Friday, October 19, 2012

Victor Codina, SJ: The Churches on the Continent 50 Years After Vatican II -- Pending Issues

One of the most interesting presentations at the Congresso Continental de Teologia held at Unisinos in Brazil (October 2012), in my opinion, was given by Victor Codina, SJ. This article (in Spanish) on the Amerindia website by an anonymous author is a loose transcript of Dr. Codina's main points. Here is the English translation. -- RG

Today, Victor Codina started out by saying that the reception of Vatican II is an ecclesiological issue that was rediscovered and reassessed in the 1970s, especially by Aloys Grillmeier and Yves Congar.

After joking that "reception" is a term that conjures up visions of gracious hostesses, Codina emphasized that it was a theological expression meaning how the councils of the universal Church are received in the local churches and that this presupposes a theology of communion of local churches, a theology of tradition and a true pneumatology.

Reception disappears when this vision of a Church of communion is replaced by a hierarchical and pyramidic concept of the Church where everything is determined from the top, the people remain passive, and the Spirit is only mentioned as the guarantor of the infallibility of the hierarchy of the Church.

In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, the reception of Vatican II hasn't been merely a vital assimilation, much less a simple application of Vatican II to Latin America but much more -- it has been an original re-creation, a creative fidelity, a rereading of the Council from a continent both Christian and marked by poverty and injustice.

Many are the elements that the continent has assimilated from the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, but I think the most significant are the emergence of the base Christian communities, a return to early ecclesiology, a new way of being Church, an ecclesiogenesis, to use Leonardo Boff's expression, that has made real the ideal of the Church of the poor that John XXIII had set as a goal of the Council and that Lumen Gentium didn't manage to pick up on, outside of a small allusion in LG 8.

The Bible has been given to the people. The Word given to the people has been enriched through the methodology of "see, judge, and act", with the reading of the biblical text from the pre-text of life, in the context of church faith, as Carlos Mesters' biblical team has promoted with great success.

The reception of Vatican II by the Churches of Latin America and the Caribbean has been creative, innovative, not a mere application of general principles to specific practice but a real rereading of the council from a continent both poor and Christian, conciliar hermeneutics from a new theological place, from the poor.

The Council has not only been historicized, but the ecclesiological part of the Council has been christologized because in the suffering of the poor and crucified people of Latin America, the image of the Servant of Yahweh -- the image of the Crucified One -- has been discovered, and this has been a real spiritual experience.

From that spiritual experience would emerge Latin American liberating theological reflection -- liberation theology -- a theology that can not be understood or interpreted right except from this spiritual experience of Christ in the poor.

Latin American theology has also opened itself to these new issues and newly emerging subjects. Indigenous and African American, ecological, feminist theologies have been born, that of intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, etc...To socio-analytical mediation have now been added anthropological, sexual and gender, racial, cultural, religious and ecological mediation. Something is evolving in the reception of Vatican II itself.

Some pending issues

An Latin American pneumatology from below that could help us understand the creative reception of Vatican II by Latin America and the Caribbean is a pneumatological subject. The attitude of the pastors at Medellin of hearing the cry of the poor, the emergence of BCCs, religious life embedded among the poor, the spiritual experience of the Lord in the faces of the poor that underlies liberation theology, are not ideological proposals. They are the gifts and fruits of the Spirit of the Lord that surpass all logical calculus and baffle those who look on them from afar and from above, because the Spirit is always unexpected and novel. We don't know where it comes from or where it's going.

The reception of Vatican II in Latin America and the Caribbean will not be complete until we retrieve from below the living out and theology of the Spirit, Lord and giver of life, who spoke through the prophets, the same spirit that moved John XXIII to convene the Council that became Vatican II in a Pentecostal event, the one that made the creative reception at Medellin a new Pentecost. And all from the poor, from below, so that our peoples might have life in abundance and that Church of the poor might really arise, the one dreamed of by that man sent from God, named John...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

None of that

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
October 14, 2012

Mark 10:35-45

As they are going up to Jerusalem, Jesus is announcing to his disciples the sorrowful destiny that awaits him in the capital. The disciples don't understand him. They go along fighting among themselves over the top positions. James and John, disciples from the start, approach him to ask him directly if they might one day sit "one at your right and the other at your left."

Jesus looks discouraged. "You do not know what you are asking." No one in the group seems to understand that following him closely, collaborating on his project, will always be a path not to power and grandeur, but to sacrifice and the cross.

Meanwhile, upon learning of James and John's boldness, the other ten are indignant. The group is more agitated than ever. Ambition is dividing them. Jesus gathers them all to make his thoughts clear.

