Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Tom Hayden on liberation theology and the political tone in Latin America

Tom Hayden has some worthwhile observations about Latin American politics and liberation theology in The Pope and Liberation Theology Peace and Justice Resource Center 12/24/2014:

Liberation theology evolved from the radical margins to the very mainstream of the Latin American church in that revolutionary year of 1968. At once the counter-movement began, gathering momentum through Reagan, Casey and the threatened Catholic fundamentalists, including Ratzinger. Their political targets were to dismantle the structures and ranks of the base communities of the poor then being sheltered by many progressive churches. They did not want a syncretic blending with Latin America's social revolution inspired by Cuba, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, even if the Marxists were becoming open to the spiritual dimension. They believed Latin America could be their new Poland. In the United States, they targeted white Catholic Democrats for conversion to the new church of Reagan, wiping away messy trace history of the Berrigans or the nuns in El Salvador.

They failed in the longer run. Latin America has stabilized as a progressive and independent continent where its many elected leaders have roots and memories anchored in the insurgent base communities and martyrs of Empire. Latin America is the reason Francis is Pope. Latin America is a ballast against the reactionaries of Europe and the United States. Latin America is the continent most aligned with the spirit of Occupy Wall Street. Latin America is the continent where diplomacy is preferred to war.
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