Friday, August 24, 2012

Final Declaration of the Encuentro Internacional sobre Espiritualidad Liberadora a la Luz de la Teología de la Liberación

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 conclude:

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).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Latin American Congress on the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II

Sr. Margot Bremer, a German nun with the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Biblical scholar who works with indigenous people in Paraguay, will be leading a workshop on "Theology and Guarani Wisdom" at the Congresso Continental de Teologia in Brazil in October.

by Sr. Margot Bremer, RSCJ (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Adital
8/22/2012

Celebrating a Congress in Latin America 50 years after Vatican II means we don't want to forget it. This celebration means a lot to us in Latin America since that Council offered a radical change in the Church's view and its mission in the world. That new self-understanding gave new revitalizing and creative breath to the Latin American Church and inspired a re-reading from its own reality that was reflected in the documents of Medellin.

The Church, by presenting itself in the Conciliar documents in various concepts and symbols, had helped us to better understand the unfathomable mystery that doesn't fit in a single concept or a single image. During the dictatorships on this continent, the biblical image of the People of God that chapter II of Lumen Gentium presents, summoned many Catholics to meet in Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), joined together as an organized People, following the model of the early church in the New Testament and seeking communion with the successors of the apostles, those who had received the ministry of the community (
LG III, 20). I was fortunate to accompany them, along with some seminarians, my students when I taught at the Quilmes Seminary in Argentina. The BECs themselves communally interpreted their reality as poor people in the light of the Word of God and sought solutions according to the Gospel. They renewed and strengthened their faith, incarnating it in the reality of their daily lives. Thus the first theological reflections began in their Bible meetings, expressed in their popular religiosity. Some committed theologians who accompanied this process, systematized those novel reflections, condensing into liberation theology what emerged from the clamor and distress of the People of God. The vast majority of the Latin American bishops in those days pledged their solidarity with them through the Preferential Option for the Poor.

Today we're at another stage. Vatican II helped us discover unity in diversity thanks to the warning to be attentive to the signs of the times (GSp).

Just as Vatican II found many concepts and Biblical symbols for the single reality of the Church, so liberation theology is discovering today that its reality includes many specific dimensions that are becoming visible today: feminist theology, indigenous theology, Afro-theology, theology of the Earth, eco-theology, political theology, etc.


For the last 20 years, I personally have been accompanying the native peoples in their theological reflexions from the perspective of their culture and religiosity, discovering in the intercultural dialogue some immense treasures of spirituality and wisdom, unknown in our racist society and our Church of Western culture. Those values, some of which have now been recognized at Aparecida, could be a worthy contribution to the building of a more Latin American Church. At these times of a changing era, the theological reflexions of the indigenous peoples could contribute to a return to more authentically Latin American roots, enriching Western theology with their valuable symbolic-spiritual contribution.

Because of the radical change in the world and the Church that has taken place in the last 50 years, I greatly expect that at this Congress there will be a new reading taken to restore the spirit of Vatican II in which its documents were written and take our inspiration from them for our journey as a poor, pilgrim and missionary Church towards a new era with new vistas and challenges.

MORE INFORMATION:

The Decisive Question

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Web de Jose Antonio Pagola
August 23, 2012

John 6: 60-69

John's gospel has preserved the memory of a strong crisis among Jesus' followers. We barely have the facts. We're only told that his way of speaking was hard for the disciples. The adherence he was demanding of them probably seemed excessive to them. At a given point, "many of his disciples turned back." They were no longer walking with him.

For the first time, Jesus found that his words didn't have the desired strength. However, he didn't withdraw them but further reaffirmed, "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. And yet, some of you don't believe." His words seem harsh but they transmit life, they bring to life since they contain the Spirit of God.

Jesus doesn't lose his calm. The failure doesn't worry him. Addressing the Twelve, he asks them the decisive question, "Do you also want to leave?". He doesn't want to retain them under duress. He leaves them the freedom to choose. His disciples are not to be servants, but friends. They can go home if they want to.

Once again, Peter answers on behalf of all. His response is exemplary. Sincere, humble, sensible, characteristic of a disciple who knows Jesus enough not to abandon him. Yet today, his attitude could help those of wavering faith who are considering dispensing with all faith.

