Encuentros (you can’t do liberation alone)

Writing about the meetings and encounters of liberation theologies/theologians with one another. Meetings at the intersections.

  • 1964, Petrópolis, Brazil
  • 1965, Havana, Cuba. Bogotá, Colombia. Cuernavaca, Mexico
  • 1967, Montevideo, Uruguay
  • 1967, Montréal, Canada
  • 1968, Melgar, Colombia
  • 1968, Chimbote, Peru
  • 1968, Medellín, Colombia
  • 1975, Detroit, USA
  • 1980, São Paulo, Brazil

1964, Petrópolis, Brazil. Iván Illich calls a meeting to reflect on Pastoral Activity in the Latin American Church. Gustavo Gutiérrez from Peru, Lucio Gera of Argentina, and Uruguay’s Juan Luis Segundo present. Gutiérrez begins to outline the idea the theology function as a critical reflection on praxis. (read more coming soon) c.f. Robert Oliveros Maqueo’s article, “Meeting of Theologians at Petrópolis”, in Alfred Hennelly’s Liberation Theology: A Documentary History.

1965, Havana, Cuba. Bogotá, Colombia. Cuernavaca, Mexico. Through meetings in these three cities “the makers of liberation theology grew to know each other and acquired a distinct group identity” (Klaiber, 1989: p. 5). We know little else of these encounters. It is these skipped-over moments that I’m so interested in. What took place? What was said? Do we have the records somewhere, yet to be unearthed?

Los años de 1966 a 1968 supusieron una eclosión impresionante de reuniones, declaraciones, documentos, ya sea al nivel nacional o regional, de diversos grupos cristianos situados en los diferentes estratos del pueblo de Dios. (Roberto Oliveros Maqueo, SJ)

1967, Montevideo, Uruguay. In February, Gustavo Gutiérrez presents the praxis-reflection idea of theology to leaders of the Catholic University Movement. On that movement there is much to say. On this moment, I only have one document that I am yet to investigate: CELAM, “Mision de la universidad católica en américa latina”, Departamento de Educación, (12-18 Feb).

1967, Montréal, Canada. In July, Gutiérrez gives a course on “The Church and Poverty” and urges several key things. 1. Poverty is against the evangelical sense of justice; it is not the will of God. 2. Christians need to fight against the causes of poverty and identify with the poor; ceasing to be rich and live rich. 3. The poor are a social class, as well as the bearers of God’s message; for the Good News is good news for the poor and it is through them that it comes into being.

1968, Melgar, Colombia. I only know that this meeting took place over the week of April 20-27, 1968. It was preparation for Second General Conference of Latin American Bishops, to be held in August, in Medellín. Eddy José Muskus (“The Origins and Early Development…”, p. 34) says this meeting was important, taking the Vatican II idea of history further. Gutiérrez’s formulations of this can be found in Lineas pastorales de la iglesia en américa latina.

There are two documents I need to research: 1. CELAM, “Primer encuentro sobre pastoral de misiones en américa latina”, Departamento de Misiones Pastoral (20-27 April), and 2.  CELAM, “Presencia de la iglesia en el processo de cambio de américa latina”, Comisiones Episcopales de Acción Social (12-19 May). In older notes I took I wrote these documents down in between the April and July encuentros. Do these refer to Melgar or to Chimbote?

1968, Chimbote, Peru.

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