Sunday, September 15, 2013

Liberation Theology

Here is my presentation on Liberation Theology

Liberation Theology
1. Motivation for Liberation Theology
2. Summary of Theology
3. History

1. Motivation for Liberation Theology
- Hunger, injustices, violence (in Latin America, then in the world)

2. Summary of Theology
- How can those who suffer say God is love?
- Catholics & Protestants
- Emphasis on praxis
- 1st: acting in the world with the poor. Only after comes theological reflexion.
- Two main tools
    - Social Sciences - especially Sociology and Political Sciences ( what about Marxism? Marxism as indirect, embedded theory in Social Sciences in general. According to Gutierrez, no direct application.)
     - Biblical Exegesis  - from the poor

2. Summary of Theology
- Rejection of unjust structures
- Rejection of dualisms / (like body vs spirit).

- New models of life in communities (like the Anabaptists)
Formation of Base Ecclesial Communities
    - Small communities that read the Bible and think about social/political challenges.
     - Brazil: 70,000 BECs / ~ 1.8 million members.
- Main methodology of BECs: see-judge-act  
- BECs: Bad business for churches
- The School of the Americas in the US: “We helped destroy Liberation Theology”  ( did they? )

2. Summary of Theology
- Althaus-Reid
  - Indecent Theology - reconfigures Lib. Theo
  - ‘poor’ / ‘oppressed’ is insufficient: transgender, etc
  - Don’t [patronize, romanticize] the poor
  - Don’t “move” the poor to systematic theology
  - Academics of Lib. Theo. gave in to the capitalism system
  - The need to subvert theology & economy with indecency

2. Summary of Theology
“The crime of liberation theology was that it takes the Gospels seriously. [...] The Gospels are radical pacifist material, if you take a look at them. That was the major crime that set off the Reagan wars of terror.” - N. Chomsky

“When I share the bread with the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.” - Dom Hélder Câmara

2. Summary of Theology

3. History - Early history, 50s, early 60s
 - Sublimus Dei - bull - 1537 - Pope Paul III - Indians are human beings
 -  Valladolid debate - 1551 - Las Casas vs Sepulveda
 - 1959 - Cuban Revolution
    - Armed revolution
 - 1961 - Cuba : nationalization lands, including religious institutions
   - “Atheist state” (1976)
 - Vatican II (62) - Not much input from South
 - Conference: “Christ and the Brazilian Revolutionary Process” (62, by Protestants)

3. History - Mid 60s
- Wave of military coups begin (Brazil 64)
- Movement of Priests for the Third World (Arg 67 - 76)
[ - Student protests in France (68) ]
[ - Trudeau becomes PM (68) ]
- Conference of Medellín, Colombia - (68) - Theology by the South
  “Latin America finds itself, in many places, in a situation of injustice which may be called institutionalized violence. Such situation demands global, daring, urgent and profoundly renewing transformations” - Medellín, “On Peace”, ch 16
- Rockefeller, Vice President of USA (68): “If the catholics put in practice what they wrote in Medellín, our interests are in danger”

3. History - 70s
- Gustavo Guitiérrez writes the book “Liberation Theology” (72)
- Conference of Puebla, Mexico - (79) preferential option for the poor
- Wave of military coups
- Escalation of human rights violations in torture and killings (carried out mostly by army, police)
- Lib.Theo. religious people special targets
- Operation Condor - coordination of police & counter-intelligence in South America
    - American $, moved to armies & police of repressive gov

3. History - 70s
- San Patricio Church massacre (76, Argentina) - 5 priests
-  Pope John Paul II commissions then Archbishop Ratzinger, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (aka Inquisition), to study Liberation Theology
   - Criticisms:
        - Too much politics (not spiritual enough)
        - Catholic Church accomplice of privileged class since Conquista (“don’t say that”)
- Deliberate effort by Rome to censor Liberation Theology

3. History - 80s
- Óscar Romero assassinated in El Salvador (80)
- US and Vatican establish diplomatic relations (84)
- Libertatis Nuntius(84) & Libertatis Conscientia (86)
- L. Boff gets imposition of 1 year of silence by Inquisition for his book (85).
 “Jesus did not have in mind the Church as institution” ‘today a “new church” must arise, which will be an alternative for the incarnation of new ecclesial institutions whose power will be pure service’
- 6 scholar Jesuit priests & 4 American nuns assassinated in El Salvador (89)

3. History - 80s
- Liberation theologians -> academia & people
- Liberation practitioners -> social movements
  - birthplace of many ‘new political movements’/’new organizations’
     - non-hierarchical, anti-institution
- Rise of evangelicals (specially Pentecostals)
- Evangelicals courted by governments
- Waves of missionaries from the US
    - Replacing expelled lib. theologians in seminaries
- Pentecostals increase presence in media

3. History - 90s, 00s
- ‘Radicality’ of Lib. Theology ‘suspended’ by incorporation into existing political institutions
  - Tension between ‘institutions’ & ‘movements’
- To this day Lib. Theologians are targeted and murdered (Colombia)
- Aristide elected President of Haiti (91, 94)
   - 2004 coup d’état backed by the US
- Fernando Lugo elected President of Paraguay (2008)
    - 2012 coup d’état

3. History - 2013
- Bergoglio (Argentina) becomes Pope Francis
- Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (aka Inquisition) writes a book with Gutierrez.

- Mueller: [Lib. Theo.: one of the] “most significant currents of Catholic theology of the 20th century”


Supporting documentary: El Cielo Abierto - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeZ67Dbkq48

Supporting testimony: Noam Chomsky on Lib. Theo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNDG7ErY-k4

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