Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Liberation Theology, Still Hanging Around

It has been, and sadly, continues to be, a very corrosive movement within the Church, though it was addressed magisterially by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the 1980’s with two documents authored by then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI: Instruction on Certain Aspects of “The Theology of Liberation" in 1984, and Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation in 1986.

In this article from Catholic News, an archbishop relates his encounter with it, which almost drove him from the priesthood.

An excerpt.

“VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Brazilian archbishop who now heads the congregation for religious said he almost abandoned the seminary and the Catholic Church because of the ideological excesses that emerged in the early years of liberation theology.

"Personally, I lived with a lot of anguish during the years of the birth of liberation theology," Archbishop Joao Braz de Aviz said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, Feb. 2.

“In January, Pope Benedict XVI appointed the former archbishop of Brasilia to head the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

“The 63-year-old archbishop said he was studying theology in Rome when the liberation theology movement was building in Latin America, and it was at that time that "I came very close to abandoning my priestly vocation and even the church."

“But a strong relationship with the Focolare movement and a dedication to its spirituality of unity "saved me," he said.

“Archbishop Braz de Aviz said he appreciated that liberation theology promoted the preferential option for the poor, which represents "the church's sincere and responsible concern for the vast phenomenon of social exclusion."

“But while liberation theology, which saw a strong tie between the spiritual liberation from sin and the need for temporal liberation from poverty and social ills, had positive elements, there were tendencies that needed correction, he said.

“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith prepared two documents in the 1980s "correcting issues linked to using the Marxist method in the interpretation of reality," he said. Christians must understand the option for the poor as a religious obligation and not part of an ideology, he said.”