Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Orthodox Extremist Equates Charismatic Revival withLiberation Theology

Orthodox Extremist Equals Charismatic Revival to Liberation Theology

By Julio Severo
Does Liberation Theology equate with a charismatic revival? No way. In fact, the best opposition to Liberation Theology has come from charismatic, Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal Christians.
Yet, enemies of charismatic revivals will use any excuse to attack what the Holy Spirit is doing in our days. Recently, a radical Orthodox Christian in an article entitled “Liberation Theology — a KGB Invention?” said:
“This is where everything comes full-circle, and really shows that everything that seems opposed is really of the same! It certainly explains a lot, and also offers a solid ground for understanding what we have noted since the beginning – that the current Moscow political and religious authorities are trying to take Orthodoxy down the road of charismatic revival, by posing as the saviours of Christianity from under the rule of a Western (or Muslim) dictatorship, thus appearing as the liberators of humanity from under the rule of the coming ruthless ‘antichrist.’ This subject has been most written about on our website and much can be found about in our past articles.”
This nonsensical criticism was posted in the website Orthodox Views.
When the author says that Liberation Theology being created by the KGB “certainly explains a lot,” he seems to suggest that the Charismatic Movement also was created by the KGB. By the way, according to a conservative Catholic source in Brazil, Liberation Theology ideas were present in the Catholic Church before the birth of the Soviet Union and its KGB.
What does the Charismatic Movement have to do with the KGB and Liberation Theology? Nothing. Nevertheless, the radical Orthodox author insists that “current Moscow political and religious authorities are trying to take Orthodoxy down the road of charismatic revival.”
Presumably, in his view, what these authorities are doing is as wicked as Liberation Theology.
I know this radical traditionalist religious modus operandi. (By radical traditionalist I mean mostly “cessationist” people. For more information, see this link: http://bit.ly/1OX58vq) When traditionalist Protestant Brazilians say, even in their theological essays published in the United States, that there are spiritual problems in the Brazilian Church, largely they mean charismatics, Pentecostals and neo-Pentecostals and their (lack of) theology.
Even the Lausanne Movement, in its meetings in Brazil influenced by these traditionalist Protestants, only addresses these “problems.” Incredibly, the Lausanne Movement met in Brazil in 2014 to discuss Pentecostal problems when its leader, Rev. Valdir Steuernagel, comes from a Lutheran denomination where Liberation Theology is rampant, and gay theology is tolerated. The most prominent gay theologian in Brazil is a theology professor in Steuernagel’s denomination.
The real problem in the Evangelical Church in Brazil is the Theology of Integral Mission, which is the Protestant version of Liberation Theology.
Whether radical Orthodoxies or Protestants, they need excuses to attack charismatics, Pentecostals and neo-Pentecostals, and now do they want to use KGB and Liberation Theology, which is rampant among Catholics, Protestants and Orthodoxies, as an additional pretext?
If, as the radical Orthodox complainer said, “the current Moscow political and religious authorities are trying to take Orthodoxy down the road of charismatic revival,” this is just wonderful!
If they really advance in this road, they will be able to help Christianity in Russia to survive pro-sodomy Western politically correct dictatorships and Muslim dictatorships.
The charismatic and Pentecostal movement in Russia is not new. In fact, it has greatly blessed the United States, by playing a significant or prominent role in the famous Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, California.
And, yes, a charismatic revival can save Russia. Before the Turkish Islamic genocide against Armenian Christians, a Russian Pentecostal boy received prophetic warnings that Christians should flee Armenia and Turkey. Those who believed in the prophetic warning were saved. Those who disbelieved were destroyed by Islamic Turkey.
The Orthodox Church, whose priests are married and have families, has no pope. It split from the Catholic Church 1,000 years ago. Russia is today the largest Orthodox Christian nation in the world.
Radical Orthodoxies should stop criticizing what the Holy Spirit is doing to save Russians.
If actually “the current Moscow political and religious authorities are trying to take Orthodoxy down the road of charismatic revival,” they should be encouraged, not discouraged, in this spiritually victorious road.
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Monday, May 25, 2015

Manifest Destiny in the Bible? America Is Modern Babylon, Said David Wilkerson

Manifest Destiny in the Bible? America Is Modern Babylon, Said David Wilkerson

Julio Severo comments on David Wilkerson’s prophetic revelations about America’s “destiny” in his book “Set the Trumpet to Thy Mouth.”