First of all, he sets out what happened in the towns of the Roman empire. They all know the abuses of Antipas and the Herodian families in Galilee. Jesus sums it up thus: Those who are recognized as rulers use their power to "tyrannize" the people, and the powerful do nothing except "oppress" their subjects. Jesus cannot be more blunt: "It shall not be so among you."

He doesn't want to see anything like that among his own. "Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all." In his community there will be no room for power that oppresses, only for service that helps. Jesus doesn't want chiefs seated at his right and left, but servants like himself, who give their lives for others.

Jesus makes it clear. His Church isn't built from the imposition of those above but from the service of those who are below. There's no room in it for any hierarchy in terms of honor or domination. Nor for methods of force and power strategies either. It's service that builds the Christian community.

Jesus gives so much importance to what he is saying that he offers himself as an example since he hasn't come into the world to demand to be served but "to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." Jesus doesn't teach anyone to triumph in the Church but to serve the plan of the Kingdom of God by pouring out our lives for the weakest and neediest.

Jesus' teaching isn't just for the leaders. In different tasks and responsibilities, we all have to commit ourselves to live with more devotion at the service of his plan. We don't need imitators of James and John in the Church but faithful followers of Jesus. Those who want to be important, let them get to work and collaborate.

Liberation theology as critical reflection on practice in the light of faith, according to Gustavo Gutiérrez

By Thamiris Magalhães (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Unisinos (in Portuguese)

Last night at the Continental Congress of Theology, a teleconference by Dr. Gustavo Gutiérrez titled "Latin American Theology: Trajectory and Prospects" took place. From his office at the University of Notre Dame in the United States, the founder of liberation theology spoke for just over an hour to the audience at the Unisinos amphitheater, packed with more than 700 people, about the course and prospects of that theology, which is celebrating 40 years of existence.

Gustavo Gutiérrez began the teleconference by saying there isn't just one Latin American theology. "People of African descent from a church in the U.S. wanted to say 'we exist'. This is also happening among us. The 1960s were very effervescent for peoples of African descent, Amazonian people, women. They were small movements, but the historical fact of the emancipation of the poor continues today," he observed.

"This fact made it clear that poverty and social insignificance is not a disgrace," he continued, stating that poverty is an injustice. "It isn't a fate, it's a condition. It's the result of human hands, which can also end this anti-human and anti-gospel situation, to use the words of Puebla." For Gutiérrez, no one is insignificant to God, but some are to our society.

"People may be insignificant for socioeconomic reasons, but also for racial, social, religious ones, etc. The concept of the poor was a new presence that continues and comes in waves. These waves arrive with their poverty on their backs. Poverty reveals the depth of injustice. This new presence of the insignificant ones, of the poor, led us to see deeper elements in the lives of these people and realize that they aren't just social subjects, but human beings who have a right to happiness," he explained. For him, there is an important point in Aparecida that says we should not leave this suffering aside.

Hidden poverty

"We know that there are many kinds of hidden poverty", said Dr. Gutiérrez. And he continued: "We're ashamed to talk about certain domestic embarrassments, among others." According to the author of The God of Life, "from the Latin American point of view, Medellín was the first and in a certain sense the only continental reception of Vatican II."

John XXIII's famous phrase "the church of the poor", according to Gutierrez, was not well understood at the beginning, "but later the issue was taken up again as follows: the problem of poverty in the world and the gospel for the poor should be the theme of the Council and not a theme."

Vatican II

Speaking of the issue of poverty -- also according to Gustavo Gutierrez -- and the evangelization of the poor, brings us to the role of the church. "The theme of the church of the poor wasn't raised at Vatican II, but it marked the conciliar event, the church of the poor as sign and sacrament at the Council of the unity of human beings."

Another issue that Gustavo Gutiérrez recalled, from the Latin American point of view, was Scripture. "The Council speaks of Scripture as the soul of theology." According to him, "Vatican II did a remarkable job, but it didn't talk about everything."

The Second Vatican Council opened many doors but at the same time that opening means it's necessary to go through those doors, go straight through them. "The reality of the Vatican said that. Both reasons -- the reality of Latin America, poverty, injustice, suffering, and the the open doors of the Council -- led to experiments and motivation," Gustavo Gutiérrez recalled, on being asked "what language is needed for those who are not regarded as human beings, as people, who are children of God? These questions are beyond our ability to answer, but we can't avoid them. It's a question that's still valid today."


"Spirituality, living the faith -- it's a lifestyle. It's a way of being human and Christian. With spirituality, I'm on the practice field," he said. And he added, "Poverty and social insignificance are real challenges to the faith experience. It was very hard to make many people understand that in the church, those who see poverty positioned as social extermination, when it's actually a global human issue, when in fact poverty is physical, and in some ways cultural, death."

