Bishop Samuel Ruiz: By their fruits you will know them… Does Francis?

Francis visits the pastor who opted for the poor…while the poor opted for the Pentecostals

From Mexico city, for the Denzinger-Bergoglio

The following article is a well-researched document we received from one of our readers regarding Francis’ visit to the tomb of Bishop Samuel Ruiz, during his visit to Mexico last February. A summary was made by a priest of the Denzinger-Bergoglio, in agreement with the original author of the study. We wished to publish it since it is of considerable interest and coherent with the editorial style of the Denzinger-Bergoglio. Evidently, the credit goes to the writer of the first contribution for his detailed research; we are grateful for his valuable collaboration. The English translation is offered to our readers, for it is something shocking that has not been aired by the English press.

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The visit to the tomb of Samuel Ruiz

Through various sources it became known that during his recent visit to Mexico, Francis visited the Cathedral of San Cristóbal de las Casas to pray before the tomb of Bishop Samuel Ruiz.

According to the information received, with this gesture Francis vindicated the work of this controversial bishop, presented as the great defender of the indigenous people, in contradiction to the Catholic hierarchy which had openly objected to the undertakings of Bishop Samuel Ruiz. Certain promoters of Liberation Theology, such as Bishop Raúl Vera, Leonardo Boff and other followers of this ideological vein took advantage of the opportunity to draw attention to this occurrence.

Leonardo Boff

‘I believe that a key moment in the Pope’s journey to Mexico will be his visit to the tomb of Bishop Samuel Ruiz García (Bishop of San Cristóbal de las Casas and well known defender of the indigenous peoples) in Chiapas: this is a reparation and a lesson for the Roman Curia, which is aware of having persecuted and impeded the advancement a truly indigenous pastoral ministry from the indigenous people themselves and from their culture.’ (Proceso, 9 de febrero de 2016)

Bishop Raúl Vera

‘The pope vindicates Bishop Samuel Ruiz during his visit to Chiapas. The act of Francis praying before the tomb of Samuel Ruiz in his pastoral visit to Chiapas, is the same as beatifying him.’ (El Economista, 14 de febrero de 2016)

Tomás de Hijar

‘The pope, kneeling before the sepulchre of a Bishop who had been questioned by the Church and Government, offered the greatest act of reparation to his memory.’ (Aleteia, 18 de febrero de 2016)

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Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

However, the fact is that there are people who forget to mention some important aspects. Accordingly, Bishop Samuel Ruiz and those who applaud him would be the ‘good’ ones: and all of the other bishops, priests, the Vatican and even Pope Saint John Paul II himself would be the ‘bad’ ones, who should be reproached for their uprightness with regards to certain controversial aspects of Bishop Samuel Ruiz’s undertakings.

Since this point is of great importance, it requires a profound analysis.

What could be considered a valid reference point to evaluate the pastoral ministry of Bishop Ruiz? In the Gospel, Jesus clearly taught: ‘By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit’ (Mt 7:16-18).

Simple, yet profound, words.

Chiapas, Bishop Samuel Ruiz, statistics and pastoral fruits

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Since we have mentioned and stressed the importance of the criteria that Jesus Christ left us in order to recognize the tree by its fruits, let’s examine the little-known fruits of the work of Bishop Samuel Ruiz as head of the diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas.

What is the reality of the pastoral ministry that ‘don’ Samuel and certain priests undertook during 40 years in this diocese?

Diocese of San Cristóbal de las casas: by their fruits you will know them

The official information offered in Mexico by INEGI – National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics [Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática] in its 12th General Population and Housing Census for the year 2000, contains a section about religious diversity. The document is made up of five chapters. In the first, information about religion registered throughout 105 years of statistic history are analyzed, showing growth and pointing out the regions where changes have had the greatest impact. The report is very useful, for during the period from 1960 to 2000, Bishop Samuel Ruiz was head of the diocese, and the current Bishop of Saltillo, Bishop Raúl Vera, was his auxiliary from 1995 to 1999 (The document may be viewed here).

The cited document affirms:

a) ‘During the last 100 years, important changes in the religious configuration of the country have taken place, in such a way that it currently shows greater diversity. From the almost entire presence of a Catholic population registered in 1895, the census of the population gives witness to a diminishment in the number of its members, and a gradual growth of a population professing new beliefs, particularly Christian beliefs different from that of the Catholic tradition, as well as people who do not profess any religion. The census information regarding the topic shows the speed of growth and the regions where the changes have had greater impact’ (Cf. pg. 2, INEGI report. The highlighting is ours).

b) ‘Between the years of 1895 and 1970, the percentage of the Catholic population went down from 99.1% to 96.2%. Between 1990 and 2000 its representation within the population of more than five years went from 89.7% to 88%. At the state level, mostly in the northern border, as well as the south and southeast of the country, some states stand out for experiencing the greatest loss of a Catholic presence’ (cf. pg. 3, Further on we shall note the difference between Chiapas, especially San Cristóbal de las Casas, and the rest of the country).