By Julio Severo
A solid majority of Americans would now be comfortable with a president who is gay or lesbian, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
A full 61 percent of respondents reported being “enthusiastic” or “comfortable” with a gay or lesbian president. Meanwhile, Americans comfortable or enthusiastic about an evangelical Christian president received a more tepid 52 percent approval.
This study comes on the heels of a March survey, also conducted by Wall Street Journal/NBC News, in which a record 59 percent of American respondents said they were in favor of same-sex “marriage.”
What is happening to America, the largest Protestant nation in the world, that she is ready to welcome a homosexual president, but not an evangelical president? Is she racing for her punishment and judgment?
Thirty years ago, World Challenge, a David Wilkerson ministry, sent me his book “Set the Trumpet to Thy Mouth.” The introduction was by Leonard Ravenhill. It is a fiery message, with a vision, about the destruction of America. When I read it for the first time, I was shocked, especially because the 1980s were the Reagan years. How could Wilkerson have had such vision when a conservative, pro-family Reagan was facing the Evil Empire? His prophecy should have been directed to the Soviet Union, not America! This revelation was indeed shocking. Yet, more shocking is what America has been doing in the last decades. I have come to learn that even American conservatism is now becoming a Babylon.
The Soviet Union no longer exists. What exists now is a U.S. government obsessed about sodomy-based “marriage” and behaving imperialistically to impose homosexual sin on the whole world. Was Wilkerson’s prophecy, after all, correct?
Some time after Wilkerson, John Mulinde, a preacher of Uganda, received a revelation about God’s judgment on America. His message is a fulfilment of Wilkerson’s prophecy, who told that God would send to America third-world prophets to warn about the coming judgment.
David Wilkerson became famous by the book and movie “The Cross and the Switchblade,” showing his life and ministry helping addicted young people, by focusing especially on delivering experiences by the Holy Spirit.
One of the distinctions of Babylon in Revelation 18 is its intensely commercial nature. By its commercial power and seduction, it is envied by the whole world. It is extremely capitalist — but without God. In communism, you see intense and destructive economic control without God. In Babylon, you see the opposed: intense and destructive commercial and economic freedom without God.
The best products and services (entertainment, medical, religious, military, etc.) in the world are available in Babylon.
In communism, there is extreme limitation or lack of products and services. In fact, communism offers the worst products and services. In contrast, in Babylon, there is the biggest abundance of the best products and services the world has ever seen. So it is evident that Babylon is not Marxist, communist or socialist. It is a commercial paradise on the Earth. It is the “New Jerusalem” of the carnal wishes and greed of the human heart. No wonder that when Babylon will be destroyed, the whole world will cry.
By its commercial ambitions, products and services, Babylon is described in the Bible as having prostituted herself with all nations on the earth. And God said about Babylon, “Your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived.(Revelation 18:23-24 NKJV) If America does not fit it, who does it? Are not the U.S. powerful businessmen, trade and currency ruling the world?
In addition, there is a fatal distinction in America that Wilkerson saw as “Babylon.”
In these last days, America has embraced a passionate and leading role in the promotion of the gay agenda — not to mention abortion — around the world, leading Billy Graham to say, “America is just as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah.” And often he mentions, “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” Is this a manifest destiny?
This kind of destiny is accompanied by a terrible fate. What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah, which were involved in rampant homosexuality, is what will happen to cities and nations involved in the same sins:
“What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities near them is an example for us of the punishment of eternal fire. The people of these cities suffered the same fate that God’s people and the angels did, because they committed sexual sins and engaged in homosexual activities.” (Jude 1:7 GWV)
How would not such punishment reach the most powerful nation in the world that, even though flooded with the Gospel, is obsessed about extending the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah to whole world? If God did not spare Sodom and Gomorrah and their homosexual sins, how will he spare the largest Protestant nation in the world that wants to whole world involved in the same sins?
According to “The Pink Swastika” author Scott Lively, “Ancient Rabbinical tradition holds that homosexuality, more specifically homosexual marriage, was the ‘final insult’ to God which caused Him to bring that Great Flood.”
The role of America in homosexual sin has been much more than just to adhere to it. America has been its main propagandist. Even in her Protestant capacity, America has been the leading propagandist of gay theology, and its rotten fruits are evident in Brazil, where the most prominent gay Protestant theologian was inspired by U.S. gay theology.
America has spread homosexual ideology by every way (religious, legal, cultural, commercial, etc.) and she has used her imperial force to promote and impose it and its fake “marriage” around the world with brutish immorality. Is there a manifest destiny in sodomy for America?
Some Christians argue that because America, after Israel, has the largest Jewish population in the world, this is a sure sign that she has God’s approval and protection against destruction. Yet, when the first Babylon, which was located in modern Iraq, was destroyed, its Jewish population was the largest in the world after Israel. In fact, one of the political leaders in Babylon was the Jew Daniel, historically prominent for his prophetic book “Daniel” in the Old Testament. A large Jewish population and a Jewish prophet in the Babylonian government did not save the first Babylon from destruction.
Even though you may doubt that America will be destroyed for being Babylon, her role today as the leading propagandist, promoter and enforcer of sodomy seems an enough warrant that she looking after the same punishment and destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Global sodomy militancy would seem an enough reason for punishment and destruction. For a lot less Sodom was destroyed. If America will be not destroyed for being Babylon, she will be destroyed for being, as Billy Graham said, “just as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Yet, if David Wilkerson is correct in his vision, America will be judged and destroyed as Babylon. Wilkerson said in Set the Trumpet to Thy Mouth:
I believe modern Babylon is present-day America, including its corrupt society and its whorish church system. No other nation on earth fits the description in Revelation 18 but America, the world’s biggest fornicator with the merchants of all nations.
America is going to be destroyed by fire! Sudden destruction is coming and few will escape. Unexpectedly, and in one hour, a hydrogen holocaust will engulf America—and this nation will be no more. It is because America has sinned against the greatest light. Other nations are just as sinful, but none are as flooded with gospel light as ours. God is going to judge America for its violence, its crimes, its backslidings, its murdering of millions of babies, its flaunting of homosexuality and sadomasochism, its corruption, its drunkenness and drug abuse, its form of godliness without power, its lukewarmness toward Christ, its rampant divorce and adultery, its lewd pornography, its child molestations, its cheatings, its robbings, its dirty movies, and its occult practices. In one hour it will all be over.
Think of the “lady in the harbor”—the Statue of Liberty. Isaiah warned of sudden destruction upon a proud lady. “And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it. Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: but these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments. For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me. Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know” (Isaiah 47:7-11).
They were warned God would make useless their weapons of war, that all their armaments could not save them from God’s wrath (Jeremiah 21:4). God said to them, “I myself will fight against you!” (Jeremiah 21:5).
That is an outright warning to America. Our huge stockpiles of weapons are but so many sticks and stones—useless against what God has planned against us. What was said of ancient Babylon will be said of modern Babylon, “The mighty men of Babylon have forborn to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwelling places; her bars are broken” (Jeremiah 51:30). This is why there will be no retaliatory strikes from this nation or its allies; because of the suddenness and finality of it all, we will “forebare to fight,” and our missiles will remain in their hold. Our might will fail us in the hour of judgment. Our allies will “become as women” and surrender immediately.
What America could not do with all of its millions, all of its electronic gimmicks, all of its expensive media methods, the Holy Spirit will accomplish in a short time with a Gideon's army of poor and simple evangelists from Third World countries; and the rest of the world will hear the gospel. A remnant of overcomers from all nations will be raised up in righteousness. In spite of full gospel light shining forth, the majority will turn to Satan and be given over to lust. The Bible does not say that judgment on America awaits world evangelism.
God does not need America to evangelize the world. We have failed in this mission. Our nation still spends more money each year for dog food than for missions. There will be one last great ingathering, and it is even now happening. The gospel will be published to all the world by a great army of witnesses indigenous to every nation on earth. It is the Lord's last harvest. Even now the Spirit of God is raising up a thriving body of witnesses in China. South America and Africa will be covered with powerful witnesses from their own lands. Mexico and South America are open to the gospel and young evangelists are being raised up. They will not need missions boards, ordinations, large amounts of money, and fancy equipment. They will live on pennies, as the early disciples did; and in a short time they will cover the earth with the gospel. And they will point to God's fiery judgment on this careless, rich, modern Babylon as a sign the end is near.
With information from Charisma News.
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Sunday, May 24, 2015

