We must stir up a new springtime of holiness... No more violence, terrorism, or drug trafficking. No more torture or other forms of abuse... No more exploitation of the weak, race discrimination or poor slums. Never again. These are intolerable evils. This is our cry: Life with dignity for all, for all who have been conceived in their mother's womb, for street children, for indigenous people and... for those who suffer any kind of marginalization
Pope John Paul II, January 23, 1999, Mexico City, Mexico. Pope John Paul II came to Mexico and the United States in January 1999 to preach about the evils of rampant world capitalism (Tamayo 1999). This rekindled popular interest in"the preferential option for the poor," as expressed a generation earlier within the Catholic Church under the auspices of the 1968 Latin American Bishop's Conference held in Medellín, Colombia (Lernoux 1989). For many, this movement towards the preferential option for the poor had been operational under the moniker of Liberation Theology (Gutiérrez 1988). Originally, however, this "preferential option for the poor," or the drive towards social justice, was rebuffed when Pope John Paul II first became leader of the Roman Catholic Church in 1978. Strikingly, the Pope's message to the Liberation Theologians within the Nicaraguan Church was pointed, upon his Nicaraguan visit in March 1983, when he wagged his finger at Reverend (and Minister of Culture) Ernesto Cardenal for mixing political and religious service (Kirk 1992). More importantly for social movements within Latin America, the opposition of the Pope to social justice within a framework of social action through politics stunted the vitality of the Catholic Church in serving and expressing a preferential option for the poor.
Copyright © 2012-2013 Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe.
Editores: R. Rein, G. Leibner, O. Preuss
Instituto Sverdlin de Historia y Cultura de América Latina, Escuela de Historia
Universidad de Tel Aviv, Ramat Aviv,
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