By Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

ROME, December 8, 2009 ( – Pope Benedict XVI has decried the “long painful night of violence and oppression” that was the communist rule in Germany, and, in the same week, commemorated the suppression of Marxist-inspired Liberation Theology pushed by many Catholic churchmen in Latin America in recent decades.

In an address to the Catholic bishops of Brazil visiting Rome, Pope Benedict recalled the 25th anniversary of the document “Libertatis nuntius” by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which condemned Marxist Liberation Theology trends.

Pope Benedict said in his address on Saturday that the “visible consequences” of the “deceitful principles” of Liberation Theology in the Church in Brazil have been “rebellion, division, dissent, offense, anarchy [that] are still being felt, creating amidst your diocesan communities great pain and a grave loss of living strength.”

Liberation theology took root in many areas of the Church after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s and inspired much of the US Catholic institution's ongoing flirtation with leftist political activism. Liberatis nuntius described the trend as tending to downplay the importance of individual sinfulness to focus on what its proponents called “systemic sin” that they said creates poverty and injustice.

And at a concert at the Sistine Chapel on Friday evening, the pope addressed communism, saying, “Under the communist dictatorship there was no action that would have been regarded as evil and always immoral in itself. Whatever served the objectives of the party was good – however inhuman it might be.”

The concert was sponsored by the German president to mark 60 years since the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany and the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“Many at the time experienced the events of Nov. 9, 1989, as the unexpected dawn of freedom, after a long and painful night of violence and oppression by a totalitarian system that, at the very end, led to a nihilism, an emptying of souls,” the Pope said.

Pope Benedict lauded Germany's Basic Law, founded in 1949, saying it gives “priority to human dignity, to respect marriage and the family as the foundation of every society and to have regard and profound respect for what is sacred to others.”


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