Search
  • Anglican Chaplain ETF

Liberation Theology: An Anglican Approach, by The Rev. Julio Valenzuela

Updated: 3 days ago


In the summer of 1998, while I still had a Mexican passport, I had the opportunity to be part of a missionary team to Cuba. Officially, we were there as tourists and to visit friends. We had to be creative since missionary activity was forbidden under Castro’s regime. It was quite an unforgettable experience.[1]


Visiting Cuba was like traveling to a place frozen in the 1950s, when it became a communist country. One of the things that initially caught my attention was the absence of marketing or commercial advertising. In communism, there is no point in competing for customers. Havana streets were plain, gray, and almost empty.


Soon, however, I realized that there was, in fact, advertising in Cuba. Once I noticed it, it seemed omnipresent. It was just of a different kind. On billboards, or on fence walls by the roads, there was government propaganda advertising the virtues of socialism and the communist revolution. What made these political messages strange to me was their quasi-religious tone. Patriotism, communist ideology, humanistic values and even fraternal love were all mixed together.[2] Eventually, it dawned on me that if under communism religion is the opium of the people, the humanistic ideology that underpins socialism became the substitute to fill that void.


Twenty-four years later, those memories came to my mind as I read Gustavo Gutierrez’s seminal work Teología de la Liberación (A Theology of Liberation). I knew what to expect from the beginning—it is well known that Liberation Theology is associated with Marxism.[3] What I did not expect, however, was Gutierrez’s flirtation with communist revolution, which he considers a legitimate and necessary stage in humanity’s historical process of liberation.[4] The following is a sample of the several instances in which Gutierrez rationalizes and seems to justify communist revolution, which he calls “social revolution:”


Since the French Revolution, individuals are aware of their right for self-determination, which inevitably leads to conflict, and “a life-and-death struggle,” because [it is] “solely by risking life that freedom is obtained” (19).

This freedom is only achieved by a radical form of socialism, one that involves the “change from the capitalistic mode of production to the socialistic mode… [when mankind] will have controlled nature, created the conditions for a socialized production of wealth, done away with private acquisition of excessive wealth, and established socialism (20).[5]

“Real freedom is not taken without lucha[6] against all the forces that oppress humankind… The goal is not only better living conditions, a radical change of structures, a social revolution; it is much more… [it is a] a new way to be human…” (21).


In building up this new society and new humanity, Gutiérrez quotes communist revolutionary and guerilla leader Ernesto Che Guevara on the necessity to use “unconventional methods,” not influenced by the society that created them (56). What Gutierrez, in the words of Che Guevara, means by “unconventional methods” is ambiguous. Along this vein, Gutierrez considers the Russian communist revolution as one of the “great social revolutions” and “important milestones” that have achieved, or started to achieve, political liberation (30).


Throughout his book, Gutierrez makes several references to conflict or revolution in order to “attack the roots of the evil” (17). He at times seems to be merely describing humanity’s historical struggles for freedom and the Latin American Marxist fervor of his time. However, not only does he fail to criticize this violent revolutionary methodology as incompatible with the values of the Kingdom of God; he justifies it:


To support the social revolution means to abolish the present status quo and to attempt to replace it with a qualitatively different one; it means to build a just society based on new relationships of production; it means an attempt to put an end to the domination of some countries by others, of some social classes by others… [This] social praxis makes demands which may seem difficult or disturbing to those who wish to achieve—or maintain—a low cost conciliation. Such a conciliation can be only a justifying ideology… But to become aware of the conflictual nature of the political sphere does not mean to delight in it. On the contrary, it is to seek with courage… the establishment of peace and justice among all people.” (31, emphasis and bold added).[7]


To be fair to Gutierrez, we need to understand his context. First, he did not have the benefit of time. After the fall of the Soviet Union, it should be now evident to all that communism is a profoundly tragic, failed experiment. Far from creating the fraternal, prosperous, truly democratic, and utopian society that Marxist theory naively proposed, and still advertises in Cuba, it spawned, rather, the repressive monster of communism.[8] Ironically, from its inception, to borrow from Hegel and Marx, communism sowed the seeds of its own destruction.[9]


Next, it would be beneficial to understand the Latin American situation of extreme and oppressive poverty, which Gutierrez rightly calls evil. In this environment, the Roman Catholic Church had a poor record of advocating for justice and the denunciation of corruption and oppression. That state of affairs in the Roman Church began to change after the Second Vatican Council, which emphasized the idea of a Church of service, not of power.


