World Notes & Quotes

Walesa Urges New Approach to Russia

THE TOLEDO BLADE, Jan. 16—During a visit to St. Adalbert's Church in Toledo, Ohio, former Polish President Lech Walesa made a number of timely comments on the state of the former communist bloc countries.

“Walesa stressed the importance he believed God has played in his success,” wrote reporter George J. Tanber.

Walesa said Poland has struggled since democracy was introduced in 1989. Communist rule damaged both the economy and the mentality of the people, he added.

“The fall of communism was inevitable,” he asserted, “but had it not been for the Holy Father it would have lasted much longer and it would have been bloody.”

Walesa also discussed Russia's woes and suggested a solution to current problems. “The country is not a military threat,” he maintained. “They are too poor and have no means to carry out a war.”

He suggested that instead of giving Russia direct financial aid, a group of nations should get together and create business opportunities there, and help replace the markets that were once provided by former satellite countries.

Liberation Theology: A Fading Force in Latin America

THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, Jan. 21—“What ever happened to liberation theology?” So begins a report in The Christian Science Monitor on a “social doctrine preached by left-leaning Roman Catholic priests (that) reached its zenith in Latin America in the 1980s.” his school holds “that Jesus taught a radical theology, one that allowed even the use of force and revolution to give the poor justice,” writes Howard LaFranchi.

While “liberation theology has lost much of its influence and support,” LaFranchi takes a generally positive view of the movement, and only quotes those who see its demise as a temporary lull due, in part, to “the consolidation of anti-Communist Pope John Paul II's power.”

According to Pedro Luis Alonzo, author of a recent book on religion in Guatemala, “Liberation theology is absolutely not forgotten, but what has survived might be called decaffeinated,” he told the Monitor. “With the retrenchment of ideologies after the fall of the Berlin Wall, liberation theology has lost whatever revolutionary leanings it once had.”

He could have added, especially in the case of Latin America, that liberation movements has failed due to a lack of popular support in countries that have instead moved toward liberal democracies and free-market economies.