The Pronk Pops Show 540, September 24, 2015, Story 1: Pope Francis Sells (“Dialogue”) The Socialism of Jesuit Liberation Theology and Social Justice — Smiley Face Marxist Leninism — No Sale — Well Meaning People of Good Intentions Are Not Enough — Consequences Count and Results Matter — The Spread Of Free Market Capitalism Raises People Out of Poverty Into Prosperity — Videos

Posted on September 24, 2015. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Constitutional Law, European History, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, History, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Law, Legal Immigration, Media, Middle East, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, South America, Success, Taxation, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 540: September 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 539: September 23, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 538: September 22, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 537: September 21, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 536: September 18, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 535: September 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 534: September 16, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 533: September 15, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 532: September 14, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 531: September 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 530: September 10, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 529: September 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 528: September 8, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 527: September 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 526: September 3, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 525: September 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 524: August 31, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 523: August 27, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 522: August 26, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 521: August 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 520: August 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 519: August 21, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 518: August 20, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 517: August 19, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 516: August 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 515: August 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 514: August 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 513: August 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 512: August 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 511: August 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 510: August 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 509: July 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 508: July 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 507: July 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 506: July 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 505: July 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 504: July 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 503: July 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 502: July 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 501: July 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 500: July 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 499: July 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 498: July 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 497: July 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 496: June 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 495: June 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 494: June 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 493: June 25, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 492: June 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 491: June 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 490: June 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 489: June 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 488: June 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 487: June 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 486; June 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 485: June 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 484: June 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 483: June 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 482; June 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 481: June 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 480: June 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 479: June 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 478: June 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 477: June 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 476: June 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 475: June 1, 2015

the truth about socialismfaces of socialism

   pope francis congresspope francis congress 2  pope francis 4_pope-congresspope francis congress 3

Story 1: Pope Francis Sells (“Dialogue”) The Socialism of Jesuit Liberation Theology and Social Justice — Smiley Face Marxist Leninism —    No Sale — Well Meaning People of Good Intentions Are Not Enough — Consequences Count and Results Matter — The Spread Of Free Market Capitalism Raises People Out of Poverty Into Prosperity — Videos

Pope Francis Speech to US Congress [FULL]

Pope Francis, the first pontiff in history to address Congress, speaks to a joint session of the United States Congress. Francis underscores the role of legislators as representatives of the common, public good and discusses key issues from immigration and social justice, to the abolition of the death penalty, poverty relief, peace, and the family. Pope Francis highlights the public role of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton.

Pope Francis addresses Joint Session of Congress – FULL SPEECH (C-SPAN)

Pope Francis Urges Congress to Treat Immigrants in ‘Humane and Just’ Way

HIGHLIGHTS FROM POPE FRANCIS HISTORIC SPEECH TO US CONGRESS IS JOHN BOEHNER CRYING?

Highlights of Pope Francis addressing Congress

Memorable quotes from Pope Francis’ speech to Congress

Dorothy Day from “Who Cares About The Saints?” with Fr. James Martin, S.J.

The Life of Dorothy Day: Robert Ellsberg Extended Interview

Dorothy Day’s unpopular stance

Dorothy Day Documentary: Don’t Call Me a Saint

Dorothy Day 1977

DOROTHY DAY

Merton – a film biography

Thomas Merton, Spiritual Master

Modern Masters of Religion

Thomas Merton on St. Bernard of Clairveaux

Pope Francis, the Jesuits and liberation theology

Thomas Merton from “Who Cares About The Saints?” with Fr. James Martin, S.J.

Liberation Theology

Liberation Theology and the Marxism Leninism Worldview (Part 12 of 15). Summit Ministries covers an interesting segment of Christianity as compared to a Biblical Worldview.

Jesus, A Marxist? | Irvin Baxter

Jesuit/Vatican author Malachi Martin on Liberation Theology

Viewpoint – Liberation Theology

Paul Vallely talks about his book ‘Pope Francis – Untying the Knots’ on BBC World News

Francis : The Pope From The End Of The World Full Documentary

Thomas Cahill on the People’s Pope

In just a few months, Pope Francis has proven to be one of the most outspoken pontiffs in recent history, especially when it comes to poverty and income inequality. In a message to be sent to world leaders marking the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of Peace on January 1, he criticized the “widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs.”

Francis is the first Jesuit to ascend to the papacy, so this week Bill turns to Jesuit-educated author and historian Thomas Cahill to get his perspective on the meaning of Pope Francis and the relevance of the Church in the 21st century. “[Pope Francis] is talking about the poor, as Jesus did. He’s talking about the absolute necessity for us to take care of the poor, to do something for them.”

Cahill has written a series of best-selling books about critical moments in Western civilization; his latest is Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World.

WWJD: What Would Jesuits Drive, Symbols to Sell Tyranny

What is liberation theology?

black-liberation-theology

Barack Obama’s Black Liberation Theology

Jeremiah Wright: “God Damn America”

Jeremiah Wright on Fox

Black Liberation Theology

It’s the Theology, Stupid – Obama, Farrakhan & Black Liberation Theology

Issue Preview – The Imitation of Christ

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis (FULL Audiobook)

Eckhart Tolle: Wisdom in Daily Life

The Sound of Silence (Original Version from 1964)

Lyrics:

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a streetlamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grow
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The words of the prophets
Are written on subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence”

© 1964 Words and Music by Paul Simon

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence – Madison Square Garden, NYC – 2009/10/29&30

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlNyl0xML5M full text of Pope Francis’ address to US Congress

Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’ Sept. 24 address to members of the United States Congress:

Mr. Vice-President, Mr. Speaker, Honorable Members of Congress, Dear Friends,

I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in “the land of the free asnd the home of the brave”. I would like to think that the reason for this is that I too am a son of this great continent, from which we have all received so much and toward which we share a common responsibility.

Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you.

Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation. On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work: you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.

Today I would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the United States. Here, together with their representatives, I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and –one step at a time – to build a better life for their families. These are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society. They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need.

I would also like to enter into dialogue with the many elderly persons who are a storehouse of wisdom forged by experience, and who seek in many ways, especially through volunteer work, to share their stories and their insights. I know that many of them are retired, but still active; they keep working to build up this land. I also want to dialogue with all those young people who are working to realize their great and noble aspirations, who are not led astray by facile proposals, and who face difficult situations, often as a result of immaturity on the part of many adults. I wish to dialogue with all of you, and I would like to do so through the historical memory of your people.

