Skip to comments.The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops policy paper on its support of illegal immigration
Posted on 06/14/2006 4:52:10 PM PDT by garbageseeker
click here to read article
The church is not Marxist. What in the above statement even comes close to communism or marxism.
"The Church is not saying that there should be consequences. "
Here's a consequence. If you dont belong here, go back home.
"Also the Church is not saying this in order to fill the pews up."
I didnt say that (Although others have, and I dont think its way off base to see this as a form of pandering.)
" You speak of RCIA. Well the proposals that people are calling Amnesty amount to whats basically a 12 year RCIA class but one to become an American citizen."
Wrong. It's more like a Muslim taking communion for a few years and then deciding "You know what, he's been at it so long, what's the harm in letting him keep doing it."
You know that is completely beyond what the catholic church would tolerate. They are hypocritically demanding the USA dispense with rules, when they themselves wouldnt dream of doing so.
"Furthermore, the above is consisent with Teachings of our most conservative and orthodox of Popes and Catholic Teachers."
It would also be FULLY consistent with Catholic catechism to simply say that the law should be obeyed, and that any changes to immigration law be made via due process, not via subterfuge of amnesty.
"It can not just be dismissed as in the same category as liberation Theology."
Why the heck not? The same liberal Jesuit types pushing liberation theology have been the biggest cheerleaders on this. These are highly connected to marxist and globalist viewpoints where our border need to be erased and our economy needs to be brought tothe level of the third world.
"The Church here is concerned about primarly the Dignity of the human person and the unity of the family. "
Well, then, they ought to advocate for strict border enforcement so we dont get any more such potential problems like these created by illegal immigration. Let them proposed that the whole family stay together as they move back to the country in question. Let them advocate for an end to anchor babies, so fewer 'magnets' exist to create these problems, etc.
"One wonders what POland would have looked liked if the Church had not got involved in politics there. THe Church has a duty and obligation too be involved in issues like this."
They have a greater obligation to be on the right side instead of the wrong side of this issue. What they advocate does real harm to the rule of law, to our country's social fabric, and our economy.
John PAul II came down hard on those priest that did that. Certain misfits that were misguided mainly from the Jesuit order does not make the entire Church Marxist
There's only one Heaven,
And who gets in it? Any religion, all religions, all good people regardless of religion? Who gains entry?
Archbiship Oscar Romero-
Celebrated by the leftists in El Salvador
wow! you disagree with what you see as the pre-Vatican II stance on salvation, and yet you scoff at the clarified view of the Church which came out of the Council.
That's right. The pre-Vatican II stance is only Catholics go to heaven. Can't agree with that. The post-Vatican II stance is non-Catholic Christians can get to heaven, but only because they are ignorants who don't "realize" the true faith of Catholicism, but are incorporated into it anyhow, based on their lack of knowledge of the true faith. Incredibly condescending, and making Catholics out of millions who really aren't.
If the State through its actions tears up millions of Familiies then the State is wrong especially if there is other alternatives.
The Church is not saying that there should not be consequence. THe Church is not saying that the State can not act to curb illegl immigration. THe Church does not condone illegal immigration however it does not condone a greater evil be enacted to combat a lesser wrong. That in itself is sinful. THe deportation and Starvation of 12 million people all without exception would be wrong. The fact that so many family units would be broken up without exceptions is a much greater evil that a illegal border crossing that occured in some cases 20 or more years before. That is what the Church is trying to say. That some current proposals that are being mentioned to correct a wrong are in fact a much greater wrong and cannot be condoned
The Church is not supporting illegal immigrants, except where they need the basics to live.
Anyway, most Catholics know that some money goes to illegal immigrants and don't object.
Your money goes to an organization that stands in direct opposition to the Church.
"I am not saying everything the American Bishops say is infalliable but this document s pretty much right on with the teaching of the Church Universal. If you noticed John Paul II is mentioned also."
they used flowery language when they decried Reagan's arms policies too. BFD.
But, puleeze, this is not an encyclical. This was *NOT* written by the Pope, or all bishops, or even one bishop. It was written by a *staffer* at their staffed-by-liberals DC HQ. "By Walter Ewing"
Yes, it did have great quote, like this well-known Catholic Saint and philosopher ...
"As Representative Howard Berman (D-26th/CA), member of the House Immigration Subcommittee, noted in an interview in early October 2001, "an orderly program of earned adjustment, based on work history and continuity of work, that involves stages of getting full status, lets us know who is here. When they go through a process of adjudication, they come out of the shadows." (23)"
Okay, so he's not catholic, he's no saint, and this is standard political fare. But he said something Walter Ewing liked, so he gets quoted.
Next time they should use a *Catholic* quote. Maybe a Tancredo, right?
Archbishop Oscar Romero's cause for canonization has been opened by the Vatican.
Anyone who seeks God with a sincere heart.
"Anyone who seeks God with a sincere heart."
What about those that believe in God but not in Jesus Christ?
Some things in the name of social justice has been abused of course. However that does not mean that the concept of Social Justice is that a reality that is grounded in the reality of Christ
The USCCB is making themselves look foolish with this foray into an arena that they are clearly incompetent on which to comment. I wish they'd spend a little more time and press releases on battling for issues of faith and morals.
