Latin-American Bishops’ President: Liberation Theology Is ‘Archaic’

True liberation ‘is not about class warfare,’ said Mexican Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes; it ‘is showing the merciful face of God the Father, the tenderness of God among us.’

Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla, Mexico
Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla, Mexico (photo: FacebookArquidiocesisdeTlalnepantla)

ROME — While in Rome last week, the president of the Latin American Bishops’ Council said at a news conference that the Church in the region has fortunately moved beyond liberation theology.

“The relevant figures of liberation theology are all very elderly, and liberation theology as such, as the expression of what it was, is very archaic, if not already dead,” Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla, Mexico, commented May 27 at the offices of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

“There were efforts by some liberation theologians to clarify their theology,” he said. “But that was during the 1970s and 80s, and, today, thank God, we have a much wiser theological reflection that does not neglect the necessary, comprehensive liberation of man.”

“Now, it is not about class warfare, with the confrontation between rich and poor; because as we know, for the Church, this is not the way to social liberation.”

Archbishop Aguiar explained that liberation theology “had been put forth with a sociological foundation that did not square with theological foundations,” and that, consequently, “that is where it fell apart.”


True Liberation

True liberation, he said, “is showing the merciful face of God the Father, the tenderness of God among us”; this strengthens the human condition, the family as the place where the person matures and is educated and prepares future generations to be leaders in all areas of society, “whether social, economic or political.”

This task, Archbishop Aguiar reflected, “is one that Pope Francis has described in Evangelii Gaudium.”

The Latin American Bishops’ Council was in Rome May 19-29 for its annual report on its work with Latin-American bishops’ conferences and the direction the Church there needs to take.

Archbishop Aguiar also announced that the council will hold in August a preparatory meeting for October’s synod of bishops on the family. Bishops and experts in family ministry from the 22 bishops’ conferences of Latin America are expected to attend the meeting.