Marco Tosatti: A Refresher on Liberation Theology

The fact that Benedict XVI is still living and witnessing what is transpiring today in the Church is perhaps a mystery of the Faith. First as cardinal and then as pope, Ratzinger was the churchman who fought the most against the “self-destruction of the Church by her own ministers.”

Today he is witnessing the momentary defeat of everything he has done and said for decades.

As things presently stand, his opponents of yesterday are now triumphing across the board.

In order to understand this, we need to pick up an old book, “Senza Misericordia,” published by [Milan publishing house] Kaos in July 2005, right after the election of Ratzinger to the papal throne.

The authors of the book called themselves “Disciples of Truth” — enemies of Benedict XVI, churchmen hiding under pseudonyms, thus covertly launching their accusations against their perennial adversary.

The book contains a partisan and sectarian — but extremely interesting — telling of the battles of the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, contemptuously referred to as the “Panzerkardinal.”

Let’s take a look at this book and retrace the battles of Ratzinger and, indirectly, those of John Paul II.

Against Liberation Theology

The first paragraph of the second part of the book opens with a significant title: “Against Liberation Theology.” The first accusation brought against the newly elected Benedict XVI was precisely this: that he had spent his entire life, beginning with a document in 1984, opposing confusion between the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the “gospel” of Karl Marx.

Liberation theologians, Ratzinger notes, are in error, because they separate “bread” [meaning economic gain] from the Word of God, and even place them in opposition to each other. The paragraph specifies two individuals whom Ratzinger had identified as dangerous sowers of error, whom he had summoned to Rome: the Peruvian Gustavo Gutiérrez and the Brazilian Franciscan Leonardo Boff. The latter affirmed, in 1985, that “the majority of the Brazilian clergy have already embraced liberation theology.”

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