It is not the state's actions that are to blame for "tearing up millions of families" (which, IMO, is an overstatement); it is the actions of the illegals. Had they obeyed the law, they wouldn't be faced with the consequences.
False. Perhaps you should let the bishops tell you what they believe in regards to immigration:
Liberation theology is not operative in the immigration reform debate.
They can be saved too. Sincere Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Bahais, etc.
Sounds like you'd fit right in down at the Lodge.
WRONG WRONG WRONG
The above is not and has nothing to do with liberation theology
Here is a good overview and what John Paul the II said what true Social justice is versus LIberation Theolgy. The Popes Encycial can be found that address this issue can be found at the Vatican Web site
Love for the poor must be preferential, but not exclusive.
Ecclesia in America, 1999
John Paul II was frequently criticised for the severity with which he dealt with the movement called liberation theology.
His main object was to stop the highly politicised form of liberation theology prevalent in the 1980s, which could be seen as a fusion of Christianity and Marxism. He was particularly criticised for the firmness with which he closed institutions that taught Liberation Theology and with which he removed or rebuked the movement's activists, such as Leonardo Boff and Gustavo Gutierrez.
No more exploitation of the weak, racial discrimination or ghettoes of poverty! Never again! These are intolerable evils which cry out to heaven and call Christians to a different way of living, to a social commitment more in keeping with their faith.
What is liberation theology?
Liberation theology was a radical movement that grew up in South America as a response to the poverty and the ill-treatment of ordinary people. The movement was caricatured in the phrase If Jesus Christ were on Earth today, he would be a Marxist revolutionary, but it's more accurately encapsulated in this paragraph from Leonardo and Clodovis Boff:
Q. How are we to be Christians in a world of destitution and injustice?
A. There can be only one answer: we can be followers of Jesus and true Christians only by making common cause with the poor and working out the gospel of liberation.
Liberation theology said the church should derive its legitimacy and theology by growing out of the poor. The Bible should be read and experienced from the perspective of the poor.
The church should be a movement for those who were denied their rights and plunged into such poverty that they were deprived of their full status as human beings. The poor should take the example of Jesus and use it to bring about a just society.
Most controversially, the Liberationists said the church should act to bring about social change, and should ally itself with the working class to do so. Some radical priests became involved in politics and trades unions, others even aligned themselves with violent revolutionary movements.
A common way in which priests and nuns showed their solidarity with the poor was to move from religious houses into poverty stricken areas to share the living conditions of their flock.
The Pope disagrees
John Paul II disagreed. To make the church into a secular political institution and to see salvation solely as the achievement of social justice was to rob faith in Jesus of its power to transform every life. The image of Jesus as a political revolutionary was inconsistent with the Bible and the Church's teachings.
He didn't mean that the Church was not going to be the voice of the oppressed, was not going to champion the poor. But it should not do it by partisan politics, or by revolutionary violence. The Church's business was bringing about the Kingdom of God, not about creating a Marxist utopia.
Nicaragua was a particular hot-spot. Priests had been active in the overthrow of a dictator, and had taken jobs in the revolutionary government that followed, despite being forbidden to by the Pope.
What the Church should be doing
In 1984 and 1986 the Church issued major documents on the theme of Liberation. They echoed John Paul's view that the Church should work for the liberation of the poor, but do so in an appropriate way for a church, inspired not by a political vision of a perfect world, but by helping each human being to find their freedom by redemption from sin - the church's job was to bring people into personal contact with God.
The Pope stated this clearly in a sermon in Mexico in 1990:
...When the world begins to notice the clear failures of certain ideologies and systems, it seems all the more incomprehensible that certain sons of the Church in these lands - prompted at times by the desire to find quick solutions - persist in presenting as viable certain models whose failure is patent in other places in the world.
You, as priests, cannot be involved in activities which belong to the lay faithful, while through your service to the Church community you are called to cooperate with them by helping them study Church teachings...
...Be careful, then, not to accept nor allow a Vision of human life as conflict nor ideologies which propose class hatred and violence to be instilled in you; this includes those which try to hide under theological writings.
This didn't exclude social action - far from it, but the social action should be in the image of the gospel and the gospel was open to everyone.
Jesus makes it a condition for our participating in his salvation to give food to the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, console the sorrowing, because "when you do this to one of my least brothers or sisters you do it to me" (Mt 25:40).
Some say that there was a clear political motivation behind the Pope's actions. He was fervently opposed to the communist hold on Eastern Europe, and so he could not possibly show any sympathy with the priests in South and Central Americal who were working with communist revolutionaries - such inconsistent behaviour would have destroyed his credibility.
This is too cynical a view. John Paul II was, as always, ruled by his faith and belief. He genuinely thought that the Liberationists were distorting Christianity, and he was determined to get the Church in South America back on the rails of redemption. For John Paul, God's essential act was entering into our time and our humanity and transforming our history into the history of salvation. It was through salvation that the poor and oppressed were to be raised up.