"Master, to whom shall we go?". It doesn't make sense to abandon Jesus any which way, without having found a better and more convincing teacher. If they don't follow Jesus, they'll remain without knowing whom to follow. They don't have to rush. It isn't good to be without a light or guide in life.

Peter is a realist. Is it good to abandon Jesus without having found a more convincing and attractive hope? Is it enough to replace him with a downgraded lifestyle, with hardly any goals or horizon? Is it better to live without questions or proposals or seeking of any kind?

There's something Peter hasn't forgotten: "You have the words of eternal life." He senses that Jesus' words aren't empty or deceptive. With him, they have discovered life differently. His message has opened them to eternal life. What could they substitute for Jesus' Gospel? Where could they find better News of God?

Finally, Peter remembers the basic experience. By living with Jesus, they have discovered that he comes from the mystery of God. From afar, at a distance, from indifference or lack of interest, the mystery enclosed in Jesus can't be recognized. The Twelve have dealt with him up close. That's why they can say, "We believe and we know." They will go on with Jesus.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Congresso Continental de Teologia - Updated Program

Update: The main speeches of the Congresso will be streamed at www.ustream.tv/channel/congresoteologicobrasil

The Fundación Amerindia, along with other Latin American theological organizations, is organizing the Continental Theology Congress to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vatican II and the 40th anniversary of the publication of Gustavo Gutierrez's book,
A Theology of Liberation. The Congress will take place October 7-11, 2012 at the São Leopoldo/RS campus of Unisinos, Av. Unisinos, 950, Bairro Cristo Rei,CEP: 93.022-000, Brazil. The idea is not just to celebrate a memory, but also to propose new perspectives for a theology for our American continent.

The web site for the Congress is online. The URL is: http://www.unisinos.br/eventos/congresso-de-teologia/. While the web site is available in Portuguese, Spanish, and English, the draft program for the Congress is only available in Portuguese at the moment, so we are supplying an English translation below as a public service.

Interested persons may register online here. The conference fee for early registrants prior to 6/30/2012 is R$122 for professionals and R$87 for students. After 7/1/2012, the fee goes up to R$140 for professionals and R$105 for students. The web site also provides suggestions for accommodations and transportation.

The idea and impetus for the Congress came from the Fundación Amerindia, which invited other institutions to collaborate in the preparation and organization of the event. Among them are: Agencia de Informação Frei Tito para a América Latina (Adital, Brasil); Asociación de Teólogos de México (ATEM, México); Confederación Latinoamericana de Religiosos (CLAR, Colombia); Instituto Teológico Pastoral para América Latina (Itepal, Colombia); Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (PUJ, Colombia); Red Teológico-Pastoral (Guatemala); Sociedade de Teologia e Ciências da Religião (Soter, Brasil).

These organizations invited Unisinos to host the Congress through the Instituto Humanitas Unisinos (IHU Brasil).


CONGRESS PROGRAM

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7

14:00
Opening Remarks
Welcome

16:00
Opening Celebration
Witnesses to the Gospel in Latin America and the Caribbean

16:30
Focusing on the Congress
Vatican II and Liberation Theology -- Agenor Brighenti

17:00
Keynote Address
Another Congress and a new Congress -- Jon Sobrino and Geraldina Céspedes

Reception



MONDAY, OCTOBER 8: NEW INTERPELLATIONS AND QUESTIONS


07:00
Mass

08:30
Spiritual Time: Introduction of the Bible

09:00
Opening

09:10
Opening Address
The socio-cultural, economic and political situation of the Continent in the world context -– Pedro Ribeiro de Oliveira and Plínio de Arruda Sampaio

10:10
Discussion

10:30
COFFEE BREAK

11:00
Panel
- The Interpellations of the Regional Theological Conferences -– José Sánchez Sánchez and Socorro Martínez
- Economics and Theology -– Jung Mo Sung

12:00
Discussion

12:30
LUNCH
Display of short films

14:30
Open Panels
1. Modernity and postmodernity (Carlos Mendoza)
2. Media and new technologies (Luis Ignacio Sierra)
3. Spirituality and new spiritualities (Maria Clara Bingemer)
4. Panel on migration, mestizaje, and border crossing (Alejandro Ortiz)
5. Religion and new religiosities (Silvia Regina Alves Fernandes)
6. Film Forum
7. Theology and Liberation Collection (José Oscar Beozzo)
8. Vatican II and Women (Margit Eckholt)


