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

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November 30, 1977 | Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

PART III “Aggiornate” Missionary Voices

Section X

Struggle Against the Whites

Mons Pedro Casaldáliga

Rural agitation – real class struggle – is not all that is threatening to arise from the Indian question manipulated by missionary agitators.

Behold, the latter also create strife between the Indians and the whites by presenting the whites – with unjust and wrong generalization – as plunderers, guilty of genocide, etc.

39. Christian Whites Came to Dominate, Despise, Plunder, and Degrade the Indian

Eucharistic celebration (Mass) of the 3rd day of the 9th National Eucharistic Congress (in Manaus):

Speaker: How is it that we ignore our elder brother, Brazilian before Brazil was baptized, owner of these lands and jungles before the arrival of him who calls himself ‘brother and Christian’ but who chose to give him a strange name: INDIAN… in order to dominate him, despise him, degrade him like a non-person or a half-person, an inferior race, ‘primitive,’ savage? …

Commentator: And we treat him so, snatching his land and culture from him, imposing our defective and vicious culture on him … slaughtering him without compassion or pity, through the ages…

Speaker: Let us not bide ourselves like Cain, let us not justify ourselves like the condemned at the Last Judgment …we cannot ignore … become disinterested … (Doc. 29, p. 63)

40. Anchieta, a Colonialist Agent?

Interview of Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga with the paper De Fato:

Bishop Pedro: … to a certain extent, Anchieta was a transmitter of a colonizing Gospel. The Church should do penance … it is evident that the discovery of America was in many aspects a colonialist crime. Further, it is clear that evangelization has been excessively tied to a culture and thereby to a dominion. Lately, in the most conscious sectors of the Church – and I would like to single out here in Brazil CIMI (Indian Missionary Council) – one can observe a passionate desire to re-do what was done and to find a new line of evangelizing, respecting to the utmost the culture of the people in question. The Faith is not a culture, it fits into all cultures. The Faith also is not properly a religion, but it can be expressed in a religious way.

. . . In fact, all those colonialist countries had from jurists, military strategists and frequently from theologians of that period – a group of advisors which became a kind of CIA, that is true. (Doc. 30. p. 6).

Commentary
As in previous texts (nos. 20, 28, and 30) here reappears, in a false historical presentation, antipathy for Anchieta.

41. Our Lady of Victories, No; Our Lady of Misfortune

From the same interview with Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga:

Bishop Pedro: … gathered in Vitória, in an assembly of that church which is born of the people, we celebrated [sic] one night the deaths of Fr. Rodolfo and the Bororo Indian Simão, which took place in Meruri [State of Mato Grosso].

De Fato: What were they victims of?

Bishop Pedro: Victims of the farmers and regional politics and, shall we say, national politics, which has crushed the Indian for many centuries – as colonial politics once did, etc. In this celebration, which was essentially penitential, we all did penance in a very personal way. It was then remembered that the city of Vitória is named ‘Vitória’ because of the thousands of Indians that were killed. And the original name of Vitória was: Our Lady of Victories. A backlander from Minas Gerais, however, who presently lives in Goiás, spent the night without sleeping, greatly impressed by this celebration. He wrote a marvelous letter to the Bororo Indians of Meruri, which will probably appear in some CIMI publication. He said that ‘that was not Our Lady of Victories but rather Our Lady of Misfortunes.’ That farmer’s expression would abundantly symbolize the present attitude of the Church. We realized a little later that there was a fatal mistake, that there was collaboration with colonialism. Based on anthropology, on history, and on the faith itself, we see that, in many aspects, evangelization was misguided. (Doc. 30, p. 7)

42. The Indian: A Living Contestation of Capitalism and Christian Civilization

From the document Y – Juca – Pirama – O Índio: Aquele Que Deve Morrer, signed by bishops and missionaries:

What would Brazil be if it really counted with the Indian? It is quite possible that many Brazilian authorities with a capitalist and imperialist mentality might shudder at this question. This shows that, consciously or unconsciously, they support the extinction of these populations who constitute,through their positive values, a living contestation of the capitalist system as well as those alleged ‘values’ of so-called Christian civilization. (Doc. 9, p. 20)

43. The Missionaries See in the Indians a Prophetic Sign to Put Into Question the Church and Society

Communiqué of the Southern Region of CIMI:

The Indians here in the South, after years of extermination and exploitation, reduced to a handful, are becoming conscious of their situation as a people and have begun the war of liberation. And for us, this is a prophetic sign, helping us to put into question a whole structure of Church and Society and demanding a radical transformation. (Doc. 31, P. 3)

Commentary
“…helping us to question a whole structure of Church and society.” Everything leads one to believe that “us” in the plural means all “updated” missiologists involved in “questioning” the structure of Church and State; “…a whole structure…” shows that as the Southern Region of CIMI sees it, the structure of Church and society are seen as a unity. It is not that the text contains a denial of the distinction between the spiritual and temporal spheres. Still, there is almost an implicit affirmation that by analogy these structures form a unity in the opinion of the Southern Region of CIMI.

What is this analogy? For someone who puts himself in the perspective of neomissiology – someone enthusiastic about the horizontal structure of the rudimentary Indian settlements without hierarchy, the answer is easy. What CIMI’s Southern Region wants to put into question is the hierarchical character of both the ecclesiastical structure and the current socio-economic structure, based on private property.

The conclusion is not surprising. Progressivism and leftism are ferments working in the depths of the current missiology. And a characteristic common to both ferments – there are others – is egalitarianism. It is not surprising, therefore, that their action is expressed in a simultaneous “questioning” of spiritual and temporal hierarchy.

This is why one can say that “Catholic leftism” is the sociology of the progressivists. And progressivism is the theology of the “leftist Catholics.”

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