Now does this mean the POPE is saying that the Church is never to lend its voice to the public square. OF course not. In fact the POPE is showing there is a proper balance. IN this case the Pope is dealing with a problem where Priest and nuns were going far beyond being a voice in the public square but actually becoming coomuninst themselves and not seeing their proper mission
Aside from the annoyance of the Catholic church jumping on the wrong side of this issue, I am struck by how *ILL-INFORMED* and poorly argued this whole paper is.
"Immigrants were not responsible for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks;"
This is a bizarre statement. *ALL 19 OF THE HIJACKERS WERE FOREIGNERS* I guess it depends on the meaning of "immigrants", since they were intending not to be in US long. :-0 "The restrictionist camp has even portrayed undocumented immigrants as a threat to national security, even though the September 11 hijackers entered the United States on legitimate temporary visas. "
Well, that is factually wrong. many of them had visa violations, overstayed, or used false pretenses to get here. Putting them in the category of legitimate visitors is misleading. various acts of fraud were committed by them to get false documentation.
But it begs a further question, how does this "fact", disputable and wrong as it is, support in any way: "Legalization Would Enhance National Security"
It doesnt. It lends nothing to the discussion on either side, except for the possible knowledge that *any* amnesty of millions of people will almost certainly give amnesty to some number of muslim illegal aliens here who might be sympathetic or extremist wrt jihadist causes.
The next claim:
"Legalization would enhance national security by bringing undocumented immigrants "in from the shadows," thereby allowing the government to keep better track of who is in the United States;"
IS grotesquely misleading. In the previous amnesty, chaose reigned, and it would here as well, given the provisions in CIRA to encourage fraud and discourage fraud prevention.
Illegal immigration would only climb.
"National security is not effectively enhanced by trying to stop people from coming to the United States,"
A bold assertion that is simply UNTRUE. We are able to reduce terrorist threats, drug smuggling and criminal activity at the border, via better border security and visa overwatch (US-VISIT) provision.
"by improving the effectiveness of background checks on those who do."
Such a statement in NO WAY provides justification for legalization, since one can simply have background checks on those who are here *NOW*. Also, the idea that Mexico, El Salvador, Ghana, etc. have some sohpisticated criminal justic system that can tell you whether a would-be border crosser is a criminal or not, well, its nuts.
The pro-amnesty folks throw it out as a bone, but they dont mean it, or they wouldnt have put in so many exemptions on the amnesty provisions.
And so it goes. This is simply a liberal position paper, not very well researched nor argued, that insists wrongly that legalization will cure all ills.
It wont. It will make things worse.
From the Catholic Catechism:
1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery." Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.
Its hard to talk about faith and morals with a straight face if millions of AMericans kids and spouses have their families uprooted, destroyed, or torn apart. The Church should be talking on this issue. The church cannot talk with integrity on the dignity of the human person and the family, issues such as divorce laws, abortion, same sex marriage , euthanaisa, and ignore this issue and not try its best to make sure that that person and family(the domestic church) is to to be treated with dignity and respect
yawn, heard it all before. Stopped being Catholic because of it. Too many masses asking for donations for recently arrived immigrant families to set up house.
"However that does not mean that the concept of Social Justice is that a reality that is grounded in the reality of Christ"
I'm not sure what you are trying to say here (maybe a typo), but here is my take:
"Social Justice" is a Marxist concept, not a Christian concept. Everytime I hear or see it used, I cringe.
For the *Christian* concept, go to Saint Thomas Aquinas and look at *Justice*. There is no need to qualify "Justice", it is both a virtue and a societal good all on its own.
We should have justice in society and in our personal behavior. Now, inequality in social orders or society are not necessarily unjust, but on the contrary are a needed part of any social order (think popes and deacons).
But the "Social Justice" crowd pursue marxist views on what justice is, focussing on economic equality (and the undermining of social order) as their prism for 'social justice'. It is wrong, bad for people (socialism is the #1 cause of poverty in the world today), and un-Christian.
Take the socialism out of "social justice" and you might be left with the real christian 'justice' concept.
Well if you want to take the word social out it fine. Justice is justice.
Really? Leo XIII used the term in Rerum Novarum, written in 1891, and he was hardly influenced by Marx.
Justice is also not unfeathered Captialism either. I am not a socialist lol but this debate on immigration and illegal aliens has little to do with socialist precepts. In fact the Church has to hold a delicate balance here. Many here that are opposed to illegal immigration talk about how these illegals are basically being used as slaves. The Church also speaks that the human person cannot just be seen justas a good to be used in the pursuit of trade and commerce. That is one reason why the Church opposes illegal immigration because of that factor.
"if millions of AMericans kids and spouses have their families uprooted, destroyed, or torn apart."
Excuse me, but "American" people wont get uprooted.
The people who will get deported (not uprooted, deported) will be *NON*Americans. All others can stay of go by choice. The Govt isnt forcing any family apart. I suppose the correct Catholic solution would be for the family to return, intact, to the country of origin.
Any such change is just the consequence of people's actions to defy the law.
Now, if Americans have gone into family arrangement with illegal aliens, then they will have to deal with the consequences. The lesson needs to be: If you marry an illegal alien, you may be required to live where it is legal for them to live.
(That being said, it is easy to get such spouses 'legalized'.)
"The church cannot talk with integrity on the dignity of the..."
