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Despite the orthodox bishops' predominance in CELAM, a more radical form of liberation theology remained much supported in South America. Thus, the Puebla Conference was an opportunity for orthodox bishops to reassert control of the radical elements, but they failed. At the Puebla Conference, the orthodox reorientation was met by strong opposition from the liberal part of the clergy, which supported the concept of a " preferential option for the poor ". The general tone of his remarks was conciliatory. He criticized radical liberation theology, saying, "this idea of Christ as a political figure, a revolutionary, as the subversive of Nazareth, does not tally with the Church's catechesis "; [11] however, he did acknowledge that "the growing wealth of a few parallels the growing poverty of the masses," [11] and affirmed both the principle of private property and that the Church "must preach, educate individuals and collectivities, form public opinion, and offer orientations to the leaders of the peoples" towards the goal of a "more just and equitable distribution of goods".

Working from a seminary and with aid from sympathetic, liberal bishops, they partially obstructed other clergy's efforts to ensure that the Puebla Conference documents satisfied conservative concerns.

According to a socio-political study of liberation theology in Latin America, a quarter of the final Puebla documents were written by theologians who were not invited to the conference. Liberation theology could be interpreted as an attempt to return to the gospel of the early church where Christianity is politically and culturally decentralized. Liberation theology proposes to fight poverty by addressing its alleged source, the sin of greed.

In so doing, it explores the relationship between Christian theology especially Roman Catholic and political activism, especially in relation to economic justice , poverty , and human rights. The principal methodological innovation is seeing theology from the perspective of the poor and the oppressed.

Liberation theology

For example, Jon Sobrino argues that the poor are a privileged channel of God's grace. Some liberation theologians base their social action upon the Bible scriptures describing the mission of Jesus Christ , as bringing a sword social unrest , e. It is only within the framework of this universality that we can understand the preference, that is, 'what comes first'.

God is disclosed in the historical "praxis" of liberation. It is the situation, and our passionate and reflective involvement in it, which mediates the Word of God. Today that Word is mediated through the cries of the poor and the oppressed. History is the scene of the revelation God makes of the mystery of his person. His word reaches us in the measure of our involvement in the evolution of history.

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One of the most radical aspects of liberation theology was the social organization, or reorganization, of church practice through the model of Christian base communities. Liberation theology strove to be a bottom-up movement in practice, with biblical interpretation and liturgical practice designed by lay practitioners themselves, rather than by the orthodox Church hierarchy.

In this context, sacred text interpretation is understood as "praxis". Liberation theology seeks to interpret the actions of the Catholic Church and the teachings of Jesus Christ from the perspective of the poor and disadvantaged. In Latin America, liberation theologians specifically target the severe disparities between rich and poor in the existing social and economic orders within the nations' political and corporate structures.

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It is a strong critique of the various economic and social structures, such as an oppressive government, dependence upon First World countries and the traditional hierarchical Church, that allow some to be extremely rich while others are unable to even have safe drinking water. The journalist and writer Penny Lernoux described this aspect of liberation theology in her numerous and committed writings intended to explain the movement's ideas in North America.

Base communities were small gatherings, usually outside of churches, in which the Bible could be discussed, and Mass could be said. They were especially active in rural parts of Latin America where parish priests were not always available, as they placed a high value on lay participation. In May , it was estimated that 80, base communities existed in Brazil. The Brazilian Catholic Church is arguably one of the most theologically progressive Catholic congregations due, in large part, to a history of violent military and political conflicts as well as a divisive socioeconomic climate.

During Brazil's military rule from to , the Catholic Church and its members assumed responsibility to provide services to the poor and disenfranchised, often under threat of persecution.

Among these were an increase in landownership concentration, a decline in wages and standards of living, and a rise in the military state's political repression and violence, including mass detainment, torture, and the assassination of political opponents. After decades of repression from the government authorities, the liberationist Catholic Church in Brazil is absent of traditional centralization and encourages an increased lay participation. Faced with a severe priest shortage, much of the Brazilian Catholic Church is organized into Base Ecclesial Communities or, "CEBs" in which the Mass, community spirituality programs, and community needs are led or addressed by a single clergy member or a trained lay member in either a small chapel or an individual's home.

The CEBs introduced new social ideas and democratic methods which led to many participants' active involvement in popular movements of Brazil that worked for progressive social change. A health program began there to try to organize the population in order to remedy widespread malnutrition, open sewers, and other health hazards. While liberation theology has brought about significant progressive reforms in Brazil, anthropologist Robin Nagle questions the effectiveness of Catholic Church theology in Brazil.

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Nagle concentrates on the conflict between conservatives and liberationists in Recife , Brazil, in When Reginaldo and his followers refused to accept the expulsion and the new priest, the archbishop called in the Military Police. Conversely, the event did not cause a mass response because the liberationist agenda aroused distrust and even hatred among many of its intended audience.

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The main reason was that it was too much to ask poor parishioners to embrace a Church focused more on the troubles of this life than solace in the next. Many people come to the CEB through conversion experiences, but also because they are keenly concerned with the spiritual and infrastructural needs of their community. The social and political impact can be viewed in terms of initial consciousness-raising, the motivation for involvement, the sense of community they develop, the experience of grassroots democracy, the direct actions they engage in, and finally, directly political actions.

Specifically he largely attributes the work of the Brazilian Catholic Church to the progression of the Tapeba. The Catholic Church enlisted state authorities, anthropologists , and journalists to help uncover the identity of neglected indigenous peoples of Brazil. Early recognition by missionaries and followers of liberation theology stimulated indigenous identification of the Tapeba population as a possibility for attaining rights, especially land, health, and education.

New religious ideas, in the form of liberation theology, have fortified and legitimized an evolving political culture of resistance. The community negotiated an agreement with the firm that gained them a higher standard of living that included imported goods, increased food availability, and access to health care.