For Gustavo Gutiérrez, when we despise a culture, in some way we despise those who belong to it. "As Christians, we are called to be witnesses to the resurrection, ie, the victory over death. Creation is a gift of life. And theology has been collective and ecumenical from the beginning."

"I would like to remind you that this theology has tried to define itself as critical reflection on practice in the light of faith. Critical reflection means that we are aware of the need for rigor in thought and reflection. With humility, but with conviction, the best answer we are able to give to tell people that God loves them, even in the situation in which they live, is in solidarity with the poor and rejection of oppression." He went on: "Liberation theology, which is what we call the preferential option for the poor, is important for remembering that the Church belongs to everyone, but especially the poor."


Gustavo Gutiérrez believes that today, not only in Latin America, Christians around the world are confronted with great challenges and inside each one, many others. "There is no challenge that doesn't give us us a new hermeneutical field so that we can understand faith and nurture its experience." He continues: "I believe that poverty is a challenge to the faith experience, because it leads us to rethink the Christian message and put it on new -- different -- bases."

Gutiérrez also believes that there's a criterion for knowing whether or not we're close to God, "and this criterion is whether we're close to the poor." According to him, we should know which God we're talking about. "How do you tell the poor that God loves them?," he asks. Ane he adds: "We must understand which God we need to talk about."

Religious Pluralism

"I believe that pluralism is essential. The plurality of religions poses big challenges and I believe it also offers a goldmine of challenges that lead us to think about the Christian message in numerous ways."

For Gustavo Gutiérrez, theology is and should always be a hermeneutic when we speak of the reasons for our hope. "Perhaps these efforts of ours may seem utopian to us. The future comes from conviction through suffering and that is what drives us to go on having hope."

Finally, Gutiérrez ends the teleconference with the following sentence: "Young theologians should be close to society, to the people, vigorously studying and taking the challenge seriously."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

With Jesus in the midst of the crisis

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
October 8, 2012

Mark 10:17-30

Before he sets out on the journey, a stranger approaches Jesus, running. Apparently he's in a hurry to solve his problem. "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" The problems of this life don't concern him. He's rich. He has everything solved.

Jesus confronts him with the law of Moses. Oddly, he doesn't remind him of the ten commandments, but just those that prohibit acting against one's neighbor. The young man is a good man, a faithful observer of the Jewish religion. "All of these I have observed from my youth."

Jesus looks at him fondly. The life of a person who has not harmed anyone is admirable. Now Jesus wants to draw him to collaborate with him on his plan to make the world more humane, and he makes a surprising proposal: "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, give the money to the poor...and then follow me."

The rich man owns many things, but he lacks the one thing that would allow him to truly follow Jesus. He's good, but he's attached to his money. Jesus asks him to renounce his wealth and put it at the service of the poor. Only by sharing what is his with the needy will he be able to follow Jesus and collaborate on his plan.

The young man feels incapable of doing so. He needs to be well off. He isn't strong enough to live without his wealth. His money is above everything. He renounces following Jesus. He had come running enthusiastically towards him. Now he goes away sadly. He will never know the joy of working with Jesus.

The economic crisis is inviting those of us who are followers of Jesus to take steps towards a more sober lifestyle, to share with the needy what we have and simply don't need to live with dignity. We have to ask ourselves very specific questions if we want to follow Jesus in these times.

The first is to review our relationship with money: What should we do with our money? Save it for what? Invest in what? With whom do we share what we don't need? Then review our consumption to make it more responsible and less compulsive and superfluous: What do we buy? Where do we shop? Why do we buy? Who can we help to buy what they need?

They're questions that we have to ask in the depths of our conscience and also in our families, Christian communities, and Church institutions. We won't make heroic gestures, but if we take small steps in that direction, we will know the joy of following Jesus by contributing to making the crisis a little more humane and bearable for some. If not, we will be good Christians, but our religion will lack joy.

Liberation theology and ecological concerns: Leonardo Boff and the call of Mother Earth

By Graziela Wolfart (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Unisinos (in Portuguese)
October 11, 2012

Someone passionate about the Earth. But more than that. About Mother Earth. Someone who has the humility to recognize the grandeur and divinity of God manifested in every element of nature. And that's how he lives and does theology. He is Leonardo Boff, a renowned Brazilian theologian, who graced the stage of the Padre Werner Amphitheater at Unisinos during the first lecture yesterday morning, October 10th, on the fourth day of the Continental Congress of Theology.

He opened his speech by clarifying that he would talk about the relationship between liberation theology and ecological concerns. After all, he explained, "as Christian theologians, we can't forget our responsibility in face of the threats to the Earth."

