Rorate Caeli

¡Ay, qué lindo! - The end of the Wojtyla-Ratzinger "conservative" gap:
On Liberation Theology, and everything else, Church rolls back to 1978

Now that the "reactionaries" are gone, we are at last free to move back to where we were just 35 short years ago: it's morning again in the Vatican.

(The Last Supper, Liberation-Theology-style)
"The Latin American ecclesial and theological movement known as 'Liberation Theology', which spread to other parts of the world after the Second Vatican Council, should in my opinion be included among the most important currents in 20th century Catholic theology." This authoritative and glorifying historical evaluation of Liberation Theology did not just come from some ancient South American theologian who is out of touch wit the times. The above statement was made by Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which Ratzinger headed in the 1980’s, after John Paul I appointed him to the post. [Source: Vatican Insider; tip: several readers.]

Now, strictly for argumentative purposes (that is, assuming as such that it could be placed within the limits of orthodoxy), we are willing to understand the actual influence of Liberation Theology. The evidence seems strong that, regardless of its many intrinsic problems, Liberation Theology "politicized" Catholicism in Latin America at the exact moment in which it needed to be more "spiritual" and liturgical than ever - and the new Liberationist Church was abandoned in droves in favor of those groups (particularly Pentecostal communities) that offered the faithful the spiritual solace they wanted. On the other hand, those who wished to be "political" just abandoned the Church in favor of real political groups. The result was the collapse of Catholicism throughout the region. The strong attempt to resurrect Liberation Theology in recent years begs the question of how on earth this could do any good to the Church in Latin America in its current situation when it only led to disaster in the past. On the resurrection of Liberation Theology, the question is cui bono?...

Considering our broad and strong readership in Latin America, we would like to ask our friends in the region or from the region: did Liberation Theology achieve a true strengthening of the Church in Latin America, or in your country in particular, following the Council? In other words, did its deep influence in the region, in particular following the Medellín Conference, increase the Church's ability to reach souls and save them? Please, feel free to articulate your thoughts in Spanish or Portuguese if you so prefer. 

32 comments:

Alexander adulescens said...

And so begins the move from Roman Catholic, with a universal unity secured by and grounded in tradition and apostolicity, to Latin American/Neo[psuedo]catechumanate Catholicism. Just because that is where the present Holy Father is from and because there more people than anywhere else call themselves Catholic.

Joj! To have the most self-professed Catholics in the world today in this period of the Church's history is almost something to be ashamed of.

A hard new day for committed Catholics the way things seem to be going.

I repeat the first thing I said with the election of Bergoglio:

Eight years forward - fifty years back.

- adulescens

Alphonsus Jr. said...

Of course the upcoming "clarification" will say that judging it as important isn't approval of it.

Revista El Sacristán Serrano said...

Only a hispanic dicho: "Llegaron los sarracenos, y nos molieron a palos, si así es Dios con los buenos, ¿cómo será con los malos?"

Well, I can hear the cheers at the former exPUCP in Lima. Like in the old days. With corn beer and Silvio Rodriguez.

Now that Bertone is practically gone and Müller is a moderate we can expect a "call to Rome" to Cardinal Cipriani.

dominic1962 said...

I say its high time for another "devotio moderna" of sorts. We need to start focusing on prayer and holiness and let the rest of this nonsense blow over. If that's what Archbishop Muller really said, just ignore the clown and focus on holiness. Pray for him, but ignore him.

Brennis said...

I live in the US but I'm from Rio. I remember walking out of church during the sermon when the priest said that we should vote for Lula and PT (Labor Party), known for its communist ideology and Cuban connection. It was clear already to me as a teenager that the clergy were strongly left leaning always speaking about land reform and 'rights.' Back then, we were told that John Paul II was a conservative but the clergy was disobedient.

Little bit little some protestant tendencies started to creep into the liturgy like clapping, arm waving, singing aloud, etc...some noticeable changes even for me. In our neighborhood, a upscale one, there was the 'Beach Mass,' on Dec. 31 around 8 pm. Anyone that has been to Rio is well aware that 'Reveillon' is a mini carnival but this mass would take place by the water surrounded Iemanja worshipers (African/vodoo type of practices dedicated to the 'goddess of the sea') and ocean front bars and so on. Fortunately, my parents my sister and I had the sense to avoid it but it was an event not to be missed for many.

