Since the appointment of Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, there has been renewed interest in a speech he gave in Spanish about his experiences with liberation theology in 2008, upon receiving an honorary doctorate from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. Here, the Independent Catholic News publishes a translation of his speech in English.
"For me, liberation theology is linked to the face of Gustavo Gutierrez. In 1988, I participated with other German and Austrian theologians in a course on this subject at the invitation of the current director of MISEREOR, José Sayer, which took place at the then already famous Instituto Bartolomé de las Casas. At that time, I had been teaching dogmatics for two years at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich.
"As a theology professor, I was naturally familiar with the texts and known representatives of this theological movement, which emerged in Latin America but was talked about worldwide, especially because of the somewhat critical observations of the International Theological Commission of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the 1984 and 1986 statements of the Congregation itself, presided by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, our current Pope Benedict.
"The seminar led by Gustavo Gutierrez turned me from academic reflection on a new theological concept to experience with the men and women for whom this theology had been developed. This reversal in focus from the priority of theory before practice to the three step "see, judge, act" process, has been decisive in my own theological development.
"We participants in the seminar had arrived crammed with countless bits of knowledge about the origin and development of liberation theology and therefore we argued primarily about the analysis of the situation which had been reproached for a naive closeness to Marxism. We were familiar with the statements of the Conference of Latin American Bishops at Medellin and Puebla.
"Hence the debate about whether those statements intended to make Christianity a kind of political program of liberation where, under certain circumstances, even revolutionary violence against persons and things might be tolerated. Some suspected that liberation theology served to legitimise terrorist violence in the service of legitimate revolution, while others used it as an argument to that end."
FULL STORY New CDF head on 'My experiences with liberation theology' (ICN)