Nicaragua: Imperialist Snakes in Holy Vestments

Lauren Smith
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According to Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians, “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.”  In Nicaragua, the imperialist snake wears the vestments of cardinals, bishops and priests, and it foments discontent amongst the faithful from the pulpit with boldface lies that incite riotous protests against its democratically elected government, and it protects foreign funded paramilitary troops and organized criminals in their destruction of public buildings and infrastructure.  This unholy and unjust violence occurs in once peaceful Nicaragua, a literal Garden of Eden, where small and medium sized farms produce 90 percent of all staple foods consumed. To banish this snake, it is necessary to identify its master; what its objectives are; how it got into the garden; and how it sustains itself. snake’s name is Opus Dei.  Josemaría Escrivá, a priest and ardent fan of the murderous U.S. installed right-wing military dictator Francisco Franco (1939-1975), founded Opus Dei in Spain in 1928.  Franco is accused of the murder and disappearance of 114,000 people, which consisted of Liberals, Socialists, Trotskyists, Communists, anarchists, Protestant Christians and intellectuals between the years 1936 and 1952.

Opus Dei was given final Catholic Church approval in 1950 by Pope Pius XII, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) collaborator.  Additionally, Pope Pius XII knighted General William “Wild Bill” Donovan, who was the then chief of the Office of Strategic Services, the wartime predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency into its most prestigious conservative order, the Knights of Malta.  Other notable Knights of Malta were former CIA Director, William Casey and former Secretary of State, Alexander Haig.  Many notable politicians, business leaders and news media pundits are knights.  According to The Order of Malta’s web site, the Order of Malta is made up of more than 13,500 Knights, Dames and Chaplains. A membership list is available on Wikipedia. “They represent the vanguard of American Catholicism, the point at which the Vatican and the U.S. ruling elite intersect. The Knights of Malta comprise what is perhaps the most exclusive club on earth.”[viii]

Growth of Opus Dei

Pope John Paul II (10/16/1978 – 4/2/2005) elevated Opus Dei to a personal prelature in 1982.  This freed Opus Dei from oversight by local dioceses, and allowed members and supporters to be controlled centrally from Rome.  Additionally, with Cardinal Ratzinger’s help, John Paul II increased the number of Opus Dei bishops (there were only 4 before, in all of Latin America) and granted Opus its own Pontifical “atheneum” in Rome, despite objections from the rectors of the Church’s established pontifical universities. And, John Paul II made its founder a Saint in 1992 by denying the hearing of dissenting opinions in a break from tradition.  Lastly, Pope John Paul II codified Opus Dei’s satanic materialist beliefs into the Catholic Church’s own social doctrine by commissioning “The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.”  The ironically named Pontifical Council for “Justice and Peace” published the Compendium in 2004.

It is important to note that John Paul II was particularly close to former United States President Ronald Reagan (1/20/81-1/20/89). Together, they conspired to undermine: communism in Eastern Europe; Liberation Theology throughout Latin America; and the Sandinista government in particular with propaganda, armed insurgents and money laundering.

The proliferation of Opus Dei clergy and laity can be understood as the product of this long standing collaboration between the Vatican and the CIA, which has enjoyed a symbiotic working relationship since World War II primarily due to Pope Pius XII 1942 establishment of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), now called the Vatican Bank.  Additionally, the Vatican and the CIA share socioeconomic and political business objectives because they historically serve the same evil master, the ruling elite.  As the elite is able to extract greater wealth from labor in a subservient capitalist free market economy than from an autonomous socialist model, controlling labor, socio-political awareness and rebellion is tantamount.  Opus Dei, through the Catholic Church, is able to achieve these objectives by manipulating the holy teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, and its enforcer, the CIA, is able to neutralize any and all opposition.

Vatican Bank/Institute for Works of Religion (IOR)

Despite it physical location in the city of Rome, IOR functions with the autonomy and secrecy of an offshore bank due to the privilege it enjoys in being governed by the State of Vatican City, an absolute monarchy.  As such, the IOR is considered one of the top banks in the world for money laundering.  “Because of its clandestine workings, millions can be deposited into the IOR on a continuous basis and channeled into numbered Swiss bank accounts without the possibility of detection. It is the perfect place for the CIA and the Sicilian Mafia to launder their ill-gotten gains of the narcotics and weapon trade, and for the Roman Church to fund its political mission.  And, according to Moneyval (the anti-money-laundering committee of the Council of Europe), it remains one of the world’s leading laundries for dirty cash.”[xiv]  While Moneyval claims, under Pope Francis, some improvements have been made in the freezing of back accounts; the Vatican has failed to bring any cases to court. The latest scandal involving money laundering is as recent as December 2017.