Then he presented some of his biographical features so that the audience would understand how he got to the subject of ecology in relation to liberation theology, given that he has worked on this relationship for about 10 years. "I received a letter from the Pope in which he asked me to be more serious. But I said, I'm studying in Germany; I am serious. [laughter] And he also asked me to address the real issues of theology. I realized that the big subject for reflection would be thinking about the earth, the condemned sons and daughters of the earth, and to see how we could ensure the future of our civilization, because we could annihilate ourselves completely. A theology that doesn't address these issues isn't serious," he specified.

Then Leonardo Boff recalled that liberation theology was born listening to the cry of the poor, water, animals, and the earth. "We need to express these cries. The greatest poor person is planet Earth, Pachamama, which is devastated and oppressed, and should be included in liberation theology. As Sobrino has rightly said, the earth is being crucified."

Then Boff pointed out that there are other interlocutors of theology that aren't just the classic ones like philosophy, anthropology, and sociology. There is other knowledge that comes from the sciences of life, of the universe, such as cosmology, astrophysics, and quantum physics. For 13 years, Boff worked with a Canadian cosmologist named Mark Hathaway, with whom he wrote the book The Tao of Liberation (Orbis Books, 2009), to think about liberation theology from the relationship with nanotechnology, with quantum physics -- a difficult path, but worth the effort, according to Boff, trying to incorporate Oriental values.

Accordingly, the theologian emphasized his involvement in a popular education project, headed by Fritjof Capra, of ecological literacy, to make the most illiterate in our society today, business entrepreneurs, "literate".

Leonardo explained how the Earth Charter was developed and that the first sentence of this document, which he considers the most important one with regard to the beginning of the 20th century, is the following: "We stand at a critical moment in history when humanity must choose: either form a global partnership to care for Earth and one another or accept the disappearance of the human race and the destruction of the diversity of life." This sentence was considered high impact and ended up being sent to the three major world institutions, which confirmed that it should be said. "The earth is tired; it can't bear any more," he reiterated.

Then Boff argued that capitalism has already fulfilled its historical mission and is no longer able to survive. "It then had to use violence to impose itself, because it doesn't have any more arguments to persuade people of its necessity."

In the theologian's view, "if we would respect the dynamic of nature and know the laws of the ecosystems, we could go on using their "bounty" calmly, going towards the future."

"We are in the midst of a great process of evolution and life is a moment in the evolutionary process," Boff stated, quoting Prigogine. According to the theologian, evolution is an attempt to put order into the chaos in which we live.

Leonardo advocates belief in a theology of creation. "God is continually creating, always present in His creation. God is in everything and everything is in God - it's what we call panentheism, which is different from pantheism. We need to think again of creation as something dynamic, and rethink Christology from the resurrection. The cosmic Christ is present in all reality. And the Holy Spirit, through its missionary work in the world, is also within creation," he explains.

After drawing a picture of the devastating chaos the planet is experiencing today, with humans as its main "meteor", Leonardo Boff presents two attitudes towards this situation: "We may consider it a great predictable tragedy, or we may identify that we are facing a great crisis of civilization and have to change. Either we change or we die. So we have to change because we don't want to die. We are in a major crisis; we are coming to the heart of it. We can learn through pain or through love. And we need to learn both ways."

Then he argued that it's necessary to recover cordial reason, emotional intelligence and sensitive reason. "We are victims of instrumental analytical rationality, which created modernity. It's necessary to recognize that along with all of evolution, we have created a death machine that can destroy us." In this context, Boff mentioned nuclear weapons and global warming as the two greatest threats to life on the planet.

And he ended his speech this way: "I don't want us to leave here calmly; I want to produce anxiety because it makes us work and puts us in motion. We are the land, the sons and daughters of the earth. If we don't regain sensitive reason to complement the other, we won't mobilize. The greatest crime of humanity today is the lack of sensitivity. We aren't feeling anymore, we don't get outraged. The origin of religion is the feeling of the world and not the world's rationality. That's what science is for. By embracing the world, we are embracing God."


One of the first questions answered by Leonardo Boff was about the indigenous peoples and their vision of "good life", starting from the search for balance among all human beings. "This is a necessary utopia. We have to unite and form a global governance. Even if we're all socialists -- not by ideology, but by statistics -- in the end we are flying blind." And he remembered one of the most important moments of his life when, at the UN, along with Evo Morales, they voted for Earth Day (April 22) to be changed to Mother Earth Day.

