VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis wished a happy 90th birthday to the “father of liberation theology” and thanked him for his contributions to the Catholic Church and his love for the poor.
As Dominican Father Gustavo Gutierrez prepared to celebrate his birthday June 8, Pope Francis assured him of his “prayers in this significant moment in your life.”
“Thank you for your efforts and for your way of challenging everyone’s conscience, so that no one remains indifferent to the tragedy of poverty and exclusion,” the pope wrote.
Father Gutierrez, a Peruvian, is one of the principal founders of liberation theology, which rose to prominence in South America in the 1960s and 1970s as a way of responding to the needs of Latin America’s poor and as a call for freedom from unjust social structures.
In the 1990s, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then led by the future Pope Benedict XVI, expressed concerns about some currents of liberation theology, which he said were politicized and relied on Marxist ideas and analyses. Nevertheless, he praised liberation theology’s zeal for social justice and the poor.
Pope Francis has followed his predecessor’s line, disagreeing with the movement’s politicization while sympathizing with its concern for the poor.
In the birthday letter, the pope thanked Father Gutierrez for his contributions “to the church and humanity through your theological service and your preferential love for the poor and discarded of society.”
“I encourage you to continue with your prayer and service to others, giving witness to the joy of the Gospel,” he wrote.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103