At Mosque, Brazil Celebrates First Place in Religious Freedom

At Mosque, Brazil Celebrates First Place in Religious Freedom

Brazil ahead of the United States in religious freedom, according to Pew Research Center

By Julio Severo
Brazil lost the world soccer cup last year, but at least it is being celebrated for achieving the first place in religious freedom in late April, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, in a report by the Religious News Service.
Ecumenical meeting in Mesquita Brasil (Brazilian Mosque)
On April 29, Latin America’s largest and oldest mosque, Mesquita Brasil, brought some 700 leaders together for its Celebration of Religious Freedom where Muslims, Afro-Brazilians (similar to voodoo) adherents, Mormons, Sikhs, spiritualists, Jews, Catholics, Protestants and Rev. Moon adherents dined side-by-side to commemorate Brazil’s status as a leader in religious freedom. The theme was, “Brazil a voice to the world.”
Among the 25 most populous countries, Brazil is in the first place in religious freedom, even ahead of the United States, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.
Sheikh Abdel Hammed Metwally, religious leader of Mesquita Brasil, said, “This will be the first of many meetings.” He highlighted this event will show “the world how Brazil stands out in leading position, by tolerating and peacefully accommodating the most diverse creeds.”
Among the speakers was Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He said, “I encourage you to hold fast to the freedoms you have forged at home and to lead courageously in promoting religious freedom on the world stage.”
About the first place of Brazil in religious freedom, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF) said:
“The high level of religious freedom in Brazil is notable as the country arguably undergoes one of the most dynamic religious shifts in the world today, with no religious or sectarian conflict. In light of recent research showing that religion is on the rise worldwide, the Brazilian example is worth highlighting and understanding, particularly when day to day we witness stories from across the world on the role of religion in conflict situations. Brazil is exceptional in terms of religious freedom. Among the 26 most populous countries, Brazil has the lowest restrictions on religious freedom of them all. Brazil has lower restrictions, in fact, than the United Kingdom and the United States, where restrictions have been rising.”
TBFF also said on Brazil, “there have been no reported incidents of hostility over conversions or proselytism.”
Brazil has the world’s largest Catholic population, but religious freedom was not a Brazilian tradition for a long time. While in the U.S., the largest Protestant nation in the world, Catholics enjoyed significant freedom in the 1700s and 1800s, in Brazil Protestants enjoyed minimal or no freedom at all. Even in the 1900s, Protestants were persecuted in Brazil, and this persecution was not merely criticism, but physical and economical persecution.
The fact that Brazil has been congratulated for a supposed distinction of peaceful tolerance and religious freedom is very strange, and stranger when such distinction is celebrated in a mosque.
In the 1990s, under Marxist President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the Ministry of Education instructed Brazilian schools to address witchcraft, or Brazilian voodoo, as mere and unharmful “culture.”
In the past decade, under the socialist Lula administration, the Brazilian government advanced this conception, by treating witchcraft adherents as “oppressed minorities” and by treating Christian preaching against witchcraft as “hate crime.” The witchcraft religions are mostly from Umbanda and Candomblé, very similar to Santeria and voodoo.
The traditional Christian preaching against witchcraft began to be labeled as “persecution” against “oppressed minorities,” and witchcraft leaders were allowed to accompany the Brazilian delegation in the United Nations to voice their denunciations against “oppression” by Brazilian evangelicals against Umbanda and Candomblé adherents.
The denunciations were made especially by Ivanir dos Santos, a pai-de-santo from Rio de Janeiro. According to the Michaelis Dictionary, “pai-de-santo is a priest of an Afro-Brazilian voodoo cult,” including Macumba and Candomblé. Ivanir denounced at UN “a new kind of religious persecution in Brazil, which has aimed at temples of Candomble and the followers of African religions, in acts provoked by modern Pentecostals.” Brazil, said he, “is the only country preserving religions brought by slaves and these religions should be defended.”
The “oppression” denounced by him consists mostly of evangelicals TV shows where former Umbanda and Candomblé adherents testified about their past experiences in witchcraft and how Jesus Christ had delivered them, especially from demonic spirits.
They were not testimonies of Umbanda and Candomblé adherents being murdered by evangelicals, especially from the charismatic, Pentecostal neo-Pentecostal persuasion, but testimonies of them being transformed by Jesus Christ.
These TV shows have suffered censorship. Last year, YouTube videos containing testimonies of former adherents of Afro-Brazilian religions who are Pentecostals today were removed by judicial order, incited by Ivanir dos Santos. In his ruling, the judge stated that their testimonies were not against a religion, but against a “culture.”
These judicial persecutions are not against Pentecostals only.
In 1998, a judge in the state of Bahia, Brazil, had ordered the confiscation of a book written by Catholic priest Jonas Abib, in which he condemns witchcraft as immoral, as reported by LifeSiteNews, which said:
“The book, ‘Yes, Yes! No, No!  Reflections on Healing and Liberation,’ warns readers against the dangers of the occult, which includes the ‘Afro-Brazilian’ religions known as ‘spiritualism.’  According to Fr. Abib's website, the book has gone through 81 printings and has sold over 400,000 copies. ‘Father Jonas, like Paul, dares to denounce works of darkness, making the reader aware of mind control, yoga, astrology, magic, and the invocation of the dead, revealing the truth about works of darkness, with which it is urgently necessary to separate,’ says a summary of the book posted on the same site. Public prosecutor Almiro Sena, however, has accused Abib of ‘making false and prejudiced statements about the spiritualist religion as well as religions from Africa, like Umbanda and Candomble, as well as a flagrant incitement to destruction and disrespect for their objects of worship.’ He added that the violation was more serious because ‘the State Constitution (of Bahia) says that it is the obligation of the state to preserve and guarantee the integrity, respectability, and permanence of the values of Afro-Brazilian religion.’”