Workshops
1. Economics and Theology (Pablo Richard)
2. Emerging Political Systems and Theology (Manuel Hidalgo / Carlos Abrigo Otey)
3. Social Movements and Theology (Abraham Colque)
4. Culture, Information Society, and Theology (Brenda Carranza)
5. Theology and New Paradigms (Consuelo Vélez)
6. Theology and Popular Reading of the Bible (Gabriel Naranjo Salazar / Cristina Robaina)
7. Salvation: From Sacrifice to Brotherhood (Luis Carlos Susin)
8. Theology and Emerging Subjects (Elsa Tamez)
9. Theology and Ecology (Afonso Murad)
10. Theology and Right Livelihood (Sofia Chipana)
11. New Political Praxis and Theology (Socorro Vivas)
12. Theology and Capitalism (Paulo Suess)
13. Theology and Church Renewal (Dom Demétrio Valentini)
14. How To Do Theology Today? (Diego Irarrázaval)
15. Liberation Theology and Spirituality (Marilu Rojas)
16. Theology and the Option for the Poor (Pedro Trigo)
17. Justice, Human Rights, and Migration (Guillermo Kerber)
18. Theology and Gender (Maricarmen Bracamontes / Markus Bueker)
19. Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue (CEBI)
20. Theology, Culture and Interculturality (Juan Carlos Scannone)
21. CEHILA Panel: Methodology in the Development of Church History in Latin America (Sergio Ricardo Coutinho)

16:30
COFFEE BREAK

17:00
Presentation of scientific papers

18:30
Mass

19:00
DINNER

20:00
Address
Another world is possible and the Latin-American context -- Chico Witaker


TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9 : CHRISTIAN HERMENEUTICS


07:00
Mass

08:30
Spiritual Time: Ecumenism – Mexico/USA/Canada/Southern Cone

9:00
Recollection of the previous day

09:10
Address
The Church on the Continent 50 years after Vatican II: outstanding issues -- Víctor Codina

10:10
Discussion

10:30
BREAK

11:00
Address
Theology and new paradigms -– Andrés Torres Queiruga

12:00
Discussion

12:30
LUNCH
Display of short films

14:30

Workshops
See list of workshops on Monday.

Open Panels
1. Bible and hermeneutics (Carlos Mesters / Francisco Orofino)
2. Indigenous Theology (Eleazar Lopez)
3. Theology and Americans of African Descent (Marcos Rodrigues / Silvia Regina de Sousa Lima)
4. Theology and Gender (Maricel Mena)
5. Theology and Guarani Wisdom (Margot Bremer)
6. Theology and Religions (José María Vigil)
7. Theology and Method (Paul Bonavia)
8. Film Forum
9. Liberation Catequesis (Antonio Cechin)
10. The Hermeneutics of Vatican II (Paul Dabezies)

16:30
BREAK

17:00
Regional Meetings
Perspectives on the post-Congress theological agenda for the region

18:30
Mass

19:00
DINNER

20:00
Address
Latin American Theology: Trajectory and Prospects -– Gustavo Gutiérrez


WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 10: PRAXIS AND MYSTICISM


07:00
Mass

08:30
Spiritual Time: Testimony of the Martyrs -- Central America and the Caribbean


9:00
Recollection of the previous day


09:10
Address
The place and role of theology in exchange processes of the continent in the global context -– Leonardo Boff

10:10
Discussion

10:30
BREAK

11:00
Panel
- Globalization, religious pluralism, and Christian theology -– Peter Phan
- New subjects and interculturality –- Raul Fornet

12:00
Discussion

12:30
LUNCH
Display of short films

14:30

Workshops
See list of workshops on Monday.