My visit takes place at a time when men and women of good will are marking the anniversaries of several great Americans. The complexities of history and the reality of human weakness notwithstanding, these men and women, for all their many differences and limitations, were able by hard work and self- sacrifice – some at the cost of their lives – to build a better future. They shaped fundamental values which will endure forever in the spirit of the American people. A people with this spirit can live through many crises, tensions and conflicts, while always finding the resources to move forward, and to do so with dignity. These men and women offer us a way of seeing and interpreting reality. In honoring their memory, we are inspired, even amid conflicts, and in the here and now of each day, to draw upon our deepest cultural reserves.

I would like to mention four of these Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.
This year marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the guardian of liberty, who labored tirelessly that “this nation, under God, [might] have a new birth of freedom”. Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity.

All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject.

Our response must instead be one of hope and healing, of peace and justice. We are asked to summon the courage and the intelligence to resolve today’s many geopolitical and economic crises. Even in the developed world, the effects of unjust structures and actions are all too apparent. Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples. We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.

The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States. The complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience.

In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society. It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.

Here I think of the political history of the United States, where democracy is deeply rooted in the mind of the American people. All political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person and be based on respect for his or her dignity. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776). If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.

Here too I think of the march which Martin Luther King led from Selma to Montgomery fifty years ago as part of the campaign to fulfill his “dream” of full civil and political rights for African Americans. That dream continues to inspire us all. I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of “dreams”. Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people.

In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants. Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident that we can do this.

Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12).

This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.

In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.

How much progress has been made in this area in so many parts of the world! How much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty! I know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost. At the same time I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem.

It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. “Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good” (Laudato Si’, 129). This common good also includes the earth, a central theme of the encyclical which I recently wrote in order to “enter into dialogue with all people about our common home” (ibid., 3). “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all” (ibid., 14).

In Laudato Si’, I call for a courageous and responsible effort to “redirect our steps” (ibid., 61), and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play. Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a “culture of care” (ibid., 231) and “an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature” (ibid., 139). “We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology” (ibid., 112); “to devise intelligent ways of… developing and limiting our power” (ibid., 78); and to put technology “at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral” (ibid., 112). In this regard, I am confident that America’s outstanding academic and research institutions can make a vital contribution in the years ahead.
A century ago, at the beginning of the Great War, which Pope Benedict XV termed a “pointless slaughter”, another notable American was born: the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton. He remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people. In his autobiography he wrote: “I came into the world. Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born. That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God, and yet hating him; born to love him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers”. Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.

From this perspective of dialogue, I would like to recognize the efforts made in recent months to help overcome historic differences linked to painful episodes of the past. It is my duty to build bridges and to help all men and women, in any way possible, to do the same. When countries which have been at odds resume the path of dialogue – a dialogue which may have been interrupted for the most legitimate of reasons – new opportunities open up for all. This has required, and requires, courage and daring, which is not the same as irresponsibility. A good political leader is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism. A good political leader always opts to initiate processes rather than possessing spaces (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 222-223).

Being at the service of dialogue and peace also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world. Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.

Three sons and a daughter of this land, four individuals and four dreams: Lincoln, liberty; Martin Luther King, liberty in plurality and non-exclusion; Dorothy Day, social justice and the rights of persons; and Thomas Merton, the capacity for dialogue and openness to God.

Four representatives of the American people.

I will end my visit to your country in Philadelphia, where I will take part in the World Meeting of Families. It is my wish that throughout my visit the family should be a recurrent theme. How essential the family has been to the building of this country! And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement! Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.

In particular, I would like to call attention to those family members who are the most vulnerable, the young. For many of them, a future filled with countless possibilities beckons, yet so many others seem disoriented and aimless, trapped in a hopeless maze of violence, abuse and despair. Their problems are our problems. We cannot avoid them. We need to face them together, to talk about them and to seek effective solutions rather than getting bogged down in discussions. At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that we live in a culture which pressures young people not to start a family, because they lack possibilities for the future. Yet this same culture presents others with so many options that they too are dissuaded from starting a family.

A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to “dream” of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton.

In these remarks I have sought to present some of the richness of your cultural heritage, of the spirit of the American people. It is my desire that this spirit continue to develop and grow, so that as many young people as possible can inherit and dwell in a land which has inspired so many people to dream.

God bless America!

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/watch-live-coverage-of-pope-francis-address-to-us-congress-50586/

Repent! Pope Francis lectures America on gay marriage, abortion, immigration and the Syrian refugee crisis in first-ever Capitol Hill address by a sitting pontiff

  • Francis opens last day of Washington visit with rebuke of congressional Republicans over lack of compassion for immigrants and refugees
  • Papal visit comes amid rising tensions over immigration policies in Congress
  • At least one Republican is boycotting speech in protest
  • Francis lectures lawmakers about ‘defend[ing] human life at every stage of its development’ and ending the death penalty
  • Subtle jab at gay marriage: ‘I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without’

By J. TAYLOR RUSHING

Pope Francis delivered a stinging blow to nativist conservatives bent on keeping illegal immigrants and Middle Eastern refugees out of the United States, saying Thursday in a landmark address to Congress that Americans should show compassion to immigrants of all stripes.

‘When the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past,’ the Roman Catholic pontiff said. ‘We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us.’

Speaking in English – a language he has learned only recently – Francis also dropped coded messages to conservatives about gay marriage and abortion, and made an impassioned plea for a left-leaning approach to capital punishment in an unprecedented visit to Capitol Hill by a sitting Pope.

‘I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without,’ Francis told a packed House chamber filled with legislators, Supreme Court justices and multiple presidential candidates.

Pope Francis delivered a stinging blow to nativist conservatives bent on keeping illegal immigrants and Middle Eastern refugees out of the United States, saying Thursday in a landmark address to Congress that Americans should show compassion to immigrants of all stripes.

‘When the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past,’ the Roman Catholic pontiff said. ‘We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us.’

Speaking in English – a language he has learned only recently – Francis also dropped coded messages to conservatives about gay marriage and abortion, and made an impassioned plea for a left-leaning approach to capital punishment in an unprecedented visit to Capitol Hill by a sitting Pope.

