Thursday, October 30, 2008

Missionary Changes

I used to get a little concerned about modern "missionaries", I think that came from the encounters I had in the 1980s, when the Gospels were used as a proof text to support a social Gospel that was based more on Marx than Christ. Those were the "high days" of liberation theology, Jesuits especially who I met thought activating the masses was more important than celebrating the Mass. The argument put to me often was, "grace builds on nature, if people are allowed to be treated in a way that is less than human they will never achieve the liberation from the effects of sin Christ intends".

This really meant that sin was really about oppression, the poor were the victims of other people's sin, the Capitalist system, oppressive and unjust regimes, imposed poverty. The response was overthrow Capitalism, remove oppression and injustice, remove poverty, the effect in theory was to restore humanity to an original innocence, only then was it possible to preach Christ. The example was in the Gospel, Christ first healed before he preached!

In South America especially this lead to the Church so often marching with with Revolutionaries, I knew a Spanish priest who was a friend of Che Guevara, and used to celebrate Mass for his men.

Things have changed, partly because social revolution did nothing but create war and class hatred, partly because Catholics began to realise if they did not offer the poor Christ then North American Protestant Evangelicals would.

On my last visit to Rome, I met a Chilean priest, who told me how his Bishop would go around telling his priests to have constantly before their minds that they have "no gold and silver only Jesus Christ" and that whatever they might do for their people nothing was to be preferred to giving them Christ.

This little video I suspect 20 years ago would have been quite different.

3 comments:

PeterHWright said...

I've met modernist priests whose primary agenda was to export liberation theology to the "suffering masses".

I told them that their first duty was to preach not a social agenda, but the authentic Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ through the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Of course, they didn't listen to what they didn't want to hear. In fact, you could see them switch off at the words "the teaching of the Catholic Church".

That was in the 1970s. Most of them left the priesthood.

Warren said...

A moving video. The thought comes to mind about comments made by peterwright about modernist priests. I would add that the floppy teaching of the 70s, characterized by a neutered view of the Gospel, could only produce part time christians, easily prone to abandoning the Faith. We, all of us, need the Catholic Faith imparted to us by the Apostles and their successors. Unless we live the Faith, we will not be able to die for the Faith.

Henry said...

This is excellent, but it does not excuse the laity from their neglect of the social teaching of the Catholic Church, which has nothing to do with liberation theology but much to do with preventing conflict, injustice and poverty. Where it comes to addressing those issues, we are still leaving the Marxists to make the running, and it is Christians who will end up paying the price when Marxist regimes take power - Marxist ideology is not, unfortunately, a spent force.