Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 20 January |
Saint of the Day: St. Sebastian
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Bergoglio, A Revolutionary In His Own Way

DR

Sandro Magister - published on 05/15/13

Francis is not a liberation theologian

In an ongoing honeymoon with public opinion, Pope Francis has also gained the praise of the most revolutionary of the Franciscan theologians, the Brazilian
Leonardo Boff: "Francis will teach a lesson to the Church. We are coming out of a bitter and gloomy winter. With him comes the spring.”

Boff set aside his religious habit some time ago, got married, and replaced his love for Marx with an environmentalist’s fondness for mother earth and brother sun. But he is still the most famous and most frequently cited of the
liberation theologians.

When, just three days after his election as pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio called for “a Church that is poor and for the poor,” his admission among the ranks of the revolutionaries seemed like a done deal.

In reality, there is a chasm between the vision of the Latin American liberation theologians and the vision of this Argentine pope.

Bergoglio is not a prolific author of books, but what he has left in writing is more than enough in order to understand what he has in mind with his insistent mingling with the "people."

He knows liberation theology well, he saw it emerge and spread among his Jesuit confrères as well, but he always registered his disagreement with it, even at the cost of finding himself isolated.

His theologians of reference were not Boff, nor Gutierrez, nor Sobrino, but the Argentine Juan Carlos Scannone, he too at Jesuit disliked by most, who had been his professor of Greek and had elaborated a theology not of liberation, but “of the people,” founded on the culture and religious devotion of the common people, of the poor in the first place, with their traditional spirituality and their sense of justice.

Today Scannone, 81, is seen as the greatest living Argentine theologian, while on what remains of liberation theology Bergoglio closed the conversation as follows: "After the collapse of ‘real socialism,’ these currents of thought were plunged into confusion. Incapable of either radical reformulation or new creativity, they survived by inertia, even if there are still some today who, anachronistically, would like to propose it again."

Bergoglio threaded this dismissive judgment on liberation theology into one of his most revealing writings: the preface to a book on the future of Latin America written by his closest friend in the Vatican curia, the Uruguayan Guzmán Carriquiry Lecour, secretary general of the pontifical commission for Latin America, married with children and grandchildren, the highest ranking layman in the curia.

In Bergoglio’s judgment, the Latin American continent has already won a “middle-class” spot in the world order, and is destined to have an even greater influence in future scenarios, but is being undermined in that which is most his own, the faith and “Catholic wisdom” of its people.

He sees the most terrible threat in what he calls “adolescent progressivism,” an enthusiasm for progress that in reality backfires – he says – against peoples and nations, against their Catholic identity, “in close relationship with a conception of the state that is to a large extent a militant secularism.”

Last Sunday he broke a lance for the legal protection of the embryo in Europe. In Buenos Aires his tenacious opposition against the laws for free abortion and “gay” marriage is not forgotten. In the spread of similar laws all over the world, he sees the offensive of “an imperialist conception of globalization,” which “constitutes the most dangerous totalitarianism of postmodernity.”

It is an offensive that, for Bergoglio, bears the mark of the Antichrist, as in a novel that he loves to cite:
Lord of the World by Robert H. Benson, an Anglican priest, son of an Archbishop of Canterbury, who converted to Catholicism a century ago.

In his homilies as pope, the very frequent references to the devil are not a rhetorical device. For Pope Francis, the devil is more real than ever, he is “the prince of this world” whom Jesus defeated forever but who is still free to do evil.

In a homily a few days ago, he warned: “Dialogue is necessary among us, for peace. But with the prince of this world one cannot dialogue. Ever.”

Originally published by Chiesa on May 16th, 2013.

Tags:
CatholicismPope Francis
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
DAD, HOW DO I?
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on YouTube for kids with...
2
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
3
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
Reasons Catholics should read the Bible
4
SAINT RITA CASCIA
Bret Thoman, OFS
Traces of miracles remain at the birthplace of St. Rita of Cascia
5
MARTIN LUTHER KING
Jorge Graña
Did you know Martin Luther King appreciated the Rosary?
6
POPE JOHN PAUL II
Philip Kosloski
St. John Paul II's formula for defeating evil in the world
7
couple
Anna Gębalska-Berekets
Couple praises Padre Pio's recipe for a happy marriage
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.