Beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero, Getty Images
A little late to the party, the New York Times has written a lengthy article about the resurgence of liberation theology, a movement within the Roman Catholic Church that fell out of favor during the Cold War because of theoretical links to Soviet Russia. It was a movement embraced by many Catholics, including the famous writer, Graham Greene.
Catholic observers believe that the Pope’s meetings with Dominican Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez, founder of liberation theology, the beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero, and the renewed focus on people living in poverty are signs that the theology is being brought back to the forefront. Some analysts deny it ever went away, including Gutierrez.
From the article:
Many analysts note that John Paul and Benedict never outright denounced liberation theology and slowly started to pivot in their views. In 2012, Benedict reopened Archbishop Romero’s beatification case. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, a staunch conservative who heads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s enforcer of doctrine, became a proponent of liberation theology after working in Peru, where he met Father Gutiérrez. The two men have since written books together.
“There was no rehabilitation because there was never a ‘dehabilitation,’ ” Father Gutiérrez said, contesting the idea that liberation theology was ever cast out of the church. “In past years, there was talk of condemnation, and people believed it. What there was was a critical dialogue, which had difficult moments but which really was clarified over time.”
Writing at Daily Theology, John Slattery explored liberation theology through the lens of a cycling fan who once admired controversial Tour de France racer Lance Armstrong. Slattery writes about Armstrong’s successes, betrayals, scandals, and losses, before explaining his fascination with liberation theology: it’s the study of the people who have been hurt and wronged by the Armstrongs of the world.
If you aren’t familiar with liberation theology, or Archbishop Romero, CNN has an in-depth piece on the beatification which took place on Saturday, with videos, text, and photos of the service and Romero’s life.
What does liberation theology mean to you? Are you happy to see it making a resurgence? Are elements of it present in your Episcopal church or practice?