Former Lula administration and the current Dilma Rousseff administration (both the most socialist governments in the Brazilian history) had and have active policies to protect Afro-Brazilian religions as a “culture” inherited from African slaves. While Catholic and Protestant traditions have increasingly been banned from schools and other government places because the State is “secular,” Afro-Brazilian religions and their practices are making inroads, with state assistance, into schools and other places, in a privileged way. Because Christianity is religion, and Afro-Brazilian religions are “culture.”
With such state protections, even Brazilian Blacks are banned from criticizing Afro-Brazilian gods, as reported by me in WND:
“In Rio, a Pentecostal [Black] minister led a criminal to Jesus and convinced him to deliver himself to police. Rev. Isaías da Silva Andrade accompanied the former criminal to police and when they asked how his life had been changed, the minister answered that the former criminal lived under the influence of demons from Afro-Brazilian religions which inspired him to criminal conduct, but now he found salvation in Jesus. Because of this innocent account, Rev. Andrade is now being prosecuted for discrimination against the Afro-Brazilian ‘culture’! If condemned, he will serve between two and five years in jail.”
As a son of a former Umbanda leader who accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I see no problem in speaking the truth about the witchcraft derived from Africa. In fact, Brazilians remember, when there was no threat of politically-correct racial censorship, the regular scandals reported by media of pai-de-santos (Afro-Brazilian priests) involved in a number of child sacrifices.
In the past, newspapers were free to report and denounce child sacrifices in the Afro-Brazilian religions. You can find a lot of old reports on these crimes involving child rapes and murders by Afro-Brazilian priests. But nowadays, under the watchful state eye, only flattering reports are allowed, such as “oppressed” religion, “threatened” religion, etc.
Today, the Brazilian media no longer reports pai-de-santos sacrificing children. And they are unwilling to talk about other related crimes.
When Pentecostal minister Francisco de Paula Cunha de Miranda was stabbed to death by an Afro-Brazilian priest in 2008, the Brazilian media remained silent.
Miranda, 47, was murdered in Rio Grande do Sul. He was Black (and cannot, even after his death, be accused of “racism”) and was on his 33rd day of fasting and prayer when pai-de-santo Júlio César Bonato, possessed by exu caveira (demon of death in the Afro-Brazilian “culture”), left his temple during a ritual to go to the minister.
The pai-de-santo returned to his ritual with his ritualistic knife bloody.
The minister, who was very weak because of the long fasting, was stabbed to death.
The Brazilian media remains silent about this horrific murder even today.
Last year, a group of Umbanda adherents stabbed to death another evangelical, Nilton Rodrigues, 34, and wounded others, including an evangelical minister, João Carlos de Oliveira. The Brazilian Media remained silent again.
I am worried that the special protection afforded to Afro-Brazilian religions may have been reinforced by Condoleezza Rice, a famous daughter of an American Presbyterian minister. In 2008, she came to Brazil to strengthen the roots of the Afro-Brazilian religions. Her example shows that the Afro-Brazilian religions are now an international interest.
As in the case of homosexuality, a mere criticism of Brazilian voodoo is treated as “prejudice, bias, discrimination, intolerance,” etc. Now, even Catholic books criticizing them are banned.
Afro-Brazilian practices that have always been seen as witchcraft by the Brazilian society have increasingly been protected by the Brazilian government and media. And Christianity and its values have increasingly lost protection and even been attacked by them.
Sodomy, which has been extoled and afforded the status of a special human right by the Brazilian socialist government, is largely practiced by Afro-Brazilian religions, where their gods and spirits entice and lead their adherents, especially their priests, into prostitution, including homosexuality.
What has been termed “religious freedom” in Brazil is merely the socialist elites following politically correct trends, especially from the U.S., where homosexuality is now culturally sanctified and Christian rights are subordinated to homosexualist whims. Brazil is following this trend. Now homosexuality cannot be criticized in the Brazilian government and media.
Along homosexuality, now Islam cannot also be criticized trend in Brazil.
The celebration in a mosque of Brazil as a champion of “religious freedom” shows that Brazil is following with complete submission U.S. leftist trends. And if the U.S. is not in the first place of such “religious freedom,” why is Brazil? Can a disciple be above his master?
Try to criticize Islam in Brazil. In 2009, four Muslim journalists filed complaints against me with federal prosecutors because of texts in my blog criticizing Islam.
Complaints were also made by homosexual militants and witchcraft adherents against my blog.
This is religious freedom in Brazil.
The event at a Brazilian mosque celebrating the alleged first place of Brazil in religious freedom is good for Islam and it is good for Brazilian voodoo.
But it is not good for Christians who are former adherents of these religions, who suffer discrimination, repression and censorship for telling the truth about their suffering in these religions.
Brazil is being catapulted into a first place of a religious freedom at the expense of these silent victims of voodoo oppression.
Even so, Sheikh Abdel Hammed Metwally, religious leader of the Mesquita Brasil, assured, “This will be the first of many meetings.”
Will mosques now be politically correct platforms for presenting the world a Brazil champion on a religious freedom at the expense of Christians and their free speech?
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Liberation Theology, a KGB Invention? That Is Way Too Simple...

