Article explains a lot about Bergoglio/Francis, Amazon Synod, connection with Liberation Theology

LifeSite has an important article for understanding more about Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Francis. The article stems from a 47 year old photo which shows a group who attended a conference in 1972, including Bergoglio, Liberation Theologian and now-laicized Leonardo Boff and a founder of an Argentinian branch of Liberation Theology, “Theology of the People”, and huge influence on Bergoglio, Juan Carlos Scannone, SJ. It seems that Francis recently sent the photo to Boff, who posted it on Twitter.

The article drills into Boff’s view of Francis, and what Boff thought and thinks Francis is going to do to the Church. LifeSite cites and links various interviews Boff has given over the years.

It is clear that Boff was behind some of Laudato si and that Francis is in touch with him.

Boff is, in effect, the “theologian of reference” for the upcoming Amazon Synod just as Walter Kasper was the theologian of reference for the debacle twins, the rigged two-part Family Synod.

An excerpt.


This closeness to Pope Francis could also be seen in Boff’s own interview with the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger [sic] in December of 2016. “He [Pope Francis] has sought a reconciliation with the most important representatives of the Liberation Theology: with Gustavo Gutierrez, Jon Sobrino, and likewise with me,” Boff then said.

But he also reveals that he cautioned Pope Francis as to whether he is prudent to seek such a reconciliation while Pope Benedict is still alive. “I have said to him with respect to Pope Benedict – that is to say, Joseph Ratzinger – ‘But that other is still alive, after all!’ He [Pope Francis] did not accept this. ‘No,’ he said, ‘Il Papa sono io’ – ‘The pope, that is me!’ We were welcomed to come. That is where you see his courage and his decisiveness.”

Being asked in 2016 as to what he expects Pope Francis to do, Boff answers: “Perhaps a diaconate for women, after all. Or the possibility that married priests may be again engaged in pastoral care. That is an explicit request from the Brazilian bishops to the pope, especially from his friend, the retired Brazilian Curial Cardinal Claudio Hummes. I have heard that the pope wants to meet this request – for now and for a certain experimental period in Brazil.”

Boff, who in 1992 left the priesthood and then entered the married state, says in public that he still says Mass. “I personally do not need such a decision [of admitting married priests]. It would not change anything for myself because I still do what I have always done: I baptize, I give Christian burials, and if I happen to come into a parish without a priest, then I also celebrate Mass together with the people.”

When in the mid-1980s, Rome silenced Boff, he turned his energies into the field of ecotheology, laying the foundation for his ideas that then were later included by Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato si’. Boff said in an interview in 2016: “The imposition of “silentium obsequiosum” in 1985 by the Vatican forbade me from speaking and writing. That is when I began to study ecology, Earth science, and their relation to human activity. This coincided with an invitation to participate in a small, international group convened by Mikhail Gorbachev and Steven Rockefeller to explore universal values and principles essential for saving Earth from the multiple threats she faces.”


This upcoming Synod is going to be a real goat rodeo.

Read the article from top to bottom.  It explains a lot.  HERE

 I suggest Tracey Rowland’s terrific book Catholic Theology.  US HERE – UK HERE  This book is a status quaestionis work, explaining the state of theology is being taught, the different strains and schools, where they came from, who their exponents are.   It is supremely helpful.  In her section on Liberation Theology, she dedicates a portion to Bergoglio.

Rowland explains (emphases and comment mine):

Situating Pope Francis

While much has been written about Pope Francis’s agenda for his pontificate and his personal history as a Jesuit Provincial and Archbishop, little has been written on his attitudes to the practice of theology as an intellectual discipline. This is because with Francis the accent is on social problems, not ideas, praxis rather than theoria. As he said to a Jesuit student who explained that he was studying Fundamental Theology: ‘I can’t imagine anything more boring.’  When a person says that he ‘can’t imagine anything more boring than Fundamental Theology’, it is not likely that his publications will be full of treasure to be mined for a book on how to do theology.

In an article published in The Atlantic, Ross Douthat observed:

Francis is clearly a less systematic thinker than either of his predecessors, and especially than the academically-minded Benedict. Whereas the previous pope defended popular piety against liberal critiques, Francis embodies a certain style of populist Catholicism – one that’s suspicious of overly academic faith in any form. He seems to have an affinity for the kind of Catholic culture in which mass attendance might be spotty but the local saint’s processions are packed – a style of faith that’s fervent and supernaturalist but not particularly doctrinal. He also remains a Jesuit-formed leader, and Jesuits have traditionally combined missionary zeal with a certain conscious flexibility about doctrinal details that might impede their proselytizing work.

Nonetheless, it has been suggested by several academics and papal commentators that if Pope Francis has sympathy for any particular approach to Catholic theology, it is that of ‘People’s Theology’. One of the most extensive articles on this subject is Juan Carlos Scannone’s ‘El papa Francisco y la teologia del pueblo’ published in the journal Razón y Fe. In this paper Scannone claims that not only is Pope Francis a practitioner of ‘People’s Theology’ but also that Francis extracted his favourite four principles – time is greater than space, unity prevails over conflict, reality is more important than ideas, and the whole is greater than the parts – from a letter of the nineteenth-century Argentinian dictator, Juan Manuel de Rosas (1793– 1877) sent to another Argentinian caudillo, Facundo Quiroga (1788– 1835), in 1834. These four principles, which are said to govern the decision-making processes of Pope Francis, have their own section in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium and references to one or other of them can be found scattered throughout his other papal documents. Pope Francis calls them principles for ‘building a people’.