‘I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without,’ Francis told a packed House chamber filled with legislators, Supreme Court justices and multiple presidential candidates.

‘Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family.’

And without mentioning abortion by name – or the name of the embattled domestic Planned Parenthood organization – Francis told lawmakers that the ‘Golden Rule … reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.’

Francis spoke calmly but emphatically, never raising his voice as presidents often do in their State of the Union addresses to joint congressional sessions.

In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.

He was greeted by polite applause at certain points – particularly when he began reciting the Golden Rule but was interrupted before he could finish – ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you.’

Also, notably, applause broke out after these words: ‘The Golden Rule reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of development.’

But the applause was never raucous, a sign that members heeded party leaders’ directive not to applaud effusively or ‘glad-handle’ Francis if they got close to him.

Behind him on the raised speaker’s dais, close watchers got a different show during the speech, as both Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner – both well-known emotional men – proved to be almost as watchable.

Throughout the speech, Biden gravely nodded his head and looked down as if in serious thought. But Boehner appeared to tear up at several points, and was openly crying later on the Speaker’s Balcony after the address.

Francis’s speech was sprinkled with references to American history, as the pontiff repeatedly referenced and occasionally quoted from President Abraham Lincoln, civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., Catholic Worker Movement founder Dorothy Day and Cistercerian monk Thomas Merton.

The pontiff made clear his firmness on the sanctity of human life, not only the veiled reference to abortion but also his opposition to the death penalty.

Biden, a Roman Catholic who co-presided over the Joint Session of Congress as the constitutionally appointed president of the U.S. Senate, caused a stir this week by declaring that he believes life begins at conception.

But it’s Francis’ comments about immigrants that will be most sharply felt as the U.S. deals with the twin crises of Syrian refugees and an immigrant invasion from Mexico and Central America, both of which the Obama administration has taken steps to pacify by loosening America’s borders as a show of compassion.

‘Thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones in search of greater opportunities’ in in North America, he said. ‘Is this not what we want for our own children?’

‘We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal.’

WIthout naming Syria, the Muslim faith, the ISIS terror army, or any of the European nations that have hedged their bets again welcoming the tide of migrants displaced by Islamist armies, Francis noted ‘a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War.’

‘This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions,’ he said.

Ultimately the shepherd of more than 1.2 billion Catholics counseled adherence to a Biblical do-unto-others philosophy.

‘Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated,’ he implored Congress. ‘Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves.’

‘In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.’

Francis did warn against religious fundamentalism of the type that drew ISIS into the fight that has displaced an estimated 4 million Syrians, mostly young men.

‘Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion,’ he said.

‘We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind.’

But he split the baby, Solomon-like, between combating ‘violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system’ on the one hand, and ‘safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms’ on the other.

It’s no surprise that the Pope made a point to lecture Congress about the death penalty, a sticking point with the Church as it deals with governments the world over.

A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to “dream” of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do.

‘Society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes,’ he said Thursday.

‘Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.’

Reaction to the pope’s speech united Democrats in effusiveness, such as Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, who called it ‘inspiring and uplifting to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.’

‘He has such optimism in human nature and in the future, and is calling upon our better angels to achieve the best goodness we can for humankind,’  Schumer said.

Republicans were more terse. While none panned the speech, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, was among those who pointedly noted the pontiff’s call for religious freedom.

Ryan called it ‘timely and inspiring,’ in light of social divisions over gay marriage that have some complaining that the government isn’t respecting the freedom of those who disagree with the practice.

Outside of Congress, critics were easier to find. John-Henry Westen, editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews, and a longtime anti-abortion activist, called the speech ‘a missed opportunity’ to influence the ongoing congressional debate over whether to fund Planned Parenthood.

‘Pope Francis just missed perhaps his greatest opportunity to make a difference on life,’ Westen said in a statement.

Shortly after his address, Francis appeared on the Speaker’s balcony, a small patio that looks out over the Capitol’s west-side lawn towards the National Mall and the Washington Monument.

Here, he began a short address in Spanish, then switched to Italian, and finished in English.

‘I am so grateful for your presence here,’ Francis said. ‘The most important ones here – children. I will ask God to bless them.’

Following a short prayer in Italian, Francis continued in Italian to ask the audience for their prayers on his own behalf, and even asked those ‘who do not believe or cannot pray… to send good wishes my way.’

‘Thank you very much, and God bless America,’ Francis finished in English.

Francis’s speech to a fractitious Congress had many Republicans wary of a lecture, as the pope is a well-known advocate of efforts to battle air pollution and has embraced the Democratic Party’s traditional acceptance of global warming.

In a meeting with Obama on Wednesday, Francis had reportedly called Obama’s efforts to fight climate change ‘encouraging.’

Francis has also been an outspoken opponent of unbridled capitalism and has advocated forcefully for more income equality around the globe – stances which align him closely with the White House but which have been staunchly opposed by congressional Republicans.

Underscoring the tension over those and other issues, at least one House Republican, Paul Gosar, boycotted the pope’s speech out of protest.

Francis arrived at the Capitol at 9:20 a.m., beginning his visit with a photo-op with House Speaker John Boehner that was only open to the press for about two minutes.

Boehner made a few awkward attempts at jokes, at one point saying he wanted to wear ‘a more conservative tie,’ than the green one he was wearing, at which point Francis signalled his approval of Boehner’s tie to soft laughter. An interpreter hovered between the two men.

The speech in the House of Representatives was attended by more than 500 senators and representatives and Supreme Court justices. As is customary for State of the Union speeches, Francis was flanked behind him by Boehner and Biden, who first met Francis Tuesday at Andrews Air Force Base.

Francis’ speech comes on his last day of a three-day trip to Washington.

After touching down at Andrews Air Force Base from Cuba late Tuesday, the pontiff was greeted by a welcoming ceremony at the White House on Wednesday morning, followed by a private Oval Office visit with President Obama and an address at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in downtown D.C.

Following his congressional speech, Francis is scheduled to address a much smaller audience of about 200 people in the Catholic Charities organization at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, before leaving for Andrews Air Force Base and then to New York City.

The pontiff visits New York on Friday and Saturday – which will include an address to the United Nations on Friday – and then Philadelphia later on Saturday and Sunday.

