On Monday, the pope 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, where a military uprising allegedly inspired by his highly politicized pastoral approach took place in the mid-1990s. Ruiz was reputed to encourage a synchronistic approach to indigenous cultural practices, seeking to promote indigenous traditions rather than teaching the gospel to the locals, and resulting in a mixture of pagan and Catholic practices among the Maya of the region that remains to this day. His emphasis on politics was so strong that the sacraments were reportedly neglected by his activist clergy; membership in the Catholic Church plummeted and 30% of children in his diocese were reportedly unbaptized when he left office. He also publicly associated with notorious condemned exponents of liberation theology, such as ex-priest Leonardo Boff and others.
Ruiz’s activities were regarded as so subversive of Catholic doctrine that he was denounced in a letter to the Apostolic Nuncio to Mexico by Cardinal Bernadin Gantin, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Bishops, and consequently asked to resign by the nuncio in 1993. However, he refused to do so and held out until his 75th birthday, submitting his resignation in accordance with the Code of Canon Law in 1999.
The pope’s embrace of one of the major figures of liberation theology in Mexico follows his eyebrow-raising acceptance of Marxist symbols mixed with the figure of Christ in July 2015, when President Evo Morales of Bolivia gave the pope an image of Christ crucified on a hammer and sickle, the traditional symbol of communism embraced by the former Soviet Union. The pope, who brought the image back with him to the Holy See, explicitly acknowledged in a press conference during the trip that the image was the creation of the neo-Marxist Fr. Luis Espinal, who had embraced a form of liberation theology in the 1980s that was later condemned. Although Francis seemed to distance himself from the Marxist intentions of the symbol, his acceptance of the gift was the cause of much consternation in Latin America.
I'd be happier with this whole "freshness of the Gospel [sic]" plan if it didn't have the fetid waft of liberation theology. Fewer baptisms and more activist clerics--sounds like a really bad plan. Unless you're Protestant--who, quelle surprise, have turned out to be the biggest beneficiaries of Ruiz' materialistic and syncretic program.
This time for sure, eh, Rocky?