Under Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, proponents of the right-wing Opus Dei prelature were installed in key positions in the Vatican, and deployed to Nicaragua and other socialist countries to build, though deceit and manipulation, foundations for regime change.  In countries with Military dictatorships, Opus Dei’s role is to keep the poor and oppressed, confused and docile.  Additionally, Liberation Theologians (who believe in assisting the poor and oppressed through socio-political activism, in addition to teaching scripture) were excised from the Church.  As explained by former Catholic Priest Matthew Fox, he was first stopped from teaching Liberation Theology by Cardinal Ratzinger, and then defrocked.

“They replaced the heroic Bishops, including people like Oscar Romero, who was actually martyred for his work with the poor in El Salvador, with an Opus Dei Bishop; and they’ve done this all over South America.  Opus Dei is a Radical, Fascist, Right-wing Catholic movement begun by a Fascist Priest, Escriva, who actually praised Hitler.  And Ratzinger and John Paul II rushed him into canonization!  They made a saint of him faster than anyone in the history of the church, and they destroyed the whole process of canonization to do it.  They did away with the Devil’s Advocate tradition, where you have someone there representing the “shadow side” of the guy — they had none of that.  Anyway, the guy is leaving a very dirty footprint behind.”

“He fired all the Theologians, and he hounded them; like in my case, he expelled me from the Dominican Order, of which I’d been a member for 34 years, and he silenced me for a year, and then expelled me three years after that. Father Boff, the most read theologian in Latin America, he hounded him, silenced him, and then, Boff quit the Franciscans, of which he was a member for many years.”

In Nicaragua, in 1985, Pope Paul II, suspended Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, and two other priests, the brothers Ernesto and Fernando Cardenal after publicly admonishing and denouncing them for political activity. They were effectively forbidden from saying Mass amongst other things.  All three served in the Nicaraguan government and refused to resign from office.

Autonomous Nicaragua

Fortunately, President Daniel Ortega is well respected in the international community amongst other autonomous countries and was re-elected with approximately 70 percent of the vote in 2017. As such, he remains popular despite the slander and gross misrepresentation of facts by right-wing Opus Dei clergy and the U.S. directed mainstream news media.

As Nicaragua does not fit the preferred profile by the ruling elite of a subservient free market economy, the objective of Opus Dei and the CIA in Nicaragua is regime change.  It is thought that Nicaragua must be brought under control before other countries follow its successful lead as an autonomous socialist country.  Nicaragua is particularly dangerous, as it has shattered the myth that socialists can’t be devout Catholics.  According to the 2005 census by the government’s Nicaraguan Institute of Statistics and Census, 58.5 percent of the population was Catholic and 21.6 percent was evangelical Protestant.  Additionally, Liberation Theologians have long demonstrated the faith of socialists in Catholicism since the 1960’s and have nonetheless been persecuted by right-wing dictatorships.  So, religious beliefs remain a smoke screen; it’s all about power and money.

Nicaragua’s economic and social success under President Ortega is well described by Otaviano Canuto, an Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund.[xix]  Jorge Capelán, writer and editor for Tortilla Con Sal, in his articleFacts About What is Happening in Nicaragua and a Challenge to Left”, describes Nicaragua’s successful socialist economic model:

“The economy of Nicaragua rests fundamentally on the popular sectors that produce more than 50% of GDP and generate more than 70% of employment in the country. Family remittances, which go directly to that sector of the economy, are an important source of income for Nicaragua. In Nicaragua, there was an important redistribution of land resulting from the revolution of 1979 and the peace accords of the 1990s. Today, 80% of the land is still in the hands of small and medium-sized producers, while in 1979 the owners of more than 500 manzanas controlled most of the land.  In addition, since 2007, the Sandinista government has handed over 100,000 land titles in the countryside and the city, giving production means to sectors that do not follow a capitalist economic logic. This economic base means that 90% of all the food consumed is produced in Nicaragua. In addition, it means entire sectors of the economy, such as transport and even most of tourism, are controlled by cooperatives and family businesses.”

Right-Wing Clerics

In Nicaragua, the corruption of Opus Dei can be seen in the pulpit, during peace negotiations, and in the street by its members, collaborators and sycophants. Since the time of Pope John Paul II, supporting the objectives of Opus Dei has been a great career move for an ambitious and greedy cleric.