They certainly cannot talk with integrity when they espouse things that just are simply wrong and false.
This position paper is mostly drivel. I noted several errors in fact, and that is just glancing through a few paragraphs. Beyond that, the assertions about consequences to legalization are completely Pollyanna-ish, at variance with the clear history of the debacle of the 1986 amnesty.
It's painful that its so bad.
I am not sure how a child consented to a illegal family arrangement. Its beyond me why the rights and more importantly the well being of millions of American children is given no attention or dismissed. They are citizens of this country and so far it seems no one gives a big damn if they are put into foster care or sent into poverty into Mexico if they have to go with their parents. Who is speaking up for them? Why have their lives become of no revelance in this debate?
It is beyond me this deport all policy with no exceptions.
"[the Roman Catholic Church] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that none of those who are not within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart "into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:41), unless before the end of their life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of Ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the Sacraments of the Church of benefit for Salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church."
You are therefore engaging in private enterpretation. Furthermore, such a conclusion on your part is one of the fundamental principles of Freemasonry.
Not influenced by Marx with him starting off with ...
"Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor" !?!?
Gee, it's look like plenty of marxist nomenclature and rhetoric got filtered into this aside from that 'social justice' term...
"The elements of the conflict now raging are unmistakable, in the vast expansion of industrial pursuits and the marvellous discoveries of science; in the changed relations between masters and workmen; in the enormous fortunes of some few individuals, and the utter poverty of the masses; the increased self reliance and closer mutual combination of the working classes"
"In any case we clearly see, and on this there is general agreement, that some opportune remedy must be found quickly for the misery and wretchedness pressing so unjustly on the majority of the working class: for the ancient workingmen's guilds were abolished in the last century, and no other protective organization took their place. Public institutions and the laws set aside the ancient religion. Hence, by degrees it has come to pass that working men have been surrendered, isolated and helpless, to the hardheartedness of employers and the greed of unchecked competition."
So he characterizes the Capitalist condition in some ways similar to Marx... but then he sets right down to addressing the moral factors and sets thing aright.
I do appreciate his disagreement with Socialism, and the moral basis for it, based the right to property. Calling Socialism unjust is right:
" Socialists, therefore, by endeavoring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interests of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life. ... What is of far greater moment, however, is the fact that the remedy they propose is manifestly against justice. For, every man has by nature the right to possess property as his own."
I also see him use the term 'justice' as I advise, and have not found the term 'social justice':
"Now, in preventing such strife as this, and in uprooting it, the efficacy of Christian institutions is marvellous and manifold. First of all, there is no intermediary more powerful than religion (whereof the Church is the interpreter and guardian) in drawing the rich and the working class together, by reminding each of its duties to the other, and especially of the obligations of justice."
But don't you think that what Sinkspur is trying to say is what the Church and the Pope said during the Father Feeny Controversy in the 30 and the 40's. There the Church condeemed the views of Father Feeney in Boston when he said that unless one is an offical memeber of the Catholic church then he is damned without exception
What is the source of your quote? It does not state that one must formally be a member of the Church. Those who are "in" the Church are formal members, and informal members who are considered part of the Church by their striving for God.
This quote is particularly false:
and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church."
Baptism of blood is gained by one who dies in the name of Christ, even if not a formal member of the Church. Baptism of desire is attained by those who seek God in an honest and earnest way.
I am not sure how a child consented to a illegal family arrangement."
I'm not sure how an Ethiopian child consented to be in that country. I have a nephew in a broken family - divorce, and some in-laws with illegitimate children. That's life.
We are under no requirement to be held hostage to the actions of parents who break the laws, that would only encourage further creation of such problems. It's not 'compassion' to encourage more and more illegal behavior by giving in to it. It's like those parents who can never say 'no' to their own children. They end up with the most ill-behaved, spoiled, and *unhappy* children.
"They are citizens of this country" ... an illegal alien came to the US and decided to have an 'anchor baby'. Blame the parent.
"They are citizens of this country and so far it seems no one gives a big damn if they are put into foster care or sent into poverty into Mexico if they have to go with their parents."
SO basically every illegal alien who manages to have a kid here gets a 'get out of jail free' card, is that it?
And you dont see how this isnt simply inviting more illegal aliens having kids.
"It is beyond me this deport all policy with no exceptions."
It's beyond me with the pro-amnesty crowd speaks about this like this is all-or-nothing.
This sounds like the theology behind the Policy Paper. A Quasi Marxist belief.
RELIGIOUS RESPONSE TO
SOCIAL PROBLEMS. A SURVEY
Download Paper: LiberationTheology.pdf
Published in Humanism and Social Issues. Anthology of Essays. M. Hillar and H.R. Leuchtag, eds., American Humanist Association, Houston, 1993, pp. 35-52.
In the late 60s a new social and intellectual movement appeared on the Latin American continent. The movement is rooted in the Christian faith and Scriptures and seeks its ideological superstructure based on the religious reflection in close association with the Church organization(1). It is typical not only for Latin America but for the entire Third World and any social situation of oppression.
