Liberation Theology


I’m interested in hearing what others think of the compatibility of liberation theology with the Catholic Church. I haven’t enough knowledge in the theory of liberation theology to have a real opinion yet, but on surface it seems to be the essence of Jesus’ teachings.

I am hoping some of you have compared and contrasted and might share your opinions, or could suggest reading material on the subject.


This is an excerpt from the New Advent website;

Pay careful attention to the last paragraph. I recommend you follow the link to learn more.

Instruction on Certain Aspects of “Theology of Liberation”

Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
August 6, 1984

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of freedom and a force for liberation. In recent years, this essential truth has become the object of reflection for theologians, with a new kind of attention which is itself full of promise.

Liberation is first and foremost liberation from the radical slavery of sin. Its end and its goal is the freedom of the children of God, which is the gift of grace. As a logical consequence, it calls for freedom from many different kinds of slavery in the cultural, economic, social, and political spheres, all of which derive ultimately from sin, and so often prevent people from living in a manner befitting their dignity. To discern clearly what is fundamental to this issue and what is a by-product of it, is an indispensable condition for any theological reflection on liberation.

Faced with the urgency of certain problems, some are tempted to emphasize, unilaterally, the liberation from servitude of an earthly and temporal kind. They do so in such a way that they seem to put liberation from sin in second place, and so fail to give it the primary importance it is due. Thus, their very presentation of the problems is confused and ambiguous. Others, in an effort to learn more precisely what are the causes of the slavery which they want to end, make use of different concepts without sufficient critical caution. It is difficult, and perhaps impossible, to purify these borrowed concepts of an ideological inspiration which is compatible with Christian faith and the ethical requirements which flow from it.

The present Instruction has a much more limited and precise purpose: to draw the attention of pastors, theologians, and all the faithful to the deviations, and risks of deviation, damaging to the faith and to Christian living, that are brought about by certain forms of liberation theology which use, in an insufficiently critical manner, concepts borrowed from various currents of Marxist thought.


I see the point the Prefect is trying to make and I while I understand the validity of his argument, it does seem to me that it’s a bit like saying that lip service is the only requirement and that taking care of the poor and oppressed isn’t really an integral part of Catholicism. Clearly it’s practical. We can’t change others; we can only change ourselves hence worrying about worldly affairs is to some extent not useful. However we can influence through our choices.

Ideally, if people in general are living a Catholic life to the best of their ability, social justice would be better served by that lifestyle, however flawed people are.

I think the reason some people are so put off by religion is the hypocrisy that is often presented to the public by people who call themselves Christians yet turn their backs on the oppressed, support systems that oppress others, or even oppress others ourselves personally or through our governments with our votes.

I’m not sure you can separate out Jesus’ teachings on social justice from Jesus’ divine love and desire for our salvation. I think the two go together.

I do thank you for the link and I will read the article at length as I have time.


I am from the ex-communist country.
I personally can not understand the Christian Communists or the Christian Marxists.
The communists and marxists philosophy , every where where it was in practice has proved itself monstrous.

The reality of the lives of the people where the marxits philosophy has won were the - slavery , fear , reppressions and mass annihilation of the peolpe in a most unhuman way.
The promized paradise was the hell in reality.

Of course the unlimited capitalism is evil.
Any system where the rich get richer and poor get more poor is evil for the society.
Of course the humans are higher than the money.

Remind that in ancient jewish economy these tendencies were restricted by the ’ jubelee year’

What is most pitty , that in the philosophy promoted by the marxists - very easy to believe.
Because it really seems noble.

God is not against the private property.
The economic initiative in getting rich is not forbidden by God.


Thank you very much for posting.

You said, “The reality of the lives of the people where the marxits philosophy has won were the - slavery , fear , reppressions and mass annihilation of the peolpe in a most unhuman way.
The promized paradise was the hell in reality.”

I believe you. That has certainly seemed to be the case when trying to put it into practice.

And you also said this, “Of course the unlimited capitalism is evil.
Any system where the rich get richer and poor get more poor is evil for the society.
Of course the humans are higher than the money.”
which is also true and which I see the results of regularly.

