George A. Sprecace M.D., J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New London, P.C.


The term "Liberation Theology" refers to a movement that began mainly in Latin America within the Catholic Church in the 1950's and 1960's.  It was...and is...designed to address the massive unjust and un-Christian disparity between obscene wealth and abject poverty in the world - most clearly demonstrated in highly Catholic Latin American countries where a tiny group of people control nearly all of the land and the wealth.  It was and is designed to place the Catholic Church in the forefront of efforts, beginning at the grassroots levels, to seek reform and justice, especially through land reform. It received strong support from Pope John XX111 and Vatican Council 11, notably through the Pope Encyclical entitled "Gaudium et Spes". 
But this initiative was immediately attacked by conservatives within the Church, as were many of the initiatives of the Vatican Council and its Cardinals...attacks that continue to this day.  Notable among those attacks was the position expressed in 1984 by the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger - now our Pope.  He declared it to be simply based upon Marxist doctrine and to be shunned.  I remember being personally scandalized in the late 1980's when then Pope John Paul 11 closed the Church door on the Latin clergy's efforts in Liberation Theology on behalf of its desperately poor people, an action that seemed totally counter-intuitive to me as being un-Christian. 
Unfortunately, things have not changed...neither in the barrios of Latin America nor in the halls of the Hierarchy, immersed in an excessively conservative posture regarding the world today.  A recent statement by Pope Benedict XVI, posted below in its turgid prose, gives no hope for change in this posture, guaranteeing that "the poor will always be with us" - and without effective help from Jesus' Church.  GS

ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency

Pope Urges Brazil to Get Past Liberation Theology
Cites Document From His Time Leading Doctrinal Congregation

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 8, 2009 ( Communities in Brazil still need to get past the divisions caused by Marxist liberation theology, Benedict XVI says.
The Pope encouraged Brazilian bishops to help heal the wounds left by the materialist theology when he spoke with them Saturday. The bishops -- from Brazil's South 3 and South 4 regions -- were in Rome for their five-yearly visit.

The Holy Father recalled that last August was the 25th anniversary of the instruction "Libertatis Nuntius," a document he signed as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The statements notes how there are many currents of "theology of liberation," as liberation is one of the central messages of Revelation, both in the Old as well as the New Testament.
However, one of these, particularly in the last three decades of the 20th century, took Marxism as its base in an attempt to understand the complex and sometimes scandalous social reality of Latin America. That current became known as Marxist theology of liberation -- many times simply, though erroneously, called liberation theology.
As the Pope explained to the Brazilian bishops, "its more or less visible consequences, made up of rebellion, division, disagreement, offense and anarchy can still be felt, creating great suffering in your diocesan communities and a serious loss of living energies."
"I implore all those who, in some way, have felt attracted, involved and touched in their interior by certain deceitful principles of liberation theology to take up again that document, receiving the gentle light that it offers with open hands," the Bishop of Rome continued.
Citing Pope John Paul II, Benedict XVI explained how Marxist philosophy cannot underly the Church's faith, but rather, "the unity that the Spirit has put between sacred Tradition, sacred Scripture and the magisterium of the Church in such a reciprocity that the three cannot subsist in an independent way."

He concluded with the wish that "forgiveness offered and received, in the ambit of ecclesial organizations and communities, in the name of and out of love for the Most Holy Trinity, which we adore in our hearts, put an end to the suffering of the beloved Church that journeys in the lands of the holy cross."

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