The first generation of liberation theology...mostly male
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II and the 40th of the beginning of liberation theology, we have gathered in the Continental Congress of Theology at Unisinos University in Sao Leopoldo/RS, Brazil. On reaching the end, we are addressing a message to our churches and peoples to share what we have heard and discussed, lived and celebrated.
Seven hundred and fifty of us -- young and old, lay people, men and women religious, priests and bishops, brothers and sisters of other Christian denominations -- participated. We came from the various countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, from North America and Europe. We have experienced a true kairos and the mobilization of the theological community of the continent.
Theologians Geraldina Cespedes and Jon Sobrino share a moment
Leonardo Boff offers some serious reflections on the state of the planet
We have remembered especially the bright and endearing figure of Pope John XXIII, whose gesture we evoke of opening doors and windows so that the Catholic Church would learn that to be mother and teacher, it needed to become daughter and disciple. We also remembered Paul VI who succeeded in bringing clarity and audacity to the work of the Council and in the journey of God's people in the post-conciliar aftermath. This memory was passed on to us strongly and emotionally by Mons. José M. Pires, 94, who was a conciliar father.
Mons. José M. Pires shares his memories of Vatican II
We have confirmed that liberation theology is alive and continues to inspire the searches and commitments of the new generation of theologians. But sometimes it's an ember that is hidden under the ashes. In that sense, this congress became a breath that rekindled the fire of that theology that wants to keep on being the fire that lights other fires in Church and society.
Daily mass, celebrated CEB style
Times have changed. This has led us to pause and put our Latin American theology in dialogue with realities and knowledge that were not present in the work of Vatican II or in the early days of liberation theology. The cries coming from migrants, women, indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples, the new generations and all the new faces of exclusion that are emerging from invisibility, are new to us.
These moans are the result of suffering that we passionately seek to share with those who are deprived of a decent life, of a "good life" (sumak kawsay) as God wants.
An impromptu vigil in support of the people of God in Sucumbios, Ecuador
Passing the light to the next theological generation
Gustavo Gutierrez addressed us from Notre Dame via Skype
and got a standing ovation
We participants in this Congress go back to our church communities willing to assume the tasks that Latin American theology has today and to witness with our approach that another theology is possible for another world to be possible. This will happen if our young people see visions and our old people dream dreams (Jl 3:1).
Congress participants bless each other for the journey ahead