Liberation Theology


I dedicate this thread to the many men and women who embraced Liberation Theology in desperate parts of the world and dedicated their lives to improving the plight of Man through its teachings and mandates. Some sacrificed their lives in the process. May they live on in the memory of all those committed to building God’s Kingdom on Earth.:slight_smile:


Except Liberation Theology is based on bad, not to say completely idiotic, economic theories (Marxism is the Flat Earth Society of economcs) and worse theology.

It has propped up countless butchering regimes in Latin America, any one of which makes Pinochet look like a pacifist.

I rededicate this thread to the lives and souls lost thanks to the Communist dupes of Liberation Theology; may God have mercy on said dupes’ souls.


Because liberation theology is only partially compatible with Catholic social teaching as expressed in official statements, it has been rejected by the Vatican because of the Marxist concepts that tend towards materialism; this aspect of liberation theology is the most objectionable to orthodox Catholic critics who regard it as “incitement to hate and violence (and) the exaltation of class struggle”.


It published an encyclical advising folks to not focus strictly on the social justice concerns it addresses to passionately. :thumbsup:


How are we to be Christian in a world of destitution?

a. Through compassion (suffering with others)

b. By meeting the poor Christ in the poor

c. Through liberating action

d. By translating faith into action

“If they kill me, I shall rise again in the people.”
– Archbishop Romero, El Salvador



Archbishop Romero, despite his tragic end, did not act in the best interests of the Church which has always sought to seek harmony between social classes rather then destroy them.

The Marxist philosophy in the Theology of Liberation is quite disturbing. As Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Josef Ratzinger (now His Holiness Benedict XVI) condemned Liberation Theology, and rightly so. It is a dangerous teaching with aspects that defy traditional dotrines of the Church.


"It is impossible to overlook the immense amount of selfless work done by Christians…, who driven by a love for their brothers and sisters living in inhuman conditions, have endeavored to bring help and comfort to countless people in the distress brought about by poverty…

The zeal and the compassion which should dwell in the hearts of all pastors nevertheless run the risk of being led astray and diverted to works which are just as damaging to man and his dignity as is the poverty which is being fought, if one is not sufficiently attentive to certain temptations. The feeling of anguish at the urgency of the problems cannot make us lose sight of what is essential nor forget the reply of Jesus to the Tempter: “It is not on bread alone that man lives, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4"4; cf. Dt 8:3)

Faced with the urgency of sharing bread, some are tempted to put evangelization into parentheses, as it were, and postpone it until tomorrow: first the bread, than the Word of the Lord. It is a fatal error to separate these two and even worse to oppose the one to the other. In fact the Christian perspective naturally shows they have a great deal to do with one another."

**Instruction on Certain Aspects of the “Theology of Liberation”

Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith**


How could Liberation Theology incite violence and hate?

From my perspective, Jesus was quite the revolutionary figure, and even the people of his time believed so, the Jews, the Romans, and so on…

I believe that Liberation Theology embraces what being Christian was about back in the days of the early Church: Community, giving of yourself and your possessions to aid others, sharing with each other as a whole.


There are many things written by our Pope (and when he was a Cardinal), here is one. One paragraph:

"An analysis of the phenomenon of liberation theology reveals that it constitutes a fundamental threat to the faith of the Church. At the same time it must be borne in mind that no error could persist unless it contained a grain of truth. Indeed, an error is all the more dangerous, the greater that grain of truth is, for then the temptation it exerts is all the greater."


With all due respect to Our Holy Father his ducument regarding Liberation Theology does little to explain the Church’s position on the issue. After reading it I’m still unable to identify the reason for its “fundamental threat o the faith of the Church”.

I can however speculate as to the reason Liberation Theology was “condemned” by The Church. It is possible that The Church could see a time when such theology could reject the hierarchy of the Church. It may have speculated that any system based on Marxist theory would inevitably view ANY authority as oppressive. Realising this The Church may have pre-emptively condemned such theology.

The truth is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Liberation Theology, assuming that it accepts that the authority given to the Church is of God, and not of Man.


The Church has not rejected all aspects of Liberation Theology. Rather the Church looked Liberation Theology, saw where it was in error, spoke to those errors and embraced what was true about it.

Two main errors were recognized. The first was Liberation Theology’s uncritical references to Marxist philosophy. Especially concerning to the Church were issues revolving around class struggle. The Chruch pointed out that we are not a faith of poor vs. rich. We certianly call on the rich to share the wealth that the earth provides. We certianly call on sinners to repent. But we by no means “struggle” against those who are rich in the same sense that Marxisim does.

Secondly, and probably more importantly, some of the proponents of Liberation Theology had begin preaching a gospel that was primarily focused on political liberation of the oppressed. While that is important (see Exodus), political liberation was being stressed to the exclusion liberation from sin.

Liberation Theology, corrected of these errors, is not heresy. Indeed, Liberation Theology has made significant contributions to the social teachings of the Church. Most important is the preferential option for the poor. It has also provided us models of Christian sacrafice like Father Rutilio Grande, and Archbishop Oscar Romero.


Doing what is in the best interests of the Church does not always include doing what makes the Church look good, doing what makes the Church politically popular, or compromising the Gospel to avoid conflict.

