The following is the message from the XXXII Congreso de Teología of the Asociación de Teólogos y Teólogas Juan XXIII which met in Madrid last week. The theme of this year's conference was Christianity, the market and social movements.
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September 6-9, 2012, we Christians from various denominational traditions and every continent met in Madrid to reflect on Christianity, the market and social movements, to exchange experiences and seek alternatives. We want to share the following message:
Market-centrism is the supreme institution of neoliberalism that turns human beings into commodities and subordinate parts of the system, identifies justice with legal compliance, dictated by the market, and reduces human rights to property rights. The market generates death situations for millions of human beings and nature.
We view with concern and are outraged by the consequences of the crisis caused by the financial powers that unfairly punishes the most vulnerable sectors of society worldwide, and especially in some European countries such as Greece, Portugal and Spain, where there has been a dramatic increase in poverty in a society with sufficient resources to meet the needs of the population.
Amid this situation, we positively value the gestures of solidarity from some members of the clergy and the church hierarchy, but we express our discontent and indignation at the silence of the Spanish Bishops' Conference, which has been so loquacious at other times and on other issues. Society views this silence as a scandal and complicity with those who have caused the crisis. We deem it insensitivity to injustice, a departure from the liberating message of the Gospel, and lack of compassion for the victims. We believe that such an attitude is due to the institutional church's comfortable seat in a privileged position, which contrasts with the cutbacks in all areas.
We ourselves, the participants in this Congress, are not exempt from contradictions and inconsistencies between our alternative way of thinking and our accommodative way of life, our critical attitude and our conformist practice, criticism of consumption and our consumerism, option for the poor and our lack of testimony of poverty.
The response to the crisis requires a new paradigm that translates into structural transformations, revolution in subjectivity and conscience, habits of life and personal relationships, under the guidance and priority of ethical values present in all the religious, moral, and spiritual traditions, albeit often breached. Among them are worth highlighting: human dignity in the face of the inhuman treatment that millions of human beings receive, respect for life against violence in its various forms, global justice, truth, righteousness, and gender equality.
We acknowledge the importance of the social movements, which are necessary mediations to transform reality. They are an alternative to neoliberal single thinking and globalization. They restore values that seem endangered, and rebel against a reality characterized by exploitation, domination, and the tendency to reduce reason to mere calculation.
The Congress has recognized the special significance of feminism as a theory of emancipation and the non-clonic equality between men and women, a practice of international sisterhood and support for the demands of women which are often relegated in the name of "higher general interests," including within the social movements themselves.
We can't settle in historical pessimism and fatalism. There are alternatives. This is why we support and make our own the following initiatives to get out of the crisis: the creation of a constituent assembly, civil disobedience, ethical banking, the Tobin tax, job sharing, universal social services, recognition of the citizenship of all residents of our territory, mutual aid pacts without subordination, food sovereignty, change in the production models, etc...
As Christians, we commit ourselves to:
Recovering the legacy of Jesus, which is characterized by the option for the excluded and marginalized, compassion as a principle of action, and affirmation of the authority of those who suffer.
Following the spirit and practice of Jesus, which is humanizing the world beginning with the last, fighting against the neglect of the victims, and putting ourselves on their side.
Affirming the incompatibility of God and Money and fighting against the Money Empire.
Practicing active nonviolent resistance to the system.
Actively participating in the social movements, old and new, and especially in the various Social Forums that work for "Another Possible World", and the movement of the Outraged Ones, within which stands Jesus, Outraged by the religious authorities, patriarchy, and political and economic powers of his time.
Madrid, September 9, 2012