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Friday, May 29, 2009



Rev. Jeremiah Wright is a liberation theologian as well.

And they say Barack Obama wasn't paying attention all those years.


If politics by definition is the means by which community decisions are made, the objection to liberation theology being political remains a mystery to me. That Jesus came to offer freedom is not in dispute; the Gospel witness is explicit and undeniable. That he showed little reverence for secular politics is also evident.

Liberation theology must and should be engaged, analyzed, and judged on the merits of its content. I read the Ratzinger Report years ago. I confess I was unimpressed with it. Its author acknowledges LT is complex, that its advocates are all over the place, as it were, to apply it. And the author was right that political action doesn't fit into the category of heresy. Maybe some aspects termed LT aren't theology at all--not unlike the theo-con movement.

Reese's question isn't a theological one, but a cultural one: that Latinos are a significant portion of the public face of Catholicism in the US. Demographics suggest they are on the rise in terms of visibility and influence, and yes, even political influence.


Weekly mass doesn't quite cut it as an "important event" in the lives of neo-Catholics. That whole body and blood and soul and divinity of Christ thing is so outdated. It's all about empathy now.

Signe Kelker

The Vatican has reportedly rejected 2 or 3 other nominees to the ambassadorship. In the current circumstances, I'd prefer they not accept any, if all Obama is doing is trotting out "the usual suspects."

Ed Peters

Reese is simply presenting his preferences as if they are fact-driven forecasts by an informed by objective observer. They aren't.

Ed Peters

btw, re Allen's "By extending an olive branch to pro-lifers during his commencement address at Notre Dame, President Barack Obama seemed to pass his first major Catholic test."

What on earth is Allen talking about? What "olive branch"? What a bonehead thing to say.


Ed Peters,

Fr Z said the olive branch was really a trojan horse!

As for these people being representative of the new Catholic Church he has a point. Sotomayor represents all those Catholics who don't attend Mass regularly. What they don't represent is faithful Catholics. Liberation theology is yesterdays stale marxist theology, though I would like to be a fly on the wall if the Pope and him ever discussed the issue considering what the Pope has written about this.

Dr John James

What I find of most concern is not the views of Diaz or Sotomayor per se or their poor observance of the precepts of the Church. I have many in my own extended family who would be said to have long abandoned the practice of their Faith, though sadly what they often abandon is not the Faith in its integrity, but the caricature that was passed on to them. I love them alot and try to deal affectionately with them.
What is most disturbing is that the positions of Diaz and Sotomayor are presented as authentically 'Catholic', and by priests like Fr Reese.
Here I believe the fight must be waged with strength and passion. To insist that you are committed to reducing the killing of the innocent and helpless while striking down every legal impediment to such an outcome, to deny that the unborn has any moral status worthy of legal protection, is to live a lie. The language employed is 'Orwellian'.
I notice the Obama administration insisting that it is committed to reducing the " need" for abortion, not abortion itself.
Obama must be defeated and consigned to political exile.

Dan Deeny

I couldn't understand Todd's first sentence. I wonder if he could explain a bit.
I also didn't understand the point about Latino Catholicism in the U.S.. Is he suggesting that Prof. Diaz is an example of faithful Latino Catholicism, or that Prof Diaz is an example of a Latino Catholic who has lost his way?

T. Shaw

Some thoughts about Fred Reese, et al:

"A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire."
Thomas Merton

From Geo. Orwell: "Reflections on Gandhi"

" . . . poltics, which of their nature are inseparable from coercion and fraud."

"Man is the measure of all things and that our job is to make life worth living."

"But it is not necessary here to argue whether the other-worldly or the humanistic ideal is 'higher.' The point is that they are incompatible. One must choose between God and Man, and all 'radicals' and 'progressives' from the mildest liberal . . . have in effect chosen Man."

"Without a free press, it is impossible not merely to appeal to outside opinion, but to bring a mass movement into being, or even to make your intent known . . . "

N.B. Fred (Fred Martin, too) is my honorific for all "in-the-tank-for-Obama", "liberalism-is-my-true-religion", so-called priests. Props to your commenter Snyder.


Is it really difficult to understand the objection to LT as being overtly political if one actually takes time to consider what it has wrought in South America? Examples of members of the clergy claiming adherence to that particular theology who are now completely in the tank with leftwing political parties(The many clerical hacks of the Workers Party of Brazil, "Father of the Nation" President Lugo, etc...) abound, even when these particular parties are hell-bent on marginaliasing or outright persecuting the Church. And what is their justification for such a behaviour? Why, "social justice" of course! And from where have they picked up that understanding of "social justice".Yes, you guest it right : Liberation theology. And please, don't tell me that they are just "poorly catechised"; many of them are high-ranking members of the clergy. Ratzinger was spot on when he said that any particular understanding of the faith that is not political is considered "not practical or not tuned to reality" by the many hacks still advocating liberation theology in south america. And the same hacks will usually warn that if the Church does not conform to their particular theology, then it should braced itself for a massive exodus of "disappointed faithfuls".


"I couldn't understand Todd's first sentence. I wonder if he could explain a bit."

Sure. If LT is more political than theological, why do the objections come from theologians, not politicians, and why is/was the CDF concerned? Then-Cardinal Ratzinger conceded LT was a complex movement. Yet some of its detractors attempt to cast it in very simple terms.

It makes more sense to engage liberation theologians directly. Ask an advocate to explain. Why should we rely on anti-LT Catholics when we wouldn't dream, for example, of asking Protestants to explain papal infallibility?

Gabriel Austin

It is about time for the 1960s priests to think of honorable retirement and prepare themselves to meet their Maker.

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