Our opinion of the celebrated revolutionary and incompetent guerilla, which can honestly be described as snake’s-bearing-surface-low, has been reported in these pages before. We’re not sure if we’ve recounted our experiences with one of the strange deformities around the periphery of the weird and wonderful herd of cats that is the Catholic Church, “Liberation Theology.” Basically, it was an attempt in the 1970s and 80s to create a synthesis between the Church’s call to minister to the poor, and the violent communism of the Cold War and its Cuban and Nicaraguan outposts.
Here’s National Review Online’s Michael Potemra (who, unlike us, is a Catholic and writes often on Catholic issues) on Liberation Theology’s reanimation at the hands of a gang of British frankenstains:
To live in the developed world in the 21st century, it really helps to be culturally multilingual — in other words, to have a sympathetic understanding of dramatically different worldviews. Consider this lead sentence, from an editorial in the British Catholic magazine The Tablet praising the resurgence of “liberation theology” in today’s Vatican:
Liberation theology has always had an aura of slightly edgy glamour, the equivalent in words to images of Che Guevara on posters.
Now, in my own worldview, an image of Che Guevara does not have “an aura of slightly edgy glamour”; it is a picture of a murderer and a thug. But the reason I don’t get terribly upset when I see someone wearing a Che T-shirt is that I understand that “a slightly edgy glamour” is almost certainly all the person wearing the T-shirt intends to convey. More specifically, the person is sending two messages: 1) I think of myself as a politically aware person who sympathizes with los pobres de la tierra but 2) I am actually ignorant of the real-life atrocities of the man whose image I am bearing.
If Mike doesn’t think Che is glamorous, he just isn’t looking at the right picture. This post is illustrated with one of our favorites. This is the would-be teacher of guerillas as we like to remember him, a failure who abandoned his friends to beg — futilely — for his miserable life. And who went down to a burst of M2 Carbine fire. ¡Àdiós, muchacho! We’ll see you in Hell.
Communism and Catholicism were always a bad fit. For one thing, Communism is explicitly materialistic and atheistic, which probably describes some priests, bishops and historical Popes, but doesn’t really jibe with the doctrine of the Church. While some priests have done reprehensible things to some small boys, the essential art of Communism is the molestation and abuse of entire nations and continents.
We have a particular beef with liberation theology, in that it tends to manifest as Maryknoll Missionaries welcoming caches of mortar rounds into their churches for the FMLN (as they did) and hiding assassination teams from the British South Africa Police in Rhodesia (as they did). We won one small victory over the liberation theology Maryknolls when we persuaded an old lady relative to change a bequest.
We straightened her out on what the Maryknolls actually practiced. When she passed away, her fortune went to a group spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, not Nikolai Lenin.
The Maryknolls got us back, though. Their pals killed our SF school contemporary Greg Fronius with mortar rounds lovingly stockpiled by those same “missionaries.” “Hoc signo” ain’t supposed to be a hammer and sickle, but for them, it is.