Liberation Theology, a KGB Invention? That Is Way Too Simple...

By Luiz Sérgio Solimeo
Preface by Julio Severo: Recently, a former communist from Romania said that Liberation Theology, which is predominant in Latin America, was exclusively created by the KGB. I do not doubt the KGB’s malevolence, but other voices, especially from Latin America, can shed a better light on this issue. Luiz Sérgio Solimeo is a conservative Catholic Brazilian who has written an insightful article in Portuguese about Liberation Theology, and I have asked him to translate it into English. To further help our understanding, I mention an interesting comment by John L. Allen, of Crux, who said:
Catholic Archbishop Hélder Câmara of Olinda and Recife in Brazil didn’t have to be ‘maneuvered.’ He was already on board with liberation theology before anyone in Moscow knew it was stirring. That’s not to say the KGB didn’t do whatever it could to support leftist movements in Latin America critical of capitalism and the United States. It would be surprising if they hadn’t, given the zero/sum Cold War logic that anything that seemed to hurt one side benefited the other. In that sense, Pacepa is likely correct about the KGB strategy, but may be giving the agency too much credit for its results.
This is true! Long before a supposed official launch of Liberation Theology by the KGB, Archbishop Hélder Câmara promoted this socialist theology, and now the Vatican is taking steps to canonize him. After Oscar Romero, Câmara will be the second official Liberation Theology “saint” in the Catholic Church.
Here is the article by Mr. Solimeo:
Ion Pacepa
Ion Pacepa, a former member of the Romanian secret service who fled to the West in the 70’s, recently gave an interview to the Catholic News Agency narrating how the KGB (Soviet secret service and political police) created Liberation Theology.
“The movement was born in the KGB and had a KGB-invented name: Liberation Theology,” Pacepa says. And he tells how Khrushchev and a Russian general had agents infiltrate the World Council of Churches and maneuvered with the same means a group of South American bishops gathered in Medellin, Colombia, in 1968.