Nowadays, I often read on Facebook posts from Novus Oreo family members with an extremely over the top tone like in a charismatic fashion. The TLM is virtually unkown in most circles and my family there thought that I had abandoned the Faith when I started attending the TLM back in 2006. It is easy to find those LT inspired paintings in churches but nothing remotely traditional in outlook. The CNBB (Bishops Conference) is the 'social justice arm' of Lula's (and current present Dilma Roussef) Labor Party. Only known apostates like Frei Betto speak on TV about Catholic matters. Protestant Evangelicals have a much stronger voice in the public sphere and will likely become the majority in 1-2 decades.

Eric said...

Fortunately there's this thing called the internet that prevents cats from being put back in bags. So no matter what they say the truth will be alive and kicking and this time liberation brouhaha won't have a silent opponent. Thank God we can never really go back to 1978.

JB said...



I wish I could find the clip of John Paul II, in one of his finest moments, berate the living hell out of that airport tarmac. I saw that and said, "now there's a man."

victoria said...

My three younger brothers were brought up under the influence of that theology in Lima. Two of them lost the Faith. One of them became an agnostic and the other is an evangelical. The youngest had no clue and became a communist. Both of us live in the States now, and I am trying to bring him back to the Faith. Thank God he is responding. The pain in my heart is great, but we must keep fighting for TRUTH, and pray, pray, pray.

God Bless,

Victoria

Liam Ronan said...

I see that today is the optional memorial of martyrs St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More.
I pray the day will never come that we have to say:
"I die the Pope's good servant, but God's first."

Spartan Warrior said...

Who appointed Muller in the first place?

Robbie said...

It scares me to think what the Church will look like in five years. By then, Francis will have appointed his people to all of the positions of importance and his vision of humility and emancipated formation will be set in stone. I wonder what will become of Burke, Ranjith, Pell, and some of the others who attempt to stick to the traditional line? Regardless, I think we'll see, in a few years, what the Church would have looked like had JP I not died so soon.

Tom Policinski said...

Did Muller say that recently, or in 1980?

New Catholic said...

Just click on the link, Tom, come on... It's all quite recent, 2004 and 2012, already after his appointment. Also click on our label, The resurrection of Liberation Theology.

Beefy Levinson said...

"When the Church opted for the poor, the poor opted for the Pentecostals" - old Latin American joke

Edward More said...

@Alexander:

"I repeat the first thing I said with the election of Bergoglio:

Eight years forward - fifty years back."

I think you got it a little wrong there my friend. I just think the accelerating pedal leading us to the much acclaimed "civilization of love" just got a little less pressed on during those eight years. Although I will probably get a lot of frowns from other rorate readers for saying this - I think Benedict's alleged "traditionalism" is often exaggerated. Remember it is BENEDICT who appointed MOST of the Cardinals that ELECTED Bergoglio to the pontificate. Remember it was Benedict who proudly celebrated Assisi III, who prayed with an imam in Istanbul in a Mohameddan fashion, and most importantly, who chose the current head of the CDF etc.

Anyway, it would be interesting if rorate covered someday that other plague of pseudo-Catholicism which has befallen Spain - the "Neo-Catechumenal Way" led by Kiko Arguello. In Spain (my home country) the decay of Catholicism has taken a different tone than in South America. While in S. America people have apostatized from Catholicism to Protestantism in droves, there seems to be some kind of inherent disgust with protestantism with the Spanish people, so that either people stop believing in Christianity altogether, or they join one of these pseudo-Catholic groups such as the "Neo-Catechumenal Way" but I haven't seen a mass apostasy into Protestantism. Probably the Spanish people's strong devotion to Our Blessed Mother (Nuestra Senora del Pilar above all) is one of the leading reasons for this. Perhaps the South American people have gradually lost love for their spiritual Mother over the years?

Danilo said...

Many people think that Liberation Theology just went away and it is no longer part of our church context. It is not true!
The Brazilian Conference of bishops is just marxist as it was back in the 70's. The only difference is that now we have a marxist government with a marxist agenda. A government that was build along side the "church's" political agenda.
For example, the Conference of bishops issued a note supporting the recent riots wave.
The poor catholic people are now, after so many years of spring time and liberation theology, a protestant people or they simply lost their faith completly. No vocations in the dioceses, only on so called "new communities" (charismatic renew) and in the more conservative seminaries (tridentine Campos, Legionary of Christ, etc). My diocese has ordained 5 priests in 8 years, one has left the priesthood to get married with a protestant woman. My bishop hates the TLM, ofcourse.
We are an institution, only that. Very caritative and nice but only a NGO. Here we are not the church anymore.
The defense of life is made by pentecostal protestants. They are the real heroes of family and life because they are not affraid of saying the truth about the project of God. The catholics? Well they are more concerd about earth, ecology, political reformation, economics...And what about the tradi-catholics? They are only virtual catholics, working and protesting on-line where is safe and confortable. They love on-line foruns, virtual petitions, etc.
The liberation theology caused a real disaster. It paved the way for a long term revolution.
Now we have a pope and a prefect for the faith saying: It is not all that bad! It is a good and catholic theology.
GOOD HEART OF JESUS!
This theology destroyed the faith of the vast majority of catholics, including bishops and priests.
With JPII and B16 we were sure that LT was an evil. Now we are not sure anymore. Dark times, very dark.
If this is the current agenda at the apostolic palace, we can expect bad things to come. The LT will not only get a new breath but it will spread through Africa, Asia and Middle East. USA and European people think they are not living a church reality inffected with LT but they are. It's not a third world phenomenon or a latin american theology, no! It was born in Europe, after all.
Our only enemy is the Devil. Communism is the way the Devil thinks, Socialism is the way the Devil speaks and LT is the way the smoke of the Devil enters the sanctuary.

