Wednesday, December 21st 2011 - 02:33 UTC

Forty years ago the Catholic Liberation Theology was born in Latinamerica

Four decades ago a book written by a Peruvian priest sent shockwaves inside the Latinamerican Catholic Church having set the foundations for what was known as the Liberation Theology.

Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, was named by John Paul II to appease the influence of the new theory

Accused of Marxist ideology for having proposed God’s option for the poor and needy, nevertheless it was also praised for having helped renew the Church’s message.

The book “The Liberation Theology, prospects” written by Peruvian born Dominican priest Gustavo Gutierrez and released in 1971, is considered the intellectual founding act for the theory and gave its name to the most important theological movement born in the Americas.

In a Latin America at the time trapped by social inequality and military dictatorships (1960/1970) the idea immediately caught the attention of vast sectors of the population, all the way from Nicaragua to the Philippines.

“The idea was that God supported the peoples of the Third World, that he was at their side in the search for the promised land, but a promised land which meant plots to toil, freedom, justice and dignity”, according to Professor Jeffrey Klaiber a religious historian from the Catholic University of Lima, Peru.

Father Gutierrez said that for the liberation theology, poverty meant social insignificance, not only economic but also exclusion, “a picture of the misery it means to be poor in Peru”.

The liberation theology and the option for the poor picked up under Pope Paul VI (1963/1978) who named progressive bishops with strong support from grass-root Catholic organizations.

However when John Paul II (1978/1994) reached Rome the impulse was frozen since the anticommunist pope from Soviet Poland believed it promoted class struggle and he countered naming conservative bishops fearing the loss of the medium and high income faithful that help finance the Church.

The counter offensive besides conservative bishops included two documents (Instructions) on the issue from the Holy Faith Congregation (former Inquisition) headed by Joseph Ratzinger, currently Pope Benedict.

The first instruction was negative but the second a bit more positive since it stated that the history of Christians is a history of liberation, freedom and Catholics must support freedom.

However Gutierrez, looking back to his many interviews with Ratzinger between 1984/86, argues that misunderstandings when they emerged “were talked over through sustained and successful dialogue”.

The paradox is that Rome with the 1962 Vatican Concillium and the Latinamerican Episcopal Conference in 1968 was the inspiration for the liberation theology, and although long quietened “it remains very much alive and active in poor and indigenous parishes, albeit nobody uses the word fearing the Vatican hierarchies under conservative control.

Pope John Paul II was the first to name in Peru, a member of the extreme conservative Opus Dei movement, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani.

But Gutierrez was not the only pioneer of that revolutionary spirit: he was joined by Brazil’s Leonardo Boff and Colombia’s Camilo Torres who eventually joined the guerrillas of his country.
Archbishops Oscar Romero from El Salvador killed by the military in 1980 and Brazil’s Helder Camara from the impoverished northeast became icon references for the liberation theology which ended having its main base of action in Brazil.


14 comments Feed

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1 Forgetit86 (#) Dec 21st, 2011 - 02:49 am Report abuse
Just like right-wing interpretations of the New Testament - interpretations that put private property at the center of a mora life -, left-wing ones are also adding into the book they're supposed to be reading. The Christian ethos is but an imitation of that of the Stoics - it preaches indifference to the outward world, not rebellion or support. It is thus apolitical. Christianity, pure Christianity, is concerned only with internal 'realities'.
2 Sergio Vega (#) Dec 21st, 2011 - 05:00 pm Report abuse
The liberation theology is just comunist politics hidden under the priest's use and abuse of the well as the comunist fanaticism the religious fanaticism is as the opium for the people (the one concept I agree with Marx's thoughts)

They justified the violence and hate between the inhabitants of the Latam countries just for politic gains to win the control trought the armed fight against the legal Gvts.
3 Marcos Alejandro (#) Dec 21st, 2011 - 07:20 pm Report abuse
3 Don't forget that your grandpa was a priest...
4 ChrisR (#) Dec 21st, 2011 - 08:32 pm Report abuse
#3 Marcos Alejandro Your grandpa was a (Catholic) priest then?

So was he shagging the women (inc nuns) and buggering the choirboys in the good old fashioned Catholic way?

That explains something about you: how did you get here if Grandpa was a true Priest?
5 Yuleno (#) Dec 21st, 2011 - 10:05 pm Report abuse
#4 you've got that wrong as well.
#2 That which you write is not quite right either.The main thing that this claptrap did was to detract from the liberation struggle with the opium of a practise which is not able to accommodate socialism,if only because of it organisational structure which it's beliefs command.It was not or is not acommunist or socialist anything,except a distraction for those who were or are suppressed by the whole ideology.I'm sure some historians can describe it's authoritarian ideology.
6 xbarilox (#) Dec 22nd, 2011 - 01:43 am Report abuse
Godless and free. Thank you :)
7 ChrisR (#) Dec 22nd, 2011 - 12:22 pm Report abuse
5 Yuleno

As you are a Catholic, I bow to your superios knowledge: why no denounciation of the buggery of young choirboys?
8 Philippe (#) Dec 22nd, 2011 - 12:54 pm Report abuse
What “theology”- only Communazi propaganda!

9 Yuleno (#) Dec 22nd, 2011 - 01:37 pm Report abuse
#8 propaganda or theology? Are they not the same thing dependinng on the hearer.Capitalism or propaganda depending on the hearer.This word propaganda is very flexible isn't it?
10 ChrisR (#) Dec 22nd, 2011 - 04:33 pm Report abuse
9 Yuleno
”The OED defines propaganda as “any association, systematic scheme, or concerted movement for the propagation of a particular doctrine or practice”. Moreover, it adds that the propagation of information is carried out “by an interested party, esp. in a tendentious way in order to encourage or instill a particular attitude or response” (OED). The term propaganda thus currently carries a negative meaning, evoking the idea of an agent deliberately manipulating the way a recipient absorbs and interprets information”

Sounds to me like the stuff Argentina spews out, particularly the final sentence. However, I suppose that because it is from the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), it is unacceptable to Argies.
11 xbarilox (#) Dec 22nd, 2011 - 05:00 pm Report abuse
@ 10 you're not like Lucifer, you lack patience, discipline and wisdom. the world is spinning, and magically the pieces will fit in their right places, you just wait, fool :P
12 ChrisR (#) Dec 22nd, 2011 - 06:43 pm Report abuse
11 xbollox

You know what I promised you, don't you silly little boy.

It's coming closer by the minute.
13 Yuleno (#) Dec 22nd, 2011 - 07:07 pm Report abuse
#12 I'm happy with the definition,but the judgemental bit is a bit predictable.And guess what,it doesn't say it in the OED.Well well!!
evoking the idea of an agent deliberately manipulating the way a recipient absorbs and interprets information” Are you describing your self there?
14 ChrisR (#) Dec 23rd, 2011 - 01:38 pm Report abuse
13 Yuleno

Despite your own propaganda, you know me better than that.

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