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Frei Beto received by Francis

Fr. Beto, leader of Liberation Theology, meets Francis

The well-kown Brazilian leader of Liberation Theology, Frei Beto, met Pope Francis on April 9, 2014, in the section of St. Peter's Square reserved for personalities, above.

The Dominican became known in his youth for links with the communist guerilla group Ação Libertadora Nacional (National Liberation Action) led by Carlos Marighella. Later, he was jailed for helping communists outside of Brazil escape punishment. A personal friend of Fidel Castro, he wrote a book - Fidel and Religion - trying to paint a better picture of the Cuban tyrant. He was also influential in Gorbachev's perestroika, suggesting a new look for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union that takes religion into consideration.

He authored many books on Liberation Theology and, together with Leonardo Boff, continues to lead this current in Brazil.

Beto gave this report of his brief conversation with Pope Francis to O Globo of Rio de Janeiro.

I told him, Holy Father, the Basic Christian Communities are very grateful for the letter you sent them in January. They do not want to be considered a movement in the Church, but rather to be considered the actual way of being the Church among the people and of being the people in the Church.

Francis smiled while he held my hand. I continued:

As a loving father, make dialogue with Liberation Theology, which is a faithful daughter of the Church. Always keep in mind the defense of the indigenous peoples

Surrounded by many people, the Pope continued to pay attention to me. I ended:

As a Dominican Friar, I place in your hands the re-habilitation of Giordano Bruno and Master Eckhart.

Francis' answer to my request was:

"Pray for that."

Finally, I addressed him, first in Latin, then in Spanish:

Extra pauperes nulla salus. Outside of the poor there is no salvation.

Francis smiled and, as he continued on, he said:

"I agree with that."


Original of the news report in Portuguese, here.


Photo from L'Osservatore Romano

Posted April 13, 2014
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