c) ‘Until 1950 the information regarding the volume of the population of the country and the Catholic population are similar; from then on the gap between the number of the Catholics and the total of the population steadily increases.’ [Let us recall that Bishop Samuel Ruiz began his ministry in San Cristóbal de las casas in 1960].

d) The following diagram points out in which Mexican states the greatest growth of Protestantism took place, at a loss to the Catholic Church. Take note of which was the only state where Catholicism fell below 65%.www_inegi_org_mx_prod_serv_contenidos_espanol_bvinegi_productos_integracion_sociodemografico_religion_div_rel_pdf

Yes! With the registered loss of thousands and thousands of Catholics, it is revealed that the greatest number was precisely in Chiapas. Not even in Oaxaca, Veracruz, Yucatán or Tabasco, which have a similar or greater indigenous population, were such great losses experienced. In Chiapas, the 91.2% of Catholics existing in 1970 decreased to 63.8%.

Something definitely happened in Chiapas, provoking this massive exodus of Catholics.

e) The Catholics that abandoned the Church did not fall into atheism; rather the decreased number of Catholics is directly proportional to the explosive growth of the Protestant sects. Consequently, it is not unusual that once again Chiapas is the place where the greatest growth of Protestantism occurred.

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This information should be an eye-opener for all of those who wish to exalt the pastoral labor of Bishop Samuel Ruiz, as well as those who are unaware of this reality, so they not allow themselves to be deceived by media shows. When Bishop Ruiz left his pastoral work due to age, the Protestant population had already reached 21.9%.

f) We now no longer focus on Chiapas in general, but rather specifically on the diocese where Bishop Samuel Ruiz was bishop for 40 years. On page 140 of the official census that we are analyzing, the state of Chiapas is mentioned: ‘The diversification is the highest in the interior of the entity (state). Between the municipality with the greatest percentage of Catholic population, which is Rayón (94.2%) and Chenalhó, which has the lowest (16.8%), there is a gap of 77 percent’. In other words, the report, which is entirely impartial, mentions that the internal level is in the state of Chiapas and the municipality of Chenalhó where the greatest loss of Catholics is registered. In effect, in 2000 only 16.8% were Catholic. On the contrary, the municipality of Rayón, in the same state of Chiapas, presents the lowest number of people who abandoned the Catholic faith.

Now a question arises. In which diocese of the State of Chiapas is the municipality of Chenalhó, which was the most harmed by the Protestants (with 80% of the Catholics lost), situated? Another question is: in which diocese of Chiapas is the municipality of Rayón, with the greatest perseverance in the Catholic faith, located? Chenalhó belongs to the diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas, and it was precisely during the period in which Bishop Samuel Ruiz undertook his pastoral ministry that this tremendous deterioration of the Catholic faith took place. On the other hand, the municipality of Rayón belongs to the diocese of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, under the direction of other bishops who were true pastors, such as Bishop José Trinidad Sepúlveda Ruiz-Velasco (1965-1988) and Bishop Felipe Aguirre Franco (1988-2000). Therefore, through this information we confirm the sad reality of the indigenous pastoral ministry directed by Bishop Samuel Ruiz. This reality is not what some media sources or promoters of the Liberation Theology want to project in their affirmations that the work of this bishop was a great solution in favor of the indigenous people.

g) There is another ‘fruit’ which Bishop Samuel Ruiz’ admirers forget to mention, presented by the same census we are analyzing. We quote: ‘Among the historic Protestant denominations, the Baptists and Presbyterians stand out, especially the latter, since this state contains 46% of all the Presbyterians in the country. In Tenejapa and Tumbalá, more than 30% belong to either of these churches’.

The census once again refers to the state of Chiapas but alludes to a noteworthy fact: the historic Protestant churches also have regions with significant growth. The report points out that within the entire state of Chiapas there exists two municipalities where historic Protestantism is higher: Tenejapa and Tumbalá.

Could it be possible that, once again, precisely these two areas are part of the diocese of Bishop Samuel Ruiz? Yes! Shamefully so, for those who exalt the pastoral labor carried out there. In Tenejapa, there exists the parish of Saint Idelfonso and in Tumbalá the parish of Saint Michael the Archangel, both belonging to the diocese of San Cristóbal de la Casas. Despite the fact that these historic protestant churches are ‘ecumenical’… Could these be the fruits of the great labor undertaken in favor of the indigenous peoples that the Theology of Liberation seeks to praise?

h) Regarding Francis’ visit to the tomb of Dom Samuel, Fray Gonzalo Ituarte Verduzco, provincial of the Dominican Order in Mexico, affirmed this is ‘a recognition of the work that had been performed in this Diocese.’ Hopefully these ‘fruits’ that demonstrate the collapse of the Catholic faith in thousands of souls do not constitute part of this ‘recognition.’