Siobhan said...

"Communism is the way the Devil thinks, Socialism is the way the Devil speaks and LT is the way the smoke of the Devil enters the sanctuary."

What a fabulous quote! And right on the money.

Gratias said...

Liberation Theology, developed mostly by Latinamerican Jesuits, has been a disaster. It hit in the early seventies and helped promote Marxist movements such as the Tupamaros in Uruguay and the Peronistas known as Montoneros in Argentina. In Brazil it served to agitate the Campesinos. Currently the President of Uruguay is a Tupamaro leader, the one of Argentina a Peronista ( as was Fr. Bergoglio although of a different branch, just Google Bergoglio Peronista ), and the Brazilian liberationist bishop Helder Camera has has an main avenue named after him in Rio de Janeiro.

Gratias said...

Liberation Theology was converted to Black Liberation Theology in the USA. Reverend Wright begat Barack Obama and this option for the poor spread to the world. Now the Catholic Church will spread this ideology too. We have a problem.

Long-Skirts said...

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller said:

"'Liberation Theology'...should in my opinion be included among the most important CURRENTS in 20th century Catholic theology."

HUN-ey
CAN’T SHRINK
THE
KIDS

Forward in reverse
Tradition is perverse
The German states he's first
Among his equals immersed.

Except the one true one
Detested by this Hun
He is the Rhine's own son
Where Luther took his nun.

His father is the land
The land of heretics' stand
His master race has planned
Again to take command

And bring across the sea
A Liberation Theology
Concentrating you and me
In a Peter-less kind of ecology

But in a catacomb
Deep under Peter's Dome
There are men true to Rome
Though Hun denies them home.

Young Priests they're cassock strong
A universal growing throng
Four corners they belong
The Credo is their song.

From Seminary's grave
They rise for souls to save
Men brown, white, black and brave
Real men for us Christ gave.

The Rhine they will reverse
While Hun lies in his hearse
Tradition's Truth traverse
And take back Our Lady's purse!

Adfero said...

Here's the JPII video, but why he is berating him I don't know. It appears he's the only man to take a knee, hope that wasn't the reason:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiE-DMjIUjA

Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

Liberation Theology liberated us from oppressive things like... theology.

CH DUPUY said...

I cannot help but be amazed that there are still Caholics around, like those of you that visit and contribute at this blog. With all the maladies that are cropping up into the Church, beginning with the mass infiltration of the Lavender Mafia up to the Vatican itself, the destruction of the liturgy, the abuse of minors, the apostacy inside the clergy, etc, is it not small wonder that there are still Catholics that love the Church, the Mass of Ages, who pray the Rosary and follow the precepts of the Church, in spite of the apostasy of the Clergy? That is why I appreciate you very much and am very thankful for helping me keep the Faith. I specially thank Long Skirts, whose poems and posts are so inspiring. This is not to say that I am sometimes pessimistic about the future of Catholicism, surrounded by secular and ecclesiastical enemies, those inside the Church hierarchy who are the most dangerous. Add to that the fact that when we expected to have a Pope sympathetic to Tradition, here comes Bergoglio, who appears to be a joke, and a bitter one at that. He flaunts such style as to make it seem that he can dispense with every kind of formality, as a sort of intent to revolutionize the Papacy. At times he seems to be ashamed with the dignity of the Office and at other he basks in his independence from the duties of state. He acknowledges the "gay lobby" lightly en passing, but immediate states that he is not going to tackle the issue, but due to the fact that he is a poor administrator (??), he is going to govern by committee, which means that nothing shall be accomplished. Not only that, but he appoints 8 members to this committee
headed by Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, the Honduran Cardinal, who in the past protected a fugitive Costa Rican priest who was sought by the authorities on charges of abuse of minors.
When I look back to the past century, even in the 90's, and what has happened at the 2000's, it seems as if we had lost the innocence, and arrived at a different age, quite distant from the past.
May the Lord have mercy on us, especially on the Catholic Church, that is going through the worst period in modern history.
Charles Dupuy

JB said...