Reality is More Complex

Although one cannot rule out Moscow’s hand in spreading this revolutionary movement, reality is much more complex: Liberation Theology was the fruit of a long process that took place inside Church sectors worked over by Modernism and imanentist modern philosophies, as well as by the influence of liberal Protestantism.
Its origins – not to go further back – can be traced to the pontificates of Popes Leo XIII (1878-1903) and Saint Pius X (1903-1914).

Modernist Heresy

Through various documents and disciplinary measures, Pope Saint Pius X condemned a whole set of philosophical, theological, moral and social errors that were brewing for some time in Church educational institutions. This ensemble which he calls the synthesis of all heresies he named Modernism. It is the Modernist heresy.
Modernism particularly described in the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Greges, of 1907 is a more radical version of Catholic liberalism which strives to infiltrate the spirit and mentality of the world into the Church. Modernism is fundamentally naturalist and imanentist, denying the supernatural and divine transcendence and reducing religion to a mere feeling without dogmatic truths or immutable moral precepts.
Unfortunately, although St. Pius X condemned Modernism, its spirit and many of its doctrines and goals continued to meander in ecclesiastical and lay circles. In 1910, the holy Pontiff issued the Motu Proprio Sacrorum Antistitum, which stated: “Modernists, even after the Encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis unmasked them, did not give up their designs to disturb the peace of the Church. Indeed, they continued to recruit and gather new adherents in a secret society ... [They] are injecting the virus of their doctrine into the veins of Christian society.” [1]

Nouvelle Théologie

Later, in 1950, the theological and philosophical errors disseminated by this modernist secret society were condemned by Pope Pius XII with the encyclical Humani Generis. Among the condemned errors are naturalism and Teilhard de Chardin’s “mystical evolutionism,” which identified Jesus Christ with evolution, making any dogmatic truth or morality taught by the Church meaningless. Thanks to its mentors (mostly French), this current became known as Nouvelle Théologie.

Socio-political and Economic Modernism

In the early 20th century the socio-economic aspect of modernist theological fermentation was represented by Marc Sangnier’s Le Sillon (“the furrow”). This lay movement preached a radical socio-economic egalitarianism and was also condemned by Saint Pius X in 1910 with his Apostolic Letter Notre Charge Apostolique.
This trend was later systematized in philosophical terms by Jacques Maritain, a French philosopher and convert to Catholicism, in his book Integral Humanism (1936) – which Fr. Antonio Messineo, S.J., qualified as “integral naturalism” in an article in the Civiltá Cattolica. [2]
In his book, although Maritain criticizes Communist atheism and totalitarianism, he praises the “profound intuition” of Marx--intuition that Maritain believes “to be the great flash of truth running trough his work.” This “flash of truth,” he explains, is Marx’s thesis of the “alienation imposed in the 'capitalist' world on the work-force, and of the dehumanization with which the owners and the proletariat are thereby simultaneously stricken." And he believes that the role of Catholics is to rescue this Marxist intuition from his atheistic philosophy. Because, he says, "whatever aversion Marx may personally have nourished against Christianity, this intuition itself is pregnant with Judaeo-Christian values.” [3]
With his book, Maritain opened the way for collaboration between Catholics and Communists, since he accept not only as true, but even as Christian, the essence of Marxist’s social and economic theory. Most of all, he destroyed the foundations of the Catholic anticommunism and suggested a “third way” or “third position.”
Above all, Maritain’s book destroyed the vigor of Catholic anti-communists, increasingly leading Catholic Action and Christian Democrats toward the left.
Incidentally, during his stay in the United States, Maritain became a close friend and ally of the notorious communist agitator Saul Alinsky. [4]  
Especially in Latin America, this work became the “handbook” of the Catholic Action movement and its political arm, the Christian Democratic parties.

The “Third Position”: “No Enemies on the Left, No Friends on the Right”

The First Conference of Christian Democracy in America was held in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1947 with the aim of promoting Maritain’s “Third Position.” The gathering’s final statement said Christian Democracy was based on Church social doctrine and on Maritain’s “Integral Humanism.” The document criticized Fascism, communism and capitalism. But it showed distaste for anticommunism, seen as a “sower of discord.” In short, consistent with the formula “Pas d’ennemis à gauche, pas d’amis à droite” (no enemies on the left, no friends on the right), the “Third Position” (neither capitalist nor communist) turned out to be especially anti-anticommunist.

From Catholic Action to Communist Guerrilla Warfare

With the death of Pope Pius XII (October 1958), the Christian Democrats in Italy and elsewhere began the so-called “opening to the left,” allying with socialist parties and speaking about “Christian socialism.”
In Brazil, for example, the youth of Catholic Action (who were also the grassroots of Christian Democracy) went even further and in 1960 allied themselves with communists in the student movement. This alliance went so far that in 1962 they broke away from the Church and formed a socialist political movement, the People's Action. And by the end of that decade, this movement led formerly Catholic young people to join communist urban guerrillas.