He returns to Rome on Sunday from Philadelphia.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3247609/Francis-takes-Congress-task-immigration-abortion-gay-marriage-Syrian-refugee-crisis-insists-Golden-Rule-approach-politics-Capitol-Hill-address-sitting-pontiff.html

Pope’s call for immigration leniency unlikely to change debate

Vatican has most restrictive immigration policy

Pope Francis is more than head of the Catholic Church — he’s also the head of state of the Vatican, which as a government has possibly the most restrictive immigration and citizenship policies of any nation in the world.

The pope, traveling to the U.S. for the first time, has made a special appeal to Americans to welcome immigrants, using his address to a joint meeting of Congress Thursday to invoke the Golden Rule in demanding generosity toward the millions of Central and South Americans seeking to come to the country.

“Thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children?” he said. “We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’”

Immigrant-rights groups had eagerly anticipated the pope’s message, as had illegal immigrants themselves.

Sofi Cruz, a five-year-old American citizen whose parents are illegal immigrants from Mexico, broke through the tight security around the pope during a parade on the National Mall Wednesday to hand him a letter begging him to pressure Congress and the White House to take steps to grant her parents legal status.

The pontiff didn’t mention illegal immigration during his speech Thursday, but did refer to the large numbers of people coming from Latin America. Advocacy groups cheered his words, saying his call for unity and acceptance should temper some of the harsh rhetoric that’s flared recently.

“At this moment, with many political candidates and elected officials fanning the flames of intolerance and divisiveness, let us hope that our leaders take the Holy Father’s powerful message to heart,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice.

But lawmakers doubted his words would break the legislative stalemate in Congress.

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, said he took the pope’s call for compassion to be a celebration of legal immigration — and said he welcomed that.

Rep. Michael Burgess, Texas Republican, said the U.S. is already doing its part to heed calls for compassion.

“The thing that always strikes me when we get into these discussions is the United States takes in more people every year legally than the rest of the world combined,” he said. “You stat from that premise — it was 1.7 million last year, you want to add another 400,000 to 600,000 that came in without the benefit of doing it the right way. What is the right number? If over 2 million is not enough, would someone please tell me what that right number is, and would other countries act accordingly.”

The Vatican, for its part, welcomes millions of visitors a year — but allows only a very select few, who meet strict criteria, to be admitted as residents or citizens.

Only about 450 of its 800 or so residents actually hold citizenship, according to a 2012 study by the Library of Congress. That study said citizens are either church cardinals who reside in the Vatican, the Holy See’s diplomats around the world, and those who have to reside in the city because of their jobs, such as the Swiss Guard.

Spouses and children who live in the city because of their relationship with citizens — including the Swiss Guard and workers such as the gardener — can also be granted citizenship. But that means few of the Vatican’s citizens are women.

A Vatican spokesman did not return an email seeking comment on its policy.

The strict policy has left the Vatican open to criticism in the past, including from right-wing political leaders in Italy who want tighter immigration controls in their country and have rebuffed the papacy’s calls for leniency by asking how many refugees live in the enclave.

Pope Francis, however, has taken some steps to mitigate those attacks, matching his call earlier this month for churches to host Syrian refugees with a vow that the Vatican itself would take in a couple of refugee families.

Last week the Vatican government announced it had accepted a mother, father and two children who are Melkite Greek Catholics, and who have asked for asylum in Italy.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/sep/24/pope-call-immigration-unlikely-change-debate/

Pope Francis: Untying the Knots by Paul Vallely – review

An exploration of Pope Francis’s liberal reputation and murky past lifts this book well above the nervous reverence of much papal biography

The Roman Catholic papacy is understandably compared to a monarchy: a pope wears a crown, sits on a throne and, while he is debarred from having heirs, the cardinals are styled as pseudo-filial “princes”. Pontiffs differ from monarchs in one significant way, however: succession.

While we have recently endured multitudinous articles about how the royal baby might rule as King George VII in, say, half a century’s time, most popes come as a surprise. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now known as Pope Francis, had tendered his resignation as cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires (having reached ecclesiastical retirement age), and chosen his room in an Argentinian clergy retirement house, before flying to Rome to vote on a successor to Benedict XVI. Bergoglio had been mentioned in almost none of the media pieces on who would next rule the Vatican and, were Catholic priests not discouraged from gambling, could have got odds of 30-1 against himself at turf accountants.

The absence of any line of succession or electoral primaries creates problems for authors of papal biographies. Their books have most in common with the campaign-biogs that are rushed out by informed journalists as soon as the contenders to be next American president become known. However, with no shortlisting system, the papal biographer has to write after the election and with a speed that reflects the fickleness of public interest and the risk of being overtaken by what the new man does in post.

Two recognised classics of the form were inspired by shock events: Peter Hebblethwaite’s The Year of Three Popes (1979) was a quick-turnaround work covering the transition from Paul VI to John Paul I and then John Paul II, a time later covered more reflectively in John Cornwell’s A Thief in the Night (1989), which examined the theory that the first John Paul I had lasted for only 33 days because of the literally or metaphorically murderous pressure caused by opponents of his attempt to reform the Vatican civil service. Paul Vallely has the advantage that he is dealing with the only equivalently dramatic handover in the modern history of the papacy. The startling resignation of Benedict XVI and the subsequent oddity of a papal election that did not follow a funeral shape a story that could have been titled, after Hebblethwaite, “The Summer of Two Popes”.

With the apparent help of at least one good source within the college of cardinals (who are officially sworn to secrecy until death), Vallely gives riveting accounts of the “conclaves” in which first, in 2005, Cardinal Ratzinger was named Benedict XVI to follow John Paul II and then, in 2012, the first pope from the Americas was selected to succeed Benedict.

As Vallely tells it, Bergoglio of Buenos Aires ran Ratzinger close eight years ago, but his candidacy was hobbled by the circulation among the cardinals of a dossier alleging that the Argentinian had colluded with the country’s military dictatorship in the mid-70s arrest of two fellow Jesuit priests, who were subsequently imprisoned and tortured.

These allegations, which may have prevented him from becoming pope last time, rapidly resurfaced when he claimed the white skull-cap, and form one of two opposed simplistic narratives about the new pope that exist in the mainstream media: the rightwing sympathiser with blood on his hands, or the humble reformer who lived among the poor in the slums and is so without ego or ceremony that, after becoming the leader of the world’s Catholics, he personally phoned his newsagent back home to cancel future deliveries.