Thanks Adfero, the priest was Ernesto Cardenal, a jesuit who accepted a position in the nicaraguan government, "minister of culture." JP II had ordered him previously to resign (like Drinan in the USA) but Cardenal ignored him. So the airport tarmac was where JP II let the hammer fall. He was shouting "you must regularize your situation with the Church! you must regularize your situation!" Whatever his faults, JP II was no member of the LM.

Mary Kay said...

Liam Ronan, well said---your paraphrase of St. Thomas More.
Danilo, your whole letter should be studied by those who doubt the insidious nature of L T.

I appreciate hearing from all who wrote, although the big picture is no more encouraging than the little one. Except we know that these stories are seen, thanks to RC and the internet.

Prayers for you all,
Mary K

Victoriano said...

On the role of the Catholic Church in the Guatemalan civil war: Excerpts from the book Unfinished Conquest, the Guatemalan Tragedy, by Victor Prera (1993). University of California Press, Berkeley. Page 67.

"In Nebaj I spoke with numerous Ixils who are convinced Father Xavier [Gurriaran] is still fighting with the guerrillas. I also met with active and former militants who reproached the Gurriaran brothers [Missionaries of the Sacred Hearth] for having abandoned them when they were most needed".

"But the army was unable to prevent the emergence of a peasant labor movement in the towns and numerous aldeas, or villages, of the Ixil Triangle and Uspantan. Propelling this movement was a strain of reform Catholicism that grew out of the Second Vatican Council and the Latin American Bishops' Conference held in Medellin, Colombia, in 1968. In Nebaj in particular, militant Accion Catolica catechists, encouraged by their Spanish pastors, often initiated contacts with the guerrillas and invited them to attend their consciousness-raising sessions".

Susan said...

Liberation Theology though sounds nice, if examined is really a remarked form of communism. Was asked to research on Alfa and found at it's roots was Liberation Theology. This was also pushed by Cardinal Bernidine of Chicago in the form of Alinski. Have I lost anyone yet? Just connected the dots. Also know a priest who was in South America at the time it came into the church. He argued against it, but was out numbered. Once the head of the Carmelites saw things start to fall apart, it was too late.

Josemaria Paulo Jeromino Martin Carvalho-Von Verster said...

This Above Painting was done by a Claretian Priest,I wonder what St. Anthony Claret(a certified reactionary)would say about this?

jeff said...

Thank God Pope Francis is dead opposed to LT!

El Cid said...

I am hoping and praying that the generation of orthodox priests inspired to the priesthood by JPII and BXVI will rise through the ranks and one day reestablish the Church. Of course, that's based on an assumption that the current generation of aging leftist bishops and prelates will not have taken us too close to the River Styx by then.

Bwangi Kilonzo said...

The Church will become much smaller and there will be older liberal priests in power and younger orthodox priests in the trenches, but the liberal priests in power will have their younger minions, before its all over, there will be a serious spat in the Church, unfortunately for the liberal ones, their laity will abandon them in the middle of the spat, the tradies will prevail, (in my life time)

There is my prediction


Robert said...

I have been Catholic all my life and my faith in God has been steady, I have watched the world decaying through liberalism, but I have not always lived up to my church teachings either. But recently things seem out of control. I just found this web site (rorate caeli)in my further investigation into faith and am pleased to see a wealth of knowledge. However I ask you for help! Can somebody put into perspective for me how Maria Divine Mercy might fit into this?

She is considered the final prophet of God, but most people know nothing about these messages and of the few that do a significant portion rejects these messages as false. I personally read them very carefully and find them believable. However I conclude it is ok to believe them or to not believe them but that it is not advisable to claim them true or false. I hope you distinguish the subtle difference here. They claim to be God's word and final plan of salvation for mankind, thus they deserve respect if daring to be judged. I warn you if they are new to you and you give them a chance just walk away if you begin to feel they are false!

Anyway, I have been debating with people who are condemning them which I disagree with, and have noticed distortion and lies from their side.

It seems to me this web site is full of people much more informed and knowledgeable in the faith than me. I do not however want to bring a problem here.

Additionally tonight I found a video on youtube titled Welcome angel of death from a site called churchmilitant tv. This is a frightening video about the church, which too is beyond my imagination. I ask your opinion about this too.

Can somebody shed some light on these matters. But please keep responses gentle like you do not think such and such is or is not valid, and why you draw that conclusion.