Thursday, May 16, 2013


Pope Francis is into liberation theology, but not the radical kind that collapsed in the 1990's but the kind that liberates us from the devil, the prince of this world. Pope Francis is into liberation from evil, from sin, and from hell. That kind of liberation is the liberation theology of Almighty God as soon as salvation history began and in the eternal mind of God, the purpose He founded the Church from all eternity, for the liberation of sinful humanity from evil, from sin and from eternal damnation.

Social justice and the Church's social teaching flows from this kind of liberation theology, for the Kingdom of God is already but not yet. The victory is won, but the devil in his delusions is oblivious to it.

This is a very good article from Sandro Magister from the Chiesa blog:

Bergoglio, a Revolutionary His Own Way

Liberation theologians extol him, but between him and them there is a chasm. The progressives enlist him, but he keeps himself far from them. The true Francis is very different from the one that some imagine

by Sandro Magister

ROME, May 16, 2013 – In an ongoing honeymoon with public opinion, Pope Francis has also gained the praise of the most revolutionary of the Franciscan theologians, the Brazilian Leonardo Boff: "Francis will teach a lesson to the Church. We are coming out of a bitter and gloomy winter. With him comes the spring.”

Boff set aside his religious habit some time ago, got married, and replaced his love for Marx with an environmentalist's fondness for mother earth and brother sun. But he is still the most famous and most frequently cited of the liberation theologians.

When, just three days after his election as pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio called for “a Church that is poor and for the poor,” his admission among the ranks of the revolutionaries seemed like a done deal.

In reality, there is a chasm between the vision of the Latin American liberation theologians and the vision of this Argentine pope.

Bergoglio is not a prolific author of books, but what he has left in writing is more than enough in order to understand what he has in mind with his insistent mingling with the "people."

He knows liberation theology well, he saw it emerge and spread among his Jesuit confrères as well, but he always registered his disagreement with it, even at the cost of finding himself isolated.

His theologians of reference were not Boff, nor Gutierrez, nor Sobrino, but the Argentine Juan Carlos Scannone, he too at Jesuit disliked by most, who had been his professor of Greek and had elaborated a theology not of liberation, but “of the people,” founded on the culture and religious devotion of the common people, of the poor in the first place, with their traditional spirituality and their sense of justice.

Today Scannone, 81, is seen as the greatest living Argentine theologian, while on what remains of liberation theology Bergoglio closed the conversation as follows: "After the collapse of 'real socialism,' these currents of thought were plunged into confusion. Incapable of either radical reformulation or new creativity, they survived by inertia, even if there are still some today who, anachronistically, would like to propose it again."

Bergoglio threaded this dismissive judgment on liberation theology into one of his most revealing writings: the preface to a book on the future of Latin America written by his closest friend in the Vatican curia, the Uruguayan Guzmán Carriquiry Lecour, secretary general of the pontifical commission for Latin America, married with children and grandchildren, the highest ranking layman in the curia.

In Bergoglio's judgment, the Latin American continent has already won a “middle-class” spot in the world order, and is destined to have an even greater influence in future scenarios, but is being undermined in that which is most his own, the faith and “Catholic wisdom” of its people.

He sees the most terrible threat in what he calls “adolescent progressivism,” an enthusiasm for progress that in reality backfires - he says - against peoples and nations, against their Catholic identity, “in close relationship with a conception of the state that is to a large extent a militant secularism.”

Last Sunday he broke a lance for the legal protection of the embryo in Europe. In Buenos Aires his tenacious opposition against the laws for free abortion and “gay” marriage is not forgotten. In the spread of similar laws all over the world, he sees the offensive of “an imperialist conception of globalization,” which “constitutes the most dangerous totalitarianism of postmodernity.”

It is an offensive that, for Bergoglio, bears the mark of the Antichrist, as in a novel that he loves to cite: “Lord of the World” by Robert H. Benson, an Anglican priest, son of an Archbishop of Canterbury, who converted to Catholicism a century ago.