Through Gaudium et Spes, the Pastoral Constitution of the Church, Vatican II promoted a more pastoral engagement of the Church with the world, especially with the poor. Using this pastoral spirit of the Council as a springboard, Gutierrez’s Liberation Theology criticized the Latin American Catholic Church for being too tied to the unjust social order (38), for being “a ghetto church” (58), for remaining silent “in the face of the despoliation and exploitation of the weak by the powerful” for fear of losing its social influence and prestige (76), among other denunciations.[10]


In the face of these serious problems, Liberation Theology rightly challenges the Latin American church to be relevant. In order to do so, the Church needs to reconsider “the relation between faith and human existence, between faith and social reality, between faith and political action, or, in other words, between the Kingdom of God and the building up of the world” (29). This challenge broadly depicts the theological waters in which Liberation Theology navigates. Liberation Theology struggles to understand the meaning of the Christian faith and the mission of the Church in the world, vis-à-vis the harsh social, political and economic realities of Latin America (xiv, 79).


Challenging the Church to be relevant to the world in our present time is necessary and even urgent. However, Gutierrez’s solution is problematic. He has opted for a new and inverted way of doing theology that puts pastoral praxis as the foundation to theological reflection and doctrine.[11] In tandem with this new methodology, Gutierrez has also embraced a revisionist reading of the Bible that is at odds with unchanging truth[12] and more in tune with secular humanism and social science theories.[13]


From an orthodox perspective, the danger of Gutierrez’s methodology is evident in its adoption by other revisionists. More recently, for example, advocates of same-sex marriage consider Queer theology as a form of liberation theology. They follow the precedent established by Gutierrez, reinterpreting the Bible to make it more pastoral to people under all kinds of oppression—real or perceived. For Queer revisionists, “the tenets of liberation theology can be utilized by the queer community to liberate itself from mainstream theology.”[14]


After decades of controversy since A Theology of Liberation was first published, it may seem that there is nothing new to add to the debate. Latin American revolutionary ferment has faded over the years, and it seems to be a settled matter for many.[15] Yet, the question about its validity persists.[16] The question is perhaps even more relevant for North American Anglicans after a recent endorsement of Gutierrez’s book by the ACNA’s Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others.[17] Such endorsement presents a challenge for several reasons, starting with the fact that there are many caricatures of Gutierrez’s Liberation Theology among both conservative and liberal circles.[18] I would argue that even the English translation contributes to these caricatures or inaccuracies, as I have been noting in my footnotes.[19]


Furthermore, the matter is complicated by the fact that Gutierrez is dealing with legitimate theological tensions.[20] In this regard, it is evident that Gutierrez is fully aware that in the Christian faith truth often exists in tension between two polarities. At times, one can perceive his effort to maintain the balance. In the following example, Gutierrez attempts to navigate between the violent aspect of Marxist revolutions and the non-violent nature of the Kingdom of God (Jn. 18:36; Mt. 5:9, 26:52):


Moreover, because of close contact with those who see historical development from a Marxist viewpoint, we are led to review and revitalize the eschatological values of Christianity… We Christians, however, are not used to thinking in conflictual and historical terms. We prefer peaceful conciliation to antagonism and an evasive eternity to a provisional arrangement. We must learn to live and think of peace in conflict and of what is definitive in what is historical (75).

In another instance, we see Gutierrez justifying his premise that the praxis of the faith and pastoral action are the ultimate criteria to verify doctrinal orthodoxy.[21] He claimed there that he is not against orthodoxy; rather, he wants


to balance and even to reject the primacy and almost exclusiveness which doctrine has enjoyed in Christian life and above all to modify the emphasis, often obsessive, upon the attainment of an orthodoxy which is often nothing more than fidelity to an obsolete tradition or a debatable interpretation (8).


