A story of rehabilitation

GustavoOnce upon a time there was a man hopelessly addicted to drugs who was making a mess not just of his own life, but of the lives of countless others as well; first and foremost, his family and friends.

Those who loved the poor man were at wits’ end; distraught by his destructive behavior, his dishonesty and his near total lack of concern for others; to the point where he simply couldn’t be allowed to stay in the family home any longer.

To make matters worse, this man was teacher.

Initially, school administrators tried to help him overcome his addiction, but over the years as his grip on reality began spiraling further and further out of control it became necessary to remove him from his position lest he mislead the impressionable minds in his charge.

It was time, in other words, for rehab.

Fast forward to today.

With the process of rehabilitation complete, all things are new again!

The man once barred from his home has been welcomed back into the warmth of the fold where his family members now look up to him for guidance on how best to get wasted, often joining him in abusing various mind altering substances, telling lies and stealing from others.

Not to be outdone, the school board hired him to travel the lecture circuit to counsel teachers and students all over the district on the subtleties of licentiousness and debauchery.

And they all lived miserably ever after.

The End                                                                     

The only thing more ridiculous than this make-believe tale is the real life story of what passes for the “rehabilitation” of wayward theologians in the Catholic Church since the advent of the Council; the biggest difference being, the latter puts in jeopardy the eternal lives of all concerned.

In the case of Vatican II, those addicted to modernistic thought include the likes of Henri de Lubac, Karl Rahner, John Courtney Murray and Teilhard de Chardin, who sadly, never got a parade since his rehabilitation was posthumous.

Now we can add to the list one Gustavo Gutiérrez, the father of “Liberation Theology.”

In July of 2012, shortly after Fr. Gutiérrez’s former student and friend Archbishop Gerhard Mueller was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I wrote a column outlining the tension that existed between both of these men and the theology of then Holy Father Benedict XVI.

Well, today we have a new Holy Father; one who has made earthly concerns, most especially the temporal plight of the materially impoverished, the centerpiece of his papacy.

In September, as a meeting was about to take place between Fr. Gutiérrez and Pope Francis, I wrote:

It’s pure speculation on my part, of course, but what I do expect to result from this meeting is some kind of statement about how Fr. Gutiérrez and Pope Francis share a common concern for the poor, along with accolades for “all that Fr. Gutiérrez has done in service to poorest among us,” or something to that effect, which the good Father and other Liberation Theologians will then treat as a green light for promoting, with renewed vigor, their twisted ideas. I hope I’m wrong. We’ll know soon enough.

Well, my hopes have been dashed yet again.

On February 25th, now Cardinal Mueller hosted an event in Rome to present his book “Poor for poor: The mission of the Church,” which is a collection of his writings on Liberation Theology as learnt at the knee of Fr. Gutiérrez.

Not only was Cardinal Mueller’s mentor present that day; he was honored.

As reported by Catholic News Agency:

Called on the stage for a short speech during the presentation of the book, Fr. Gutierrez, departing from the original ideas from his book “A Theology of Liberation,” stressed that “the idea of service comes directly from the Second Vatican Council.” Christians, he said, are called “to serve and to search for the image of Christ in every man and go toward the ends of the earth and peripheries, as Pope Francis invites us to do.”

One may reasonably wonder exactly how Fr. Gutierrez’s comments represent a departure from his “original ideas,” and I will tell you. As anyone interested enough to read “Notes for a Theology of Liberation” by Fr. Gutierrez can discover for themselves, they really don’t “depart” in any way whatsoever.

That little qualifier was added, likely by a clever editor, to give readers the impression that the liberation theologians themselves have been rehabilitated by a change in position, when in point of fact, the only thing that has actually taken place is that his collaborators have arisen to power.

This, by the way, should give readers a pretty good idea as to why CNA no longer finds my writing suitable for publication; I’m simply not willing to alternately twist or ignore reality for the sake of making the hierarchy look good while entire generations are left to perish.

In any event, according to CNA, “Cardinal Mueller explained that although Marxist ideology had sought to influence Liberation Theology, the two have ultimately been shown incompatible.”

That’s just lovely, but if we look to the 1983 letter that Cardinal Ratzinger sent to the bishops of Peru requesting an investigation of Fr. Gutiérrez’s work we find outlined therein the following areas of concern relative to the doctrinal deficiencies of Liberation Theology: (i)

– A Marxist view of history

– A selective reading of the Bible that overemphasizes the poor

– Treating the Holy Spirit as a source of revelation separate from the Church’s -Tradition and teaching office

– A class-ridden theology

– An emphasis on building the kingdom through class struggle; a process which also involves changing the structures of the Church

– Making the Church into a partisan group, an idea which puts in jeopardy the hierarchy and its legitimacy

– A neglect of the beatitudes

– A Marxist perversion of the Gospel

Let’s, just for the sake of being naïve, strike from this list all direct reference to Marxism. That leaves only half-a-dozen reasons to be deeply troubled by Liberation Theology!

And so it goes, my friends, in these dark days wherein the “rehabilitation” of wayward theologians is nothing more than a matter of equally wayward men infiltrating the halls of ecclesial power.

_________________________

i. John Allen, Jr., Pope Benedict XVI: A Biography of Joseph Ratzinger (Continuum Int’l. Publishing, 2008), pg. 153.

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