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Movement or Moment?

Assessing Liberation Theology Forty Years after Medellín


Patrick Claffey and Joe Egan

This collection of essays was written to mark the fortieth anniversary of the Second General Conference of Latin American Bishops, which convened at Medellín, Colombia, in 1968. Inspired by the Second Vatican Council and seeking to implement its vision, the bishops viewed the occasion as a decisive one for Latin America, which they saw as standing ‘on the threshold of a new epoch in the history of our continent’. It appears to have been a time full of zeal for emancipation, of liberation from every form of servitude, of personal maturity and of collective integration. Forty years later, however, it is appropriate to remember the event and to review the significance of liberation theology in light of all that has happened during the intervening period. The colloquium at the Milltown Institute, Dublin, which led to this book, sought to do precisely that: to establish where liberation theology now stands by questioning whether it really is a significant theological and ecclesial movement or merely a moment whose time has passed, and to investigate its enduring legacy.
Contents: Mario I. Aguilar: The Kairos of Medellín: Towards a Movement for Liberation and New Mission after Vatican II – David Tombs: Latin American Liberation Theology: Moment, Movement, Legacy – Peter C. Phan: Living for the Reign of God: Liberation, Cultures, Religions. A Theology of Liberation for the Asian Churches – Elochukwu E. Uzukwu: From Nobody to Somebody: The Pertinence of African Liberation Theology – Maria Duffy: ‘In No Man’s Land’: The Option for the Poor and the Crisis of Globalisation – Mary Grey: The Journey is Always Home: Feminist Theology’s Journey from Liberation to Reconciliation – Tina Beattie: The End of Woman: Gender, Rights and God beyond Modernity – James Corkery: Joseph Ratzinger on Liberation Theology: What Did He Say? Why Did He Say It? What Can Be Said About It? – Joe Egan: From Moment to Moment: Liberation Theology and the Demise of Neolithic Man – Patrick Claffey: Looking Back, Moving Forward.