The founder of liberation theology, the Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez of Peru, received a hero’s welcome at the Vatican as Pope Francis continues his rehabilitation campaign to restore the once-criticized movement to prominence.
Liberation Theology is based on Marxist doctrine that interprets Scripture through the plight of the poor. In the 1950s when Marxism was making strides among the poor in South America, Gutierrez taught the gospel of wealth redistribution and social justice in Catholic communities.
In the 1980s Pope John Paul II and the Catholic hierarchy criticized Liberation Theology as a false, humanist doctrine dressed up in theological terms, and they chided the bishops and priests who proselytized it for misinterpreting Jesus’ preference for the poor as a Marxist call for armed rebellion.
Unlike Pope Benedict XVI, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who spent much of his tenure at Mueller’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith battling liberation theology and disciplining some of its most famous defenders, the view toward Liberation Theology has changed now with the election of a Jesuit pope.
Pope Francis embraces the theology of Gutierrez and his backers as being perfectly in line with the church’s social teaching about the poor. And for 20 years, Barack Obama was a member of a church headed by his mentor the Reverend Jeremiah Wright who preached and taught Black Liberation Theology, which is the same Marxist, revolutionary, humanistic philosophy found in Gutierrez’s Liberation Theology.
Obama and Francis are scheduled to meet next month. Knowing that both share a Liberation Theology background, it’s a safe bet that social justice and global wealth redistribution will be a focal point of the discussion.
The two-hour show aired Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. TMR was broadcast live M-F from 10:00 am – noon on channel 2.