Like you, I see marxist philosophy on paper as noble - it is very much like the social justice aspect of spirituality. I don’t understand why it never works. I suspect it’s because humans are sinful, greedy by nature and regardless of what system is put into place, we find a way to use it to damage our brothers and sisters. It’s an utter shame.

I find this quite frustrating. I’ve been watching Chavez with some interest to see how it goes for Venezuela.


The Church has instructed on liberation theology, you should go to the source:


Thank you for the links!


I suspect it’s because humans are sinful, greedy by nature and regardless of what system is put into place, we find a way to use it to damage our brothers and sisters.

Yes , the real revolution and change must be in the heart of man.
Inner revolution and transformation which is offered by Christ.

The communists have aways were coming to power through the revolutions and violence and have enforced all the time and recurrently a mass violence.
But all the time when they get to power , they never can put their philosophy into practice.
In the ex - USSR country they preached brotherhood and equality,but they always had better apartments , better stores , softer cars , and selective food.
In the Soviet Union it was appalling corruption , constant lie and slavery. The slavery system much more degrading than the antique one.
I am surprised that the communists are qualified to the parlament election now.
People just have the manner to forget or they do not know as I suppose the historical facts.
How we can forget those millions of persecuted who were murdered , died in jails .
The best people of the Slavic countries were killed in the most brutal way.
If we remind the executed by coups of hoe in Cambodia , if we remind those people who were cut alive into pieces in public executions in China , if we remind what they were doing with the Christians in the Romanian jails , or I can mention what happened in my country where people were forced being pushed by the starvation to the acts of cannibalism…
We can continue a long story about the crimes of communism , I just can not combine this unhuman and monstrous philiosophy to the Christian thinking.


Yet we hear of none of these abuses in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, England, Ireland or any of the other huge number of social democracies which grasp the concept of the government existing of, by and for ALL it’s citizens.

I think there is a middle ground between what is becoming American feudalism based on profit for the elite powered by the (low) wage slavery of everyone else, and pure communism and I think the countries that have found that are much better places to live for the average person, and that belief is backed up by the U.N. rankings of best places to live (I think the U.S. is 8th for 2006 with an arrow down). Those rankings consider things like life expectancy, education, income and more.

The U.S. is the 26th best place to be a mother for 2007 and that’s probably because we as a nation consider mothers who choose to parent to be lower than pondscum because they don’t earn cash and income is how Americans value others.

“The United States places 26th this year, tied with Hungary.”


Liberation Theology was one of the most damaging heresies that stroke the church in Latinamerica. The Boff brothers became messengers of underdevelopment by rejecting true capitalism and became Fidels Castro apologists.
Comunism is the most murderous idelology that have hit humanity and this clowns were trying to mix up with Christianity.


The Marxism was not born in the Christian brains.
It was not norished by the Christians and it was not brought to Russia by the Christians.

The excessive economic and social inequalities are the reasons for the sympathy to the comunist ideology but if the human being can not freely and justly exercise its freedom for the economic development it is not ideology for the human beings.
We have a right for the moral , cultural and economic development.
The marxism does not give the right for the ligitimate use of talents and does not have respect for the human right for the private property.

Of course we are not created as a horses , God created us as a human beings.
If the person works like 16 - 18 hours and forgets about life and forgets about days off and times off , I think he becomes less than human. Because we have got a life.:slight_smile:

Yes , work can be a means of sanctification.
In work , the person exercises and fulfils in part the potential inscribed in his nature , but - Work is for man , not man is work !:slight_smile:


The Marxism was not born in the Christian brains.
It was not norished by the Christians and it was not brought to Russia by the Christians.

I do not want to argue or to confirm about the conspiracy of the Bankir Jacob Schiff with Trotskiy and Lenin.
I just mean that the man who originated this philosophy and the people who brought it to Russia were the godless people.
And the idea of the ’ mixed economy ’ and ’ economy control ’ is the crafty idea.

And the Christians who support Marxism just prove themselves wrong because of the perverted understanding of economics and politics.

