The Evil Empire is back!

No, this isn’t a fanboy post about the new “Star Wars” trailer – you can get the Catholic reax on that in this viral video. Instead, this is a confession of sorts, for failing to recognize a clear and present danger when I should have seen it.

I am referring to the blockbuster revelation that liberation theology was ALL A SOVIET PLOT! The revelation first emerged in a May 1st (May Day, International Workers Day – hello, clue phone!) interview by Catholic News Agency with Ion Mihai Pacepa, who served in Communist Romania’s secret police before defecting to the United States in 1978 (the year John Paul II was elected – Hmm…. Another clue? Or “Red” herring?).

Pacepa explains that liberation theology was in fact “born in the KGB, and it had a KGB-invented name: Liberation Theology.”

As the interviewer rightly says, “The birth of a new religious movement is a historic event. How was this new religious movement launched?”

Pacepa helpfully explains – though I had trouble following at points – that he learned about the program during a “vacation” that then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev made to Romania, in part apparently because it is a “Latin” country and therefore could help export this new liberation theology to “Latin” America. (Of course I’d always thought it was the invention of German theologians, but whatever.)

He says that “a 1960 super-secret ‘Party-State Dezinformatsiya Program’ approved by Aleksandr Shelepin, the chairman of the KGB, and by Politburo member Aleksey Kirichenko” then took “secret control” of the World Council of Churches to “use it as cover for converting Liberation Theology into a South American revolutionary tool.”

The WCC, he noted, “was the largest international ecumenical organization after the Vatican, representing some 550 million Christians of various denominations throughout 120 countries.” Take control of the WCC and you take control of half a billion followers, because the WCC has always been authoritarian like that.

But the Vatican and the Catholic Church is the big prize, of course, and Pacepa details how the KGB “was able to maneuver a group of leftist South American bishops into holding a Conference of Latin American Bishops at Medellin, Colombia."

"The Conference’s official task," he says, "was to ameliorate poverty. Its undeclared goal was to recognize a new religious movement encouraging the poor to rebel against the ‘institutionalized violence of poverty,’ and to recommend the new movement to the World Council of Churches for official approval.”

He adds, ominously:

“The Medellin Conference achieved both goals. It also bought the KGB-born name ‘Liberation Theology’.”

So THAT’S how all this happened! Pacepa defected shortly thereafter, but Catholic theologians – some of them, as CNA’s unnamed interviewer notes, ‘famous ‘pastoral’ figures” (always dangerous types) – apparently did the KGB’s bidding from there on out.

It was only thanks to Communist-slayer Pope John Paul II and his faithful lieutenant, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, that liberation theology was unmasked for what it really was and crushed -- despite the protestations of so many "liberal" Catholics who were clearly bought and paid for, or brainwashed, by the KGB.

The CNA questioner asked Pacepa specifically about the likes of Dom Helder Camara of Brazil, and Leonardo Boff, Frei Betto and Gustavo Gutierrez, among others.

Says Pacepa:  

“I have good reason to suspect that there was an organic connection between the KGB and some of those leading promoters of Liberation Theology, but I have no evidence to prove it … I recently glanced through Gutierrez's book A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, Salvation (1971), and I had the feeling that it was written at the Lubyanka. No wonder he is now credited with being the founder of Liberation Theology. From feelings to facts, however, is a long way.”

A long way, indeed. But not too long for The Spectator’s Damian Thompson to run with it, noting that “Pacepa’s interview deserves impartial critical scrutiny. But I can’t see that happening, because it raises questions that are terribly embarrassing for Catholic liberals.”

Indeed! I was embarrassed – though mainly for CNA and Thompson for retailing such obvious silliness. Then I saw that in fact this renewed interest in Pacepa stemmed from a column he had written in National Review a week earlier. Ah, but still, that’s just another rightwing, Whittaker Chambers-loving, Reds-under-the-bed media outlet.

But no! Then John Allen dedicated a column in Crux to the story, noting that “one is tempted to take the assertion seriously.”

I guess I was wrong to avoid temptation. And yet, it may be too late.

Liberation theology is already in from the cold under Pope Francis, who shall be known in the future as the "sleeper cell pontiff," and even his doctrinal chief, Cardinal Mueller (German, which explains it) has been on board with liberation theology for a decade. Indeed, I was in Rome a year ago when Gutierrez helped present Mueller’s latest book on the Catholic Church and poverty!

Mueller is a physically imposing figure, and made an interesting contrast to Gutierrez, who might be compared to Yoda. But this Jedi knight works FOR the Evil Empire. And he is to appear at Fordham University tonight (Wednesday) evening to talk about Francis; of course Fordham is a Jesuit school, so clearly Fifth Column.

But worse, Gutierrez then heads to the Vatican next week where he will be part of an official Vatican press conference on Caritas Internationalis – and, I betcha, not to denounce that group’s leftwing agenda.

AND … that will come shortly after the pope himself meets on Sunday with Raul Castro! Francis, as you may have heard, was instrumental in thawing U.S.-Cuba relations and will stop there in September on his way to the U.S.

It’s all so obvious now. How could I not see it? Can this plot be stopped again??!!

 

David Gibson is a national reporter for Religion News Service and author of The Coming Catholic Church (HarperOne) and The Rule of Benedict (HarperOne). He blogs at dotCommonweal.

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