A common thread running through each of these principles is the tendency to give priority to praxis over theory[NOTA BENE…] There is also a sense that conflict in itself is not a bad thing, that ‘unity will prevail’ somehow and that time will remove at least some of the protagonists in any conflict. The underlying metaphysics is quite strongly Hegelian, and the approach to praxis itself resembles what Lamb classified as ‘cultural-historical’ activity and is associated primarily with Luther and Kant rather than Marx. (Kindle Locations 4226-4252)

There is quite a bit more, but this might provide a clue as to why His Holiness allow the chaos to grow.

And chaos there surely is and will be, in spades, in the foreseeable future.


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  1. Kathleen10 says:

    Only God can do something about this. Our job I guess is to keep asking Him to.
    The Amazon synod is going to be the turning point. There is a line beyond which you are no longer in Catholicism-land, you are somewhere else. He (they) are intentionally taking the church somewhere else. They are not neutral about Catholicism, good God, they hate it with a passion.

  2. Geoffrey says:

    Christe, eleison…

  3. Gab says:

    Something good will eventually result out of this mess. Nothing happens without God’s will, permissive or positive.

  4. Laurelmarycecilia says:

    I wonder…. if ideas and theory DO matter to Bergolio. Just not Catholic or just not those of Western culture. He’s concerned about praxis in order to operationalize his communist theory. Praxis is a process by which theory enacted. Just wondering………

  5. Lurker 59 says:

    This is an important article in that it helps to dispell the notion that Pope Francis’ theology is something new as the article grounds it out within the dominant school in South American Jesuit thought: liberation theology.

    I’d like to point out that what is at issue is not the classical interplay between doxology and praxis. What is being suggested when it is said that “This is because with Francis the accent is on social problems, not ideas, praxis rather than theoria.” it is not being meant that Pope Francis is stressing orthopraxy over orthodoxy, or that from praxis comes doxology or any of those classical positions
    . Rather, the praxis that is being spoken of here is the malleability of the practice of the people to shape society and the people themselves towards a becoming rather than a practice that conforms the people to an ideal.

    Let me explain quickly. Pope Francis is very fond of the Mercy^tm which isn’t congruent to praxis or doxology. Rather, when we look at how it is spoken of and applied, it is the act of setting aside both praxis and doxology in a way that “liberates” those to which it is applied. This is not a true liberation for the action rather binds the individual towards a sociological path of becoming that is intended by the one who is applying the Mercy^tm.

    For example: The divorced and remarried without a decree of nullity. If we apply the Mercy^tm to such a situation, it is allowable to bypass both doxology (that such a situation is sinful) and praxis (that those in such a situation are barred from receiving the Eucharist) and instead permits both the reception of the Eucharist and the calling of the situation “good” so long as it puts those individuals on a path that builds up a people of God that is liberated from praxis and doxology. In reality, what happens is that such individuals are bound into their sins, and being bound so to their sins experience a “life of the people” that one would expect of those bound into their sins.

    This is of course intended. Though of course, they won’t call such a “life of the people” sin.
    One of the difficulties with Liberation Theology, like other forms of progressivism, is that it can present as a moving target. It is not locked into any particular praxis save for a praxis that moves the agenda forward until the goal is achieved, then a particular praxis becomes important. Here you can see Liberation Theology’s Marxist roots, which also doesn’t care how one gets to the utopia state so long as one moves in that direction. This is why it creates and thrives in chaotic situations where multiple praxises are encouraged and permitted. The point is that this allows the space to allow the real underlying goals to grow. It is easy to get distracted and discouraged by the million little fires going on.

    The way out is to not fight a million fires and die a death of a thousand cuts, but rather to not play the game. If you have an opponent that is engaging in moving the goalposts and constantly redefining what the goalposts are, that is not a winnable battle if one engages in playing the game. If you do, you end up spending a lot of energy AND help them subverting and supplanting the praxis.

  6. Lurker 59 says:

    @Laurelmarycecilia Yes. Not being interested in “ideas and theory” is in it of itself a theory and idea. Further, what is meant here is that “idea and theory” are human constructs that get in the way of encountering persons. At the core, it is a rejection of Revelation as well as the intelligibility of creation. It is both an acceptance of Kantian metaphysics (that we cannot know the real so we create constructs by which we view the world and conform our lives to) and a rejection of Kant’s theory.

    @Kathleen10 I’d suggest that the position “only God can deal with this” will readily allow those in positions to do something to fall into complacency and do nothing. What is needed is for good men to cooperate with the grace that is given. And I strongly that it is being given in spades at this present time, though it is grievously being ignored. I include myself in the ignoring of this grace.

  7. teomatteo says:

    “…unity will prevail.”
    yes, with coercion and a smile. (or a boot on you throat)

  8. Joe in Canada says:

    “Jesuits have traditionally combined missionary zeal with a certain conscious flexibility about doctrinal details that might impede their proselytizing work.”
    From the supplemental reading for the Office of St Peter Claver SJ, Sept 9: (after looking after desperate bodily needs of newly arrived slaves) After this we began an elementary instruction about baptism, that is, the wonderful effects of the sacrament on body and soul. When by their answers to our questions they showed they had sufficiently understood this, we went on to a more extensive instruction, namely, about the one God, who rewards and punishes each one according to his merit, and the rest. We asked them to make an act of contrition and to manifest their detestation of their sins. Finally, when they appeared sufficiently prepared, we declared to them the mysteries of the Trinity, the Incarnation and the Passion. Showing them Christ fastened to the cross, as he is depicted on the baptismal font on which streams of blood flow down from his wounds, we led them in reciting an act of contrition in their own language.

    pretty solid

  9. PostCatholic says:

    Some Palestinian religious leader explained, a few millennia ago, the gate of goats involved in such a round-up. If only he was right…

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