While severe social dislocations such as government-initiated capitalist penetration, land expropriation, and poor wages persist, small-farmer activism is fortified by liberation theology and receives structural support from unions, political parties, and church organizations. Ratzinger objected that the spiritual concept of the Church as "People of God" is transformed into a "Marxist myth". In liberation theology he declared, the "'people' is the antithesis of the hierarchy, the antithesis of all institutions, which are seen as oppressive powers.

Ultimately anyone who participates in the class struggle is a member of the 'people'; the 'Church of the people' becomes the antagonist of the hierarchical Church. Ratzinger did praise liberation theology in some respects, including its ideal of justice, its rejection of violence, and its stress on "the responsibility which Christians necessarily bear for the poor and oppressed".


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Nonetheless, media reports tended to assume that the condemnation of "liberation theology" meant a rejection of such attitudes and an endorsement of conservative politics. In , it was reported that a meeting occurred between the CDF and the CELAM bishops, during which a rift developed between Ratzinger and some of the bishops, [10] with Ratzinger issuing official condemnations of certain elements of liberation theology.

Ratzinger further stated that liberation theology had a major flaw in that it attempted to apply Christ's sermon on the mount teachings about the poor to present social situations. Ratzinger also argued that liberation theology is not originally a "grass-roots" movement among the poor, but rather, a creation of Western intellectuals: "an attempt to test, in a concrete scenario, ideologies that have been invented in the laboratory by European theologians" and in a certain sense itself a form of " cultural imperialism ".

Ratzinger saw this as a reaction to the demise or near-demise of the "Marxist myth" in the West. Throughout the s, Ratzinger, as prefect of the CDF, continued to condemn these elements in liberation theology, and prohibited dissident priests from teaching such doctrines in the Catholic Church's name. Leonardo Boff was suspended and others were censured.

Tissa Balasuriya , in Sri Lanka , was excommunicated. Sebastian Kappen , an Indian theologian, was also censured for his book Jesus and Freedom. According to Roberto Bosca, a historian at Austral University in Buenos Aires , Jorge Bergoglio later Pope Francis had "a reputation as an opponent of liberation theology during the s" but he "accepted the premise of liberation theology, especially the option for the poor, but in a 'nonideological' fashion.

It's the Gospel itself. The Church has always had the honor of this preferential option for the poor Paoli is recognized as an exponent of liberation theology avant la lettre and the meeting was seen as a sign of "reconciliation" between the Vatican and the liberationists. Miguel d'Escoto , a Maryknoll priest from Nicaragua , had been sanctioned with an a divinis suspension from his public functions in by Pope John Paul II, for political activity in the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

Pope Francis lifted the suspension in August , in response to a request by d'Escoto. Although he saw an increasingly clear emphasis on Church teachings on the poor, he did not consider that liberation theology was undergoing a rehabilitation, since it had never been "dishabilitated". In January, , during the World Youth Day in Panama, Pope Francis discussed changing attitudes to liberation theology during an extended discussion with a group of thirty Jesuits from Central America.

He noted that he had a devotion to the martyred Salvadoran Jesuit priest, Rutilio Grande , even before he came to know Oscar Romero well. Francis commented that "Today we old people laugh about how worried we were about liberation theology. What was missing then was communication to the outside about how things really were. Allen of Crux on the left [46] and Damian Thompson of The Spectator on the right , [47] have suspected these claims are exaggerated. In US vice president George H. Bush said he could not comprehend how Catholic theologians could harmonize Catholicism and Marxism and support revolutionaries in Central America.

I just don't understand it. Since Lausanne , integral mission has influenced a significant number of evangelicals around the world. The word integral is used in Spanish to describe wholeness as in wholemeal bread or whole wheat. Proponents such as C. Costas of Puerto Rico [53] have wanted to emphasize the breadth of the Good News and of the Christian mission, and used the word integral to signal their discomfort with conceptions of Christian mission based on a dichotomy between evangelism and social involvement. The priest Camilo Torres a leader of the Colombian guerrilla group ELN [54] celebrated the Eucharist only among those engaged in armed struggle against the army of the Colombian state.

He also fought for the ELN. Black theology refers to a theological perspective which originated in some black churches in the United States and later in other parts of the world, which contextualizes Christianity in an attempt to help those of African descent overcome oppression. It especially focuses on the injustices committed against African Americans and black South Africans during American segregation and apartheid , respectively.

Black theology seeks to liberate people of color from multiple forms of political, social, economic, and religious subjugation and views Christian theology as a theology of liberation—"a rational study of the being of God in the world in light of the existential situation of an oppressed community, relating the forces of liberation to the essence of the Gospel, which is Jesus Christ," writes James Hal Cone , one of the original advocates of the perspective. Black theology mixes Christianity with questions of civil rights , particularly raised by the Black Power movement and the Black Consciousness Movement.

Palestinian liberation theology is an expression of political theology and a contextual theology that represents an attempt by a number of independently working Palestinian theologians from various denominations—mostly Protestant mainline churches—to articulate the gospel message in such a way as to make that liberating gospel relevant to the perceived needs of their indigenous flocks.

As a rule, this articulation involves a condemnation of the State of Israel , a theological underpinning of Palestinian resistance to Israel as well as Palestinian national aspirations, and an intense valorization of Palestinian ethnic and cultural identity as guarantors of a truer grasp of the gospel by virtue of the fact that they are inhabitants of the land of Jesus and the Bible. Pacepa, I. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A synthesis of Christian theology and Marxist socio-economic analyses.

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Not to be confused with Liberal theology. Main article: Integral mission. Main article: Black theology. Catholicism portal. Wishlist Wishlist. Write a Review.