» 04/02/2013, 00.00
Pope Francis puts Liberation Theology into practice
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.
(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.
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
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
Catholic movements praise Benedict XVI
Focolari movement, Communion and Liberation and the S. Egidio community send joyful messages to the new Pontiff.
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