I referred recently to the difficulty of fully uprooting the weed of anti-Semitism from the Catholic Church, despite the heroic efforts of modern popes (Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, and Benedict XVI).
Consider Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras: papabile, (considered possible pope material), indeed a leading contender as John Paul II’s successor, and one of eight cardinals chosen by the current pope to reform the church.
I described him earlier as a Liberation (i.e. Marxist) Theologian. Let me demonstrate, from his speech on October 25 (read it all here):
He rails against “the neoliberal dictatorships that rule democracies” and advises that “to change the system, it would be necessary to destroy the power of the new feudal lords.”
He excoriates “the Eurocentric democracies” who “are taking everything from them: life, culture, dignity, and freedom.”
He denounces “a world dictatorship of finance capital” and “the small transcontinental oligarchies that hold the financial capital dominate the planet.” He thunders that “The lords of financial capital wield over billions of human beings a power of life and death.”
This “Liberation Theology” is actually just a pious-sounding rehash of Marxist Leninism, treating persons only as classes and political revolution as the only remedy. It had its day in the 60′s and 70′s, before being delegitimized by John Paul II (who knew a few things about the proponents of class war). But, as Eric Voegelin said,
“There will be a latent Communist danger under the most favorable external circumstances as long as the public debate in Western societies is dominated by the gnostic [ideological] clichés.”
As for antisemitism? Well, in a 2002 interview the Cardinal ruminated as follows:
“It certainly makes me think that in a moment in which all the attention of the mass media was focused on the Middle East, all the many injustices done against the Palestinian people, the print media and the TV in the United States became obsessed with sexual scandals that happened 40 years ago, 30 years ago. Why? I think it’s also for these motives: What is the church that has received Arafat the most times and has most often confirmed the necessity of the creation of a Palestinian state? What is the church that does not accept that Jerusalem should be the indivisible capital of the State of Israel, but that it should be the capital of the three great monotheistic religions?”
This Jewish Conspiracy diatribe is as unhinged as such things tend to be. Jewish control of the US media, Jewish media’s supposed campaign for Israel, etc. Almost the only element of reality is Rome’s close embrace of Arafat.
This is Jew-hatred and scapegoating, pure and simple.
(It should be noted that these views are a consistent part of the thinking all too common throughout the extreme political Left, including the Liberation Theologians.)
While Maradiaga later apologized for these remarks when challenged by Jewish groups, one must still wonder. Why no public rebuke from Rome? Why no repudiation of such views?
We are of course dealing with two distinct lines of thought in Maradiaga. Not all anti-Semites are also Marxists, nor vice versa. But historically, all too many who have spoken of “world dictatorships of finance capital” had Jews in mind. And those who think Jews control the media (and use it to support Israel!) have generally been open to even unlikelier conspiracy theories involving “the Elders of Zion”.
So Marxist Liberation Theology appears to be establishing itself in the Vatican. And its all-too-frequent companion, Jew hatred? We must wait and see.
I am worried. Not as a Catholic, for I am not one, but as one who recognizes the invaluable role the Church is playing in the defense of so much of value that is now under attack.