“In Nicaragua’s May 2018 ‘peace’ negotiations: ‘Bishop Msgr. Silvio Báez acted as a coup leader, calling the insurrectionaries to arms; and Bishop Abelardo Mata de Estelí, in the first session of the dialogue [between protestors and the government] practically made a declaration of war against the government, while the head of the Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, showed total passivity in the face of the belligerence of his bishops.  Nuns celebrate when right-wing vandals knock down Trees of Life (30-meter-high metal structures that light the cities) even though, when they are knocked down, they’ve caused human deaths.  We see videos of priests such as Father Carlos Rafael Avellan of the Municipality of Nueva Guinea or Father Edwin Román de San Miguel encouraging people to participate in marches that everyone knows are not peaceful’ ”

As reported by Tortilla Con Sal,

“An undeniable sign of that failure was an unprecedented declaration by Nicaragua’s leading evangelical churches on June 5, stating: We propose to the government that if the Catholic bishops cannot agree among themselves to continue as mediators and given that the dialogue for peace cannot be allowed to expire or be delayed, then the Organization of American States (OAS) should be asked to mediate a broad National Dialogue incorporating representatives of political parties and the Evangelical church since the current structure of the dialogue is more sectoral than national and does not represent the 50 percent of the country’s population that is evangelical.” For the main evangelical churches to rebuke Nicaragua’s Catholic bishops in those terms is unprecedented and shows how badly damaged Cardinal Brenes’ credibility now is.”

In Support of Liberation Theology

While Liberation Theology took a hit from 1978-2013 under Pope Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, other Popes, Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Nuns and laity have not embraced the materialist, self-serving doctrines of Opus Dei.  They have instead chosen to remain neutral or serve God through the holy teachings of Liberation Theology, which encourages the poor to rebel against the institutionalized violence of poverty.  Liberation Theology explains that the wide schism between wealth and poverty is not God’s plan but the devil’s handiwork.

Pope John XXIII (10/28/1958- 6/3/1963) recognized the need for social justice and minted Liberation Theology to challenge the Church to defend the oppressed and poor.  Pope John XXIII took major steps to liberalize the church with the Second Vatican Council and to open a dialogue with the East.  In doing so, he shifted papal policy from the strict anti-Communist line of his predecessor, Pope Pius XIII, and articulated a concern for social justice over the accumulation of wealth.  Pope John XXIII’s vision of Catholicism as a community of believers sparked major reforms.  However, this direction concerned the CIA. “Classified CIA studies prepared throughout the 1960s with titles such as “The Catholic Church Reassesses Its Role in Latin America” depicted a church with a commitment to economic and political reform. The studies foresaw the emergence of “liberation theology”, which would provide the theoretical basis for a “people’s church” that would establish itself in Latin America in the early 1970s.”

Pope Paul IV (6/21/1963-8/6/1978).  In 1967, Paul VI authored a controversial encyclical, Populorum Progressio, in which he criticized colonial repression and recommended economic and social remedies that were widely interpreted as a denunciation of capitalism.  His policies set the stage for the historic gathering of Latin American bishops that took place at Medellin, Colombia, in 1968. The bishops called upon the church to “defend the rights of the oppressed” and recognize a “preferential option for the poor” in the struggle for social justice.

“The bishops at Medellin condemned the institutionalized violence of poverty, and denounced capitalism and communism equally, placing blame for hunger and misery of the poor of the world on the rich and powerful.  One of the first social theorists embraced by liberationists was Karl Marx, and this was clearly expressed at Medellin.  While Liberation Theology specifically rejects the atheism of Marxism, at Medellin, the conference of bishops took specific aim at the system of capitalism, arguing that it militates against the dignity of the human person. Gustavo Gutierrez formulated major components of Liberation Theology, just prior to the conference at Medellin. Gutierrez’s book, A Theology of Liberation, marks the first full expression of Liberation Theology (Gutierrez 1988).”

In the fall of 1985, The Directorate of Intelligence of the CIA sponsored a conference on Liberation Theology and Communism, where the goal was to examine the implications for the United States of what they called “the phenomenon of liberation theology” and the Popular Church. Thirty-three Reflections from this event were captured in a declassified document titled: Liberation Theology: Religion, Reform, and Revolution“, which denotes the US government’s main concerns about the movement since the 1960’s.  Clearly, the most frightening concerns for the elite is for the United States and capitalism to be rightfully identified as the enemy of the people; and for the poor and oppressed to seek a just life now and not wait for the hereafter.

“Liberation Theology promotes socioeconomic reform through grassroots political action and joins together two powerfully forces – Marxism and Christianity. Openly anti-Western, Liberation Theology identifies the United States and capitalism as primarily responsible for the impoverishment of the Third World.”