Liberation Theology’s Culture Medium

Theories of Nouvelle Théologie and Maritain’s political philosophy also penetrated seminaries throughout the world, influencing young priests and religious. In Brazil in 1969, three Dominican novices, former members of the Youth of Catholic Action, were arrested by the police for links with communist guerrillas.
It was in this ambience of intensely modernist and leftist fermentation that theologians such as Uruguayan Juan Luis Segundo, SJ, Brazilians Hugo Assmann and Leonardo Boff, OFM, and Peruvian Gustavo Gutierrez laid the foundation of the Liberation Theology. Because of Peronist (Juan Domingos Peron, 1895-1974) influence, in Argentina this “theology” had a more populist character and was led by Frs. Juan Carlos Scannone, SJ, and Lucio Gera.

A Latin American “Theology”?

Although Liberation Theology is said to be a Latin American “theology,” in fact it is grounded in Catholic and Protestant European authors and in the communist theoreticians, Karl Marx and Antonio Gramsci.
Deification of the “poor,” as Marx did with the “proletariat,” which he presented as the “redeemer” of humanity, is the central point of this “theology.”
Liberation theology is not meant to help the poor, as the great saints of the Church have always done, but only to use them. Consistent with the Marxist theory of class struggle the poor are but a weapon used against the “rich.”
Nor is Liberation Theology intended to improve the economic situation in countries where it operates. Rather, it leads to misery, which these pseudo-theologians identify with “evangelical perfection.” Their model is Cuba, idolized as a kind of “earthly paradise,” where misery takes on, as it were, a “sacred” character. It is clear from testimony by Leonardo Boff and Clodovis Boff that they follow “miserabilist” heresies from the decadent Middle Ages: “Also inspirational to liberation theology are the singular evangelical experiences of so many hereticized prophets ... without forgetting the precious contribution of medieval pauperist reform movements and the evangelical postulations of the great reformers.” [5]
From this quick historical overview one sees that, with or without the KGB, the internal crisis raging in the Church for so long would logically have led to liberation theology.

“Unperceived Ideological Transshipment”

The KGB has possibly contributed in spreading this political-religious ideology which is presented as Catholic theology because it is a very useful means of communist expansion, especially in Catholic circles, and for maintaining Communist regimes in the unfortunate countries that suffer under its rule.
However, the decisive factor in the emergence and proliferation of Liberation Theology, and its practical application in Latin America has been the real “unperceived ideological transshipment” to use the famous expression coined by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira [6]   suffered by young Catholic idealists who entered seminaries or joined Catholic Action and were gradually led away from religious fervor and Catholic orthodoxy toward affinity with the Marxist theories of egalitarianism and class struggle.
Therefore, communism and the KGB are not found in the beginning of the process that led to the emergence of Liberation Theology, but rather at its end, as a necessary consequence of adhering to egalitarian and evolutionary principles of heretical theoreticians from the early twentieth century.
[1] http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-x/la/motu_proprio/documents/hf_p-x_motu-proprio_19100901_sacrorum-antistitum.html.
[2] Antonio Messineo, S.J, “Umanesimo Integrale”, Civilta Cattolica, Sept. 1, 1956.
[3] Jacques Maritain, Integral Humanism, Freedom in the Modern World, and A Letter on Independence, University of Notre Dame press, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1996, p. 181 and note 8.
[4] Cf. Sanford D. Horwitt, Let Them Call Me Rebel – Saul Alinsky His Life and Legacy, Alfred A. Knopt, New Yor, 1989, pp. 167, 177, 191, 197, 369, and 484.
[5] Leonardo Boff and Clodovis Boff, Como Fazer Teologia da Libertação, Vozes, Petrópolis, 1986, p. 57.
[6] Cf. Unperceived Ideological Transshipment, at http://www.tfp.org/tfp-home/books/unperceived-ideological-transshipment-and-dialogue.html.
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Putin and the Neoconservatives

