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    » 04/02/2013, 00.00

    VATICAN

    Pope Francis puts Liberation Theology into practice

    Piero Gheddo

    Pope Bergoglio’s desire ("A poor Church for the poor") is the fulfillment of a momentum that began with the Latin American post-conciliar theology, but which has experienced a tumultuous 50 years, exploited by Marxist social analysis and contempt religiosity. With Pope Francis, the Latin American Church pushes the Western Churches to maturity.

    Milan (AsiaNews) - In the half century after Vatican II, "Liberation Theology" was one of the most discussed and disputed novelties of the Latin American Churches and also in Europe, arousing passionate accessions and radical condemnation.  Despite of all this, in the end, it aimed at nothing more than what Pope Francis summed up in one of his now renowned expressions: "I want a poor Church for the poor," a Church he is trying to reveal, day after day, in his gestures,  his speeches and homilies, without trying to theorize or explain everything. Why, then, Liberation did Theology arouse, and still today arouse, so much conflict, so many distancing  themselves from the Church and so many closures? One of the latest measures was the Holy See decree issued in June 2012 that prohibited the Pontifical Catholic University of Lima from using the title 'Pontifical' and 'Catholic'. The university has "systematically disobeyed the instructions of the Holy See ... and it has been turned into a wolf in sheep's clothing in the local church as a center for the dissemination of the worst revolutionary doctrines."

    LT had two precedents: the birth of CELAM (Latin American Episcopal Council) in Rio de Janeiro in 1955, Vatican II's "Gaudium et Spes" and the Second CELAM Assembly in Medellin in Colombia in 1968. But it was born and named with the publication of a volume by the Peruvian theologian don Gustavo Gutierrez " Teologìa de la Liberaciòn " in 1971, which denounced the underdevelopment of Latin American peoples, mainly caused by rich countries dependence on and exploitation of their wealth; it gave a new vision of theology, the purpose of which was not doctrine, but a critical reflection of the situation of poverty in which most of the peoples of Latin America lived. It sought to direct the Church towards  a "ministry of liberation," through an intimate practice of Christian formation and opening it up to forming the conscience of the faithful and their actions to transform society through a sense of greater social justice.

    It is not easy to summarize in a few lines a varied trend of thought that witnessed  a vast penetration in the churches and peoples of Latin America in the 70s and 80s, provoking debates and divisions. The two instructions of the Congregation for the Faith: "On the Theology of Liberation" (1984) and "Christian Freedom and Liberation" (1986) and the two CELAM Assemblies, Puebla (Mexico 1979) and Santo Domingo (1992) calmed the waters and led to a new path, of which the providential Pope Francis is the current expression of a growing and enthusiastic consensus (long may it last) of the change it is causing in the Church.

    To understand the present value of Pope Francis, after the charismatic Pope who proclaimed the Gospel to all peoples and the professor Pope who expressed the only wealth we have, Jesus Christ,  in a clear, precise and understandable manner to the entire contents, we must now explain the two contrasting aspects of liberation theology, one negative and one positive and the urgent need for a synthesis that is beneficial for the universal Church:

    1) The negative aspect is contained in the title of the first document: "Serious ideological deviations which tend inevitably to betray the cause of the poor." LT had adopted the Marxist analysis of social reality and the Instruction by then Card. Ratzinger explains that, no matter how much some pathetic philosophers and theologians may attempt to bend reality, the core of Marxist thought is irreducibly atheist and therefore is radically opposed to the message of Jesus Christ.  It would be take too long to explain why this is so, but suffice it to mention the many believers and Christian communities who, adopting the LT, have abandoned Christ and his Church. As exemplified by the  people "liberated" from the regimes that were products of that ideology, which have all failed and of which the people, as soon as they can, seek to be free.

    2) The positive aspect is the Churches' preferential option for the poor, how the freedom and liberation of people are and must increasingly become part and parcel of Christian practice, which is an integral part of life according to the Gospel; the second Instruction by Card. Ratzinger exhorts believers to work for the poor, the suffering, the least among us, the oppressed, starting precisely from faith in Christ and according to the example that Jesus gave us. The task of the Church in the modern world, in this Instruction is very positive and courageous, far from anathema. It indicates a path that Pope Francis is showing gradually by his example. Finally, liberation theology, with all its serious errors and collateral damage, in the historical context of the Churches' journey turns out to be strongly positive. Today there remains only to follow, pray and obey the directions that the Holy Spirit gives the Church through the work and words of Pope Francis. With him, the Latin American continent, "the hope of the Church" (as Pius XII said in 1955), comes to the fore to teach us something in the West, Christian for two thousand years, but in severe crisis of faith and Christian life.

     

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    See also

    21/04/2005 VATICAN
    Catholic movements praise Benedict XVI
    Focolari movement, Communion and Liberation and the S. Egidio community send joyful messages to the new Pontiff.

    27/03/2012 VATICAN - CUBA
    Pope in Cuba: Follow Jesus without fear or doubts
    At his first Mass on Cuban soil, Benedict XVI proposes a theology of liberation, rooted in witness to the faith and freedom of humanity open to God A man shouts "Down with communism" and is led away by police . Only a society that allows space for God becomes more human. The Pope gifts a golden rose to the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, a seventeenth century wooden statue discovered by some fishermen and exhibited in the square where the celebration was held.

    30/06/2011 VATICAN
    Pope: "God is not an object of human experimentation"
    Marking the "Prize Ratzinger", Benedict XVI speaks of the role of the "science of faith", in short human reason’s search for the Face of God, There's the "tyranny of reason" that wants to be judge of all and the "thirst" to deepen our knowledge of the object of our love.

    16/09/2015 VATICAN
    Pope on families' vital role in “liberating people from the colonization of the money"
    "There are many clichés,, sometimes even offensive, of the temptress who inspires evil. However there is room for a theology of woman, worthy of God’s blessing for her and for generation". Last general audience dedicated to the family, on the eve of trip that includes World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia

    20/05/2016 13:33:00 VATICAN
    Pope: Understanding for human weakness, but no "negotiating" on the truth

    "May Jesus teach us to have at heart a great adhesion to the truth, and also at heart a great understanding and accompaniment for all our brothers who are in difficulty."

     





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