor.

    Regardless of current change in terms of ideological outlook, many Catholics of this country still retain the old distrust of individual liberty.

    In colonial times, the usually corrupt and lax of morals Roman Catholic clergy enthusiastically supported the domination of sugar-planters. Priests were not only their main political allies, but also strong adherents of the slavery system as well.

    This adherence was not only expressed by means of theological justification for slavery (they argued that Afro-Brazilians did not have human soul), as the Church itself was directly involved in the economic exploitation of its vast properties through the institution of slavery. In fact, the Catholic Church was the largest landholder and slave-owner back to those times.

    After Brazil’s independence from Portugal, in 1822, the Catholic Church would be subject to direct control of the Brazilian Imperial government. There was much flaunting of independence from Rome.

    The Vatican’s desire for direct line of authority to the Brazilian church was seen, not only by the government but also by most churchmen, as unduly interference by the Holy See in the affairs of the state.

    When the Republic was proclaimed, in 1889, the Catholic Church was finally separated from the state and assured with a range of religious freedoms from political interference.

    Ironically, Catholic radicals are now associated with radical political movements, for this Church has now acquired in Brazil a profoundly socialistic orientation.

    For the elimination of ‘evils’ and ‘social contradictions’ that they see only in capitalism, many priests are entirely convinced that the current democratic system needs to be replaced by another constitutional structure that would allow the state to intervene in every aspect of our individual, social, political, and economic lives. The ideology to guide the functioning of this structure is based on Marxism, which is naturally far removed from authentic Christianity.

    In Brazil, many Catholic theologians have advocated the totally false premise that personal freedom might be achieved through revolutionary socialism. The enormous quantity of revolutionary literature on liberation theology in this country clearly indicates the growing discussion of violence and revolution as class struggle analysis involving the glorification of the poor and vilification of the rich.

    Since these theologians identify religiosity with class struggle, and the ‘poor’ with ‘revolutionary proletariat’, their basic struggle is therefore for the replacement of the current democratic legal order by violent means. Many priests in Brazil like to lament poverty but are eager to promote the economically destructive idea that owning property is sinful.

    Influential members of the Catholic Church in Brazil have recently lobbied at the Vatican for the “important work that the base communities inspired by liberation theology are carrying out in the country”.

    When the Pope John Paul II called friar Leornado Boff to explain his quite bizarre concept of an “ecclesiastical division of labour” in which the hierarchy of the church would engage itself in “the expropriation of the means of religious production from the Christian people”, two Brazilian cardinals supported him during the interrogation.

    In 1987, the same Boff declared that communist regimes like the Soviet Union offered “the objective possibility of living more easily in the spirit of the Gospels and of observing the Commandments”.

    Although the penetration of Marxist ideas in the Catholic Church might be justified on account of socio-economic exploitation, such Catholic priests are utterly blind to postulate the exchange of one kind of exploitation for another that is one thousand times worse.

    According to Stephane Courtois, the editor of a fundamental book called Le Livre Noir du Communisme (“The Black Book of Communism”), at least 100 million people were killed by Marxist regimes only in the last century.

    Therefore, disciples of Marx like Brazilian Catholic priests have been far more efficient at the ‘art’ of killing innocent people than at promoting any form of social justice.

    From the standpoint of Realpolitik it is not a mistake to affirm that the class genocide promoted by Marxist regimes may be easily compared to Nazism’s race genocide.

    And probably for this and several other reasons Adolf Hitler once declared at a famous speech in Munich that “basically National Socialism and Marxism are the same”.

    Recently, the Brazilian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CNBB) published a document which declares the Marxist-oriented liberation theology as not only timely but also “useful and consistent with the Gospel”.

    If so, we might suggest that such ‘gospel’ is called ‘Das Kapital’ and has been written according to Karl Marx. For the role played by these Catholic priests and theologians very much resembles that of Father Gapon at the beginning of the Soviet Revolution.

    In a few words, what these priests are doing is to gradually turn the religiosity of ignorant people away from real Christianity, as a Marxist strategy for the ultimate destruction in this country not only of the Catholic faith but also of democracy and the rule of law.

    In a society which is overwhelming Catholic, both in culture and ‘spirit’, such infiltration in the Church constitutes a much serious menace for the already uncertain future of democracy in Brazil.

    Augusto Zimmermann is a Brazilian Law Professor and PhD candidate for Monash University – Faculty of Law, in Australia. The topic of his research is the (un)rule of law and legal culture in Brazil. He holds a LL.B and a LL.M (Hons.) from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, and is a former Law Professor at the NPPG (Research and Post-graduation Law Department) of Bennett Methodist University, and Estácio de Sá University, in Rio de Janeiro. His email address is: augustozimmermann@hotmail.com.

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