The conclusion of Pope Francis: Untying the Knots – which takes its title from a favourite devotional painting of Bergoglio’s in which the mother of Christ symbolically unravels a twisted rope – is that there is partial truth in both those stereotypes, which combine to reveal a man of sometimes tortured complexity.

Vallely, after tough-minded analysis, rejects the suggestions of some (led by the journalist Horacio Verbitsky) that Bergoglio, who at the time was head of the Jesuits in Argentina, was a lackey of the Videla dictatorship. However, he accepts that the two Jesuit priests were placed in jeopardy by their then superior’s decision to withdraw from them the protection of the Jesuit order as part of a row over the way that the gospels should be taught. Against this clear failure by Bergoglio, though, the biographer sets evidence of moral courage and bravery, including the smuggling out of others threatened by the junta.

Fascinatingly, Vallely argues that the Bergoglio lionised by liberals – living in the slums where he was so non-churchy that he was known as “The Dude”, and urging compassion towards those traditionally ostracised by Catholicism – developed during the latter part of his life in direct response to the priest’s guilt and self-chastisement over his actions under the dictatorship. Support for the book’s theory that Bergoglio is haunted by guilt comes in the startling detail that, when asked in the conclave if he accepted the vote to become pope, he replied not with the traditional “Accepto” but the words: “I am a great sinner, trusting in the mercy and patience of God in suffering, I accept.”

This strong suggestion that Bergoglio may hope that what he does as pope will atone for some actions earlier in his priestly career lifts the book well above the nervous reverence of much papal biography, and should recommend it to an audience broader than Catholics – although such readers may struggle with the text’s tendency towards untranslated doctrinal vocabulary such as “charism”, “breviary”, “homiliar” and “pre-conciliar”.

More accessible are the sections about ecclesiastical intrigue that remind us why Morris West, Michael Dibdin and Dan Brown found the Vatican such fertile territory for thrillers. One of Bergoglio’s long-time foes in the Buenos Aires church was apparently so riled when his rival became pope that he refused to ring the bells of his parish to celebrate. And Vallely’s account of the new pope’s apparent determination to reform the corrupt Vatican bureacracy and banking system, after reading a secret report locked in a safe by Benedict XVI, reads like a lost, unexpectedly literate chapter of The Da Vinci Code.

The book bears some marks of hasty publication, with missing words and wobbly punctuation that might have been picked up through more leisurely correction. And, strangely, an afterword repeats several anecdotes and facts that have already appeared (and sometimes more than once) in the main text, but without any inflection that recognises the repetition, so that this closing section reads like a stand-alone magazine article.

Otherwise, it’s hard to imagine the rapid papal biography being done better: Vallely brings to the task a combination of sore-footed reporting (especially in Buenos Aires) and quick‑minded thought. Generously, he even hints at a possible future pope: Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, who was apparently ruled out as too young (at 55) last time. If Tagle does ever get the top job, may he be as lucky in his biographer as Bergoglio has been.

Liberation theology

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Liberation theology has been described as “an interpretation of Christian faith out of the experience of the poor…an attempt to read the Bible and key Christian doctrines with the eyes of the poor”,[1] or “the message of the gospels”, restored from “the first three centuries [of Christianity in which] it was … a pacifist … religion of the poor”.[2] Detractors have called it Christianized Marxism.[3]

The best-known form of liberation theology is that which developed in Latin America in the 1950s, however various other forms of liberation theology have since developed, including Asian, Black, and Palestinian liberation theologies.[citation needed]

Although liberation theology has grown into an international and inter-denominational movement, it began as a movement within the Catholic Church in Latin America in the 1950s and 1960s. Liberation theology arose principally as a moral reaction to the poverty and social injustice in the region. The term was coined in 1971 by the Peruvian priestGustavo Gutiérrez, who wrote one of the movement’s defining books, A Theology of Liberation. Other noted exponents include Leonardo Boff of Brazil, Jon Sobrino of Spain, and Juan Luis Segundo of Uruguay.[4][5]

Latin American liberation theology met opposition in the United States,[2] which accused it of using “Marxist concepts”, and led to admonishment by the Vatican‘s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in 1984 and 1986. The Vatican disliked certain forms of Latin American liberation theology for focusing on institutionalized or systemic sin; and for identifying Catholic Church hierarchy in South America as members of the same privileged class that had long been oppressing indigenous populations from the arrival of Pizarro onward.[6]

Theology

Liberation theology could be interpreted as an attempt to return to the gospel of the early church where Christianity is politically and culturally decentralized.[7]

Liberation theology proposes to fight poverty by addressing its alleged source: sin. In so doing, it explores the relationship between Christian theology (especiallyRoman Catholic) and political activism, especially in relation to social justice, poverty, and human rights. The principal methodological innovation is seeing theology from the perspective of the poor and the oppressed. For example, Jon Sobrino, S.J., argues that the poor are a privileged channel of God’s grace.

Some liberation theologians base their social action upon the Bible scriptures describing the mission of Jesus Christ, as bringing a sword (social unrest), e.g., Isaiah 61:1, Matthew 10:34, Luke 22:35–38 — and not as bringing peace (social order).[better source needed] This Biblical interpretation is a call to action against poverty, and the sin engendering it, to effect Jesus Christ’s mission of justice in this world.

Gustavo Gutiérrez gave the movement its name with his book A Theology of Liberation (1971). In this book, Gutierrez combined populist ideas with the social teachings of the Catholic Church. He was influenced by an existing socialist current in the Church which included organizations such as the Catholic Worker Movement and the Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne, a Belgian Christian youth worker organization. He was also influenced by Paul Gauthier‘s The Poor, Jesus and the Church (1965). Gutierrez’s book is based on an understanding of history in which the human being is seen as assuming conscious responsibility for human destiny, and yet Christ the Savior liberates the human race from sin, which is the root of all disruption of friendship and of all injustice and oppression.[8]

Gutierrez also popularized the phrase “preferential option for the poor“, which became a slogan of liberation theology and later appeared in addresses of the Pope.[9] Drawing from the biblical motif on the poor, Gutierrez asserts that God is revealed as having a preference for those people who are “insignificant”, “marginalized”, “unimportant”, “needy”, “despised”, and “defenseless”. Moreover, he makes clear that terminology of “the poor” in scripture has social and economic connotations that etymologically go back to the Greek word, ptōchos.[10] To be sure, as to not misinterpret Gutierrez’s definition of the term “preferential option”, he stresses, “Preference implies the universality of God’s love, which excludes no one. It is only within the framework of this universality that we can understand the preference, that is, ‘what comes first'”.[11]

