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Indian Tribalism: The Communist-Missionary Ideal for Brazil in the Twenty-First Century (IX)

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PART III  “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.[1]

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.

  1. “The Indians Already Live the Beatitudes. They Do Not Know
    of Private Property, Profit, Competition”

Conclusions of the First Nation Assembly on Native Ministry:

“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).

Commentary
“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?

  1. 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).

Commentary

A communist would not affirm differently:

  1. 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;
  2. 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”;
  3. c)The inclusion of the Indians in a category of “minors” is in conformity with capitalism’s blackest intents.
  4. Disparagement of One’s Country and Eulogy of Tribal Collectivism
    Homily of Msgr. Tomás Balduíno, Bishop of Goiás and President of CIMI:

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).

Commentary
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.

  1. A “New Church” of Communist Inspiration,
    Where Property Is Heresy and the Proprietor Is a Heretic.
    Here follows the communiquéPovo de Deus no Sertão(The People of God in the Backlands) distributed on the occasion of the inauguration of the Cathedral of São Félix do Araguaia, of which Msgr. Pedro Casaldáliga is the Bishop:

“We are a Private Church, with our own style and already with a little history. We are the Prelacy of São Félix.

“[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).

Commentary
This is a “New Church” shaped by communist inspiration its struggle is for one class only[2] 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.”[3]

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.

  1. Private Property Presented as the Source of All Evils
    Here follows an except from the História do Trabalhador Brasileiro(History of the Brazilian Worker), printed in the bulletin Grito no Nordeste and prepared by the group “Animação dos Cristãos 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).

Commentary
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).

  1. The Communist View of Charity
    A little story entitled “Satoko – Maria da Aldeia das Formigas” – published in the missionary magazine Sem Fronteiras:

“‘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).

Commentary
Presupposing that one may legitimately possess more than another, charity contradicts equality and infringes upon justice: A characteristically communist thesis.

 

[1] The emphasis in bold is ours.

[2] 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.

 

[3] Discourse of July 2, 1951, to the International Congress on the Problems of Rural Life – Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, Vol. XIII, pp. 199-200).

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