Key Principles of Liberation Theology

By Allen, John L., Jr. | National Catholic Reporter, June 2, 2000 | Go to article overview

Key Principles of Liberation Theology


Allen, John L., Jr., National Catholic Reporter


Though it has distant historical roots in 16th century Christian humanism, and more immediately in Vatican II, properly speaking liberation theology stems from the 1968 assembly of the Latin American bishops in Medellin, Colombia. That session endorsed a "preferential option for the poor" on behalf of the Catholic church in Latin America. The movement took its name from Gustavo Gutierrez's 1971 book, A Theology of Liberation.

Today it is common to speak of a variety of "liberation theologies." In his 1995 book Liberation Theologies, Jesuit Fr. Alfred Hennelly distinguishes nine: Latin American, North American feminist, black, Hispanic, African, Asian, First World, ecotheology and even a liberation theology of world religions. The focus in this article is on the Latin American form that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s.

Four ideas have been central to the movement:

* The preferential option for the poor. For the liberation theologians, this means that the church must align itself with poor people as they demand justice. Such insistence has led to charges that liberation theology advocates class struggle. The liberationists, however, say that they did not invent the division of society into a wealthy elite and an impoverished majority. The church helped create this social order: Catholic missionaries served as evangelizers for the European conquerors, and church leaders sided with the elites for 400 years. The point, say the liberationists, is not to involve the church in class struggle, which is a given of the Latin American situation. Their goal is to shift the church's loyalties.

* Institutional violence. Liberationists see a hidden violence in social arrangements that create hunger and poverty. Thus when critics accused theologians of advocating revolutionary violence (which most did not), they often responded: "But the church has always tolerated violence." They meant that by endorsing the status quo, church leaders were acquiescing in a system that did violence to millions of people.

* Structural sin. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Key Principles of Liberation Theology
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.