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A critical assessment of Gustavo Gutierrez' praxis theology

A critical assessment of Gustavo Gutierrez' praxis theology

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Analyses the development of liberation theology in Central and South America from 1968-1972. Examines how the moments of 1968 were transformed into a theological movement through the development of a distinctive theological method of praxis theology.
Examines the criticisms of the theory by Joseph Ratzinger in the 1980s and the impact this had on redefining the objectives of the movement.
Analyses the development of liberation theology in Central and South America from 1968-1972. Examines how the moments of 1968 were transformed into a theological movement through the development of a distinctive theological method of praxis theology.
Examines the criticisms of the theory by Joseph Ratzinger in the 1980s and the impact this had on redefining the objectives of the movement.

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Sep 01, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/27/2013

 
Eimhin J. Walsh
Student No: 05390168
Senior Sophister
Dr. John Scally “Between Prayer and Politics” 
Gustavo Gutierrez’ method of faithordained to praxis: a critical reflection on its significance
1
 
All theology is local. When we string these theologiestogether we find ourselves with a web of different theologiesrepresenting the experiences of different peoples. Theologywithout context is often inexplicable. This is a fundamentalsupposition of Liberation theology, which in theory deals withall oppressive situations,
1
but has its generative source inthe theological reflections on social experiences in LatinAmerica. The outcomes of the meeting of the Latin Americanbishops, known as CELAM II in 1968, were practicaldenunciations of the social situation in Latin America. Theygained theological articulation through the writings of Gustavo Gutierrez from 1971 onwards. The first section of this essay will examine the context of Liberation Theology togain an understanding of Gutierrez’ contribution to themovement. The second section will analyse Gutierrez’distinctive theological method offering a critique anddefence of his eschatology and application of the socialsciences. In concluding it will argue that the work oGutierrez as an intellectual and social activist show the valueof the praxis model of theology.
1
Alister E. McGrath,
Christian Theology 
(Oxford, 2001) p. 115.
2
 
  The context and subsequent development of Liberation Theology can be explained in terms of three moments:
i)
 The meeting of the Jesuit principles in May 1968
ii)
 The meeting of the Latin American bishops’conference, CELAM II, in August 1968.
iii)
 The publication of Gustavo Gutierrez’ ‘Towards a Theology of Liberation’ in July 1968.
2
David Tombs views the meeting of the Jesuit provincials withPedro Arrupe in May 1968 as a defining moment in theprogress towards defining a theological movement. It wasdue to some Latin American Jesuits, like Jon Sobrino,
3
thatsocial justice was to become the theme of the Jesuit GeneralCongregation. The activity of CIAS (Centro de Investigacion yde Accion Social), accompanied by strong support of theGeneral, moved the Jesuits towards articulating “the primaryimportance of the problem of social justice.”
4
The Jesuits hadinstigated an institutional change within their organisationwhich entailed moving from private theory to public praxis. This gained a great amount of support and approval from thewider Latin American Church, and it planted ideas in their
2
These three moments were articulated by David Tombs in an unpublished paperpresented to the conference ‘Liberation Theology: Moment or Movement’ at theMilltown Institute of Theology, 3
rd
October 2008.
3
Although born in Spain his ministry was concentrated in Latin America.
4
Pedro Arupe, Address to Jesuit Congregation
 
(1968).
3

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