Spanish theologian Andrés Torres Queiruga gave two presentations at the Congresso Continental de Teologia at Unisinos in São Leopoldo, Brazil in October 2012. This is the second one.
By Thamiris Magalhães (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Unisinos (in Portuguese)
"Latin American Theology and European Theology: Mutual Interpellations" was the subject of a lecture given by Dr. André Torres Queiruga of the University of Santiago de Compostela, in the Padre Werner Amphitheater on the fourth day of the Continental Theology Congress which is taking place at Unisinos with more than 700 participants.
According to Dr. André Torres Queiruga, society is increasingly in a global culture. "The media, books etc.. are causing the context to be increasingly universal. In this sense, I'm saying it's necessary to build a comprehensive theology," he said, emphasizing that "we have to realize that theology will be authentic when the entire ecclesial body is authentic."
For Queiruga, all of society has the right to do theology. "And there will only be a Christian theology when it belongs to the whole community, " he clarified. According to the professor, we should think of emphases, of specific ways of trying to live the theology we all want to do. "In this regard, one theology, such as the European or American one, can help the other."
"Jon Sobrino," he continued, "used to say that we should think of theology more as social revolution, ie, for the practical fulfillment of everything that is our faith and church attitude. Our faith could be characterized by a theology that's more engaged and more committed to accepting the challenges of modernity."
According to Queiruga, liberation theology is concerned about the poor "but not just on the economic level, however, but for the fulfillment of human life, especially attending to those who are hurting, who are suffering the most." For it, there are two absolutes -- God and hunger. It's true that if there's hunger, that will become a human necessity for the person. "It's like saying 'first living, then philosophizing'."
According to the lecturer, liberation theology has historically held that it isn't possible to do theology without seeing that there are poor and suffering people. "I think it weighs on the conscience of all of us to see poverty. But, most of us aren't capable of great heroism. The advantage of liberation theology was to show this," he said.
"If we look at what Vatican II tried to do, which was to bring the Church up to date, we would see that that really happened. And it was liberation theology that welcomed the praxis of faith, that saw that faith without works is dead," he pointed out. And he added, "Liberation theology fights against poverty and seeks greater dignity for people. It's an adventure of historic proportions; it will never be extinguished in history. And this is its greatest merit."
For Queiruga, the Church should start from the bottom. "Give a popular interpretation of the Bible, to mobilize people," he continued. He said, "This same fact of starting from the bottom, of getting people to participate in social life, brings religion closer. We can see this in Europe."
The fight for the Earth
"The fight for Mother Earth is something that liberation theology revitalized," he stated. "And this theology is also communicated within feminist, Asian, and African theology. This is a hotbed of new ideas and directions. Basically, it has forced everyone to remember the poor, especially the crucified poor. Liberation theology said, 'you can't forget the poor.' And this is a universal call to the whole Church," the professor added, deeming that the most advanced theology is still very fundamentalist in its way of reading scripture. "The Bible, in its entirety, is an interpretation of human existence and the human world."
For Queiruga, nature, society, and the human subject are somewhat autonomous. "All this is very important. And if it didn't exit, it would be impossible for liberation theology to exist," he said, considering that we shouldn't just think about practice, but also the interior formation of people. For him, moreover, making the Earth sacred isn't the most correct thing because "only God should be held sacred." And he went on, "Earth and the human person shouldn't be placed on the same level."
Also according to Dr. Queiruga, man is the only species capable of transcending his environment. "There's a clear and obvious hierarchy. Evolution helps us understand that." And he added, "I don't intend intend to deny any of the values. I believe that people have rights, not the earth -- this, always thinking of humanity, of the poor."
Theology of Secularization
The theology of secularization also requires taking into account that we are living in a disenchanted world, where there aren't any spirits flying around. Everything that happens in the world has human -- and exclusively human -- causes," Queiruga stated. For him, we must take into account that secularization and disenchantment have not yet reached the whole world, "but they're coming. Technological advances are changing the whole human mentality."
Queiruga even avers that faith and theology need to be thought about for the future. "What counts for us, we have to aspire making valid for all people, because we live in a world where we're all equal."
Regarding the secular culture, the professor pondered about "realizing that divine interventionism has ended. In other words, thinking that 'I ask God for something and He answers' has ended -- or I think it should end. It's like going to church to ask God to cure a disease." And he gave an example: "If I have a cut finger and go to the shrine to ask God to heal the hemorrhage, I'll die. God counts, but on another level. He pushes me so that I, with all dignity, do what's humanly possible to fix what can be fixed." To Queiruga, we must learn to pray in this new context..."and I believe that repetitive prayer makes no sense."