Gutierrez emphasized practice (or, more technically, “praxis“) over doctrine. Gutierrez clarified his position by advocating a circular relationship between orthodoxyand orthopraxis seeing the two as having a symbiotic relationship.[12] Gutierrez’ reading of prophets condemning oppression and injustice against the poor (i.e., Jeremiah 22:13–17) informs his assertion that to know God (orthodoxy) is to do justice (orthopraxis).[13] Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), however, criticized liberation theology for elevating orthopraxis to the level of orthodoxy.[14] Richard McBrien summarizes this concept as follows:

God is disclosed in the historical “praxis” of liberation. It is the situation, and our passionate and reflective involvement in it, which mediates the Word of God. Today that Word is mediated through the cries of the poor and the oppressed.[15]

Another important hallmark for Gutierrez’s brand of liberation theology is an interpretation of revelation as “history”. For example, Gutierrez wrote:

History is the scene of the revelation God makes of the mystery of his person. His word reaches us in the measure of our involvement in the evolution of history.[16]

Gutierrez also considered the Church to be the “sacrament of history”, an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, thus pointing to the doctrine of universal salvation as the true means to eternal life, and assigning the Church itself to a somewhat temporal role, namely, liberation.

The struggle of women for social justice has given rise to its own liberation theology, frequently known as feminist theology in Europe and North America. Black women and other women of color in the United States speak of womanist theology, while Mujerista theology denotes the liberation theology of Hispanic women.[17]

History of Latin American Liberation Theology

A major player in the formation of liberation theology was CELAM, the Latin American Episcopal Conference. Created in 1955 in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), CELAM pushed the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) toward a more socially oriented stance.[18] However, CELAM never supported liberation theology as such, since liberation theology was frowned upon by the Vatican, with Pope Paul VI trying to slow the movement after the Second Vatican Council.[19][citation needed]

More or less at the same time as the initial publications of Latin American Liberation Theology we also find voices of Black Liberation Theology and Feminist Liberation Theology as well.[20]

After the Second Vatican Council, CELAM held two conferences which were important in determining the future of liberation theology: the first was held in Medellín,Colombia, in 1968, and the second in Puebla, Mexico, in January 1979.[18] The Medellín conference debated how to apply the teachings of Vatican II to Latin America, and its conclusions were strongly influenced by liberation theology.[6] Although liberation theology grew out of these officially recognized ideas, the Medellín document is not a liberation theology document. It did, however, lay the groundwork, and since then liberation theology has developed rapidly in the Latin American Catholic Church.[21]

Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo was a central figure at the Medellín Conference, and was elected in 1972 as general secretary of CELAM. He represented a more orthodox position, becoming a favorite of Pope John Paul II and the “principal scourge of liberation theology”.[22] Trujillo’s faction became predominant in CELAM after the 1972 Sucre conference, and in the Roman Curia after the CELAM conference in Puebla, Mexico, in January 1979.

Despite the orthodox bishops’ predominance in CELAM, a more radical form of liberation theology remained much supported in South America. Thus, the 1979 Puebla Conference was an opportunity for orthodox bishops to reassert control of the radical elements; but they failed. At the Puebla Conference, the orthodox reorientation was met by strong opposition from the liberal part of the clergy, which supported the concept of a “preferential option for the poor“. This concept had been approved at the Medellín conference by Bishop Ricard Durand, president of the Commission about Poverty.

Pope John Paul II gave the opening speech at the Puebla Conference. The general tone of his remarks was conciliatory. He criticized radical liberation theology, saying, “this conception of Christ, as a political figure, a revolutionary, as the subversive of Nazareth, does not tally with the Church’s catechisms“; however, he did speak of “the ever increasing wealth of the rich at the expense of the ever increasing poverty of the poor”, and affirmed both the principle of private property and that the Church “must preach, educate individuals and collectivities, form public opinion, and offer orientations to the leaders of the peoples” towards the goal of a “more just and equitable distribution of goods”.[23]

Some liberation theologians, however, including Gutierrez, had been barred from attending the Puebla Conference. Working from a seminary and with aid from sympathetic, liberal bishops, they partially obstructed other clergy’s efforts to ensure that the Puebla Conference documents satisfied conservative concerns. Within four hours of the Pope’s speech, Gutiérrez and the other priests wrote a 20-page refutation, which was circulated at the conference, and has been claimed to have influenced the final outcome of the conference. According to a socio-political study of liberation theology in Latin America, a quarter of the final Puebla documents were written by theologians who were not invited to the conference.[24] Cardinal Trujillo said that this affirmation is “an incredible exaggeration” (Ben Zabel 2002:139).

Practice

One of the most radical aspects of liberation theology was the social organization, or reorganization, of church practice through the model of Christian base communities (CBCs). Liberation theology strove to be a bottom-up movement in practice, with Biblical interpretation and liturgical practice designed by lay practitioners themselves, rather than by the orthodox Church hierarchy. In this context, sacred text interpretation is understood as “praxis”. Liberation theology seeks to interpret the actions of the Catholic Church and the teachings of Jesus Christ from the perspective of the poor and disadvantaged. By approaching theology “from the perspective of the poor”, Liberation Theologians believe that they can turn the poor who are “the object of church teaching to the subject of church action” (Edward Russell).[citation needed] In Latin America, liberation theologians specifically target the severe disparities between rich and poor in the existing social and economic orders within the nations’ political and corporate structures. It is a strong critique of the various economic and social structures, such as an oppressive government, dependence upon First World countries and the traditional hierarchical Church, that allow some to be extremely rich while others are unable to even have safe drinking water.[21]

The journalist and writer Penny Lernoux described this aspect of liberation theology in her numerous and committed writings intended to explain the movement’s ideas in North America. Base communities were small gatherings, usually outside of churches, in which the Bible could be discussed, and Mass could be said. They were especially active in rural parts of Latin America where parish priests were not always available, as they placed a high value on lay participation. In May 2007, it was estimated that 80,000 base communities existed in Brazil.[25]