Also, in his introduction to the revised edition, Gutierrez reacts to the criticism that he went too far in stretching some theological tensions—in this case, God’s immanence in contrast to God’s transcendence. Without elaboration, he simply denies such accusations:


There is no slightest tinge of immanentism in this approach to integral liberation. But if any expression I have used may have given the impression that there is, I want to say here as forcefully as I can that any interpretation along those lines is incompatible with my position (xxxix).

In response, I would argue that it is not just one or two expressions leading the reader to the conclusion that he is guilty of such excesses. Immanentism, to mention one case, permeates his entire theology.[22] Ironically, however, the uncritical employment of his critical analysis tools—Marxist theory and liberal Humanism—makes it virtually impossible to keep those tensions in balance. His apparent blind faith in Hegel and Marx leads him to make absolutist statements in which there is only one possible diagnostic and one possible solution:


Only a class analysis will enable us to see what is really involved in the opposition between oppressed countries and dominant peoples… Studies made along these lines lead one to conclude that autonomous Latin American development is not viable within the framework of the international capitalist system… there can be authentic development for Latin America only if there is liberation from the domination exercised by the great capitalist countries, and especially by the most powerful, the United States of America… the Latin American peoples will not emerge from their present status except by means of a profound transformation, a social revolution. (54; bold added; emphasis on “social revolution” in the original).


For the Latin American Church, it is becoming increasingly clearer that to be in the world without being of the world means concretely to be in the system without being of the system. It is evident that only a break with the unjust [capitalist] order and a frank commitment to a new society can make the message of love which the Christian community bears credible to Latin Americans (76; bold added; emphasis on “in” and “of” in the original).

Even in his more moderate pronouncements, Gutierrez’s faith in Marx’s socialism is still strong: “socialism, moreover, represents the most fruitful and far-reaching approach [to Latin American liberation]” (55). In his introduction to the revised edition, written in 1988 and subtitled “expanding the view,” Gutiérrez seems to recognize to some degree the lack of critical rigor in his previous usage of Marxist analysis:


…it is not enough to focus on ideological confrontations or give a narrow interpretation of opposition between classes… poverty is a complex human condition, and its causes must also be complex. The use of a variety of tools does not mean sacrificing depth of analysis… we also know that the sciences, and for a number of reasons, the social sciences in particular are not neutral. They carry with them ideological baggage requiring discernment; for this reason the use of the sciences can never be uncritical (xxv).


Nevertheless, approaching Liberation Theology as a case of truth out of balance allows us to redeem what is redeemable in it. As Anglicans, I believe we have some experience in dealing with balance, or the middle way, as we call it. Having said that, it is important to remark that the middle way is neither lukewarmness nor compromise. We Anglicans can be very passionate about truth, as the Greek inscription in the emblem of the Anglican Communion implies.[23] In this respect, there is much truth that can be redeemed from Liberation Theology. Material poverty is an evil to be opposed and not just an occasion for charity;[24] poverty is a complex reality and not just the result of fate or laziness; and God has a preferential option for the poor and oppressed.[25]


Sadly, we Anglicans also know by experience what happens when we start compromising the truth by breaking its delicate balance; the existence of the ACNA and the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON)[26] are obvious examples of such experiences. This is why we should be careful with Liberation Theology, even after we filter out its outdated and extreme Marxist ideas.

Despite its good intentions, we know where Liberation Theology leads: to a revisionism of the Bible, of the historical Christian faith, and of an orthodox Christian worldview in order to justify radical liberation theologies of all sorts. Following Gutierrez, defenders of such liberation theologies engage in “effective political action” to transform social structures and institutions to get rid of “all repressive forces which stand in the way of [their personal] fulfillment” (30). Ironically, these radical activists have themselves become a repressive force against those who oppose their theology of rupture.[27]


