Not long ago I was getting e-mails from people about a parish where a speaker identified as a "Liberation theologian" was scheduled to speak.
That puzzled me a little.
Don’t get me wrong, in a sense Joseph Ratzinger was a bit of a "Liberation theologian", in that he really delved into the theology and found its flaws. But he also found a few strong points and, mutatis mutandis, used a couple of those points for reflections on a liturgical theology. Consider that if Christ is our Liberator (from sin, damnation and hell), what happens in the Church’s worship is also work of the Liberator. But I digress. That is a far cry from the attempted – failed – fusion of Christian principles with Marxism.
But ideas come and go, and come back again. We have lots of Pelagians and Gnostics around today, after all.
But Liberation theology might make a come back, given an up tick in rhetoric from, for example, Black Liberation theology.
It is good that we all know something about Liberation theology, but we must study it with the help of the Church’s indications set down especially by the CDF when Card. Ratzinger was Prefect.
But be reminded that Liberation theology is not "okay". It is deeply flawed. It is not cool to embrace it or even give it as much heed as you would some dopey kid wearing a Che Guevara tee-shirt.
From CNA with my emphases and comments:
Benedict XVI cautions against dangers of Marxist liberation theology
Vatican City, Dec 7, 2009 / 11:42 am (CNA).- In a meeting with a group of Brazilian bishops on Saturday, the Holy Father warned of the dangers of Marxist liberation theology and noted its grave consequences for ecclesial communities.
During the ad limina visit, the Pope recalled that “last August marked 25 years since the Instruction “Libertatis nuntius” [READ that!] of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on certain aspects of liberation theology. The document "highlights the danger involved in the uncritical absorption, by certain theologians, of theses and methodologies that come from Marxism."
The Pope warned that the “more or less visible” scars of Marxist liberation theology, such as “rebellion, division, dissent, offenses, anarchy, are still being felt, causing great suffering and a grave loss of dynamic strength in your diocesan communities.” [And yet we still find some folks promoting ideas from that Marxist strain of Liberation theology.]
For this reason, he exhorted all those who in some way feel attracted or affected by “certain deceitful principles of liberation theology” to re-visit the instruction and be open to the light that it can shed on the subject.
Benedict XVI also recalled that “the supreme rule of faith of the Church in effect arises from the unity that the Spirit established between Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church, in such reciprocity that they cannot subsist independently of each other,” as John Paul II explained in his encyclical “Fides et Ratio.” [We must not allow (and we must recognized it when we see it) a false dichotomy between reason and faith, intellect and authority. The Holy Father has been teaching on this for some time. Think of the Regensburg Address.]
The Instruction “Libertatis nuntius” was published on August 6, 1984, with the approval of Pope John Paul II, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Its purpose was to focus the attention of pastors, theologians and all the faithful on the deviations of certain forms of liberation theology that are dangerous for the faith and for the Christian life and that are based on Marxist thought.
It warned that the grave ideological deviations of Marxist liberation theology inevitably lead to the betrayal of the cause of the poor and that a Marxist analysis of reality leads to the acceptance of positions that are incompatible with the Christian vision of man. [He also gets into this in his first message for the World Day for Peace as well as in Deus caritas est.]