As a protestant theologian once astutely pointed out: “In some sectors of Latin America, the Catholic Church has opted for the poor…and the poor have opted for the Pentecostals.”

It couldn’t be clearer; therefore, so now we must sincerely inquire:

Is it really an exemplary bishop that some wish to glorify today?

A short time ago someone made the following query to Leonardo Boff:

In Brazil the evangelicals are growing forcefully and are already 42 millions, 23% of the population. Is the ‘Francis effect’ noted in Brazil?” His reply, which begins with a truly Cantinflas style [DzB note: a Mexican comic film actor], ends on a pathetic note:

More than doctrines, Pope Francis is interested in rescuing the practice of the historic Jesus, so evidently liberating and humanizing, and who has been concealed by an infinity of doctrines that have taken away his vital beauty and vigor. For the Pope the Christian message should conquest people not through proselytism, but rather through beauty, through the kind care of each person that they encounter.
The key word is ‘encounter’. Encounter with the living Christ and affectionate encounter with people. Christianity has to be something good for everyone, and not just for the baptized. It must be something that produces happiness and a meaning for life. Jesus came to teach us to live and not to be pious parishioners of an ecclesial community’
”(Proceso, 9 de febrero de 2016).

Incredible, but most revealing!

Another point that the followers of Bishop Samuel Ruiz conceal is a very telling fact. When Bishop Samuel Ruiz had his permission to ordain indigenous married deacons suspended, one of the arguments that the Vatican brought up was an alarming fact. In 40 years, merely 8 priests had been ordained in contrast with the 400 permanent ordained deacons. Yes! 8 priests in 40 years was the fruit of what some call the excellent pastoral labor of Bishop Samuel Ruiz and his auxiliary Bishop Raúl Vera. The letter that the Congregation for Divine worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments sent to this diocese in 2000 is a historic document that cannot be ignored’. (The document may be viewed here).

The faithful themselves tell how, within the diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas, the priests and Bishop Samuel were not concerned about the religious aspects; they cared little for the sacraments and pious practices such as Holy Hours, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to Mary the Mother of Jesus…For them, the only important thing was to speak of ‘awareness’, instilling class struggle to overcome social injustice, the promotion of human rights of the indigenous peoples as a factor of conflict and other typical recourses of the Marxist praxis adopted by Liberation Theology.

This is part of the pastoral reality of the diocese where Samuel Ruiz undertook his pastoral labor, of which many were unaware and which others attempted to hide.

Liberation Theology and the ‘Horizontalism’ of the Faith

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We are not speaking of merely one type of Liberation Theology, for in reality there are various currents or versions of the same. In this case, we are referring to the most widespread kind which forgets about or disregards the sacred dimension of the human being and whose promotors, who had disappeared until a while ago, now wish resuscitate their concept of utopia.

They are lay people, priests and bishops that betray God, but above all they betray man by robbing him of the most valuable dimension of his person: his soul. They forget that humans, including the poor and the indigenous, are spiritual beings, and children of God through baptism. They are destined to be saved and live holy lives, to enjoy the glory of God in this wold and in heaven.

They reduce the human being to the socio-economic category of ‘poor’, forgetting that they are not only poor or impoverished in the socio-economic sphere, but rather people whose profound cry is that of all mankind: the yearning to be integrally free and happy. The worst is not being just poor, but rather, not having God, which is to be doubly poor.

Pope Saint John Paul II had warned about this danger:

Moreover, as some of the Synod Fathers indicated, it is necessary to ask whether a pastoral strategy directed almost exclusively to meeting people’s material needs has not in the end left their hunger for God unsatisfied, making them vulnerable to anything which claims to be of spiritual benefit. Hence, ‘it is indispensable that all remain united to Christ by means of a joyful and transforming kerygma, especially in liturgical preaching’ (Apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in America, no. 73, Propositio 65).

Bishop Samuel Ruiz, Leonardo Boff, Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez, Frei Betto, Bishop Raúl Vera and others of the same club promoted a theology which was not God-centered, but rather focused on the human being. In this way they ended up profoundly betraying those who they claimed to love.

In wanting to liberate the people solely from human misery, they ended up robbing them of divine mercy.

They gave them food and well-wishes for health – which has its place – but forgot Christ who is our spiritual Bread.

They fought for their ‘human rights’, but abandoned their divine rights.

They spoke for them but didn’t allow them to be themselves.

They brought them to the field hospital; but forgot to cure the wounds of their souls.

So it is that, in these places, the pastors opted for the poor…and the poor opted for the Pentecostals.

Let’s speak frankly about Francis’ visit to the tomb of Bishop Samuel Ruiz, without forgetting Jesus’ words: ‘By their fruits you will know them.’

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