Contemporaneously, Fanmi Lavalas in Haiti, the Landless Workers’ Movement in Brazil, and Abahlali baseMjondolo in South Africa are three organizations that make use of liberation theology.[26]

Brazilian Liberation Theology

The Brazilian Catholic Church is arguably one of the most theologically progressive Catholic congregations due, in large part, to a history of violent military and political conflicts as well as a divisive socioeconomic climate. During Brazil’s military rule from 1964 to 1985, the Catholic Church and its members assumed responsibility to provide services to the poor and disenfranchised, often under threat of persecution. The Vatican II and Medellín conference innovations in liberation theology entered the Brazilian Church as the Brazilian lower classes experienced sharply deteriorating economic and political conditions. Among these were an increase in landownership concentration, a decline in wages and standards of living, and a rise in the military state’s political repression and violence, including mass detainment, torture, and the assassination of political opponents.[27]

Base ecclesial communities

After decades of repression from the government authorities, the liberationist Catholic Church in Brazil is absent of traditional centralization and encourages an increased lay participation. Faced with a severe priest shortage, much of the Brazilian Catholic Church is organized into Base Ecclesial Communities or, “CEBs” in which the Mass, community spirituality programs, and community needs are led or addressed by a single clergy member or a trained lay member in either a small chapel or an individual’s home. The CEBs introduced new social ideas and democratic methods which led to many participants’ active involvement in popular movements of Brazil that worked for progressive social change. An example of progressive social change initiated by the CEBs is in Nova Iguaçu. A health program began there to try to organize the population in order to remedy widespread malnutrition, open sewers, and other health hazards.[21] Eventually the neighborhood initiative reached a national interest level where it then became a mass movement in nearly every neighborhood. Initiatives like the health program in Nova Iguacu illustrate how CEBs have helped the transition from military to democratic rule.

While liberation theology has brought about significant progressive reforms in Brazil, anthropologist Robin Nagle questions the effectiveness of Catholic Church theology in Brazil. Nagle concentrates on the conflict between conservatives and liberationists in Recife, Brazil, in 1990. The poor neighborhood of Morro da Conceição had a liberationist priest named Reginaldo who was expelled by the traditionalist archbishop because the archbishop found Reginaldo’s politics and social theology annoying and adverse to his own agenda. When Reginaldo and his followers refused to accept the expulsion and the new priest, the archbishop called in the Military Police. Conversely, the event did not cause a mass response because the liberationist agenda aroused distrust and even hatred among many of its intended audience. The main reason was that it was too much to ask poor parishioners to embrace a Church focused more on the troubles of this life than solace in the next.[28]

While Robin Nagle claims that liberation theology is ineffective for genuine social change, anthropologist Manuel Vasquez argues that liberation theology embraced by CEBs create a twofold effect, because it not only provided moral justification for resistance but it also served as a means to organize the resistance. Many people come to the CEB through conversion experiences, but also because they are keenly concerned with the spiritual and infrastructural needs of their community.[29]Through his fieldwork in working-class neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro, Vasquez reveals that CEBs combat disenfranchisement but also serve to overcome the obstacles associated with materialism and globalization. The social and political impact can be viewed in terms of initial consciousness-raising, the motivation for involvement, the sense of community they develop, the experience of grassroots democracy, the direct actions they engage in, and finally, directly political actions.[21]

Liberation theology and indigenous Brazil

The Tapeba

Anthropologist and author Max Maranhao Piorsky Aires analyzes the influence of liberation theology on the transformation of the indigenous Tapeba people of Brazil from poor, uneducated inhabitants neglected by the state to rights-bearing and involved citizens. Specifically he largely attributes the work of the Brazilian Catholic Church to the progression of the Tapeba. The Catholic Church enlisted state authorities, anthropologists, and journalists to help uncover the identity of neglected indigenous peoples of Brazil. Early recognition by missionaries and followers of liberation theology stimulated indigenous identification of the Tapeba population as a possibility for attaining rights, especially land, health, and education.[30] The Church gathered and contributed historical knowledge of indigenous territory and identity of the Tapeba in Caucaia that ultimately succeeded in the tribes obtaining a legally codified identity as well as a rightful place as Brazilian subjects.

Gurupá

In Gurupá, the Catholic Church employed liberation theology to defend indigenous tribes, farmers, and extractors from land expropriation by federal or corporate forces. New religious ideas, in the form of liberation theology, have fortified and legitimized an evolving political culture of resistance.[27] Meanwhile, the Church-supported Base Ecclesial Communities (CEBs) have promoted stronger social connections among community members that has led to more effective activism in Gurupá. Anthropologist Richard Pace’s study of Gurupá revealed that CEBs assured safety in united activism, and, combined with liberation theology, encouraged members to challenge landowner’s commercial monopolies and fight for better standards of living. Pace references a specific incident in the CEB of Nossa Senhora de Fátima, in which a community of 24 families of farmers, timber extractors, and traders resisted an extra-regional timber extraction firm. The community negotiated an agreement with the firm that gained them a higher standard of living that included imported goods, increased food availability, and access to health care. While severe social dislocations such as government-initiated capitalist penetration, land expropriation, and poor wages persist, small-farmer activism is fortified by liberation theology and receives structural support from unions, political parties, and church organizations.[27]

Vatican reaction

Cardinal Ratzinger

In March 1983, Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), made ten observations of Gutiérrez’s theology, accusing Gutiérrez of politically interpreting the Bible in supporting temporal messianism, and stating that the predominance of orthopraxisover orthodoxy in his thought proved a Marxist influence. Ratzinger objected that the spiritual concept of the Church as “People of God” is transformed into a “Marxist myth”. In liberation theology he declared, the “people is the antithesis of the hierarchy, the antithesis of all institutions, which are seen as oppressive powers. Ultimately anyone who participates in the class struggle is a member of the “people”; the “Church of the people” becomes the antagonist of the hierarchical Church”.[31]

Cardinal Ratzinger did praise liberation theology in some respects, including its ideal of justice, its rejection of violence, and its stress on “the responsibility which Christians necessarily bear for the poor and oppressed.”[31] He subsequently stated that no one could be neutral in the face of injustice, and referred to the “crimes” of colonialism and the “scandal” of the arms race. Nonetheless, media reports tended to assume that the condemnation of “liberation theology” meant a rejection of such attitudes and an endorsement of conservative politics.[citation needed]

In 1984, it was reported that a meeting occurred between the CDF and the CELAM bishops, during which a rift developed between Ratzinger and some of the bishops,[32] with Ratzinger issuing official condemnations of certain elements of liberation theology.[33][34] These “Instructions” rejected as Marxist the idea that class struggle is fundamental to history, and rejected the interpretation of religious phenomena such as the Exodus and the Eucharist in exclusively political terms. Ratzinger further stated that liberation theology had a major flaw in that it attempted to apply Christ’s sermon on the mount teachings about the poor to present social situations.[35] He asserted that Christ’s teaching on the poor meant that we will be judged when we die, with particular attention to how we personally have treated the poor.

