Matthew Fox: It's a loaded word. I mean, it's a heavy word in theological history. For example, when the Eastern Church split from the Western Church, that was called Schism; and Protestantism splitting from Roman Catholicism, that was called Schism in the 16th Century. It's a big word historically, and for me to say... I'm not alone in this. Father Schillebeeckx, the great Dutch Theologian, I spoke to 15 years ago, (he's dead now, he was a big thinker at the Vatican Council), he told me, he said "I and many European Theologians," this is under John Paul II, "feel the present Papacy is in Schism." And that conversation really came back to me when I was writing this book on Ratzinger, and I realized "Well, this helps name what has been going on." The Vatican is not really preaching the Gospel or even the Catholic tradition. They've gone their own spin, their own route out of Vatican II, and are trying to create this church based exclusively on Ratzinger's catechism, and obedience to whatever the Pope says, the implication being "We don't need Theologians, we don't need thinkers." That's why they've silenced so many. And I will say, that's not very smart.
Rob Kall: Let me take another step back to review what you've said so far. You talked about Liberation Theology, and that Ratzinger hounded over a hundred Priests; it wasn't just a hundred people.
Matthew Fox: Not just Priests; some of them lay people, some of them Sisters, women. Of course, now they're hounding Catholic Sisters; they're trying to kick them under the bus.
Rob Kall: And basically, this was not just about influencing them, because they were creating whole movements, particularly in the Americas, right? Liberation Theology was a really big deal that the Pope basically (with the help of Ratzinger) killed, right?
Matthew Fox: Absolutely. Emasculated, absolutely. And it was a big deal. First of all, it was such courageous people who, for example, on behalf of the rainforest Indians in the Amazon, stood up to the corporations who were tearing down the rainforests willy-nilly; stood up to the military government of Brazil. Cardinal Arns of Sao Paulo was a real hero who stood up to the military there, who were in charge for like 18 years. And it's out of that movement that in fact Silva, the fine President of Brazil, he came from that movement, as did the President of Uruguay who used to be a Bishop, actually. You know, a lot of leaders now in South America, which has really become much more Democratic in the last thirty years, these people came from the Base Community and Liberation Theology movements.
On the other hand, the Pope, was backing Pinochet, this horrible dictator who has blood on his hands from torturing and murdering priests, nuns, and lay people. Pinochet, of course, was put in by the American CIA. In the proof of my book, the CIA under Reagan worked real closely with the Vatican to destroy Liberation Theology. That was the goal of the National Security group under Reagan, and I footnote that. That's well documented now. They had a meeting. They said "We can't destroy Liberation Theology, but we can split the church." And that's how they got the pope and Ratzinger splitting the church, and we're still dealing with some of that fallout today.
Rob Kall: Tell me a little bit more about what Liberation Theology was and is about. Does it still exist at all? What's the Status of It?
Matthew Fox: Good question. If you talk to many South American Liberation Theologians today, they'll say "We used to serve the church, now we serve humanity." So they've broadened their, if you will, their agenda, their scope; they realize the church, as now constituted under Ratzinger and the previous Pope, is impossible to deal with, because Opus Dei is now running so many of the Dioceses in South America, and of course, more and more they're forming Opus Dei Bishops and Cardinals in North America too. The Bishop of Los Angeles, the largest Diocese in North America, is Opus Dei now, the new Bishop there, who will be Cardinal soon.