Tuesday night’s NBC News story, “America’s Hopes for a New Pope,” was typical of how the liberal media tried to force the Roman Catholic Church further to the left. The tone of the coverage was that the Catholic Church, in picking a new pope, had to make peace with “diversity”—liberals, feminists and homosexuals demanding state recognition of “gay marriage” in the United States.
With the selection of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, the liberals have lost out. He opposes abortion, euthanasia, and homosexuality. A Catholic insider tells me, “Looks like we might have ourselves a relatively conservative new pope. He appears to be opposed to liberation theology and doesn’t approach ‘social justice’ from the political end.” The latter means that while he is an advocate of helping the poor, he doesn’t believe this should be done through state socialist schemes.
Liberal and “progressive” websites are already attacking the first Latin American pope as someone who may have a “dark past” and be linked to the Argentine military during the “dirty war” against the communists. The accusations, which have now been picked up by the Associated Press, show the bitterness of the left, as their hopes were dashed of a “Red Pope.”
Mark Engler, a leftist writer, had promoted another candidate, Brazilian Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, as having “significant progressive bona fides” and noted that he was “a personal friend of former Brazilian president and Worker’s Party leader Lula da Silva.” The Worker’s Party is a Marxist political organization in Brazil and Lula was a personal friend of Fidel Castro as well. Critics say that Hummes “supported communist strikes” and allowed Lula “to make political speeches during his Masses.” In 1990, after the demise of the old Soviet Union, Lula facilitated the holding of a conference in São Paolo, Brazil, bringing together the communist and leftist parties and guerilla movements of the continent, which came to be known as the São Paulo Forum. Lula’s successor, Dilma Rousseff, the current Brazilian President, is a former communist guerrilla leader.
“Hummes would open the door for the revival of social justice ministry in the Catholic Church,” Engler had written. Of course, “social justice” is already a theme of many of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, who have funded liberal projects with parishioners’ money through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) for decades, enraging conservative Catholics in the process. It was a CCHD project that helped train Barack Obama as a community organizer on the streets of Chicago. These schemes are ways to attain political power and they have paid off well for Obama and his associates but not for the poor people they were supposedly intended to help.
In a 2005 story, “Champion of Workers and the Poor,” The Washington Post noted that Hummes had emerged as “a critic of the U.S.-backed free-market policies that were adopted in much of Latin America.” In other words, he helped pave the way for leaders such as Marxist Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who clutched a crucifix until the day he died. The Post went on, “In May 1998 he [Hummes] became archbishop of Sao Paulo. On his first day in that post, he attacked the spread of global capitalism, saying the privatization of state companies and the lowering of tariffs had contributed to the ‘misery and poverty affecting millions around the world.’”
Hummes headed the archdiocese of São Paulo, Brazil, the country with the largest number of Catholics in the world, until he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to a top Vatican post, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.
Engler pointed out that while the church “is said to have officially rejected liberation theology,” the complete truth is that the Vatican has “affirmed many of the central doctrines of liberation theology, especially those relating to poverty, inequality, and economic justice.” He added, “Most notably, the ‘preferential option for the poor,’ the once-radical idea that God takes sides and identifies with the oppressed and impoverished, has been mainstreamed as Catholic theological doctrine.”
Engler may have a left-wing bias, but at least he understands the global context and the battle underway for control of the church and the world. He is a monthly columnist for the Oxford, UK-based New Internationalist magazine, a socialist journal that favorably reports on “liberation movements” around the world. He also writes for Catholic Worker, the pro-Marxist journal that published the writings of Dorothy Day, now on the road to becoming a Saint of the Catholic Church. His main affiliation is with Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF), a project of the far-left Institute for Policy Studies.
Engler’s article, “Will the Next Pope Embrace Liberation Theology?,” had appeared on various liberal and left-wing sites, an indication that they found the struggle for control of the Vatican to be extremely important to their global plans. Bergoglio was not their man.
President Obama certainly grasps the stakes as well. His early career was not only funded by the Catholic Church, he spent 20 years in a church whose pastor, the notorious Jeremiah Wright, preached liberation theology. Though not a Catholic himself, Obama has said that the Catholic Church’s long tradition of social justice had a “profound influence” on him. Clearly, Hummes would have been among his top choices for pope.