In his homilies as pope, the very frequent references to the devil are not a rhetorical device. For Pope Francis, the devil is more real than ever, he is “the prince of this world” whom Jesus defeated forever but who is still free to do evil.

In a homily a few days ago, he warned: “Dialogue is necessary among us, for peace. But with the prince of this world one cannot dialogue. Ever.”


This commentary was published in "L'Espresso" no. 20 of 2013, on newsstands as of May 17, on the opinion page entitled "Settimo cielo" entrusted to Sandro Magister.


rcg said...

This interesting on many levels. First, it is good that you, FrAJM, are presenting Pope Francis in a positive light for you overwhelmingly conservative audience. I appreciate that because I found my heart was with him from the beginning even with the concerns surrounding his Spartan personal style.

I am beginning to see this Pope as the natural extension of Pope Benedict and I am more convinced than ever that Pope B-XVI had this in mind when he abdicated.

However, I am being very cautious about things such as this article because we must be careful not to see the Pope for what we want him to be, but for what he actually is.

Gene had a very sound warning in a previous post concerning simplicity of the Gospel. In my mind I see the simplicity as not reading more into it, or certainly not reading into it what I want it to say. That is, as he said, a significant issue with many Protestant churches and is exactly the problem with 'Progressive' Catholics such as LCWR.

Words have meaning. That is why I am so fond of the Latin Mass. The use of terms such as 'Liberal' and 'poor' have been so distorted in the vernacular that they are actually misleading. A lot of what I read in the article really made me uneasy because it didn't just mean different things to different people, it confirmed radically different ideas. I think the proof will be when people start taking action based on what they think is being said and what the Pope does about those actions.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, RCG, but the pope makes clear that Gospel simplicity cannot become an "ideology" and he said so a few days ago in a homily:

Judas exemplified this self-centeredness when he complained that the expensive oil Mary used to anoint Jesus’ feet could have been sold for money to give to the poor, the pope said.

The account from the Gospel of John explains that Judas didn’t care about the poor and wanted the money instead because he was a thief and would steal the contributions.

The account from the Gospel of John suggests that Judas’ attitude toward money was a form of idolatry, the pope said.

“This is the first reference that I have found in the Gospels of poverty as an ideology,” Pope Francis said, according to the Vatican Radio website.

“The ideologist doesn’t know what love is because he doesn’t know how to give himself,” he said.

Judas was “distant in his solitude” and his selfishness grew to the point of betraying Jesus, he said.

rcg said...

Well, I do like the term 'adolescent progressivism'.

Pater Ignotus said...

Richard J. Foster guotes Francois Fenelon at the beginning of his chapter "The Discipline of Simplicity" in his book "Celebration of Discipline:"

"When we are truly in this interior simplicity our whole appearance is franker, more natural. This true simplicity . . . makes us conscious of a certain openness, gentleness, gaiety, and serenity which is charming when we see it near to an continually with pure eyes. O, how amiable this simplicity is! Who will give it to me? I leave all for this. It is the Pearl of the Gospel."

I think this is what we are seeing in Pope Francis. Gospel simplicity is not an "extra" or an "add-on" to a life of discipleship. It is essential.

John said...

I agree with Pope Francis in what he says 100%. I am also waiting for my Bishop or Pastor to reflect the Pope's daily Mass reflections and his Wednesday preaching on St Peter's square. So far, nothing.

Jacques Maritain said similar things in a book of his: The Peasant of the Garonne. This publication appeared in English in 1966 and reflects his thinking of how he felt about V-2. Surprisingly, very consistent with Popes Benedict XVI and Francis. Maritain was ignored but he was not Pope and could speak but not act. Let us hope our Pope will do more than Maritain could.

Gene said...

Vatican II was a weapon of Mass destruction...thank you, thank you...please hold your applause... :-)