Members of the religious orders are committed to the vow of poverty and do not own property individually, nevertheless they enjoy a standard of living and security that separates them from the daily agony of the poor. The question then arose for some of them what is the ideal of poverty in a situation where most are suffering dehumanizing poverty, and what should the Church and Christians do about it?
Liberation theology thus emerged as a result of a systematic, disciplined reflection on Christian faith and its implications. The theologians who formulated liberation theology usually do not teach in universities and seminaries, they are a small group of Catholic or Protestant clergy and have direct contact with the grass-roots groups as advisors to priests, sisters or pastors. Since they spend at least some time working directly with the poor themselves(2), the questions they deal with arise out of their direct contact with the poor. Liberation theology interprets the Bible and the key Christian doctrines through the experiences of the poor. It also helps the poor to interpret their own faith in a new way. It deals with Jesus's life and message. The poor learn to read the Scripture in a way that affirms their dignity and self worth and their right to struggle together for a more decent life. The poverty of people is largely a product of the way society is organized therefore liberation theology is a "critique of economic structures". Phillip Berryman described the liberation theology in the following terms:
"Liberation theology is:
1. An interpretation of Christian faith out of the suffering, struggle, and hope of the poor;
2. A critique of society and the ideologies sustaining it;
3. A critique of the activity of the church and of Christians from the angle of the poor".
NORTH AND SOUTH
Unlike in North America the Catholic Church was a major part of the machinery of conquest and colonization in Latin America. It all began with a decree from pope Alexander VI who, in 1492, divided the world not yet under the Christian rule between the Spanish and Portuguese monarchs and conferred to them the right and duty to propagate the Catholic faith. The conquest was done with unbelievable cruelty and complete disregard to any human decency to say nothing of the presumed ethical values of Christianity. There were only sporadic individual protests from some missionaries of conquest like Bartolomé de las Casas in Hispaniola (XVIth century) or from the bishop of Nicaragua, Antonio de Valdivieso (stabbed to death in 1550). The conquistadores imposed a model of Christendom where civil and religious authorities were connected - religious authority being a ruling one and the civil authority executing the orders of the religious one. Clergy remained predominantly in the cities and towns serving primarily the ruling class (e.g., in schools) and enjoyed all the comforts provided by a privileged status and the ownership of land. During the independence movement in the 19th century, bishops sided with the Spanish crown, and popes made pronouncements against the struggle for independence(3).
The social and political structure imposed on the continent had its roots in the ecclesial doctrines formulated by Thomas Aquinas. In such a religiously dominated society there was no room for innovation, for social mobility, for free and spontaneous thinking, for democracy and democratic institutions. Society represented a rigid, hierarchical, feudal structure fixed once for ever, resembling the ecclesiastical institution. All this was quite opposite to the society developed in the North.
SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS ROOTS OF LIBERATION THEOLOGY
The theology of liberation, though explicitly mentioned for the first time in 1968 in a speech by a Peruvian theologian delivered in the fishing port of Chimbate, has roots in religious and social movements that swept the Latin American continent in the 50s. Catholic bishops were concerned with the increasing influence of Protestant missionaries, the growing secularization of the population and the spreading of communist ideas (these were topics of the first plenary meeting of CELAM - Latin American Bishops' Conference - in 1955 in Río de Janeiro). Church problems were aggravated by the lack of clergy to serve poor people in the country and the visible complicity of the Church with an unjust social order. The social situation in Latin American countries gave rise to revolutionary movements in Cuba, Venezuela, Guatemala, and Peru. In Brazil, peasants became militant and the radicalized middle-class people went to work directly with the poor. A Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire(4), developed a new method for teaching literacy to the masses of peasants through the process of "conscientizaçao", consciousness-raising. All these movements and problems arose directly from the conditions of abject poverty, how 70% of the population lived. In a socio-economic analysis of the structure of Latin American society, some Christians and missionaries began to utilize Marxist tools (5) without, of course, embracing the philosophy of dialectical materialism.
The missionaries raised questions of the theological significance of a social revolution. On the religious plane, a strong impetus for changes and new vision of the world came from the documents of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965)(6). Latin American bishops insisted that the final documents should deal with the issues of development and human progress as a historical imperative. One statement of a Latin American bishop is especially significant: "Authentic socialism is Christianity lived to the full, in basic equality and with a fair distribution of goods" (7). Father Camilo Torres exemplifies this new attitude. He realized the need for a United Front linking together peasants, workers, slum dwellers, and professionals for basic changes. He expressed the need of revolution for implementing the fundamental changes in the economic, social and political structures. The essence of revolution was the removal of power from the privileged to the poor majorities. Revolution could be peaceful if the privileged elites did not put up a violent resistance, and the Christians should become involved. He sacrificed his own life in the struggle in 1966. On the international plane, social scientists emphasized that underdevelopment was structurally conditioned by the exploitation by foreign economic powers maintaining Latin America in a system of dependency on hegemonic centers. Such a system of oppression calls for ethical indignation. The encyclical of pope Paul VI "Populorum Progressio" (1967) (8) critiqued the international economic order, explicitly condemned the capitalistic system as presently known for the social evils and called for development through consensus rather than struggle:
"[It is a system] ... which considers profit as the key motive for economic progress, competition as the supreme law of economics, and private ownership of the means of production as an absolute right that has no limits and carries no corresponding social obligation".
