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Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez: The Church Must Assume the Fight of the Condemned of this Earth

Since we have seen that Archbishop Gerhard Müller declares himself to be a faithful disciple of Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez and his Liberation Theology (here and here), it seems opportune to bring to our readers some expressive texts of this famous author to understand the guidelines that will be followed by the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In this first text, Fr. Gutierrez censures Vatican II for its affinities with the bourgeois society and its lack of criticism of Capitalism. He then presents a general agenda for the Church, which is a Catholic translation of Communism, so to speak.

The reader may judge for himself.

At right, the cover of Concilum magazine, The People and the Church (Os pobres e a igreja), which includes the essay by Gutierrez titled "The People in the Church" (Os Pobres na Igreja). Below right, the Portuguese text; below left, our translation.

The great modern demands were received [at the Council] with moderation. On the contrary, social conflicts were considered only in general terms as the presence of misery and injustice in the world, and the need to develop poor countries. Although it maintained a certain distance from the individualistic root of bourgeois society, there was no serious criticism of what represents today the monopolist dominion of Capitalism over the lower classes, especially in the poor countries. Nor was there a clear consciousness of the new forms of oppression and exploitation made in name of the values of this modern world.

The concern of the Council is another: We are in the hour of dialogue with modern society. That this society is a single body, but encompasses struggle among the social classes was not in the target of Vatican II. Its openness to the world has a flavor of bourgeois society. ...

If the Church wants to be faithful to the God of Jesus Christ, she must re-examine herself starting from the bottom, from the poor of this world, the exploited classes, the despised races, the marginalized cultures. She must descend to the hells of this world, communicate with the misery, injustice, struggles and hopes of the condemned of this earth, because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.

Basically, we must live as Church what a good part of her members live as human beings. To be born, to be re-born as Church means that she must die today to a history of oppression and complicity. Her capacity to live relies on her courage to die. This is her Passover.

This, which seems to be a dream to many is, without a doubt, the true challenge that the Christian community faces today. The moment will come when any other ecclesiastical discourse will sound empty and senseless.

Many pressures are being made along this line today. While the forms are diverse and modest (to give a political dimension to the Gospel, to commit with the struggles of the poor, to defend human rights, to Africanize the Christian faith, to break with the colonial past, etc.), the goal is a radical fidelity to the Gospel, to the permanent call of God.

("Os pobres na Igreja" in Concilium, Os pobres e a Igreja, 1977/4, pp. 89-90)

Os pobres e a Igreja

Gutierrez - Igreja should die 01

Gutierrez - Igreja should die 02


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Posted on August 11, 2012

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