Luis Quispe lquispe at blythe.org
Sun May 26 15:33:06 MDT 1996

                          PCP ON RELIGION

EL DIARIO-LIMA, PERU: What is your opinion of the New Evangelism
put forward by the Pope?

PRESIDENT GONZALO: Marx taught us that "religion is the opiate of
the people." This is a Marxist thesis which is completely valid
today, and in the future. Marx also held that religion is a
social phenomenon that is the product of exploitation and it will
be eliminated as exploitation is swept away and a new society
emerges. These are principles that we can't ignore, and that we
must always keep in mind. Related to the previous point, it must
be remembered that the people are religious, something which
never has and never will prevent them from struggling for their
basic class interests, and in this way serving the revolution,
and in particular the people's war. I want to make it absolutely
clear that we respect this religiousness as a question of freedom
of religious beliefs, as recognized by the programme which was
approved by our Congress.

So the question you asked really has to do, in our view, with the
ecclesiastic hierarchy, with the Papacy, that old theocracy that
had succeeded in developing as a powerful instrument in Roman
times. Later, adapting itself to the conditions of feudalism, it
gained a vast power, even greater than before. But it always
tried to rein in the struggle of the people, and defended the
interests of the oppressors and exploiters, acting as an
ideological shield for the reactionaries, changing and adapting
itself as new situations emerged.

We can see this clearly if we think about the relation between
the Church and the bourgeois revolution, the old bourgeois
revolution, I'm referring to the French Revolution, for example.
The Church fiercely defended feudalism, and later, through a lot
of struggle and after the defeat of feudalism--let me repeat,
through great struggle it adapted itself to the bourgeois order
and became once again an instrument at the service of the new
exploiters and oppressors. In the present situation, what we see
is a historical process which is unstoppable. The era of the
world proletarian revolution, the new era begun in 1917, presents
the problem for the proletariat of how to lead revolutions to
change the old decadent order and create a genuinely new society,
communism. In the face of this, how has the Church responded? As
in previous times, it seeks to survive, and this is the basis of
the Vatican II Council, where the Church sought to develop
conditions that would permit it, first, to defend the old
order as it has always done, and then, adjust and adapt itself in
order to serve new exploiters, to continue to survive. This is
what it seeks, this is the essence of Vatican II.

The question of the "new evangelism" refers explicitly to how
ecclesiastical authority, the Pope in particular, sees the role
of Latin America, where, as they themselves say and the current
Pope said in I984, half the world's Catholics live. They are,
consequently, trying to use the five hundredth anniversary of the
discovery of America to push forward a so-called movement of "new
evangelism." In sum, this is what they hope for: since evangelism
officially began in 1494 following the discovery of America, with
this new centennial they want to develop a "new evangelism" in
defense of their bastion, this half of the "parish," half of the
bastion that sustains them in power. This is their goal. In this
way, the hierarchy and the Papacy aim to defend their position in
America and serve U.S. imperialism, the dominant imperialist
power in Latin America.

But we have to understand this plan in the context of a campaign
and a worldwide plan, linked to its relations with the Soviet
Union on the occasion of the millennium of its Christianization,
the ties with Chinese revisionism, the actions of the Church in
Poland, the Ukraine, etc. It is a worldwide plan and the "new
evangelism operates within it. As always they are attempting to
defend the existing social order, to be its ideological shield,
because the ideology of reaction, of imperialism, has become
decrepit. In the future they will again seek to adapt in order to
survive. But the prospects will be different, not like things
were before. Marx's law will assert itself: religion will wither
away as exploitation and oppression are destroyed and eliminated.
And since the Papacy serves the exploiting classes and what will
follow is not an exploiting class, the Papacy will not be able to
survive, and religion itself will wither away. In the meantime
the freedom of religious belief has to be recognized until
mankind advancing through new objective conditions, comes to
possess a clear, scientific and world-transforming consciousness.
We must therefore, analyze the "new evangelism" in the context of
this plan of the Church to survive under new conditions, a
transformation that they know must come.
Read the entire Interview at the PCP WEB PAGE:
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30-08 Broadway, Suite 159
Queens, NY 11106
lquispe at nyxfer.blythe.org

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