Also, as pointed out above, Liberation Theology has been corrected not condemned.


The notion that the Church favours class stratification is ridiculous. Unfortunately fifty years of anti Soviet rhetoric has tainted socialism, and has given Americans (and most westerners) an unfounded notion of the superiority of a “free market” economy.

“Class struggle” has always existed, and it still exists today in the misuse of capitalism and globalisation


Ditto. (With apologies to Rush Limbaugh).

True. But we may not “hit back” with Marxist style “us vs. them.” Our faith is not one of conflict between peoples or classes. Do we call sinners to repentance? Absolutely. But we do not struggle against the ruling class in the way that Marxists do.


Theres probably a cultural reference Im missing there :slight_smile:

True. But we may not “hit back” with Marxist style “us vs. them.” Our faith is not one of conflict between peoples or classes. Do we call sinners to repentance? Absolutely. But we do not struggle against the ruling class in the way that Marxists do.

Why is it, in your opinion, that revolution is unacceptable? Take for an example the millions of Russian prisoners condemned to “death by neglect” by the Germans in WW2. They died because the Germans had resources to maintain them, yet refused to feed, clothe and water them. Which is the more moral act, for the prisoners to overthrow the Germans to secure their survival, or to simply accept their fate?

Does not revolution (at least in some cases) constitute self defence?


Frist of all let me admit that my opinion is a minority one not shared by all Catholics. In fact, even though I don’t know the actual statistics, I would venture to say that less than 5% of Catholics would agree with me.

I believe that revolution is unacceptable because I don’t believe that Christians are permitted to use violence as a means to an end. This is true no matter how noble or worthy that end may be. I could provide numerous Scripture references to back this up but my favorite is from the Sermon on the Plain, Luke 6:27-36. Another reference on point is from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:38-48. If we look at how the earliest Christians viewed the matter we see that pacifisim was the rule (see St. Martin of Tours).

I believe that the only acceptable type of revolution for a Christain would be in the form of non-violent non-cooperation with evil. Two beautiful modern day models of this would be Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Sisters Jackie Hudson, Carol Gilbert and Ardeth Platte are also excellent modern day examples to look to.

I, along with Gandhi, also believe that any society born from violence would not be the kind of society I would want to live in. Violence begets violence. Look at what happend under Stalin, Mao and even Castro. The “people’s revolutions” in Russia and China led within one generation to the slaughter of millions. Even Cuba has experienced more than its share of persecution of dissidents. There is an excellent article on the realities vs. the myths about life in Cuba in the Jan.-Feb 2007 International Socialist Review. This is to say nothing about the repression of religious expression that has been a major characteristic of societies born from violent revolution.

Does God want us to be free? Yes. Does God demand that the goods the earth affords be shared by all according to need? Yes. Does the Gospel require us to demand justice for the poor and oppressed? Yes. Does the Gospel demand that we take risks? Yes. Are we premitted to use violence as a means to these noble ends? No.


Msgr. William Smith has a very good talk on Liberation Theology that you can download and listen to for only a dollar, if you have a credit card:
It took me a while, but I finally figured out Msgr. Smith gave the talk sometime in the mid-eighties. Msgr. Smith made several predictions about how what liberation theology would lead to and I found it quite remarkable about how right he turned out to be 20 years later.


to the many men and women who embraced Liberation Theology in desperate parts of the world and dedicated their lives to improving the plight of Man through its teachings and mandates. Some sacrificed their lives in the process. May they live on in the memory of all those committed to building God’s Kingdom on Earth.

Amen :thumbsup:

Liberation theology in its purest form is as I see it the call of every Christian to share the worlds resources, but there are some views that it also embrace aspects of marxiism, which of course is anathema to catholicism


New News on this subject:

Bishop in Venezuela says Christ was not a socialist “revolutionary”

“In our Latin American continent, there have always been attempts to answer the troubling question about Him,” he continued. “He has been identified as a ‘revolutionary,’ a ‘guerrilla,’ to the point that he has been depicted in paintings crucified on a cross of rifles. In our own national debate, he has been presented as a ‘Socialist.’”


Christ was certianly not a revolutionary in the sense that “revolutionary” describes someone who intends to overthrow the current political system by force or violence.

God demands that we be ready, willing and able to use the talents we are given to build his Kingdom. God demands that the world’s resources be shared by all according to need. See Matthew 25 among lots of others. If one reads the Gospel with an open mind and heart it’s clear that “from each according to ability, to each according to need” is a fundamentally good idea. That having been said, I don’t believe that God endorses one economic system or another. It’s not how resources are distributed that’s important. What matters is that those resources are distributed justly. Justice is the important thing. Not the system that delivers justice. It’s up to us to figure out how that’s done. No economic or political system is going to be perfect. All we can do is the best we can to live as close to the ideals set forth by Christ.

I do, however, believe that it is instructive to look to Acts 2:32-35. The community of believers described there actually knew Jesus, and heard him preach. Some of their number were undoubtedly among the 500 that witnessed the risen Lord. They received the Eucharist directly from the hands of the Apostles. What could Christ have said to them, that made them behave this way? Is this something we could model, however imperfectly, in our own time?

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