Towards the end of the Cold War, Latin America became the battleground between two visions of society and the economy: the Western one, based on private property, free initiative, and free market, and the statist, centralizing, and socialist, represented by the Soviet model with its Cuban offshoot in the American hemisphere.
The spectacular fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union revealed to the eyes of world public opinion the immense socio-economic misery that communism had generated. Re-proposing a socialist economy to the international community seemed such a quixotic exercise that an excessively optimistic American political scientist, Francis Fukuyama, went so far as to assert that “history was over,” suggesting that we would be living peacefully with the Western model up to Armageddon, if only because the alternative model would no longer dare to raise its head after such a humiliation in the eyes of sensible people all over the world.
However, that is not what happened, and we can say that the latest Synod clearly shows it. To delve deeper into the subject, we strongly recommend reading the article by Edward Pentin, the well-known Vaticanist of the National Catholic Register (link), titled “The Political Pan-Amazon Synod,” which quotes authoritative personalities on the rebirth of Liberation Theology promoted by the Synod.
Let us say a couple of introductory words to reading this article. The Synod’s Final Document, paragraph No. 36, brings back to life a reality greatly lacking popular consensus in Latin America today: the Basic Christian Communities (BCCs). These organizations often serve as political arms of Liberation Theology, tasked with overcoming the huge opposition to the expansion of socialism-communism in South America precisely because of the Catholic faith of its population. Moreover, the same Final Document suggests that the BCCs are decaying everywhere.
Until 1989, what were liberation theologians and their alter ego, the BCCs, tasked with implementing? They had to try to convince an immense majority of Catholic believers that they could ignore Marxist atheism at least provisionally, and should see Marxist and neo-Marxist doctrine as fulfilling Catholic social doctrine’s desire for justice, and even as a moral imperative to implement for the sake of the poor.
Back in 1990, when the wall’s collapse was still resounding, the main leaders of the Latin American left, especially Fidel Castro and Lula da Silva, gathered in São Paulo to relaunch the “socialist” struggle against oppression, the obsessive theme of Liberation Theology. Only this time they had the foresight to add to economic claims a vast range of people supposedly “oppressed”: women oppressed by men, homosexuals and transgender people oppressed by the natural family and the current culture, aborigines of the American continent oppressed by the European “occupation,” and even the impersonal entity of “mother earth,” oppressed by an economic model which recent documents, even those of the Synod, have qualified as ecocidal.
The 1990 meeting, which became known as the São Paulo Forum – more recently also called the Puebla Group – sought to organize a vast network all malcontents with these various “oppressions” to cast them against the socio-economic system of the West – something absolutely not foreseen by the trusting Francis Fukuyama and, moreover, which occurred right in the US “backyard.”
This enormous alliance of leftist forces gathered in the São Paulo Forum, or Puebla Group, includes a wide spectrum ranging from classical communist parties and the cruel Colombian FARC guerrillas to leaders of the subcontinent’s so-called “Catholic Left” such as Lula da Silva. Lula is the BCCs’ most famous fruit, raised under the patronage of the Pan Amazon Synod’s general rapporteur, Card. Claudio Hummes. The São Paulo Forum, or Puebla Group, has been repeatedly referred to as one of the leading organizations behind the violent disturbances of the last few weeks in various Latin American cities against the “ecocidal economic model.” And as soon as he was released from prison a few days ago, Lula da Silva promised to make Brazil tread the same path as Chile, which has seen deaths and extensive material damage due to outbreaks of demonstrations and looting still not completely extinguished.
We of the Pan Amazon Synod Watch have always said that this Synod would be like a “cluster bomb,” that is, a single large bomb that carries numerous bombs in its belly, which strike seemingly different targets, albeit united in their aim to deconstruct both the Church and Western civilization. Hence the importance of Edward Pentin’s article dealing with the political side of the Synod, and therefore its effects in the temporal sphere.
By now a lot has been written, and rightly so: Against the introduction of paganism in the Church, starting with the episodes that involved the infamous Pachamama; on the possibility of introducing such elements into the hoped-for “Amazonian rite;” on the proposal to administer the sacrament of Holy Orders to women and viri probati; on a new morality that neglects the increasingly urgent topic of the family, besieged by the sexual revolution, to concentrate instead on presumed ecological sins, etc. It was time that someone also dealt with the Synod’s Khomeinian-like political drift, which makes it increasingly difficult to distinguish between the mission of the spiritual authority and the sphere of competence of the temporal authority.