This tendency to become a repressive force happens when we reject the primacy of doctrine and accept a post-modern relativistic view of the truth. When we invert the Biblical approach to faith and practice,[28] we mistakenly make human experience the ultimate criteria for truth. The case of Nobel laureate Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a tragic example of how commitment to liberation á la Gutiérrez can have a good start but quickly degenerate into radical unorthodox territory.[29] Speaking at a campaign backed by the United Nations to promote gay rights in South Africa, Archbishop Tutu daringly declared,


I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place… I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this… I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level.[30]


Again, there is much that can be redeemed from Liberation Theology. Its principal challenge to the Church — to be relevant in a world in which extreme wealth coexist with extreme poverty,[31] engaging in bold prophetic denunciation of the social and institutional aspects of sin, violence and oppression — is as valid and relevant as it was in 1971.[32] But unlike Gutierrez’s liberation, the real challenge is to do this while remaining balanced, doctrinally orthodox, and faithful to the received moral tradition of the Church. In this regard, we should consider the words of Gutierrez himself, “the years have also brought serious and relevant critiques” that have prompted him to “revise and make more accurate certain formulations I now consider unsatisfactory, [and to] leave aside what time has undermined” (xviii, xx).


As I have discussed above, among those things that should be considered “unsatisfactory” are Gutierrez’s uncritical reliance on the secular humanism and social sciences of Marx and Hegel; his theological methodology that prioritizes and validates pastoral practice over and against doctrine; his view of the truth as never permanent but always on the way, always in need of update; and the Biblical and theological revisionism which opposes an orthodox Christian worldview, and to which all these innovations lead. Whether Gutierrez has been successful in taming his original work, without having to rewrite it in its entirety, is debatable.


Leaving aside “what time has undermined,” and the innovations mentioned above, Liberation Theology’s redemption can be seen as a matter of bringing the involved theological tensions back to balance, which is the Anglican way. Consequently, Anglicans and other Christians committed to orthodoxy, no less than orthopraxis, should take all these challenges, both positive and negative, into consideration before extending unqualified endorsements to A Theology of Liberation. After all, as G. K. Chesterton once said regarding the “two great exaggerations or heresies” of Imperialism and Socialism, “every heresy is a truth taught out of proportion.”[33]