Putin and the Neoconservatives

By William Pfaff
Comment by Julio Severo: This article was kindly sent and recommended to me by a Pentecostal minister in the U.S. Its author, William Pfaff, said, “The resemblance of President Putin’s ambitions for his Russia to those of the neoconservatives in the contemporary United States bear a striking formal resemblance in the wish of both to recall a romanticized past.” For pro-family Christians, the important point is whether a president supports a pro-family agenda or anti-family agenda. We supported George W. Bush because of his generally pro-life stances, even though his neocon decision of invading Iraq, not Saudi Arabia (where the 9/11 terrorists came from), resulted in complete disaster for Christians. Before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, there were over 2 million Christians. Today they number less than 300,000. Could not Bush have been concerned about the Christian fate over his invasion? Could not he have intervened to help them? Politicians will always have political interests. But our interests are very different. We much prefer pro-life and pro-family neocons than pro-abortion and pro-sodomy neocons. Likewise, we much prefer a pro-life and pro-family Putin than a pro-abortion and pro-sodomy Putin. The problem is, while Russia under Putin has consistently opposed abortion and sodomy in the United Nations, there is no similar example of American neocons opposing abortion and sodomy in the United Nations. In fact, in spite of the massive power of American neocons, the U.S. has become the main exporter of abortion and sodomy around the world. Putin and U.S. neocons are free to build their “romanticized pasts.” But they should remember to oppose abortion and sodomy in the United Nations and around the world. And they should denounce and take measures against Christian genocide by Muslims. Here is Pfaff’s article:
Russia and the United States are engaged in a profound ideological confrontation—one that isn’t widely understood in Western Europe or even at the White House.
It began in February a year ago. President Vladimir Putin of Russia found himself engaged in what seemed a simple defensive battle against American intervention in Ukraine. He is now under siege by the U.S. and NATO. The Western powers promoted the advancing “color revolutions” in states neighboring Russia, culminating in the coup in Ukraine and the small war that followed. Events did not go as the State Department and NATO planned, and now they are looking for revenge.
Germany and France intervened at Minsk to block a further American intervention with new arms for Kiev. A truce prevails for the moment. However, NATO has launched an exceedingly imprudent program to encircle Russia with demonstrations of force.
This includes shows of military power in recent days in Poland and the Baltic states, continued last week in Romania, and scheduled to be staged in the near future in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. Washington has also been reaching out to Turkey, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan with political and economic inducements meant to block Russia’s Eurasian trading and development ambitions.
The Russian president claims that his real political ambition is to restore to Russia the culture, religion and historical mission of its past. Reunion with Crimea was a prize offered him by a clumsy American intervention in Ukraine. It was not an invitation to aggression but rather an opportunity for Putin to advance his mission at Washington’s expense. He wishes to remake the “New Russia” that existed at the end of the Romanoff era.
He has restored the Orthodox Church to the primacy it then occupied, and interestingly enough has distributed among his senior officials the works of Christian philosophers of the pre-revolutionary period (and later, of those in exile), including Nicholas Berdyaev, Vladimir Solovyov and Ivan Ilyin, and has promoted philosophical-historical reflection among these officials, summoning them to a major conference last year in the period following the seizure of Crimea. The subject of the conference was the destiny of Russia.
Putin has denied that he wishes to impose a religio-ideological state doctrine in the place of Marxism, but he does wish to sponsor the reintroduction of Russian elites to the national past and its historical culture. He wishes to see a sovereign democracy that is “qualitative” rather than arithmetical or quantitative. This is not likely to find willing listeners in the West today.
The French writer Michel Eltchaninoff suggests a comparison with the “new state” created by Antonio Salazar in Portugal between 1933 and 1974, usually called fascist but, while authoritarian, should more accurately be described as conservative, religious and nationalist. It is a response to what Putin views as the decadent and “anthropocentric,” or egoistic and materialistic, modern West.
Politically, Putin is moved by pan-Slavism and the Eurasian attachments of historical Russia, and seeks alliances and support from West Europeans of the politically incorrect persuasion, which to some extent he is finding. All this has nothing to do with the “Hitlerian” comparisons and accusations of aggressive war and expansionist intentions toward the West of which he was accused by Western governments and press during and after the Ukrainian crisis.
Against him stands the American foe. The energy behind the coup in Ukraine and the proposals to deploy Western arms there and relaunch the crisis is generally, and I think correctly, recognized as the work of the neoconservative alliance in Washington to which President Obama seems to have sub-leased his European policy.
This group includes the European affairs office in the State Department, senior Defense Department and NATO officials, certain Washington think tanks and elements in the national press.
The nature and aims of their program are fairly well known in American political circles, but not in Europe. Anne Norton’s 2004 book, “Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire,” provides a splendid introduction.
Intellectually, neoconservatism has been a movement that embodies, among other influences, ideas of two German philosophers, Leo Strauss and Carl Schmitt. Strauss, born in Germany, a classicist, migrated to America and taught at the University of Chicago in the 1950s and 1960s, having a great influence upon students who were to become important enemies of the prevailing secular liberalism in American intellectual and political life.
Schmitt was an influential political scholar who defended the concept of the unlimited power of the state. He became a Nazi Party member in January 1933 and held important academic posts in Germany during the Second World War. His work enjoyed a revival in America during the George W. Bush administration and after. It influenced that administration’s controversial concepts of “unlawful combatants” exempt from international legal rights, the practice of “enhanced interrogations,” among others.
The foreign policy ambitions of the movement have been expressed in various efforts to build a political movement to create “a new American century.” Although this no longer is made explicit, the programs of the neoconservatives in Washington envisage the United States becoming a “New Rome,” exercising its unmatched military power “against civilization’s opponents” in order to revive classical values and eventually establish a universal American dominion—a New Rome.
The resemblance of President Putin’s ambitions for his Russia to those of the neoconservatives in the contemporary United States bear a striking formal resemblance in the wish of both to recall a romanticized past. The means they are willing to use resemble one another as well. That is a troubling conclusion.
Visit William Pfaff’s Web site for more on his latest book, “The Irony of Manifest Destiny: The Tragedy of America’s Foreign Policy” (Walker & Co., $25), at www.williampfaff.com.
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