A Theology of Liberation
This is the credo and seminal text of the movement which was later characterized as liberation theology. The book burst upon the scene in the early seventies, and was swiftly acknowledged as a pioneering and prophetic approach to theology which...
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This is the credo and seminal text of the movement which was later characterized as liberation theology. The book burst upon the scene in the early seventies, and was swiftly acknowledged as a pioneering and prophetic approach to theology which famously made an option for the poor, placing the exploited, the alienated, and the economically wretched at the centre of a programme where the oppressed and maimed and blind and lame were prioritized at the expense of those who either maintained the status quo or who abused the structures of power for their own ends.;This powerful, compassionate and radical book attracted criticism for daring to mix politics and religion in so explicit a manner, but was also welcomed by those who had the capacity to see that its agenda was nothing more nor less than to give good news to the poor, and redeem God's people from bondage.
A Peruvian Catholic priest, Gustavo Gutierrez was born to mestizo parents in a barrio of Lima, Peru. Often called the founder of liberation theology in Latin America, he studied philosophy at the University of Louvain in Belgium and took his doctorate in theology at the University of Lyon in France in 1959. Returning to Lima in 1960, Gutierrez taught theology at the Catholic University in Lima. His own background and identification with the poor soon prompted him to work among the dispossessed peasant families crowding Lima's barrios. His experiences led to a break with the Catholic hierarchy and traditional church teachings in the 1960s and 1970s. Gutierrez rejects the existing Catholic view of poverty. In his view, while God regarded all people as equals, he held a special concern for the impoverished and disinherited. Gutierrez believes that God not only supports the poor's struggle for justice but also wishes the teachings of his church to ensure their liberation. In theological terms, this entails liberation from unjust social classes, from a sense of fate, and from personal sin and guilt. Therefore, Gutierrez fiercely argues, the church has a duty to take the lead in redeeming society and helping end the social, political, and economic conditions that entrap Latin Americans in poverty. His forthright explication of these views in A Theology of Liberation (1971) brought him worldwide attention. Almost overnight, these beliefs helped shape both a religious and a political agenda known as "liberation theology," which has spread throughout Latin America.