_________________ [1] Not just because of great positive experiences like “smuggling” Bibles, and the hospitality of the people, but also because of many experiences on the sad side. Cuban people were eager to share their testimonies and stories of suffering under communism—their daily struggle for food in the cities, all kinds of shortages and limitations, oppression, political and religious persecution from their own government, etc. [2] For example, echoing Christian Evangelical slogans like “Jesus Saves” or “The Lord is my strength and my shield,” Cuban communist propaganda advertises, “Cuba saves, [the U.S. empire/embargo] kills,” “Culture is the soul of the Revolution, its strength and shield,” among others. See http://www.guerrillero.cu/el-imperio-asfixia-cuba-salva/; https://www.caledoniaworldwide.com/education/package/school-trips-cuba-spanish-language-culture/ (accessed June 11, 2022). Gutiérrez sees a convergence of Marxism and Christianity in this area of moral values: “It would be a mistake to think that this point of view, which is concerned with human values, is the exclusive preserve of scholars of a Christian inspiration. Converging viewpoints are found in Marxist-inspired positions” (16). [3] From the very beginning, Gutierrez highlights the influence of Marx in his theology due to Marx’s emphasis on transformative action (praxis), which is at the center of Gutiérrez’s thesis (8). [4] One of the main reasons Gutiérrez favors the term liberation rather than development is because it “expresses the inescapable moment of rupture… only in the context of such a process can a policy of development be effectively implemented, have any real meaning, and avoid misleading formulations” (emphasis added, 17). [Translation note: I used here the word “rupture” because it is the closest to the original term used by Gutiérrez (Spanish ruptura). Ruptura includes an element of violence, which the English rendition, the vague “radical change,” makes less obvious.] [5] Communism would be a more accurate word to describe the abolition of private property. Gutierrez, however, prefers to use the more nuanced socialism. [6] Translation note: I have substituted the Spanish term lucha because it is the word Gutierrez originally used. Lucha literally means fight or combat, and secondarily struggle. Here, the English translation has again chosen a more subtle shade of meaning, “struggle.” [7] Translation note: I provided “to delight in it,” to translate the original Spanish word complacerse. In the English version we read, “to become complacent.” The English translator was apparently confused by the similarity of these two words in English and Spanish. However, “complacer” is not the same as “complacent.” What Gutierrez said here, in justification of conflict or revolution, is that that the recognition of the conflictual (his euphemism for violent) nature of the political praxis (in this context, social revolution) does not mean to delight in it or to like it. Still, for Gutierrez, revolution is necessary for the establishment of peace and justice. In other words, the end justifies the violent means because the other option—a more peaceful reform of the system—is not a true option according to Gutierrez’s Marxist interpretation of the complex social reality in Latin America. In Gutierrez’s words, “Contemporary persons have begun to lose their naiveté as they confront the deep causes of the situation in which they find themselves… They realize that to attack these deep causes is the indispensable requisite for radical change. And so they have gradually abandoned a simple reformist attitude regarding the existing social order” (31, emphasis added). [8] “In February 1989, two years before the fall of the Soviet Union, a research paper by Georgian historian Roy Aleksandrovich Medvedev published in the weekly tabloid Argumenti i Fakti estimated that the death toll directly attributable to Stalin’s rule amounted to some 20 million lives (on top of the estimated 20 million Soviet troops and civilians who perished in the Second World War), for a total tally of 40 million. ‘It's important that they published it, although the numbers themselves are horrible,’ Medvedev told the New York Times at the time. ‘Those numbers include my father.’ Medevedev's grim bookkeeping included the following tragic episodes: 1 million imprisoned or exiled between 1927 to 1929; 9 to 11 million peasants forced off their lands and another 2 to 3 million peasants arrested or exiled in the mass collectivization program; 6 to 7 million killed by an artificial famine in 1932-1934; 1 million exiled from Moscow and Leningrad in 1935; 1 million executed during the ‘Great Terror’ of 1937-1938; 4 to 6 million dispatched to forced labor camps; 10 to 12 million people forcibly relocated during World War II; and at least 1 million arrested for various ‘political crimes’ from 1946 to 1953. Although not everyone who was swept up in the aforementioned events died from unnatural causes, Medvedev’s 20 million non-combatant deaths estimate is likely a conservative guess. Indeed, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the literary giant who wrote harrowingly about the Soviet gulag system, claimed the true number of Stalin’s victims might have been as high as 60 million.” Palash R. Ghosh, “How Many People Did Joseph Stalin Kill?” in International Business Times, March 5, 2013, www.ibtimes. com/how-many-people-did-joseph-stalin-kill-1111789 (accessed August 22, 