From the talks with Frei Beto.

Hermes Rodrigues Nery |

In 1996 while I was walking down the hallways of the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo I saw a banner advertising for a Greek course nearby, on the Dominican monastery at Atibaia street. Back then I didn’t have enough information to know the history of that monastery (a leftist stronghold, Liberation Theology’s nest where Frei Beto lived) and I enrolled in the course. I was, for some months, student of Sister Sonia de Fátima Battagin, who right after traveled as a missionary to Gaban.

Prof. Hermes e Frei Betto

There were two classes on the same day, one early and another late in the morning, there was a one and a half hour break that I spent waiting in the monastery’s library. It was there that I had contact, more deeply, with all the Marxist literature that was already growing inside the Church, on the seminaries, colleges, etc., doctorate and master’s thesis, the works of Gustavo Gutierrez, Joseph Comblin, Leonardo Boff et caterva.

While I was reading all that, with a bit of sadness, I asserted that it had nothing to do with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it was another content, a distortion, a corrosion and a deviation of doctrine, with all the reductions and mistakes that would make the ideology indoctrination of the faith one of the worse effects of the Liberation Theology and of the relativism.

As I went to the library frequently for some months, during the Greek lesson’s breaks, Frei Beto passed by, talked to whomever was there, exchanged ideas and, in some moments we talked about all that literature, the crises of the Church post Vatican II, he being a strong supporter of the democratization of the Church, of the woman’s priesthood, of the optional celibacy, etc. He then, willingly, accepted that we record the conversations that I intended to transcribe and for study and publication, with all the questions that I wanted to make, even not knowing how far that was from the catholic doctrine.

Only now, twenty years later, listening again to those tapes, I could understand what was going on, what took place in the 70s-80s-90s in the life of the Church, specially in Brazil and Latin America. And what I talked with Frei Beto, on the informal and recorded conversations, confirm that yes, there really was a regional power project (the Great Homeland – a Pátria Grande), as an expression of the international left, specially after the creation of the Foro de São Paulo in 1990. And the instrumentalization of the Church was a cornerstone in the expansion of this project of power, with Lula as one of the key leaderships, conceived to last for a long time, a totalitarian project with the rhetoric of the democracy as a revolutionary method. Lula’s biographer was so convinced of the project’s success for the PT[1]’s capacity of organization and it’s extraordinary fundraising efficiency and base’s mobilization (NGO’s and movements created to give base to PT), all this possible through the instrumentalization of the institutions, press, academic circles, specially the Church. He told me that the popular movements (and also PT) had many bishops and  even cardinals working, in silence, on the backstage, to the realization of this power project of the left, popular movements and etc. And when they get to the positions of power (what for him was inevitable), they would make the revolution giving power to the popular councils, etc.

But what impressed me the most from those conversations, back then already, were two convictions of Frei Beto in that distant year of 1996:

1) They would make Lula president, without any doubt[2], he was absolutely convinced of that (we were still in the first term of Fernando Henrique Cardoso)

2) They would make a Latin-American Pope

And between the bishops that were working for this, they could count with D. Cláudio Hummes, back then, Fortaleza’s Archbishop.

[1] – PT is the Brazilian’s Worker Party, Lula is the party’s leader

[2] – Lula was elected president in the 2002, PT has been in power in Brazil since then

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