Wednesday, November 19, 2014

End of communism not good for Catholicism?

End of communism not good for Catholicism?

Brazil and its large Catholic population are prisoners of socialism, but the Vatican has been worried (for about 1,000 years!) about the Orthodox Church

By Julio Severo
While the world is celebrating the end of communist tyranny in Europe, its end was not all positive for Catholicism, a senior Vatican official indicated on Monday. According to Reuters through WorldNetDaily, the Catholic official thinks the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago brought religious tensions between Rome and Russia back to the surface. These tensions are much older than the Soviet Union.
Cardinal Kurt Koch, the top Roman Catholic official for inter-church relations, said the re-emergence of Catholic churches in Ukraine and Romania is creating major tensions with the Russian Orthodox Church. For decades during communist tyrannies, these churches were largely suppressed.
“The changes in 1989 were not advantageous for ecumenical relations,” Koch told Vatican Radio.
Koch, who spoke a week after the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s fall, noted that talks on closer ties between Catholic and Orthodox theologians were suspended between 2000 and 2006 because of tensions between the two sides.
Persecution of Christians in the Middle East has brought Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants there together, he said, but behind the Ukraine crisis there is a conflict of interests between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church.
Russians, who make up two-thirds of the world’s 300 million Orthodox, are wary of the efforts of Pope Francis, who will visit Turkey to meet Patriarch Bartholomew, the Orthodox leader in Istanbul.
Because of his more progressive stances, it is not only Orthodox Christians who are wary about this pope. Conservative Catholics and evangelicals are also worried about his non-conservatism and about how liberals, including homosexual activists, have welcome him.
Problems between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church are not new. Since Orthodox Christians left the Catholic Church and the supremacy of the pope about one thousand ago, their relationship has been hard, even in our days.
Yet, both churches were not supposed to have a so bad relationship, because, in important ethical points challenging Christianity today, they have been champions of truth.
The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church have a good stance against abortion, the gay agenda and population control. Of course, they have also theological problems, including the replacement theology, which says that the Catholic Church replaced Israel. Both the Orthodox Church and the Protestant Reformers inherited this theology from Catholicism.
Because of this theology, the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and many traditional Protestant churches do not have a good relationship with Israel.
About communism, the senior Vatican official should know that if it has fallen in Europe (I doubt it, because its milder anti-Christian and pro-Islam forms are advancing fast, at least in Western Europe), this is not true about Latin America. In fact, this is not true in the largest Catholic nation in the world: Brazil.
While the Orthodox Church had to be suppressed in Russia and other places in the communist times, the Brazilian Catholic Church never suffered any suppression from a communist rule. On the contrary, after a military rule saved Brazil from a communist tyranny in the 1960s, prominent Catholic leaders defended communist leaders and attacked their opposition.
The most outspoken critic of the 1964-85 Brazilian military rule was Bishop Helder Camara, a liberation theology advocate. He was called “Red Bishop” because of his Marxist stances.
In 1973, Camara was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by a U.S.-based leftist organization, the American Friends Service Committee.
According to Dr. Constance Cumbey in her book “The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow,” the Brazilian bishop played a prominent role in international New Age events.
Camara was one of the founders of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (NCBB), the most powerful Catholic organization in Brazil.
For decades, NCBB has kept the Catholic population in Brazil under its Marxist spell and it is credited for having helped to found the ruling Workers’ Party, which has kept Brazil enslaved under its pro-Cuba socialism for 13 years.
In Russia, the most Orthodox nation in the world, the relationship between the Orthodox Church and communism was not easy. In his book “Their Blood Cries Out,” Paul Marshall says, “In the 1920s and 1930s approximately two hundred thousand Russian Orthodox priests, monks, and nuns were slaughtered. A further half million were imprisoned or deported to Siberia.”
While in Russia and other nations the Orthodox Church was violently suppressed to serve communist ambitions, in Brazil no such violence and suppression was necessary. NCBB has voluntarily and wholeheartedly worked to make Catholics and Brazil more communist.
So instead saying that the end of communism was not all good in Russia and Eastern Europe, the senior Vatican official should worry that socialism has never had an end in the largest Catholic flock in the world.
Brazil and its Catholic Church are prisoners of the socialist ideology, especially loved and promoted by the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, and the Vatican is not helping them when it focuses its attention on Russia. Instead of trying to bring Orthodox Christians to the Catholic fold, the Vatican should try to take Brazilian Catholics from the socialist fold and its liberation theology.
With information from WorldNetDaily and Reuters.
Portuguese version of this article: Fim do comunismo não foi bom para o catolicismo?
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