Brazil’s Bolsonaro Administration Sees Catholic Church as Potential Opposition

The Bolsonaro administration in Brazil wants to restrain, according to Brazilian newspaper Estadão, what it considers the opposition of the Catholic Church, in the vacuum of the defeat and loss of the Workers’ Party and other left-wing parties. In the evaluation of officials of President Jair Bolsonaro, the Catholic Church is a traditional ally of the Workers’ Party (WP) and it is articulating itself to influence debates previously dominated by WP in the countryside of Brazil and in suburbs.

The alert to the Bolsonaro administration came from reports of the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Abin) and military leaders. These reports have mentioned recent meetings of Brazilian cardinals with Pope Francis in the Vatican.

“We are worried and we want to neutralize it,” said Augusto Heleno, chief minister of the Institutional Security Office (ISO), who heads the counter-offensive.

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Based on documents circulating within the Bolsonaro administration, the ISO’s military officials have judged that left-leaning sectors of the Catholic Church, members of the so-called “progressive clergy,” intend to take advantage of meetings with the pope to criticize the Bolsonaro administration and get international impact.

“We think this is interference in Brazil’s internal affairs,” said Heleno. As a reaction, ISO plans to involve, according to Estadão, the Itamaraty [the Brazilian foreign affair ministry], which is under the control of an olavete, to monitor Brazilian Catholic leaders during their trips to the Vatican.

As soon as Abin’s first communication reached the top officials of the Bolsonaro administration, generals immediately made a connection with the criticism of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (NCBB) to Bolsonaro during the election campaign. Groups linked to the NCBB, such as the Indigenous Missionary Council and the Land Pastoral Commission, spared no attacks, which continued after Bolsonaro’s election and inauguration. All of them are historical allies of the Workers’ Party. The Prison Pastoral, for example, issued a press release last week criticizing the anticrime measures of the Minister of Justice, Sérgio Moro, who, as judge, condemned former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the Car Washing operation.

In the electoral campaign, Land Pastoral issued a report by Bishop André de Witte of Bahia, who mentioned Bolsonaro as a “real danger.” Bolsonaro’s support networks countered by spreading on the internet that Pope Francisco was “communist.”

Although considering himself Catholic, Bolsonaro was unable to obtain the support of the NCBB, which is Brazil’s largest Catholic force, but invested heavily and incessantly in the support of evangelicals, especially Rev. Silas Malafaia, during the elections.

However, after getting elected, he abandoned his preference for evangelicals and opted for placing above evangelicals militant olavetes, as adherents of astrologer Olavo de Carvalho are called. Because of this change of preference, several ministries of great importance became a source of jobs to olavetes, just as in the past they were a source of jobs to socialist militants.

The only evangelical in high level in the Bolsonaro administration is Pastor Damares Alves, who heads the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights. But she, as an evangelical, is visibly disadvantaged compared to the large number of olavetes in more important government positions. It is a harmful disadvantage, on the part of the Bolsonaro administration, as it goes directly against its evangelical voters, who are seen by astrologer Carvalho as worse than Marxists, according to his statement in September 2018.

The Bolsonaro administration and its intelligence agencies, especially Abin, correctly analyzed when they saw the Catholic Church as a potential opponent. There is a Catholic tradition of connection to the left occurring not only in Brazil but also throughout Latin America. The most Catholic countries in Latin America are, coincidentally or not, also the most socialist. Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia are ultra-Catholic countries that have experienced a strong leftist advance precisely because of leftist Catholic influence.

Brazil has not fallen into this leftist-Catholic tradition because of the advance of evangelical churches, which supported Bolsonaro because they saw conservative qualities in him, especially in the issues of abortion and homosexuality, which are aligned with their conservative, Bible-based views.

This conservative trend is by no means unique to Brazil. It is seen throughout Latin America, where countries influenced by evangelical conservatism lead their governments to move their embassies to Jerusalem. A major example is Guatemala, the first nation in Latin America, and the second country in the world after the United States, to move its embassy to Jerusalem. The president of Guatemala is evangelical and almost 50 percent of the Guatemalan population today is evangelical. The more evangelical a country is, the more conservative and pro-Israel it is.

Bolsonaro did very well by rejecting the radicalism of left-wing Catholics, especially the NCBB.

Yet, by giving preference to olavetes, who are syncretic Catholics who embrace a kind of esoteric fascism, to the detriment of evangelicals who strongly supported him, Bolsonaro is playing a strange game with his constituents. This game involves manipulation and opportunism.

If it is not right to give preference to evangelical supporters, why give preference to olavetes’ fascism, which defends the Inquisition, who tortured and killed Jews and Protestants?

If Bolsonaro thought that astrologer Carvalho was enough to elect him, why before the election did he give preference to evangelicals? After his election was won, why did he change his stance, giving preference to olavetes?

If it was not right for former socialist presidents Lula and Dilma to turn the Brazilian government into a big source of jobs for left-wing militants, why would it now be right to turn the Brazilian government into a big source of jobs for olavete militants?

In addition, there is the problem of external interference. Steve Bannon said last week that a senior Bolsonaro government official “is not helpful and is unpleasant.” Such interference by Bannon in Brazilian politics occurred after his meeting with the astrologer Carvalho. Both Bannon and the Brazilian astrologer, who is a self-exiled immigrant in the United States, are adherents of the Islamic occultist René Guénon. Bannon, who became persona non grata in the Trump administration and in the conservative mainstream media after Trump expelled him from the White House, seeks to interfere in Brazil’s affairs now that the Bolsonaro administration has given so much space and job opportunities to olavetes.

If General Heleno thought that the left-wing conduct of the NCBB and the Vatican “is interference in the internal affairs of Brazil,” why think that the advance of esoteric fascism within the Bolsonaro administration promoted by two adherents of an Islamic sorcerer would be less interference?

You cannot have a healthy victory, in the fight against the NCBB’s leftism, by choosing esoteric fascism. The only healthy way to defeat the powerful Catholic left is to do what has been done throughout Latin America by a majority of conservative evangelical churches: Preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, healing the sick and casting out demons.

With information from Estadão.

Portuguese version of this article: Governo Bolsonaro vê Igreja Católica como potencial opositora

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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