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Continued from Part I
In a biography
of Lula (socialist icon Luis Inacio Lula da Silva), Frei Betto confirmed the Brazilian Workers' Party connection to the BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities): The Brazilian Workers' Party proposal "met all the expectations of the BECs."
After Küster's first video went viral and in spite of irrefutable evidence, Msgr. Geremias Steinmetz (Frei Betto's former assistant) continued to deny the political character of the event, simply asking the crowd to get rid
of the political banners "for the sake of the meeting." As Küster released the other videos, the archdiocese continued to refuse to address the real issues. After summoning an urgent meeting
with the clergy of Londrina, the archdiocese published a letter stating
, "[W]e reject and condemn the sectarian attitudes of those who intended to offend. ... We repudiate ... all offenses aimed at the archbishop."
Küster's videos caused such a stir that even famous priest and singer Padre Zezinho reacted to the controversy
, claiming that "some people have politicized what isn't political, speaking in the name of the BECs. ... I stand with the authority of the 60 bishops who were there. ... Besides, the Vatican hasn't yet reacted to this. ... And you can all be sure the pope's been informed."
Church Militant reached out to Küster, and he assured us that "a very reliable priest informed me that people are talking about it in the Vatican. A dossier about the BECs in Brazil has already been handed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith."
Küster has been attacked by priests and bishops all over the country. The Brazilian Dominican Order published a fiery letter
upholding the Interecclesial: We "repudiate the campaign on social media to antagonize the meeting. It distorted the significance of BECs to ... Latin American societies, and it tries to bond the BECs to [the Brazilian Workers' Party.] We equally disapprove of the demonization of Christians historically committed to the poor ... like the Dominican Frei Betto."
Father Manuel Joaquim Rodrigues dos Santos, a Londrina priest, wrote an article
in a local newspaper titled "The Intransigence That Kills," accusing Küster of spreading "fake news" and of "demonizing an event at the expense of the truth." The archbishop of Maringá, Msgr. Anuar Battisti, called Küster "an infiltrated Protestant" (Küster is a convert from Protestantism) during one of his homilies. "I have friends who were in this Mass, and they told me what the archbishop said," confirmed Küster. "One of my sources told me that among the members of the Maringá clergy, pictures of me have been distributed as if I am some kind of outlaw." Church Militant insistently tried to reach out to the archdiocese of Maringá, with no success.
"A priest in Londrina called me a 'worm,'" Küster continued. "I have been called a traitor, an infiltrator and I've even heard rumors of an excommunication. I know this is practically impossible but just to illustrate how far these people can go."
On the other hand, the number of priests who've contacted Küster to congratulate him for his bravery far outnumbers the attacks:
I've been receiving a lot of support. I can say that 95 percent of lay people that get in touch with me show support for my work. As for the clergy, many priests are contacting me saying they are extremely happy with what I exposed about the BECs because finally, someone's saying what they've wanted to say for decades but can't. I've been contacted by bishops, by friars of several orders, by priests in the USA, priests in Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, the Vatican ... Priests from all parts of Latin America. Right now there are so many messages in my inbox that I'm considering hiring someone just to handle those ... The majority of priests that contact me tell me they are afraid of persecution, of retaliation ... They know this needs to be denounced, but they are afraid that if they do, they might be silenced or moved from their parishes, leaving the faithful abandoned to a Liberation Theology priest."
While there's been a clear effort
from the Brazilian clergy to cover up the connection of the BECs with the Brazilian Workers' Party, the bond can also be verified in a well-known 2002 video
of Lula where he states, "Why did I get so far? Because I have movements behind me, I am supported by ... the students ... and the Catholic Church ... I am the offspring of Liberation Theology, of syndicalism ... A part of our base is connected to the Basic Ecclesial Communities."
In 2005, then-president Lula wrote a letter of support to the 11th Interecclesial Meeting of the BECs: "Dear comrades ... You know how dear the communities are to me and how I acknowledge your role in the resistance to the military dictatorship ... in your support of the syndical movement and especially of PT (Brazilian Workers' Party)."
The phenomenon of the BECs was studied by the founder of TFP (Tradition, Family and Property) Plinio, Corrêa de Oliveira, and his findings were all gathered in a book
. Monsignor. Miguel Balaguer, a bishop in Uruguay, explained
to Plinio, "[The BECs] have been renamed 'basic communities,' an expression inspired by Marxist terminology, equivalent to 'soviet
.'" After describing the goals of BECs, Plinio concludes, "For all I've seen, BECs are undoubtedly the great emergent potency of Brazilian politics, even more powerful than the Brazilian Communist Party."
The president of the Italian TFP, Julio Loredo
, published in 2014 a comprehensive book
refuting Liberation Theology and uncovering the associations between BECs and PT: "PT was founded in 1980 in a convent of the Sisters of Sion ... under the advice of important Liberation Theologians, including Frei Betto, Lula's ideological mentor
." Loredo explains in detail the dynamic of the BECs' strategy, as structured by theologian Carlos Mesters:
It'd be very rare that a group of Christians would commit to action without a background of Christian symbols, without a Christian reflection about it. Mesters' position, which is that of persuading people to reflect 'theologically' first and then engage them in revolutionary activism, allows the method to fit ... in different communities.
As Fidel Castro said in a Liberation Theology conference in 1965, "Liberation Theology is more important than Marxism for revolution in Latin America."
A notable figure was also spotted by Küster between conferences: introduced as a "partner" of the event was Norbert Bolte, from Adveniat
, an organization founded in 1961 by the German Episcopal Conference, whose objectives
are "to promote a liberating evangelization ... in the Caribbean and Latin American churches." Communication giant Deutsche Welle stated
in a piece celebrating Adveniat's 50th anniversary, "Many Catholics reject this convergence of Church and politics, especially because it's influenced by Marxism and Socialism. Liberation Theology ... is still a mark in the work of Adveniat in Latin America." All 60 bishops present in the Interecclesial Meeting attended
a discreet gathering — unmentioned in the official program — with Norbert Bolte and other representatives of Adveniat.
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