Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Leftist Catholics pinning hopes on Pope Francis

  • Print

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- A new pope from Latin America who wants to build "a church for the poor" is stirring hopes among advocates of liberation theology, a movement of social activism that alarmed former popes by delving into leftist politics.

Pope Francis has what it takes to fix a church "in ruins" that has "lost its respect for what is sacred," prominent liberation theologian Leonardo Boff said Saturday.

"With this pope, a Jesuit and a pope from the Third World, we can breathe happiness," Boff said at a Buenos Aires book fair. "Pope Francis has both the vigour and tenderness that we need to create a new spiritual world."

The 74-year-old Brazilian theologian was pressured to remain silent by previous popes who tried to draw a hard line between socially active priests and leftist politics. As Argentina's leading cardinal before he became pope, Francis reinforced this line, suggesting in 2010 that reading the Gospel with a Marxist interpretation only gets priests in trouble.

But Boff says the label of a closed-minded conservative simply doesn't fit with Francis.

"Pope Francis comes with the perspective that many of us in Latin America share. In our churches we do not just discuss theological theories, like in European churches. Our churches work together to support universal causes, causes like human rights, from the perspective of the poor, the destiny of humanity that is suffering, services for people living on the margins."

The liberation theology movement, which seeks to free lives as well as souls, emerged in the 1960s and quickly spread, especially in Latin America. Priests and church laypeople became deeply involved in human rights and social struggles. Some were caught up in clashes between repressive governments and rebels, sometimes at the cost of their lives.

Hundreds of advocates at a conference in Brazil last year declared themselves ready for a comeback.

"At times embers are hidden beneath the ashes," said the meeting's final declaration, which expressed hopes of stirring ablaze "a fire that lights other fires in the church and in society."

In 1984, Ratzinger put Boff in Galileo's chair for a Vatican inquisition over his writings, eventually stripping him of his church functions and ordering him to spend a year in "obedient silence." Nearly a decade later, in 1993, the Vatican pressured him again, and he quit the Franciscan order.

Now Boff says Francis has brought a "new spring" to the global church.

"Josef Ratzinger. He was against the cause of the poor, liberation theology," Boff said. "But this is from last century. Now we are under a new Pope."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 28, 2013 A6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Jets Bogosian-Little-Ladd

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local/Standup- Morning Fog. Horse prances in field by McPhillips Road, north of Winnipeg. 060605.
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local/Standup- BABY BISON. Fort Whyte Centre's newest mother gently nudges her 50 pound, female bull calf awake. Calf born yesterday. 25 now in herd. Four more calfs are expected over the next four weeks. It is the bison's second calf. June 7, 2002.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think the Scottish independence referendum will have an effect in Canada?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google