FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Pope Ratzinger’s War on Social Justice

by KEN KLIPPENSTEIN

Matthew Fox is an ex-priest who was famously silenced and later expelled by Pope Benedict XVI for his progressive politics. He is the author of the book The Pope’s Warwhich details Pope Ratzinger’s reactionary politics and otherwise scandalous tenure.

Ken Klippenstein: What was Bergoglio’s time in Argentina like?

Matthew Fox: His record in relation to the military junta is terrible. There’s no evidence that he stood up to them at all. There’s some evidence that two of his priests were tortured and killed by the military junta. People in Argentina say that he turned them in. I don’t know if that’s true, but they are very critical of him.

One of the peculiar things about his background is that in his late 60s, he went to Germany and got a doctorate. That’s unusual for a Cardinal. I think part of that trip was that he got more and more in touch with the German wing of the Catholic Church, the very extreme right-wing. The right-wing that gave us Ratzinger [Pope Benedict XVI]. I think that they were preparing him for this job. He got marinated in the right-wing German version of church.

His autobiographer said that this man is not a third-world person; he’s not a third world priest. I think that’s a really important statement. The thought is that he’s representing the third world, but the truth is that he is typical of the Bishops and Cardinals that they’ve been appointing for 42 years in South America. Opus Dei and Communion Liberation are about obeying the Pope and nothing else.

KK: You’ve described the Catholic hierarchy and the CIA as having a joint role in opposing Liberation Theology, a Latin American spiritual movement emphasizing social justice. Could you elaborate on this?

MF: Two months after Reagan was sworn in, there was a meeting of the National Security Council in Santa Fe to discuss one question: how can we destroy Liberation in Latin America? They said, ‘We can’t destroy it, but we can split the church.’ So they went after the Pope with the head of the CIA, William Casey (who was a very far right-wing Catholic, probably an Opus Dei), made 29 trips to the Vatican with satchels full of cash to give to the Pope in exchange for his going after liberation theology in Latin America. It’s a story I tell in depth in my book, The Pope’s War.

They’ve replaced Liberation Theology bishops and cardinals with Opus Dei and Communion Liberation bishops and cardinals, including this new Pope—he is Communion Liberation. I write about them in my book, too. They are a neo-fascist cult (which the last two Popes fully endorsed) The-Popes-Warout of Italy. They’re all about obedience, obedience, obedience. Nothing else. That’s their theology: just obey the Pope.

I hope this new Pope can break out of it, but that is his tribe. He turned his back on Liberation Theology-based communities, refused to support them, and instead linked up with Communion Liberation, which is very scary.

KK: Has the war on Liberation Theology been waged right up until the present?

MF: Yes.

KK: What is the political significance of Liberation Theology?

MF: It grew out of the values and teachings of Vatican II, which said that the church is the people, not the hierarchy. It especially involves a preferential option for the poor.

The Vatican with the complicity of the CIA and the American Government set out to destroy this movement. In many ways they’ve done it. The spin that the CIA put on Liberation Theology is that’s it’s Marxist, so we’re fighting Marxism. That lie told by the CIA over and over again, took root in many people’s minds in the North American media because it serves the agendas of capitalist media and other corporations.

KK: So would you characterize the U.S. military’s crackdown on Liberation Theology as an extension of the Red Scare?

MF: Definitely. They didn’t want another Cuba in Nicaragua, Argentina, etc. So it became an excuse to do anything. The U.S. stationed ships outside the coast of Brazil defending its dictator. And then of course you have Chile, where Allande, a democratically elected president, was overthrown by the CIA; and a dictator, Pinochet, took over. The Pope John Paul II picked personally for his Secretary of State (the number two job in the Vatican) the Ambassador to Chile, Angelo Sodano, who was very close to Pinochet. Pinochet gave Sodano a special award he was so pleased with him. This guy ran the Vatican for 26 years.

KK: Why won’t the Catholic Church tolerate Liberation Theology?

MF: A lot of it comes from right-wing German Bishops and financiers. They were very worried about South America going Communist, which fits in perfectly with the narrative of Reagan’s State Department. Also, the German church is the most dominant church in Catholicism because they give the most money to Rome. In Germany, taxes subsidize the Catholic Church whether you’re a part of it or not.

So you have the CIA and right-wing Germany wanting to kill Liberation Theology. There are geopolitical forces at work here, and of course economic forces: capitalism did not want to be rivaled by socialism or any alternative. A good example would be Chávez. In the American press you can hardly find what he accomplished. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but he did a lot for the poor in Venezuela.

KK: Would you say that Liberation Theology contradicts the tenets of capitalism?

MF: Yes, definitely. Aristocrats and oligarchs can run a whole country [with capitalism], so that’s why Liberation Theology is dangerous.

KK: What was the Vatican’s involvement in the U.S.’ dirty wars in Central America?

MF: There were a number of Bishops who colluded with the government and the military, just as a number of Bishops did so under the Nazis.

Ken Klippenstein lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where he edits the left issues website, whiterosereader.org. He can be reached at reader246@gmail.com

Ken Klippenstein is an American journalist who can be reached on Twitter @kenklippenstein or by email: kenneth.klippenstein@gmail.com

February 09, 2016
Brian Foley
Interview With a Bernie Broad: We Need to Start Focusing on Positions and Stop Relying on Sexism
February 08, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Privatization: the Atlanticist Tactic to Attack Russia
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital
John V. Walsh
Did Hillary’s Machine Rig Iowa? The Highly Improbable Iowa Coin Tosses
Vincent Emanuele
The Curse and Failure of Identity Politics
Eliza A. Webb
Hillary Clinton’s Populist Charade
Uri Avnery
Optimism of the Will
Roy Eidelson Trudy Bond, Stephen Soldz, Steven Reisner, Jean Maria Arrigo, Brad Olson, and Bryant Welch
Preserve Do-No-Harm for Military Psychologists: Coalition Responds to Department of Defense Letter to the APA
Patrick Cockburn
Oil Prices and ISIS Ruin Kurdish Dreams of Riches
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, the UN and Meanings of Arbitrary Detention
Shamus Cooke
The Labor Movement’s Pearl Harbor Moment
W. T. Whitney
Cuba, War and Ana Belen Montes
Jim Goodman
Congress Must Kill the Trans Pacific Partnership
Peter White
Meeting John Ross
Colin Todhunter
Organic Agriculture, Capitalism and the Parallel World of the Pro-GMO Evangelist
Ralph Nader
They’re Just Not Answering!
Cesar Chelala
Beware of the Harm on Eyes Digital Devices Can Cause
Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
Leonard Peltier
My 40 Years in Prison
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Enrique C. Ochoa
Super Bowl 50: American Inequality on Display
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail