Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira (*)


BRAZILIAN newspapers have published abundant but scattered reports on the agitation, aggressions, and even seizures of land that have been taking place in our country in the last few months. Precisely because the news is scattered, the public at large has been absorbing it with indolence. But if one were to gather all the reports into an overall picture one would realize that, from one end to the other, Brazil is systematically being swept by a wave of "conscientization" — the reformist revolution of confiscatory socialism — which is processively degenerating into armed conflict, that is, into an immense and bloody social revolution.

Now then, in all of these news reports the action of some priest, nun or even bishop appears as an influential, if not predominant factor.

All Catholics zealous for the identi­ty of the Church with herself are sad and disconcerted at the fact that this is taking place without any countermea­sure by the Holy See in the country with the largest Catholic population in the world. Nevertheless, we all know that a forceful and adroit measure by John Paul II would suffice to stop all this.

It is therefore understandable that not a few Catholics have welcomed with some hope the promise of Agnelo Cardinal Rossi that by September John Paul II will take a decisive stand on Liberation Theology, which is at the root of this whole catastrophe. The readers of the Folha de S. Paulo probably had a similar reaction upon read­ing the news it reprinted from the Italian magazine Panorama about a project of John Paul II to follow a policy of containment toward Liberation Theology in Latin America.

In me, such news causes a sad skepticism. I am not certain that these measures will be taken. If they are, I am even less certain that they will have the indispensable degree of efficacy. For one thing, I believe that the ecumenical tendency that so extensively impreg­nates important sectors of the Church will prevent any strong measure from affecting Liberation Theology. And if, against all expectations, that measure is taken, it will be neutralized by the classic method of "smoothing over" its interpretation and execution.

Long gone are the days of Saint Pius X, the Shepherd most sweet and most strong who, brandishing his Encyclical Pascendi as an archangel would his sword of fire, prostrated the "Modernists." The latter were precursors of the progressivists and leftist Catholics, and therefore forerunners of the promoters of Liberation Theology, in which both progressivism and "Catholic leftism" are deeply rooted.

Thus, while the promised measures to alert the faithful do not come, it is better for us merely to analyze the events.

To make an exact tally of the occupations of land that have taken place in the last three months it would be necessary to obtain a copy of every Brazilian daily newspaper, something just about impossible.

If we judge only from the daily newspapers of the most important cit­ies, during three months there were thirty-five major occupations of pri­vate lands.

As if planned by one central machine, the invasions usually develop as follows:

1. In an area affected by agitation of leftist Catholics, there appear groups made up mostly of strangers unkown in the area. Well, sometimes their identity is known: they are professional agitators from the four corners of Brazil and at times even from abroad. These agitators are joined by some local malcontents who usually have close links with the local parish priest or bishop.

2. Even though these people are often in the vicinity of State-owned lands they could occupy, they threaten some private property. And after some negotiation (read intimidation) with the owner, they uninhibitedly invade the latter's property, usually with the sup­port of the local parish priest or bishop. In so doing, they trample upon two Commandments of the Law of God: "Thou shalt not steal" and "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods."

3. At the request of the owner, the law enforcement agencies, in charge of maintaining order, intervene. They do so, in general, softly and inefficacious­ly. "Negotiations" then proceed — now led by the priest and the bishop — and the owner gradually makes concessions.

4. Several possibilities are now open: a) The landowner abandons the place to save his own life and those of his loved ones, and waits for a better opportunity to vindicate his rights. Of course, this will take so long that he finally will resign himself to "selling" for a pit­tance the lands that had once been his own and joining the obscure ranks of the small bourgeoisie in some mid-sized or large city; b) Or, the landowner immediately capitulates and accepts that his land be confiscated for a vile sum that will buy him an obscure and secure place in urban society.

In short, the landowner would be practicing the principle "give away some in order not to lose all."

5. It is not so rare that the landowner is simply killed by the "poor" invaders and his family is obliged to flee without any compensation in the near future.

6. However, cases begin to appear in which non-conformist landowners, unaided by federal and state authorities, are starting to prepare for armed resis­tance with their own resources. Will such cases tend to multiply?

It is too early to make a forecast. If they do, the institution of private property will have a chance to survive for a while. But facing even this resis­tance the ecclesiastic agitators do not take on pacifist airs.

Instead, they prod on the pertinacity of the squatters and lead everything to the beginning of social warfare. Yes, class warfare, for I am certain that if such situations multiply, tension and hatred will become ever more exacerbated on both sides: "Deep calls unto deep" (Psalms, 41:8). And dawns of blood, with picket tines preventing everyone, in the name of liberty, from going to work, will multiply under the aegis of the parish priest or some local nun. Thus, the rule, with few exceptions, consists of turning ecclesiastics into the torch-bearers of the Red revolution.

In this manner, ministers of the Lord can be used to make the atheistic and egalitarian revolution in the fields.

Well, having elements to see as very black a situation that to some will appear gray at worst, I also clearly discern, in colors rosy or white, the other side of the coin. I repeat: if John Paul II wants to brine all this agitation to a halt, it will take him only one word. Only one word...

The situation requires that the Pon­tiff speak out clearly, forcefully and soon. If he does, contemporary Brazil will be saved from catastrophe.


(*) “Ultima Hora”, Rio de Janeiro, August 27, 1984