Liberation Theology

In trying to arrive at an overall evaluation it must be said that, if one accepts the fundamental assumptions that underlie liberation theology, it cannot be denied that the whole edifice has an almost irresistible logic. By adopting the position of biblical criticism and of a hermeneutics that grows through experience, on the one hand, and of the Marxist analysis of history, on the other, liberation theologians have succeeded in creating a total picture of the Christian reality, and this total view seems to respond fully both to the claims of science and to the moral challenges of our time, urging people to make Christianity an instrument of concrete world transformation; it seems to have united Christianity, in this way, with all the “progressive forces” of our era. One can understand, therefore, that this new interpretation of Christianity should have exercised an increasing fascination over theologians, priests and religious, particularly against the background of Third World problems. To say “no” to it must seem to them to be a flight from reality as well as a denial of reason and morality. On the other hand, if one considers how radical this reinterpretation of Christianity is, it is all the more pressing to find the right answer to the challenge that it presents. We shall only survive this crisis if we succeed in making the logic of faith visible in an equally compelling manner and in presenting it as a logic of reality, i.e., manifesting the concrete force of a better answer attested in lived experience. Since it is so, since thought and experience, interpretation and realization, are equally called for, it is a task for the whole Church. Theology alone is insufficient, Church authority alone is insufficient. Since the phenomenon of liberation theology indicates a lack of conversion in the Church, a lack of radical faith, only an increase in conversion and faith can arouse and elicit those theological insights and those decisions on the part of the shepherds that will give an answer to the magnitude of the question.