Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Review of "A theology of liberation" by Gustavo Gutierrez

Review of "A theology of liberation" by Gustavo Gutierrez
ISBN 088344478X

Gutierrez believed that one act of love was worth a dozen books of
theology. What this book does is to locate the teachings of the gospel
in the context of the modern world and the struggle of the oppressed for
liberation. It expounds an evangelisation of the deed.

People have been horrified to see the Church ostensibly siding with the
rich against the poor. Calling the police to evict anti-capitalist
protesters from St Paul's in London is an act which will live in infamy
because of the message that it sent to the bankers "we are on your side"
and to the poor "we are not on yours."

At the same time, thousands have taken the message of the gospel as
Gutierrez intended. Some, like Oscar Romero, have paid with their lives
for siding with the poor and for refusing to be silenced. These are not
people who necessarily endorse every dot and comma of "A theology of
liberation" but they have had the courage to make the acts of love which
are so much more important.

The reason they have had to take on this role lies in the failure of the
political system. Politicians are too busy lining their own pockets in
most cases to take a leading role in the liberation of the oppressed.
Gutierrez had the courage to point out that trying to reform capitalism
would only lead to disappointment further down the line. In fact the
reformist parties have dropped the whole idea of reforming capitalism in
favour of a program of war, privatisation and acting as the best
servants of the corporations.

This is not a book to just read and put back on the shelf. It is a call
to action.


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