"We know ... that revolutionary uprising - save where there is manifest long-standing tyranny which would do great damage to fundamental personal rights and dangerous harm to the common good of the country - produces new injustices, throws more elements out of balance and brings on new disasters".
The Magna Charta of the new pastoral approach to social problems became the documents of the second plenary meeting of CELAM convened in Medellín (9), Colombia (1968). They called for the Christians to be involved in the transformation of society; denounced institutionalized violence and named it a "situation of sin"; called for renovating societal changes; called for the defense of human rights; called for consciousness-raising evangelization and spoke of "comunidades de base" - lay-led groups of Christians as basic organic units of society and pastoral activity. The documents often used the term liberation and spoke of the interrelationship between liberation and evangelization:
"The Church ... has the duty to proclaim the liberation of millions of human beings, many of whom are her own children ... This is not foreign to evangelization "
The general assumption was that basic changes would come through a conversion on the part of the privileged and powerful. Revolutionaries were defined as those who sought radical changes and who believed that people should chart their own course and not as those who were using violence.
BASIC PRINCIPLES OF THEOLOGY OF LIBERATION
Facing enormous problems in the society, some theologians realized that the traditional theology concerned with religious dogmas and abstract religious concepts lost any relevance. It became an abstract speculation removed from the original spirit of the Gospel message and out of touch with real life. On the social level it served the rich. They realized that if one really cared for and believed in the Christian ideals, one had to answer the question: how to be a Christian in a concrete historical situation? The basic concerns in Latin America shifted thus from "whether one can believe what Christianity affirms to what relevance Christianity has in the struggle for a more just world."(10) Out of such considerations was born "liberation theology," outlined for the first time by a Peruvian theologian Gustavo Gutierrez a few weeks before the Medellín conference. Gutierrez (11) defined theology as a "critical reflection on praxis in the light of the word of God." Liberation theology has two basic principles: first, it recognizes a need for liberation from any kind of oppression - political, economic, social, sexual, racial, religious; second, it asserts that the theology must grow out of the basic Christian communities and should not be imposed from above, that is, from the infallible source book or from the magisterium of an infallible Church. It explores the theological meaning of human activities:
1. It interprets Christian faith out of the suffering, struggle, and hope of the poor;
2. It critiques society and ideologies sustaining it, pretends not to lay down specific rules for how to struggle for justice, but stresses that a responsible commitment with class conflict is an expression of love for one's neighbor. Through solidarity with the poor theologians of liberation advocate the transcendence from class division to a new type of society;
3. It critiques the activity of the Church from the angle of the poor.
The main theme, liberation, is considered at three levels of meaning which are interconnected. At the social and political level liberation is an expression of aspirations of the oppressed classes and peoples. This liberation emphasizes the conflict in the economical, social and political process between the oppressed and the oppressors. At the human level the liberation is conceived as a historical process in which people develop consciously their own destiny through the social changes. At the religious, salvific level the liberation means liberation from sin, the ultimate source of all deviation from fraternity, of all injustice and oppression. It brings man back into communion with God and fellow men, which is the radical, total liberation. These three processes cannot be separated, they form a unique, complex process ("proceso unico y complejo"). For the first time sin was formulated in social terms as a concrete social act and not in traditional way as an abstract, and even an allegoric personification in the person of satan, or at best, a personal act. For the first time the religious, salvific plan was explicitly linked to the human experience in a society.
PRIORITY OF PRAXIS OVER THEORY
Direct source of liberation theology was the personal experience of many priests, pastoral workers and sisters who in the 60s made an effort and came close to the poor. It grew out of their reflections. E.g. Brazilian theologian Clodovis Boff spends half a year working among the poor in the state of Acre.(12) Theologians of liberation are thus "organic intellectuals" who can bridge the sharp class barrier in Latin American society. Gutierrez and other liberation theologians (13) insist that theology is a secondary reflection, the first commitment being the work among the poor. The shift is from the abstract speculation to living one's faith. This emphasis on the primacy of praxis over the abstract contrasts with the Catholic orthodoxy. Traditionally, priests preached resignation to "God's will" in a way that it reinforced the belief that the present distribution of wealth and power comes from God. Peasant society indoctrinated this way tended to internalize a fixed and even fatalistic view of the universe with symbols and rationalizations.
Gutierrez (14) found three meanings of poverty: the dehumanizing lack of material goods, the openness to God and commitment to solidarity. The Bible understands material poverty as an evil resulting from the oppression of some people by others. Therefore the Medellín document (15) suggests that a poor Church denounces the unjust lack of goods in this world and the sin that causes it, preaches and lives spiritual poverty as an attitude of spiritual openness to God and commits itself to poverty. Voluntary poverty is considered an act of love and liberation, of solidarity with the poor and those who suffer injustice. This commitment calls for giving up the relatively comfortable life and going to a barrio or a rural area to live with the people. By this act the clergy still would not become poor themselves. Next they have to develop a model of activities based on the work of Paulo Freire. The encyclical "Redemptor Hominis" (16) is pervaded by the perspective of liberation:
"Injustice, the exploitation of some human beings by others, the exploitation of the human being by the state, institutions, and mechanisms of economic systems, must be called by their name."
