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The Communist-Missionary Ideal for Brazil in the Twenty-First Century (VIII)

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November 30, 1977 | Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

PART II

The “Aggiornata”¹ and Progressive Conception of the Missions

The end is to retrocede, taking the aborigine as a model. In order to retrocede, destroy. To destroy: defame, divide and make war.

11. Catechesis and Agitation

a) Should We Waste Time Studying These Irrational Daydreams?

Is it really worth the effort to set forth, in such details, the daydreams of these insane missionaries? Doubtless they can be harmful to the Indians with whom they work, and they will certainly cause problems in this field. But in an historical framework so laden with problems of a greater magnitude, is it worthwhile to waste time on the solution of this question which, in one way or another, the victorious entrance of civilization will resolve?

These are objections which could be made to this study.

 [1] “Aggiornata” (“Aggiornate”) – Italian word meaning “up-to-date.”

 

b) Absurdities That Wither and Absurdities That Thrive

The responsibility that Brazilians have towards their Indian brother is sufficient to justify the time and attention necessary to read this brief study.

In reality, however, behind what could be called the neomissionary question, a much greater question emerges. The ideas that the authors of the texts submitted in Part III – Brazilian missionaries and foreigners who work here – raise up as a rule of conduct and life for themselves and the tribes they “evangelize” are doubtlessly absurd. From this, however, one cannot deduce that these ideas are fated to die without a history.

The neomissionary absurdity can easily be one of them as it has marked affinities – at least in general lines – with a current of thought, such as structuralism, that has profound socioeconmic repercussions.[i]

His main works are: La Pensée Sauvage: Les Structures Elementaires de la Parenti; Le Totemisme Aujourdhui; Le Cru et le Cruit; Antbropologie Structural.

Other structuralist authors and their respective works: Michel Foucault, Les Mots et les Choses; Histoire de la Folie à L’Age Classique; L’Archeologie du Savoir; Algirdas Julien Greimas, Du Sens – Essaies Simiotiques; Semantique Structurale; Louis Hjelmsler, Prolegomenes a une Theorie du Language; Louis Althusser, Du Capital a la Philosophie de Marx; L’Object du Capital; Jacques Derrida, Nature, Culture, Ecriture, Julia Kristeva, La Semiologie – Theorie d’ensemble; Bernard Pottier, Presentation de la Linguistique; Jacques Lacan, Ecrits.

Mons Pedro Casaldáliga
Mons Pedro Casaldáliga

c) A Bishop Declares Himself Transcommunist

Within our own boundaries, one Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga, of São Felix do Araguaia, declares himself ideologically positioned beyond communism.[ii] To what extent does he – so celebrated and supported by the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB) and the upper ranks of the episcopate – affirm his agreement with these deliriums? This is a question we could ask.

d) How Could This Philosophy Steal Into the Church?

The greatest problem caused by these deliriums is not in the missionaries themselves, I repeat, nor in the Indians. The problem is knowing how this philosophy managed to steal into the Holy Catholic Church with impunity, intoxicating seminaries, deforming missionaries, inverting the very nature of the missions. All of this has been done with such weighty ecclesiastical support that removing the Bishop who declares himself “beyond Communism,” though it be indispensable, is proving to be more difficult than lifting the siege of Troy. As Pope Paul VI is reported to have said to Cardinal Arns, “To meddle with Bishop Pedro Casaldaliga would be to meddle with the Pope himself.”[iii]

This eruption of what may be adequately called Missionary Communo-Structuralism indicates the existence of a considerable infiltration in the Catholic structure of Brazil.

How does one explain the existence and the influence of this infiltration in the Church? This is a great and difficult question.

Paul VI

e) The Church and the Country Imperiled

Above all, it is not a matter concerning merely Indians and missionaries.

It is a matter concerning the Church and Brazil.

The question is: To what extreme may both of them be dragged if Communo-structuralist infiltration continues unchecked and highly esteemed in Catholic circles?

Indeed, this cancer becoming manifest in the missionary sector of the Church would be sufficient to justify or even oblige another question: will this cancer prove to be nothing less than the transfer of another tumor lodged in more decisive points within the non-missionary organisms of Holy Church?

For decades, throughout the whole country, impulses have been observed in different fields of Catholic activity that openly or covertly attempt to lead public opinion to a position increasingly more receptive of communist doctrine. These activities, from this point of view, afford communism inestimable support.

Regardless the labels, the leftist “basic reforms,” and particularly the socialist and confiscatory agrarian reform, are always advocated by the “Catholic left.”

Now, the “demented” missionaries which are treated here hold themselves part and parcel of this widespread national agitation.[iv]

A study of this parcel constitutes an indispensable aid for another much more important one: a study of this vast agitation itself.

 

[i] For a more profound comparison of this study with structuralist thinking – which today embraces ethnologists, psychoanalysts, Marxologists, semiologists, philosophers, linguists, epistemologists, etc. – the works of Levi-Strauss are especially interesting. Levi-Strauss is considered the founder of “structural anthropology” which distinguishes itself from the ethnology taught until recently by minimizing and even denying evolution.

Lévi-Strauss was in Brazil in 1935, where he was the first Regent of the Chair of Sociology of the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences, and Letters o the University of São Paulo. He directed several scientific expeditions in Mato Grosso and the Southern Amazon. He taught in New York; he was cultural advisor to the French embassy in the United States, a duty from which he resigned in 1957 in order to dedicate himself to scientific studies in the “Museum of Man” and in the “School of Advanced Studies.”

His main works are: La Pensée Sauvage: Les Structures Elementaires de la Parenti; Le Totemisme Aujourdhui; Le Cru et le Cruit; Antbropologie Structural.

Other structuralist authors and their respective works: Michel Foucault, Les Mots et les Choses; Histoire de la Folie à L’Age Classique; L’Archeologie du Savoir; Algirdas Julien Greimas, Du Sens – Essaies Simiotiques; Semantique Structurale; Louis Hjelmsler, Prolegomenes a une Theorie du Language; Louis Althusser, Du Capital a la Philosophie de Marx; L’Object du Capital; Jacques Derrida, Nature, Culture, Ecriture, Julia Kristeva, La Semiologie – Theorie d’ensemble; Bernard Pottier, Presentation de la Linguistique; Jacques Lacan, Ecrits.

[ii] Our study A Igreja ante a Escalada da Ameaça Comunista?Apelo aos Bispos Silenciosos, Vera Cruz, São Paulo, 4th ed., 1977, p. 22.

[iii] O São Paulo, the semi-official newspaper of the São Paulo Archdiocese, January 10-16, 1976 – See also the same information in the paper Alvorada, of the Prelacy of São Felix do Araguaia, November, 1975.

[iv] Part III, text nos. 36-38.

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