As he had done in Guatemala in January 1989, so John Paul II did again in Mexico a month later, on the 24th February: he urged Mexico’s bishops to combat the “growing proselytism” of what he termed “fundamentalist sects and new religious groups”, saying that this proselytism “sows confusion among the faithful” and “attacks the Catholic culture of your people.”
Also in 1989 the pope told a group of Latin American bishops and Vatican officials that the spread of “sects” threatened the Roman Catholic “Church” in Latin America, and that their activity was a “pastoral worry”. Again, how would the fanatical Papists of Central and South America interpret his words? The evidence speaks for itself:
On the 2nd February 1990 on a mountain near Mexico City, a group of 160 had gathered to pray. A Roman Catholic mob of 10 000 people, many drunk, attacked them with rocks, bottles, sticks, guns and machetes, shouting, “Kill them! We are going to crucify them!” Even the police were attacked when they arrived. There were also threats to rape women. No one was actually killed in this attack, amazingly.
During 1990, at least 30 Protestant church buildings in one Mexican state were closed because of threats made against the members by Roman Catholics. A Protestant woman was refused burial, and the local priest told her relatives that everyone in the town must return to the Roman Catholic religion. A newspaper published in Mexico City, El Universal, referred to Protestants as “a real plague” and “unbearable”. It was simply echoing the sentiments of the Roman Catholic hierarchy and of the Roman pope himself.
In early 1991 a Protestant pastor in Equador was killed when a Roman Catholic mob, incited by their priests, attacked the Protestants during their service and stoned and beat them. In the same year a Roman Catholic mob, armed with axes, cudgels and machetes, destroyed the homes of 17 Presbyterian families of the Izellal Indian tribe in southern Mexico. They had to spend the night in the open air.
In October 1991 John Paul II visited Brazil, where he said that one of the problems facing the Brazilian Roman Catholic “Church” was the rapid growth of fundamentalist “sects”. He again repeated what he had said in previous years, that these “sects” were deceptive and were sowing confusion. And again, ignorant, devout Papists took his words to heart and continued to violently persecute Protestants.
In an interview in 1992, Vatican delegate to Mexico, Girolamo Prigione, attacked all evangelicals, saying, “Sects, like flies, should be chased out.” He also said, in the context of discussions regarding Mexico’s proposed constitutional amendments on religion: “Authentic justice does not mean giving the same [treatment] to everyone.” And Mexican cardinal, Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo, said, “There cannot be equal treatment in the laws for all religious groups in an indistinct manner”. With statements like these being made by high-ranking Roman Catholic officials, is it any wonder that ignorant Roman Catholics undertook to use force to eliminate Protestants in their communities?
In June 1992 in Mexico, a Protestant man was shot 38 times, and his body was then hacked to pieces with machetes, in full view of two of his children. What was his crime? Simply that he refused the order of Roman Catholic municipal leaders to lead his small congregation in Saltillo, Chiapas State, into exile, abandoning their lands and belongings.
In October 1992, during his visit to the Dominican Republic, John Paul II again used strong words to describe the Protestant “sects” which he saw as a threat to the Roman Catholic religion in Latin America. He called them “rapacious wolves” and said they were responsible for division and discord in Roman Catholic communities throughout the region. And he added that their “expansion and aggressiveness” needed to be confronted. Well, when devout Papists hear the one they believe to be Christ’s Vicar on earth branding Protestants as “rapacious wolves”, they readily resort to violence against them.
In January 1993 Roman Catholic archbishop, Prospero Penados de Barrio of Guatemala City, said that Guatemalan Roman Catholics should make a new year’s resolution to stop the spread of “evangelical sects” in Guatemala. He quoted John Paul II as saying that “the proselytising of the sects suffocates the Christian [i.e. Papist] faith” and that their message “dilutes the coherence and unity of God’s Word.” And on the 26th February that year, in Mexico’s Chiapas state, an evangelist was holding a service in the home of a member of a Protestant church when a mob of 500 Papists broke down the doors and attacked the 150 people inside. 17 male members of the church were beaten, stoned, and then jailed for four days without food.
And further inflammatory statements continued to be made by high-ranking Papist officials across Latin America. For example, in 1994 a Brazilian archbishop named Bohn, addressing the national conference of bishops in Brazil, said: “We will declare a holy war; don’t doubt it… the Catholic Church has a ponderous structure, but when we move, we’ll smash anyone beneath us.” He said that an all-out holy war was unavoidable unless the 13 largest Protestant churches and denominations signed a treaty requiring them to stop all evangelism efforts in Brazil. In exchange, Roman Catholics would agree to stop all persecution of Protestants (an admission that Papists were persecuting Protestants, and absolutely no remorse for it!). He called his proposal an “ultimatum”, saying it would leave no room for discussion. This man’s war talk would have been broadcast throughout the Latin American countries.