"... liberation must be inserted into the entire contemporary reality of human life."
"... liberation is a faith reality, one of the basic biblical themes, deeply inscribed in the salvific mission of Christ, in the work of redemption, and in his teaching."
The praxis of liberation theology finds its embodiment in the Christian ecclesial base communities. They are small, lay-led groups of Christians that see themselves as part of the Church and work together to improve their lot and establish a more just society. Base communities were a result of pastoral problems related to the lack of clergy in the country. They had their antecedents in the activity of Catholic Action in Belgium and in "cursillos de Cristianidad" - a kind of weekend retreats - in Spain. In Latin America they combined the social and educational function with the pastoral activity. Their primary motivation is religious based on popular religiosity embodying the cults of the saints and Virgin Mary. (This popular religiosity may be an uncorrupted illustration of Karl Barth's definition of religion: all religions in history represent human effort to reach God and in fact are forms of idolatry). They were modeled on the work of Paulo Freire. They include several activities like teaching peasants to read and write, organize self-help, and raising their self-consciousness(17). Slowly some clergy adopted this method for "reevangelization of adults" meaning by this term spreading of the message of Christ to its fullness. Such evangelization covered the topics like sources of poverty and social injustice, community questions in human relations, religious tenets and assertions etc., all this in close connection with the Bible. Base communities have an enormous impact on society. They constitute the initial step in raising the consciousness of the people by giving them a broad perspective on their role and place in the society, they help people to project their vision of life and motivate them for involvement. Such communities develop a sense of solidarity within the group; generate mutual aid and support; they serve as a training ground for the experience of democracy and direct their social and political actions.
As a whole, these communities do not fit into the traditional vertical, hierarchical authority system of the Catholic Church. At some point the powerful and the Church hierarchy itself saw the community as a threat to its domination (18) and used intimidation and violence against them. However, there is no way now to turn the clock back, therefore some bishops opted to include base communities in the overall ecclesial structure and subordinate them to their rule and control as a cell in their organization. The conclusions of the Medellín conference were confirmed by CELAM meeting in Puebla (1979) (19):
"We see the growing gap between rich and poor as a scandal and a contradiction to Christian existence. The luxury of a few becomes an insult to the wretched poverty of the vast masses".
"Analyzing this situation more deeply, we discover that this poverty is not a passing phase. Instead it is the product of economic, social, and political situations and structures, though there are also other causes for the state of misery. In many instances this state of poverty within our countries finds its origin and support in mechanisms which, because they are impregnated with materialism rather than any authentic humanism, create a situation on the international level where the rich get richer at the expense of the poor who get ever poorer".
It was a great victory for the theologians of liberation when the Puebla conference adopted the vocabulary and the themes of liberation theology.
HISTORY AS A FOCUS OF THEOLOGY
The liberating message of the Gospel does not identify any social form as just. It permeates the total historical realization and places it in a broader perspective of the radical salvation. Only when the Gospel message is not implemented in life then it becomes inevitable to search for an ideology that would justify a determined social situation. For believers, therefore, the evangelization is liberating since it announces the radical liberation that includes the transformation of historical and political conditions in which they live. But without considering the social and political reality, the analysis would lack the depth and would fall into another extreme of spiritual reductionism equally erroneous, according to the theologians of the liberation theology. For many theologians appeals to eschatological "beyond" have no relevance, they must be rooted in the historical present or rejected.
In the theological literature one can find frequent references and allusions to Marxism and Marx, in the social and economical analysis. It does not mean the acceptance of marxism, and especially, of course, the concept of life, its philosophy to the exclusion of the Christian faith. Some go so far as to affirm that there is no systematic theology in North America today without the analysis of Marx.
