Liberation theology has remained active enough in Brazilian Catholicism for Pope Benedict XVI to recently reissue harsh criticisms against the theological movement at a recent meeting with Brazil’s bishops at the Vatican.
The Tablet magazine (Dec. 12) reports that Benedict reiterated the criticisms he had made of liberation theology 30 years ago that its Marxist orientation was causing divisions and sapping the church of vitality. He was particularly concerned that Catholic universities were teaching such “deceptive principles.” But Robert Mickens writes that liberation theology in Brazil today has a more ecumenical flavor.
After the Vatican started challenging Catholic liberation theology in the 1980s, “Protestants, especially Lutherans, started to embrace its ideas.” Just in November, one of Brazil’s leading Lutheran theologians, Walter Altmann, said liberation theology’s “death certificate has been written prematurely.” He said that while some liberation theologians may use Marxist concepts, the thrust of the theology is centered on compassionate identification with the poor and their struggle for justice.
(The Tablet, 1 King Cloisters, Clifton Walk, London W6 0QZ, UK)