2022). I am indebted to Bishop Michael Williams for this quotation. [9] Even Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, has recognized that Lenin built “‘odious and utopian fantasies’ that were ‘absolutely destructive,’” and that the Bolshevik revolution was “not just a mistake but much worse than a mistake… their ‘injustices, lies and outright pillage’ led directly to the 1991 Soviet collapse.” Quoted in Daniel Treisman, “In words and deeds, Putin shows he’s rejecting even Soviet-era borders” in The Washington Post, February 25, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/25/words-deeds-putin-shows-hes-rejecting-even-soviet-era-borders/ (accessed June 11, 2022) [10] He additionally denounces his church as being seriously hindered by scandals and its ecclesiastical apparatus: “The Church cannot be a prophet in our day if she herself is not turned to Christ. She does not have the right to talk against others when she herself is a cause of scandal in her interpersonal relations and her internal structures” (70). [11] In order to respond to the need to be relevant, Gutierrez requires a new way of doing theology and a reinterpretation of the Bible (12, 181). Borrowing from Schillebeeckx (“The hermeneutics of the Kingdom of God”) and Moltmann (“Towards a Political Hermeneutics of the Gospel”), among other progressive thinkers, Gutierrez gives priority to pastoral action over and against doctrine. In his view, only praxis can literally “verify” doctrine (8). This perspective assumes a priori that pastoral practice is in itself orthodox and theologians need to adjust doctrine accordingly: “Theology does not produce pastoral activity; rather it reflects upon it. Theology must be able to find in pastoral activity the presence of the Spirit inspiring the action of the Christian community.” (9) [12] “A theology which has as its points of reference only ‘truths’ which have been established once and for all—and not the Truth which is also the Way—can be only static and, in the long run, sterile… A theology which is not up-to-date is a false theology.” (10) [13] Along with a theology of rupture, Gutierrez argues for an “epistemological rupture” with previous social and economic thought. He seems convinced of the truth in Marx’s theories because they are the product of scientific analysis. It was Marx who “went on to construct a scientific understanding of historical reality” and “created categories which allowed for the elaboration of a science of history” (19). [14] Kelly Kraus, “Queer Theology: Reclaiming Christianity for the LGBT Community” in E-Research: A Journal of Undergraduate Work, Vol 2, No 3 (2011), Article 4, September 2014, https://digitalcommons.chapman.edu/cgi/ viewcontent.cgi?article=1055&context=e-Research (accessed June 8, 2022). [15] “‘Christ led me to Marx’… says Father Cardenal… an advocate of liberation theology… ‘For me, the four Gospels are all equally Communist. I'm a Marxist who believes in God, follows Christ and is a revolutionary for the sake of His kingdom.’” (Michael Novak, “The Case Against Liberation Theology,” in The New York Times Magazine, Oct. 21, 1984, https://www.nytimes.com /1984/10/21/magazine/the-case-against-liberation-theology.html (accessed June 15, 2022). [16] By “validity” I mean the veracity and orthodoxy of its theological foundations as well as its effects and consequences for the Church and the world. [17] See https://c4so.org/c4so-celebrates-hispanic-heritage-month-2021/ (accessed June 16, 2022). [18] Those who defend it accuse its critics of being disconnected from the dire context of oppression in Latin America, or even of racial bias. (For an example of these accusations within the ACNA see Jeff Walton, “Liberation Theology text garners enthusiastic Anglican endorsement” in Anglican Ink, October 27, 2021, https://anglican.ink/2021/10/27/ liberation-theology-text-garners-enthusiastic-anglican-endorsement/, accessed June 16, 2022). In my case, I was born, raised, and educated in Latin America. I also happen to be a so-called “person of color,” and I am an orthodox Anglican priest with a Roman Catholic background, as well. While my cultural heritage does not exempt me from bias, it should at least remove doubt regarding my comprehension of the Latin American context. Fully aware of the caricatures or distortions from both sides, I have strived to be fair to Gutierrez, while also recognizing that I am not an expert in this topic. [19] The English translation tends to soften some of Gutierrez’s more radical statements in the original Spanish version. I have added a few translation notes throughout my text to document this tendency. [20] Besides the tension between the provisional versus the definitive aspect of the Kingdom of God—already here but not yet— Liberation Theology directly or indirectly touches on other tensions such as being in the world but not of the world, contemplative spirituality versus active faith, pacifism versus active opposition against evil, orthodoxy versus orthopraxis, the transcendence versus the immanence of God, God’s sovereignty (the Lord of history) versus human responsibility, and others. [21] See footnote 10. [22] Following Marx, Gutierrez sees the history of humanity as one of liberation inevitably progressing towards a sort of humanist eschaton. This perspective is all over his text. According to this humanist philosophy, the movement of history towards liberation is independent from the Church. It is the product of humanity