We are pleased to bring you an English translation of the final declaration of the International Conference on Liberating Spirituality in the Light of Liberation Theology, held this week in Caracas, Venezuela. Sr. Teresa Forcades was one of the presenters at this gathering. The Spanish version can be found on Adital.
Caracas, August 19, 2012
We, members of the associations FUNDALATIN, Ecuvives, FEDEFAM, Romero Vive, Cecoce (BCCs), together with the delegations from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, Paraguay and Venezuela, and in solidarity with the fraternal peoples of the Americas and the world, declare:
1. That in face of the change of era that the Latin American continent and the Caribbean are going through, in face of many signs of the integration dreamed of by our forefathers such as Simon Bolivar, San Martin, Artigas, Martí, Sandino, Hidalgo, and Alfaro, we feel the urgent need to illuminate these processes with a liberating spirituality inspired by liberation theology.
2. That the construction of Latin American and Caribbean unity, of the Great Nation, that was a thwarted utopia two centuries ago, is underway today, here and now. Even though new winds have begun to blow in the region, we must be alert however. This regional process is not without risk or attacks such as those already suffered by the Honduran people and recently by the Paraguayan people, undermining the integration process of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.
3. That Bolivar's dream illuminates the revolutionary processes of some of the peoples of Latin American and Caribbean; we see in them the signs of the Kingdom of God proclaimed by Jesus of Nazareth, and the spiritual strength of our indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples.
4. That Christian ethical principles -- macro ecumenical, pluralistic and of our peoples -- give moral force to these processes so besieged by the corruption that is upheld by the capitalist system that stimulates unbridled consumerism and puts having above being. Moreover, an ethic of service, not of oppression, gives a new meaning to the concept of power, both political and religious, because whoever doesn't govern to serve, isn't fit to govern.
5. Our rejection of the manipulation of the media, that alienate, encourage violence and lies, that distort the facts and use half-truths. Within media violence, we include religious media that, reading the Bible literally, maintain a patriarchal and sexist system, a sacrificial theology, and the misnamed prosperity theology, which demobilizes the people, leading to resignation and conformity.
6. Politics and faith must go together. Following the inspiration of Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero, martyr of America and Juan Vives Suriá, defender of human rights, we believe in the political dimension of faith. Liberating spirituality illuminates politics, enriches and challenges it. Not getting into politics is betraying Jesus of Nazareth's plan for this world.
7. Our solidarity with the people of Paraguay and we condemn the parliamentary coup that ousted the legitimate president of that sister country, Fernando Lugo.
8. We stand in solidarity with the church of Sucumbíos, Ecuador, because of the top-down intervention of the Vatican that is imposing a ritualistic church structure, seeking to break the model of Church-Community committed to the historical processes of liberation. We denounce this policy of devolution driven by the conservative sectors of the Catholic Church. We also stand in solidarity with Ecuador at this time when the British Empire wants to violate international law by threatening to intervene in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
We agree to:
1. Create a network of all groups in Latin America and the world that take their inspiration from liberating spirituality in light of liberation theology to contribute to the building of a different possible and necessary world where the Kingdom of God, of peace with social justice and sovereignty, will be installed.
2. Accompany the Bolivarian process that inspires other peoples to drive their transformation processes forward.
3. Promote a liberating ethic and we reject pharisaical and oppressive morality. Be consistent in word and deed.
4. Develop alternative and community media. These should become promoters of liberating communication and effective networking.
5. Make our own the words of the prophet Pedro Casaldáliga when he says, "I think that one can only be Christian by being a revolutionary, because reforms are not enough. We must change the world."
We join with all indigenous groups, people's movements, Christian communities of other spiritual traditions and our brothers and sisters in America who are building from the praxis of liberation theology, who are going deeper into the ethical, cultural and spiritual elements of the new bolivarianismo to consolidate a pluralistic and intercultural bolivarian liberation theology. May we all hear from our Latin American communities what "the Spirit says to the churches" (Rev. 2:5).