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Hispanic - Latinx Theologies

“Liberation theology” was the name given to a species of theology that emerged in late 1960s and early 1970s Latin America. It called for a radical reassessment of theology, pastoral works, and the Catholic Church itself. The Church and its clergy had historically coexisted with –– or morally authorized –– slavery, conquest, colonialism, and neocolonialism. By the late 1960s, this was no longer as politically, let alone ethically, tolerable. Anticolonial wars and national liberation struggles had erupted throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America as the “Third World” came to signify an anti-imperialist project to build a world predicated on equity, solidarity, and sovereignty.

In the midst of these revolutionary times was convened the Second Vatican Council, colloquially known as Vatican II (1962-65), out of which came a call for a more “worldly” Catholic Church.  The clergy of the Third World made it clear, however, that a “worldlier” Church was not merely one in which priests wore less ornate regalia and held Mass in vernacular languages (in lieu of Latin). A “worldlier” Church was to be one that solemnly reckoned with dire issues in the world, not least of which was poverty.

In 1968, Latin American Bishops convened in Medellín, Colombia to flesh out the “spirit” of Vatican II. Out of that conference emerged declarations that rejected poverty as the lot of morally or intellectually inferior peoples. They concluded, rather, that poverty was a species of “institutionalized violence” and that our lives are lived in a situation of “social sin” insofar as we can but collectively choose not to eradicate poverty. The proper Christian choice is to “opt for the poor” (Ellacuría and Sobrino, 1994).   

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Excerpt from Global South Studies, University of Virginia,

Image: Station 15: Triumph of Life” From the “Stations of the Cross from Latin America 1492-1992” by Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina.

Liberation Theology: Books and eBooks at E.M.White Library

Databases and Articles

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