taking hold of its collective destiny. In the face of this kind of manifest destiny, Christians are left with no option but to board the train of history and be a part of it, or fall into irrelevancy: “[This is] a new way to do theology... a theology of the liberating transformation of the history of humankind and also therefore that part of humankind—gathered into ecclesia—which openly confesses Christ. (12, emphasis added). Elsewhere Gutierrez declares that Christians must collaborate and dialogue “with those who from different vantage points are also struggling for the liberation of oppressed peoples. At stake is the meaning of Christian participation in this liberation” (75, emphasis added). This secular humanistic philosophy feeds an unqualified “universalization of the presence of God” [immanentism] which leads Gutierrez to believe that “not only is the Christian a temple of God; every human being is” (109). In his introduction to the revised edition Gutierrez corrects himself, now speaking of history as the place where human beings accept or reject God’s salvation (xxxix). [23] “Η ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΩΣΕΙ ΥΜΑΣ,” “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). [24] As Gutiérrez points out, Jesus said "Blessed are the poor," not "Blessed is poverty." See John Dear, “Gustavo Gutierrez and the preferential option for the poor” in National Catholic Reporter, Nov 8, 2011, https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/road-peace/gustavo-gutierrez-and-preferential-option-poor (accessed June 18, 2018). [25] Even Pope John Paul II, who strongly opposed Liberation Theology, due in part to his personal experience under Marxism in Poland, could still see what is truthful in it: “…the option or love of preference for the poor. This is an option or special form of primacy in the exercise of Christian charity to which the whole tradition of the Church bears witness… it applies equally to our social responsibilities and hence to our manner of living, and to the logical decisions to be made concerning the ownership and use of goods” (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 42), xxvii. [26] “The Gafcon journey began in 2008 when moral compromise, doctrinal error and the collapse of biblical witness in parts of the Anglican communion had reached such a level that the leaders of the majority of the world’s Anglicans felt it was necessary to take a united stand for truth.” https://www.gafcon.org/about (accessed June 20, 2022). [27] See, for example, Ken Chitwood, “Finnish Bishop and Politician Face Trial for LGBT Statements” in Christianity Today, January 3, 2022, https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2022/january/finland-lgbt-trial-pohjola-rasanen-elmdf.html (accessed June 18, 2022); Also, Tony Perkins, “Convicted for Conviction? Finnish Leader Faces Jail for Bible Quote” in Family Research Council, May 3, 2021, https://www.frc.org/updatearticle/20210503/convicted-finnish (accessed June 18, 2022). [28] This is most evident in the writings of the apostle Paul, in which doctrinal teaching often precedes exhortations to practice the truth. [29] As Raymond de Souza sharply pointed out, “In his post-TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] years, Tutu became the most famous advocate for the leftist politics of the Anglican Communion, making him a hero to the dwindling congregations in the global north, and putting him at odds with the majority of Anglican prelates in Africa. As the wisecrack about a ‘homophobic heaven’ revealed, he was clever in public disputes but theologically shallow. He expressed frustration with Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, for attempting to uphold fidelity to biblical judgments, the Christian moral tradition, and ecclesial unity. Eventually, Tutu became a caricature of the progressive prelate, flying about the world, one private plane behind Hollywood celebrities, sprinkling holy water over whatever the latest cause was,” “The Arch” in First Things, January 6, 2022, https://www.firstthings.com/ web-exclusives/2022/01/the-arch (accessed June 20, 2022). [30] “Archbishop Tutu ‘would not worship a homophobic God’,” BBC News, July 26, 2013, https://www.bbc.com/ news/world-africa-23464694 (accessed June 20, 2022). [31] “Regional Human Development Report 2021: Latin America And The Caribbean Region” in United Nations Development Programme, January 1, 2021, https://hdr.undp.org/content/regional-human-development-report-2021-latin-america-and-caribbean-region (accessed August 22, 2022). [32] As, for example, Archbisop Monsignor Arnulfo Romero, who became “a voice for the voiceless” in El Salvador during the early years of that nation’s civil war. He spoke out against the violence of both left and right. The day before he was murdered saying Mass, on 24 March 1980, Romero urged soldiers to disobey orders to kill poor peasants demanding basic human rights, "In the name of this suffering people, whose laments rise to heaven each day more tumultuous, I beg you, I beseech you, I order you in the name of God: Stop the repression.” See Carmen Nanko-Fernández, “¡Cese la Represión! A call to conscience” in National Catholic Reporter, January 8, 2019, https://www.ncronline.org/ news/opinion/theology-en-la-plaza/cese-la-represi-n-call-conscience (accessed August 22, 2022). [33] “The Evil Day,” in Daily News, June 26th, 1909. http://www.gkc.org.uk/gkc/books/Man_Orthodox.html (accessed June 16, 2022).