Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Vatican analyst: Pope distanced himself from liberation theology


Liberation theology has been spreading like wildfire, particularly in Latin America, and people need to know Pope Francis' views on it.

What is liberation theology? I like CNA's concise definition:

Liberation theology is a controversial school of thought that developed in Latin America in the 1950s. It has been criticized as a Marxist interpretation of the gospel, focusing on freedom from material poverty and injustice rather than giving primacy to spiritual freedom.

More from CNA:

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2013 / 12:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- During a meeting on Monday with priests from the Diocese of Rome, Pope Francis reportedly suggested that he does not support the version of liberation theology represented by Peruvian priest Father Gustavo Gutierrez.

In a post for his Italian-language blog Settimo Cielo, Vatican analyst Sandro Magister said the Holy Father distanced himself from Archbishop Gerhard Muller – the current prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who supports Fr. Gutierrez's views – in a “brief but eloquent” observation made during a question-and-answer session with the priests.

Magister said the meeting was “behind closed doors” and described Pope Francis’ comment on liberation theology as “serious and sharp,” although it went largely unnoticed by the media, including the Vatican press office.

“In the formulation of one of the five questions posed to the Pope, a priest asking about the centrality of the poor in pastoral ministry made a direct reference to liberation theology and Archbishop Gerhard Muller’s stance in support of this theology,” Magister recounted.

But “upon hearing the name of the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Pope Francis didn’t let the priest finish his question and said, ‘That is what Muller thinks, that is what he thinks’,” Magister explained.

The Pope’s statement is significant in light of the audience he granted last Thursday to Fr. Gutierrez, who is considered one of the fathers of liberation theology. The unscheduled meeting took place at the insistence of Archbishop Muller.

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