Open Panels
1. The market, solidarity economics, and gratuity (Armando Lisboa)
2. The Church, the BCCs and the new society (Teolide Trevisan and José Marins)
3. Another world is possible and the WSF (Chico Whitaker)
4. Theology and Ethics (Márcio Fabri dos Anjos)
5. The "creative reception" of Vatican II at Medellin: outstanding issues (Cecilio de Lora)
6. Intercultural Philosophy and Theology (Raul Fornet)
7. Film Forum

16:30
BREAK

17:00
Life and Work of José Comblin -- Pablo Richard, Luis Carlos Susin, and Eduardo Hoornaert


18:00
Mass


19:00
DINNER

20:00
Address
Latin American theology and European theology: mutual interpellations -- Andrés Torres Queiruga


THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11: PROSPECTS FOR THEOLOGY


07:00
Mass


08:30
Spiritual Time

09:00
Recollection of the previous day

09:10
Address
New challenges and tasks for theology in Latin America and the Caribbean today, from the contributions of the Congress -- João Batista Libãnio

10:10
Discussion

10:30
BREAK

11:00
Panel
- Theology and liberating spirituality -- Marilú Rojas
- Extra pauperes nulla salus -- Carlos Mendoza

12:00
Discussion

12:30
LUNCH
Display of short films

14:30
Summaries and projections of the Congress
(Standing Committee of Synthesis)

15:30
Reading and Delivery of the Final Message
(Young Third Generation theologians)

16:00
A Celebration of Commitment and Hope
(With testimony from agents of Latin American theology, Vatican II and Medellin)

17:00
Closing Ceremony

Corrupt: one whose heart is broken

Leonardo Boff's weekly columns are available in Spanish from Servicios Koinonia and in Portuguese on his blog. Some of his older columns are available in English at LeonardoBoff.com.

by Leonardo Boff (English translation by Rebel Girl)
8/17/2012

The widespread outrage against corruption in Brazil and in the world is giving way to resignation and indifference, because impunity is so widespread that most people don't trust that there's any solution.

Theology has something to say about this fact. It argues that the current human condition is torn and decadent (infralapsarian it's called in theological dialect) as a result of an act of corruption. According to the Bible, the snake corrupted woman, woman corrupted man, and both left us a legacy of corruption upon corruption to the point that God Himself "regretted making human beings on earth" as the text of Genesis (6:6) reminds us. We are sons and daughters of original corruption.

In the Christian sphere, it's alleged that all evil comes from this original corruption, called original sin. But this expression has become strange to modern ears. Few people refer to it.

Still, I dare to rescue it, as it contains an undeniable truth, confirmed by Sartre's philosophical reflection and even the philosophical rigor of Kant, according to whom "humanity is such a twisted timber that nothing straight can be made of it."

It's important to note that it's a term created by theology. It isn't found as such in the Bible. St. Augustine invented it in an epistolary dialogue with St. Jerome. By the term "original sin", he wasn't intending to talk about the past. The "original" had nothing to do with the early origins of human history. St. Augustine meant the present -- the present situation of the human being, at its deepest level, is evil and is marked by a distortion that goes to the origins of his existence (hence, "original"). He does his philology of the word "corrupt" -- it's having a heart (cor) that is broken (ruptus, from rompere).

We are bearers, therefore, of an internal rupture equivalent to a laceration of the heart. In modern words: we are dia-bolic and sym-bolic, sapient and demented,capable of love and hate.

This is the current condition humaine. But out of curiosity, St. Augustine wondered, when did it begin? He himself answers: ever since we have known man, since the "origins" (hence the second meaning of "original"). But he doesn't attach any importance to that question. The important thing is to know that here and now we are corrupt beings, corruptible and corrupting. And that we believe in someone, Christ, who can free us from this situation.

But where is this state of corruption most visibly manifested? The famous Catholic Lord Acton (1843-1902) answers: in the power-bearers. He emphatically states, "My dogma is the general wickedness of men in authority; they are the most corrupt." And he repeatedly stated: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Why power, exactly? Because it is one of the most powerful and tempting archetypes of the human psyche; it gives us the feeling of omnipotence and being a little "god". Hobbes in his Leviathan (1651) confirms this: "I point out, as a general tendency of all human beings, a perpetual and anxious desire for power and more power, that ceaseth only with death. The reason for this lies in the fact that power is only maintained by seeking still more power."

That power is embodied in the money. So the corruption we are witnessing always involves money and more money. There is a saying in Ghana that "the mouth laughs but money laughs more." The corrupt one believes in this illusion.

We have found no cure for this inner wound to date. We can only decrease its bleeding. I think ultimately, the biblical method is worthwhile: unmasking the corrupt one, leaving him naked before his corruption, and plain and simple expulsion from paradise, i.e. taking the corruptor and the corrupted out of society and putting them in jail.