In our view, the aspect of Liberation Theology most threatening to political stability in Third World Countries is the activist orientation of its practitioners who urge the oppressed to seek a just life now –not in the hereafter – and to use violence to accomplish this goal.”

Additionally, the CIA has seen to the censure and execution of Liberation Theologians to prevent them from preaching that poverty can be eradicated through the socialist distribution of wealth.

Pope John Paul I (8/26-9/28/1978)

Ultra-liberal Pope John Paul I suffered a mysterious death in September 1978 after serving only 33 days in office.  Officially, it was claimed he had a heart attack but many faithful and several investigative journalists feel he was assassinated through poisoning, since he was a healthy man without a heart condition and the use of arsenic poisoning, according to some sources, was always a popular method in clandestine Mafia assassinations.  Additionally, Pope John Paul I was allegedly embalmed before being examined, and Cardinal Villot, who was last seen with him the evening before, orchestrated the cover up, contradicted himself repeatedly regarding key details, and was found dead six months later in March of 1979.

Around this time, in 1976, the CIA was discovered, by a U.S. Senate investigation, experimenting with assassination methods that could give heart attacks and cancer. Nonetheless, the CIA’s mob ties are longstanding and involved attempts to murder Fidel Castro with poison amongst other methods in the 1960’s.  The CIA’s assassination handbook dates back to the 1950’s.[xxx]

Pope Francis (March 13, 2013-)

Pope Francis has repeatedly condemned state coups sponsored by conservative media, and he is making changes in Church leadership: by demoting right-wing clerics from key positions; reforming the Knights of Malta; reinstating Liberation Theologians; and freezing Vatican bank accounts associated with money laundering.  However, Pope Francis has also prayed at the tomb of Opus Dei’s founder in Rome; beatified Opus Dei’s first prelate, Álvaro del Portillo; appointed several Opus Dei priests as bishops around the world; and sent a letter supporting a project for young people (UNIV) organized by members of Opus Dei.

In Support of Liberation Theology

In 2014, Pope Francis reinstated Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, a beloved Nicaraguan diplomat, politician and Catholic priest of the Maryknoll Missionary Society, and former President of the United Nations General Assembly from September 2008 to September 2009.  Also, in 2014, Pope Francis demoted ultraconservative American Cardinal Raymond Burke. In 2015, Pope Francis unblocked Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero stalled sainthood case and declared him a martyr.  In 2016, the Pontiff prayed before the tomb of Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia, former prelate of the diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas, a controversial figure famous for his perceived support for neo-Marxist movements in the state of Chiapas.  In 2017, Pope Francis requested, ultra conservative Matthew Festing, Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta’s, resignation.  The Pontiff’s stated goal is curbing what he calls  “spiritual worldliness,” the use of the Church for self-interested purposes.

On June 5, 2018, Pope Francis wished a happy 90th birthday to Dominican Father Gustavo Gutierrez.  The Peruvian Father is one of the principal founders of liberation theology.  In the birthday letter, the pope thanked Father Gutierrez for his contributions to the Church and humanity through his theological service and preferential love for the poor and discarded of society, and his efforts of challenging everyone’s conscience, so that no one remains indifferent to the tragedy of poverty and exclusion.  He further encouraged him to continue with his prayer and service to others, giving witness to the joy of the Gospel. Recently, Pope Francis selected the date for the ceremony that will see the Catholic Church officially recognize the sainthood of Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Oscar Romero.  They will be canonized on Oct. 14, 2018.

Hopefully, Pope Francis will remove Opus Dei associated clergy from Nicaragua and the Catholic Church; continue his purge of right-wing leadership from the Knights of Malta; and continue his support for the work of Liberation Theologians through key clerical appointments; bring Vatican bank money laundering cases to trial; and, replace the Opus Dei drafted blasphemous Social Doctrine with one that reflects the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ.

Opus Dei Social Doctrine

Essentially, Opus Dei’s social doctrine preaches about: the superiority of a free market economy; the divine right of the wealthy to profit in a capitalist free market economy; the divine right of the of poor to humbly suffer their miserable lot in life; the superiority of imperialist powers in managing the domestic affairs of sovereign nation states; and lastly, the duty to incite and partake in armed insurrection against any government that it deems not “democratic” enough by its right-wing standard.

Free Market Economy

The below statements clearly show the bias for a capitalist economic system with the least government interference:

The free market is the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs.”

The Church’s social doctrine appreciates the secure advantages that the mechanisms of the free market offer, making it possible as they do to utilize resources better and facilitating the exchange of products.

The Church’s social doctrine considers the freedom of the person in economic matters a fundamental value and an inalienable right to be promoted and defended.

