Monday, December 26, 2022

When you Raise a Monster, You Most Own the Consequences

In the 1970s we left the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) - a church my family had been members of through my matriarchal line since it appeared on the North American continent.

We left because each Sunday became a running battle between the parishioners and the ministers over the church's support of the communists in Nicaragua. This was a tough sell in a part of a the country highly influenced by their Cuban neighbors' staunch first-person experience with that blood-soaked ideology - but PCUSA was well past the institutional capture turn and the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) was yet widely known and Evangelical Presbyterian Church (United States) didn't even exist.  

Wait ... I'm going down a Boxing Day religious post and this is not a religion blog ... so if you want an idea of how the leftists managed to create a destructive rolling schism in what was a consolidating presbytery, here's a chart for you to review so I can get back on track. 

That is what we get for allowing draft deferrals for those in seminary during the Vietnam War, in a fashion.

So, back to the Salamander family.

It was hard enough getting all the kids to church on Sunday only to have them suffer through this intellectual debacle. We never returned on a regular basis.

In college in the 1980s I tried my ancestral church again as an adult - but alas I only made it through a few Wednesday bible studies when everyone wanted to talk about how great the communist rebels in El Salvador were.

Out I went ... and I was not alone.

Those not insignificant inflection points in my life came to mind today while reading this from Financial Times;

Dressed in a blue shirt rather than clerical garb and gaunt after nearly four months under house arrest, Bishop Rolando Álvarez sat alone in a Nicaraguan court, charged with conspiracy to undermine national integrity and spreading false news.

Last week’s appearance was his first in public since being arrested in August during a raid on his diocesan headquarters in Matagalpa, where he had been holed up with 11 colleagues in protest at Catholic media outlets being closed.

The detention of Nicaragua’s most outspoken prelate, whose trial will begin in January, has sent an unmistakable message to opponents of the regime of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, vice-president Rosario Murillo.

“He’s been very direct and one of the few priests not afraid to speak out,” said Yader Morazán, a lawyer who fled Nicaragua in 2018. “This is about punishing him and sowing terror in the population and other clergy, too.” 

The business community was cowed into silence after it voiced support for anti-government protesters in 2018. The leaders of Cosep, the main business organisation, were imprisoned. The regime has shut down more than 3,000 NGOs and forced 54 media outlets to close, according to Confidencial, a Nicaraguan newspaper operating from neighbouring Costa Rica.

Now, it is stepping up its repression of the Catholic Church, which has criticised Ortega’s persecution of protesters and his authoritarian excesses while supporting the families of political prisoners.

“It has the objective of closing the last remaining civic space in the country, which is the space for freedom of conscience, freedom of preaching, religious freedom, even of the church,” said Carlos Chamorro, director of Confidencial.

Regular readers of CDRSalamander don't need to be reminded that this Ortega is the same communist from the 80s ... you know, the guy the "enlightened left" comforted, excused, and supported by the usual useful idiots at the time, and now.

The secular left had plenty of support from the religious left. The communists in Nicaragua for decades enjoyed the support of left-wing portions of both Catholic & Protestant confessions.

It gave them legitimacy & cover.

There were non-communist opposition groups to the dictators, but the religious denominations picked their side.

They have never - at least from what I have seen - taken responsibility for it.

Back in 1997, the University of Toronto's Dana Sawchuk outlined it well in the article, The Catholic Church in the Nicaraguan Revolution: A Gramscian Analysis;

The Nicaraguan revolution is unique because it was the first revolution in history which involved the active and continuing participation of large numbers of Christians as Christians. While both Catholics and Protestants played a significant role in the revolutionary process, particularly intriguing are  the intricacies of the Catholic Church's participation both before and after the triumph of the Sandinistas in 1979. Though traditionally most of the institutional Church had given its uncritical support to the country's dictatorial elites, in the mid-1960s the sectors challenging the system of repressive rule began to grow. Through a complex process, by the time the Sandinistas marched victorious into Managua on 19 July 1979, virtually the entire Church - from the laity to the Archbishop - appeared briefly to be on their side.

I'm sorry, but "The Greatest Generation's™" leftist church leadership and their Boomer foot soldiers in the 1970s and on crawled in to bed with the blood soaked communists across the world. 

Thankfully most of the communists that took power are gone ... but there are holdouts like Ortega - and to be frank perhaps I should pray on my attitude - but I have not much sympathy for the Nicaraguan church.

Have they really come out and taken responsibility for their actions in giving Ortega and this ilk the cover to take and then retake power, or are they acting as if they are an innocent victim here of an outside force?

No, I'm sorry; you were part of a popular front - a communist tactic as old as their death cult. We all know how these things end.

When these religious organizations - Catholic and Protestant - publicly acknowledge their culpability in the rise of communist thugs like Ortega in Nicaragua, then we can start to progress towards their present protests against authoritarians.

Then again, secular communist useful idiots have yet to be held to account either, the likes of John Kerry - who continues to be a top shelf political operative in the Democrat Party as he has for decades in spite of bearing false witness against his Navy and his nation for his personal political gain ... so there is a lot of work for all sorts of organizations to do.

Central America is a predominately Catholic part of the world. All the above being said, there is a lot the Catholic Church can do. They did for while, but that faded.

For example, from The Pillar;

St. John Paul II’s pontificate was marked by full-throated, unambiguous denunciations of Marxist regimes in various parts of the world — in some cases, especially in Eastern Europe, his approach led to revolutions, and eventually to the fall of the Iron Curtain. But in Latin America, the pontiff’s strategy was not always as successful as in his native Poland.

The former pontiff had a momentous 11-hour visit to Nicaragua in 1983, in the middle of the civil war between Sandinistas and Contras.

The pope famously wagged his finger in a reprimand of the country’s Marxist minister of culture – who happened to be a priest – Fr. Ernesto Cardenal, just one of the dozens of priests working in the Sandinista government, and causing headaches in the episcopal palace in Managua, and at the Vatican.

What is the present Pope, Francis doing?

Across Central America, Catholics are asking why Pope Francis has been slow to criticize a Nicaraguan regime bent on persecuting the Church.

There are, broadly speaking, two opinions. One says the pontiff does not criticize the situation of the Church in Nicaragua because of his ideological or political affinities; the other that he might think that direct criticism can only make things worse.

On ideology, some influential critics of Pope Francis in Central America argue that the pope is influenced by some of the same social and economic ideas that, in theory, undergird the Ortega regime.

Some of his critics argue that while Pope Francis sharply criticizes the excess of capitalism, or rebukes governments placing limits on refugee resettlement, the pontiff stays silent about human rights violations in Nicaragua, and China, among other places.

And of course, the pope has said he enjoys a “human relationship” with Raúl Castro, Cuba’s retired dictator.


Right or wrong, a decision to try a different way is not prima facie evidence of ideological affinity with the Nicaraguan regime. And while a softer approach has not stopped the persecution against the Church in Nicaragua, the pope seems to think it’s his best option.

That perspective is likely compelling for the pope in recent months, given that Francis is without a diplomatic presence on the ground in Nicaragua.

Archbishop Waldemar Sommertag, apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua, was declared in March persona non grata by the Ortega and had to flee the country — a decision which the Holy See called “incomprehensible.”

Does anyone think that if this were a "right-wing" dictatorship that Francis would take such a supine approach? 

No. Not really. 

All will have to wait for new leaders with an ability to face the hard truth of decades of support of some of the worst ideas of the 20th Century that are slowly dying out ... but are still being supported by people who should be some of its most firm opponents.

Forgive past transgressions - but do not forget them. Do not let those pretend their innocence who have yet to acknowledge their past error. 

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