Emilie Teresa Smith is a Canadian Anglican priest and theologian living in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is co-president of the Óscar Romero International Network in Solidarity with the Peoples of Latin America.
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The Legacy of Liberation Theology
"THE CRY OF THE POOR rises to the heavens!” With one phrase, proclaimed at a conference of Catholic bishops in Medellín, Colombia, in 1968, history changed in Latin America.
Fifty years ago, the “princes of the church”—with the support of Pope Paul VI, who opened the gathering, and embodying the renewal of Vatican II—agreed to dethrone themselves. A “preferential option for the poor,” they said, would lead the renewed Catholic Church.
Bishops and priests, religious sisters and brothers, began working to change the historic structures of inequality and abuse that had existed in Latin America since the 15th-century invasion of the rapacious Spaniards. Faith was no longer held captive by the educated and powerful elites; now laypeople were empowered to make their faith their very own bread and Word. Christian base communities emerged. Theologians got busy listening “from below.”
A name was attached to the Medellín movement with the arrival of Father Gustavo Gutierrez’ groundbreaking book A Theology of Liberation. Liberation theology, rooted in the economically and politically oppressed, became the first modern theological movement to emerge in the Catholic Church outside of Europe.
Canada's Shameful Exports
Fifty years of bloody conflict, economic greed, and environmental devastation.
How the Canadian Government Has Shamelessly Dedicated Itself to Mining Companies
Canadians are supposed to be the good guys in the story. Well, not anymore.
Coming in From the Cold
Pope Francis is restoring relations with Latin American liberation theologians.
Canada's Mining Dominance
Today, Canadian companies account for 75 percent of mining worldwide, and their practices are rife with abuse.
The Thorn Tree Resistance
Gold and silver mines in Guatemala are wreaking havoc on local communities. But the people, using nonviolent Christian action, are fighting back.
Can These Bones Live?
In Guatemala, 44,000 people were "disappeared" during decades of war. Now workers there seek to resurrect a buried history and human dignity.