Then he used the plenary to address the subject of young people who, for him, are the greatest victims of the system today. "They are stealing from them the capacity for fantasy, dreams, utopias, offering everything right away through the internet, through games, movies and the whole capitalist machinery that turns us into mere repeaters, alienated and depoliticized consumers. The challenge is to get them re-enchanted with the world. I don't believe in evangelization primarily through words, but through art, music, dance, which are young people's speech," Boff responded.

Translator's note: The full texts of the speeches at this congress will be available later as a book. When this happens, we will let you know how you can get a copy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Against male power

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
October 2, 2012

Mark 10:1-12

The Pharisees posed a question to Jesus to test him. This time it isn't a minor issue, but a fact that makes the women of Galilee suffer greatly and is a source of lively discussions among the followers of various rabbinical schools: "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?".

It's not about modern divorce as we know it today, but the problem Jewish women experienced in marriage, controlled by men. According to the law of Moses, the husband could break the matrimonial contract and expel his wife from the home. The woman, on the other hand, subject to the man in everything, couldn't do the same.

Jesus' answer surprises everyone. He doesn't get into the rabbis' discussion. He invites us to discover God's original plan, which is above laws and regulations. Specifically, this "chauvinist" law was imposed on the Jewish people because of the "hardness of heart" of the men who controlled the women and subjected them to their will.

Jesus delves deeper into the original mystery of the human being. God "created them, male and female". The two have been created equally. God hasn't created man with power over woman. He hasn't created woman to be subjected to man. Among men and women there should not be domination by anybody.

From this original structure of the human being, Jesus offers a view of matrimony that goes beyond all that was established because of men's "hardness of heart." Women and men will unite to "become one flesh" and begin a shared life in mutual self-giving without imposition or submission. It's God himself who draws them to live together in a free and gratuitous love. Jesus concludes flatly: "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder."

With this position, Jesus is destroying from the roots the basis of patriarchy in all its forms of control, submission and imposition of man over woman. Not only in matrimony but in any civil or religious institution.

We have to listen to Jesus' message. It isn't possible to make way for the Kingdom of God and His justice without struggling actively against patriarchy. When will we react in the Church with evangelical fervor against so much abuse, violence and aggression of men against women? When will we defend women against men's "hardness of heart"?

Close to God...Close to the Poor: Final message of the Latin American Continental Congress of Theology

This is the final message of the Congresso Continental de Teologia, held October 7-11, 2012 at UNISINOS in São Leopoldo, Brazil. It is available in Spanish on the Amerindia website.

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

First of all, we want to communicate that we have emerged strengthened in our hope, a hope that drives us to put our lives at the service of the Kingdom of God. We have prayed, evoking the church's journey from the beginning of Vatican II and the 40th anniversary of liberation theology. We have reflected creatively in panels and workshops on important aspects of the people of God that challenge our theological and pastoral task.

Leonardo Boff offers some serious reflections on the state of the planet

We have noted and embraced our historical, geographical, cultural, social, and ecclesial procedural differences and diversity. We have been enriched by them, especially as we celebrated the memory and witness of martyrs who in recent decades have shown extraordinary loyalty to the God of life in the midst of our people, especially among the impoverished.

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 reaffirmed our conviction that the path we took at Medellin must continue to be our path at this time. We have also become aware of the demands posed by the new cultural, social, political, economic, ecological, religious and ecclesial context, now globalized, plundering and exclusionary.

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

Aware that "the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel" (GS 4), we wanted to spend some time on the signs and do a collective building process that expressed our thinking, feeling, and acting. That process demanded an effort to listen attentively to the different testimonies and experiences, beliefs and views, in a sharing that calls us out of our different contexts today and leads us to stand up for a present that has a future.

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

We trust that this conference marks the beginning of a new stage. That is why it was organized. Something new is springing up and we are more and more aware of it. (Is. 43:19). We want the future to be marked by fidelity, fecundity, creativity, and joy. In it, our theological work must take on the new challenges in full harmony with the Word of God, under the action of the Holy Spirit and in deep communion with the poor who, for us, are the favored ones of Jesus. It must be so because "everything having to do with Christ has to do with the poor, and everything connected to the poor cries out to Jesus Christ" (DA 393).

Passing the light to the next theological generation

During the congress we looked forward and looked far into the future. It has left us with dreams and with the desire to make them real. One of the most important ones is to encourage young theologians to embrace the heritage of the theologians of the first generation of liberation theology. This heritage was transmitted by Gustavo Gutiérrez when he emotionally reminded the young theologians to be rigorous and deep in their theological work, close to the communities embedded in the world and to give their lives for the poor. With the phrase "close to God, close to the poor", he evoked for all the participants the best of Latin American theology. With it, we gather the best of this congress.

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