Ratzinger also argued that liberation theology is not originally a “grass-roots” movement among the poor, but rather, a creation of Western intellectuals: “an attempt to test, in a concrete scenario, ideologies that have been invented in the laboratory by European theologians” and in a certain sense itself a form of “cultural imperialism”. Ratzinger saw this as a reaction to the demise or near-demise of the “Marxist myth” in the West.[31]

Throughout the 1990s, Ratzinger, as prefect of the CDF, continued to condemn these elements in liberation theology, and prohibited dissident priests from teaching such doctrines in the Catholic Church’s name. Leonardo Boff was suspended and others were censured. Tissa Balasuriya, in Sri Lanka, was excommunicated.Sebastian Kappen, an Indian theologian, was also censured for his book Jesus and Freedom.[36] Under Cardinal Ratzinger’s influence, theological formation schools were forbidden from using the Catholic Church’s organization and grounds to teach liberation theology in the sense of theology using unacceptable Marxist ideas, not in the broader sense.

Towards reconciliation under Pope Francis

According to Roberto Bosca, an historian at Austral University in Buenos Aires, Father Jorge Bergoglio (later Pope Francis) had “a reputation as an opponent of liberation theology during the 1970s” but he “accepted the premise of liberation theology, especially the option for the poor, but in a ‘nonideological’ fashion”.[37]Before becoming Pope, Bergoglio said, “The option for the poor comes from the first centuries of Christianity. It’s the Gospel itself. If you were to read one of the sermons of the first fathers of the Church, from the second or third centuries, about how you should treat the poor, you’d say it was Maoist or Trotskyist. The Church has always had the honor of this preferential option for the poor…At the Second Vatican Council the Church was redefined as the People of God and this idea really took off at the Second Conference of the Latin-American bishops in Medellín“.[38] Bosca said Bergoglio was not opposed to liberation theology itself but to “giving a Catholic blessing to armed insurgency”, specifically the Montoneros, who claimed liberation theology as part of their political ideology.[37]Blase Bonpane, a formerMaryknoll father and founding director of the Office of the Americas, said “The new pope has not been comfortable with liberation theology”.[39]

On September 11, 2013, Pope Francis hosted Fr. Gutierrez in his residence, leading some to comment that this was a sign of warming relations between the hierarchy and liberation theologians.[40][41] The same month, L’Osservatore Romano published an article praising Gutierrez by the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Müller.[40] On January 18, 2014, Pope Francis met with Fr. Arturo Paoli, an Italian priest whom the Pope knew from Paoli’s long service in Argentina. Paoli is recognized as an exponent of liberation theology avant la lettre and the meeting was seen as a sign of “reconciliation” between the Vatican and the liberationists.[42]

Miguel d’Escoto, a Maryknoll priest from Nicaragua, had been sanctioned with an a divinis suspension from his public functions in 1984 by Pope John Paul II, for political activity in the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Pope Francis lifted the suspension in August 2014, in response to a request by d’Escoto.[43]

At a 2015 press conference in the Vatican hosted by Caritas International, the federation of Catholic relief agencies, Fr. Gutiérrez noted that while there had been some difficult moments in the past dialogue with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, liberation theology had never been condemned. Although he saw an increasingly clear emphasis on Church teachings on the poor, he did not consider that liberation theology was undergoing a rehabilitation, since it had never been “dishabilitated”.[44]

Other traditions

Black Liberation Theology

Black liberation theology is a theological perspective which seeks to liberate people of color from multiple forms of political, social, economic, and religious subjugation and views Christian theology as a theology of liberation. An example is the work of James Cone.[45]

Womanist and Feminist Liberation Theology

In the early 1970s some womanist or feminist theologians and practitioners began to develop concepts of liberation within the context of male-dominated societies. An example is the work of Rosemary Ruether.[46]

Palestinian Liberation Theology

Palestinian liberation theology is a form of contextual theology that represents an attempt by a number of independently working Palestinian theologians from various denominations—mostly Protestant mainline churches—to articulate the gospel message in such a way as to make that liberating gospel relevant to the perceived needs of their indigenous flocks. As a rule, this articulation involves a condemnation of the State of Israel, a theological underpinning of Palestinian resistance to Israel as well as Palestinian national aspirations, and an intense valorisation of Palestinian ethnic and cultural identity as guarantors of a truer grasp of the gospel by virtue of the fact that they are the indigenous inhabitants of the land of Jesus and the Bible. The principal figure in Palestinian liberation theology is theAnglican cleric Naim Ateek, founder of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem.[47]

Related movements

See also

People

Theologians

Further reading

  • Lernoux, Penny, Cry of the people: United States involvement in the rise of fascism, torture, and murder and the persecution of the Catholic Church in Latin America. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1980.
  • Alves, Rubem, Towards a Theology of Liberation (1968).
  • De La Torre, Miguel A., Handbook on U.S. Theologies of Liberation (Chalice Press, 2004).
  • Ratzinger, Joseph Cardinal, “Liberation Theology” (preliminary notes to 1984 Instruction)
  • Gutiérrez, Gustavo, A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics and Salvation, Orbis Books, 1988.
  • Kirylo, James D. Paulo Freire: The Man from Recife. New York: Peter Lang, 2011.
  • Nash, Ronald, ed. Liberation Theology. First ed. Milford, Mich.: Mott Media, 1984. ISBN 0-88062-121-4
  • Smith, Christian, The Emergence of Liberation Theology: Radical Religion and the Social Movement Theory, University of Chicago Press, 1991.
  • Marxism and Missions / Missions et Marxisme, special issue of the journal Social Sciences and Missions, Volume 22/2, 2009

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberation_theology

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