In the realm of international relations the theologians of liberation adopt, in a somewhat naïve and simplistic way, the dependence theory which maintains that the underdeveloped countries were set up as main producers of raw materials and agricultural products by an international division of labor (20). It entails also the political dependence. Medellín Conference (1968) and Secretariat General of Celam (1973) accepted the dependence as a fact. "Nos referimos aquí, particularmente, a las consecuencias que entreña para nuestros países su dependencia de un centro de poder económico, en torno al cual gravitan. De allí resulta que nuestras naciones, con frecuencia, no son dueñas de sus bienes ni de sus decisiones económicas. Como es obvio, esto no deja de tener sus incidencias en lo politico, dada la interdependencia que existe entre ambos campos." And: "... la dependencia parece como un hecho ... sobre ese hecho se elabora una teoría que esta en búsqueda, que se critica a sí misma ... La teología de la liberación tiene en cuenta la teoría de la dependencia y es imposible, al mismo tiempo, no tener en cuenta la teoría de la dependencia. Y la tiene en cuenta con su sentido critico, sin embargo, la teología de la liberación debe ser más atenta a estas variaciones y a estas criticas en la teoría de la dependencia, evitar generalización, enriquecerse con otro tipo de analísis y de niveles."(21)
READING THE BIBLE
Reading the Bible and interpreting it from the viewpoint of the poor is an essential element in the theology of liberation (22). Without that religious aspect, the theology of liberation would be just an extension of social analysis. A few examples will give a clear idea of what is involved in here. In the story of Genesis, creationism is not an issue. The peasant masses are able to appreciate the poetical account of creation better than anyone else since it deals with the objects of their everyday experience. Liberation theology stresses the goodness of creation, the dignity of the poor as God's image and their dominion over the earth and their rights to its fruits (it cannot escape in this analysis that only few own the land - "tierra"). Sin assumes social dimensions in the story of Cain and Abel and is not rooted in the story of Adam and Eve (the traditional basis of the abstract and mythical concept of the sin). The story of Exodus becomes a prototype of liberation constituting a basic paradigm of God's saving action. Little attention is given to the miraculous, the emphasis being put on the oppressive rule and liberation. Prophets and prophecies are seen as conscientizers of the people. Christ is a figure representing struggle, death, and vindication - in short - liberation:
"The spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore, he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord." (Luke 4:18-19)
No doubt this reads like a social manifesto! Jesus himself lived like a poor, in real material poverty, not a spiritual one. His criterion of a just life was practical material aid for one's neighbor! Jesus made enemies by denouncing the organized and ritualized religion of his time that was not committed to the love of one's neighbor. He was executed by the order of the Church authority that felt threatened in its organization and power. The New Testamental communities of the faithful are seen as the first "comunidades de base". How revealing this reading of the Bible is in the light of the fact that the Catholic Church also felt that its power was threatened by the base communities and objected to that aspect of the theology of liberation. It did not hesitate to use intimidation and silencing on the most prominent expounder of liberation theology, Leonardo Boff (23). Also as an excuse for persecution of the theologians of liberation the Church hierarchy used their presumed espousal of the Marxist doctrines. Liberation theology is thus based on the Bible. However, Bible is not taken literally, but symbolically as a sign.
From the discussion presented we deduce three basic planes of operation or mediation of liberation theology (24):
1. The socio-analytical i.e., the perception of social reality. In this context it is the condemnation of the capitalistic system as the source of evils (explicitly expressed in the quoted fragment of "Populorum Progressio");
2. The hermeneutic i.e., the theological reading of social reality in the light of faith based on the Bible. Leonardo and Clodovis Boff (25) succinctly formulated it in this way:
"... Faith helps the Christian endorse and support those historical movements that have a greater affinity with the ideals of the gospel. Today, for example, we perceive that the Christian ideal is closer to socialism than to capitalism. It is not a matter of creating a Christian socialism. It is a matter of being able to say that the socialist system, when actually carried out in reality, enables Christians better to live the humanitarian and divine ideals of their faith";
3. The pastoral service, the praxis i.e. search for the viable avenues for the praxis and embodiment of the theology of liberation in pastoral activity. Again we find a formulation of it in the Boffs' work:
"... Church has the duty to act as agent of liberation. It must attempt to articulate its words, its catechesis, its liturgy, its community action, and its interventions with established authority, in the direction of liberation."
No, it's not. And you're wasting bandwidth when you should be formally renouncing the Masons.
Your changing the story because you know that Liberation Theology has infected the church and behind its pro illegal immigration stance
It is not the church's fault that due to the actions of individual illegal aliens, some children have been put into jeopardy of their financial future. An analogous situation might be to compare the plight of a parent facing incarceration. His actions carry consequences, one of which is that his child and spouse will have to make do without him.
The Church should be talking on this issue.
I'm sorry, but we disagree in this instance. The political issue of immigration policy is not within the scope of Catholic faith and morals.
The church cannot talk with integrity on the dignity of the human person and the family, issues such as divorce laws, abortion, same sex marriage , euthanaisa, and ignore this issue and not try its best to make sure that that person and family(the domestic church) is to to be treated with dignity and respect
Treating someone with dignity and respect does not necessarily include advocating that the government issue a license to break the law, or change the laws in order to accomodate previous lawbreaking behavior.
This Masons versus Catholics thing is quite halarious to this WASP near atheist. It must be grand to have time to debate such an extraneous matter to anything remotely important about anything.
If people want to get rid of birthright citizenship for future children that is fine. That could be a possible solution. At this point I am trying to figure out what to do with the people we have here now and to do it where the result is Just and Christ like.
I would have to think a guestworker program, some pathway to citizenship(at this time I am hearing it would take 12 years or more or thats whats being proposed) is one side. Deportation of the criminals that are here and those that commit serious crimes in the future, real border security, and real employee sanctions is the other side of the coin. If both are done the illegal immigration problem should be brought under control. THe key here is that any law does not do unneeded violence to the human person or family.
Is it really necessary to introduce the word "Marxism" into a debate about immigration policy? Don't you find that a tad embarrassing?
How does this have anything to do with Liberation theology. If the above is an example of Marxist thought I have to admit I am baffled. I have not seen many Marrxist quote and try to use the CATO institute as a source.
Church concern for the alien and for the poor does not equate to liberation Theolgy. IF that was the case then God must be a closet Marxist because the bible is full of mandates to take care of the poor and the alien in our midst. The above has nothing to do with liberation theology. The fact that John Paul II is quoted giving much the same position as the Bishops should be proof enough. John Paul II condemmed liberation Theolgy