THE ERRORS OF LIBERATION THEOLOGY
by William Doino Jr.
When Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia, recently presented the Pope with a now infamous “Communist Crucifix”—sculpted in the form of a Soviet-style hammer and sickle—it marked a low point in Bolivian diplomacy. To offer such a “gift” to the Pope was not only exploitive, but a profound insult to the millions of Christians murdered by Communists. It was also a reminder of how Marxism has infected, and often poisoned, Latin American Christianity through aberrant forms of liberation theology.
Morales and others tried to justify the “gift” by noting that it was designed by a courageous human rights activist and Jesuit priest, Fr. Luis Espinal, who was brutally murdered by paramilitary forces in Bolivia in 1980. But that is precisely the tragedy of liberation theology: that it captivated good men like Fr. Espinal and deceived them into believing Christians could fruitfully collaborate with Marxists in building a more humane society. But the history of Latin American history in the twentieth century—particularly in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela—suggests otherwise. Committed Marxists do not believe in authentic dialogue, only tactical and ideological subversion. Karl Marx himself wrote: “Communists preach no morality at all.”
Liberation theology arose in the 1960s and 70s as a response to the widespread poverty and injustice in Latin America. It began with the Gospel premise that Christians have a special obligation to help the poor. But like so many theological movements which depart from sound Catholic principles, it began importing alien ideologies, and quickly went astray.
The errors of liberation theology have been well-documented and censured by the Magisterium. But since there have been renewed efforts to whitewash its past, those missteps bear repeating.
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