In a controversial interview, Pope Francis has publicly defended Liberation Theology, calling it a “positive thing” in Latin America.
In his lengthy interview last week with the leftist Spanish daily El País, the Pope said that “Liberation Theology was a good thing for Latin America,” but also recognized that it had “deviations” that needed to be corrected.
The part of Liberation Theology that “opted for a Marxist analysis of reality was condemned by the Vatican,” Francis said.
“Cardinal Ratzinger issued two instructions when he was Prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith,” he continued. “One very clear one about the Marxist analysis of reality, and the second picked up positive aspects.”
“Liberation Theology had positive aspects and also had deviations, especially in the part of the Marxist analysis of reality,” he said. The two Vatican documents cited by the pontiff were Libertatis Nuntius, issued in 1984, and Libertatis Conscientia, released just two years later, in 1986.
Pope Francis, the Jesuits and liberation theology:
Libertatis Nuntius addressed “developments of that current of thought which, under the name ‘theology of liberation,’ proposes a novel interpretation of both the content of faith and of Christian existence which seriously departs from the faith of the Church and, in fact, actually constitutes a practical negation.”
“Concepts uncritically borrowed from Marxist ideology and recourse to theses of a biblical hermeneutic marked by rationalism are at the basis of the new interpretation which is corrupting whatever was authentic in the generous initial commitment on behalf of the poor,” the instruction continues.
The document also noted that in “certain parts of Latin America,” the recognition of injustice “is accompanied by a pathos which borrows its language from Marxism, wrongly presented as though it were scientific language.”
The letter also said that certain Christians, despairing of every other method, turned to a Marxist analysis, “especially in Latin America.”
The 1986 text was issued as a complement to the first one, and sought to “highlight the main elements of the Christian doctrine on freedom and liberation” as a corrective to the errors of Liberation Theology brought out by the prior instruction.
In a striking revelation in 2015, the highest ranking Cold War defector asserted that the KGB had created Liberation Theology, exporting it to Latin America as a means of introducing Marxism into the continent.
Ion Mihai Pacepa, a 3-star general and former head of Communist Romania’s secret police who defected to the United States in 1978, has been called “the Cold War’s most important defector.” During the more than ten years that Pacepa worked with the CIA, he made what the agency described as “an important and unique contribution to the United States.”
He is reported in fact to have given the CIA “the best intelligence ever obtained on communist intelligence networks and internal security services.”
“Liberation theology has been generally understood to be a marriage of Marxism and Christianity. What has not been understood is that it was not the product of Christians who pursued Communism, but of Communists who pursued Christians,” Pacepa said.