I agree with the fact that the Church must be involved in the life of the society. :clapping: :amen:
Therefore , the pie - in the sky mentality just damaging political sensibilities hear on earth.

If you are ignorant to the politics , the politics will just take you by the throut sooner or later.

Social and economical problems are also the spiritual problems.

In the Bible God is present as the fighter with the economical and social injustice , he use the people as his instruments in the change for the better.
‘Opressed’ - are the people whome God wants to defend through his followers.
And of course the Christians must fight for the better world and the better society.

But the ’ revolutionism ’ of the followers of the Liberation Theologists , by the banner of marxism just makes one bewildered.
It also seems contradicts the thirteenth chapter of the Pauls Epistle to the Romans.

Some of the Bible Interpretations of Liberation Theologists , I mean to apply the Biblical hermeneutics to the political ideology and political contexts , are also wrong.

We must not forget that the core of our teaching is the resurection of Christ and deliverance from sin.
The people need a Saviour who redeems from sin.
So the core of the 'Christs Call ’ is the revolution in the human heart by the way of repentance.

Paradox but :
In the world of the most of the prosperous countries ( not including probably USA) the people are indifferent to the religion.


Like any theology, liberation theology is open to abuse. Many here have noted that it can rely too heavily on marxist doctrine. However, it remains a powerful and useful tool in understanding our obligations in the arena of social justice.

I would refer you to:

“Christology at the Crossroads” by Jon Sobrino, SJ. He is in and out of favor with the Church at any given moment. I’m not sure where he stands at the moment.

“We drink from our own Wells” by Gustavo Gutierrez
"On Job" by Gustavo Gutierrez

The Sobrino book is excellent, and Gutierrez On Job is amazing. Gutierrez has written many books.

There is a great deal of controversy over these teachings, but they are definitely a way of looking at Jesus that is very scriptural indeed. There was a great deal of bloodshed in Latin America, and many priests and religious were involved to one degree or another.

There has been a concerted effort on the part of many to replace US backed regimes who have literally starved the population while they reaped the benefits of American aid, with governments more responsive the needs of the people. Many would disagree with the methods and results. It’s a difficult situation, but i doubt personally that the theology was the cause, rather the implimentation was faulty.


The problem is that they tried to mix Jesus teaching on social justices with marxist economics and class counciusmess.
Now you see the heresy comming. There was a burgeois christianity and a revolutionary one. There were class conscious Bible readings. In others words marxist polylogism at his worse.


SpiritMeadow. Truly a thoughtful response. The totalitarian dictators/regimes we have installed through arming and financing coups through so much of S. America in order to have willing accomplices to help strip those countries of their resources to our benefit are shameful.

I don’t know if marxism is the answer, but I know having average S. American people systematically repressed, starved and disappeared by puppet tyrants backed by ‘good American Christians’ for the American elite’s financial benefit isn’t the answer either.


I was just thinking today about the amazing bible. Each of us can read it every day and learn something new. We can examine it from dozens of new ways, theologies, and various biblical exegetical methods. We have hundreds of folks who professionally have the gift of homiletic writing. You can find thousands of bloggers, some of whom are extraordinarily gifted in their insights. This wonderful book gives us so much. Every new way of seeing is a gift to me…

I feel sad for those who try to limit it to a “acceptable” interpretation. PSST…try my favorite…a feminist prospective!


So the problem is not just in the menthality and the lack of proper work athics.
The core of the problem is in those traitors puppets and in the treatment of the US business elite towards the Latin America.
The core of the problem is in ’ the spirit of capitalism’ .
In the ’ moral climate of the business’ .
The core of the problem is in the ’ business culture’ .
That the human personality is just seen as the instrument of the concurence strategy and nothing more.

The Morality ( says Pope Benedict ) which believes in the ability to be without technical knowledge of economical laws , is not a morality but a moralism , and it is antiteza of the morality.

But the fact also is that the system which compromising the human dignity , the system which diminishing the sense of responsibility and steals the possibility for the personal initiative is very doubtful system.


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