The economy, in fact, whether on a scientific or practical level, has not been entrusted with the purpose of fulfilling man or of bringing about proper human coexistence. Its task, rather, is partial: the production, distribution and consumption of material goods and services.”

The State must adopt suitable legislation but at the same time it must direct economic and social policies in such a way that it does not become abusively involved in the various market activities.In any case, public intervention must be carried out with equity, rationality and effectiveness, and without replacing the action of individuals, which would be contrary to their right to the free exercise of economic initiative.

Wealth & Poverty

The social doctrine states that:

“Profit is the first indicator that a business is functioning well: when a firm makes a profit, this means that productive factors have been properly employed”.

“Riches belong to some people so that they can gain merit by sharing them with others.” 

“Wealth is a good that comes from God and is to be used by its owner and made to circulate so that even the needy may enjoy it.” 

“Poverty opens one to recognizing and accepting the order of creation.” 

“Poverty takes on the status of a moral value when it becomes an attitude of humble availability and openness to God, of trust in him.”

“In Wisdom Literature, poverty is described as a negative consequence of idleness and of a lack of industriousness.”

These statements clearly maintain the status quo, ensuring the elite remain entitled and protected from justice, and that the poor blame themselves for their own oppression.

Superiority of Imperialists

The following doctrines call for nation-states to relinquish their autonomy to the imperialist powers because it claims the global elite is more effective at directing their national economies and financial systems then they are themselves:

“In fact, an important consequence of the process of globalization consists in the gradual loss of effectiveness of nation-states in directing the dynamics of national economic-financial systems. Because of the new bonds of interdependence among global operators, the traditional defensive measures of States appear to be destined to failure and, in the presence of new areas of competition, the very notion of a national market recedes into the background.”

“There is the clear need not just for States but for the international community to take on this delicate chore with adequate and effective political and juridical instruments.” “It is therefore indispensable that international economic and financial institutions should be able to identify the most appropriate institutional solutions and formulate the most suitable plans of action aimed at bringing about a change…”.  “The sphere of politics too, just like that of the economy, must be in a position to extend its range of action beyond national boundaries, quickly taking on an operative worldwide dimension which alone will permit it to direct the processes now underway not only according to economic parameters but also according to moral criteria.”

Armed Insurrection

Lastly, Opus Dei calls for armed insurrection against sovereign governments when governments are reported to violate Opus Dei’s nebulous principles of democracy.

“Armed resistance to oppression by political authority is not legitimate, unless all the following conditions are met: 1) there is certain, grave and prolonged violation of fundamental rights, 2) all other means of redress have been exhausted, 3) such resistance will not provoke worse disorders, 4) there is well-founded hope of success; and 5) it is impossible reasonably to foresee any better solution”.

Liberation Theology

The brave and selfless service of Liberation Theologians to the poor, even over their own personal safety, is legendary, inspiring, and it is so threating to the ruling elite that tens of thousands of its faithful have been imprisoned, tortured and murdered by United States trained military death squads throughout Latin America.  The most notable murder is that of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, a right-wing death squad gunned him down during Mass in the chapel of San Salvador’s Divine Providence hospital in 1980.

The Christian base communities are the greatest threat to military dictatorships throughout Latin America,” said Maryknoll Sister Ita Ford in late 1980, three weeks before she, two other American nuns and Jean Donovan, a lay missionary worker, were brutally murdered in El Salvador.

Faith is a mysterious blessing and as such it cannot be extinguished by censure, slander, persecution, torture or even death.  Liberation Theologians demonstrate through their example how love overcomes fear.  In God’s time, good is destined to triumph over evil.  Fortunately, the virtues of faith and patience are President Daniel Ortega’s gifts.  The righteous amongst us will rise up against the unholy alliance of Opus Dei, the CIA, the Knights of Malta and organized crime, and drive them back to the depths of Hell from whence they came.

God entrusted us all with the ability to discern good from evil.  If we accept what goes against our hearts and minds because we want to believe in the accouterments of faith such as robes, pomp and ritual, we will find ourselves guilty of sin for not using our own gift of critical analysis.  As the blasphemous Social Doctrine of Opus Dei favors greed and selfishness over the compassionate teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is our personal duty to petition Pope Francis to vanquish these demon snakes, disguised as clergy, from Nicaragua’s holy garden and the world.

Lauren Smith, author of historical fiction, has a BA in Politics, Economics and Society from SUNY at Old Westbury and an MPA in International Development Administration from New York University.  Her novel on Nicaragua’s 1979 revolution is due out in 2019