1. Pope Francis met with Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez like three months ago (just hearing about it now) and I seriously have no idea what is happening in the Roman Catholic Church. When L’Osservatore Romano is saying that it’s time to bring liberation theology out of the shadows, you know something weird is going on…

     
  2. Just made this, a homage to Latin American liberation theology. Aníbal Sampayo is a well-known Uruguayan leftist musician, best known for his revolutionary folk songs in the 60s-80s. This poem can be found on his 1971 album, Hacia la Aurora. Camilo Torres, much more widely known, was a Catholic priest in Colombia who went underground and joined the ELN, one of Colombia’s guerrilla armies; he was killed in battle shortly thereafter, but became somewhat of a legend among Catholic radicals in the region.

     
  3. Un video mas completo de la misa guerrillera del cura revolucionario Ernesto Cardenal, junto a los guerrilleros sandinistas de Nicaragua en 1978.

     
     
  4. Ernesto Cardenal, el cura y poeta revolucionario del Frente Sandinista.

    "con Cristo empieza el pensamiento revolucionario."

     
     

  5. "Poverty is not a fate, it is a condition; it is not a misfortune, it is an injustice. / La pobreza no es una fatalidad, es una condición; no es un infortunio, es una injusticia."
    — Gustavo Gutiérrez
     
  6. Liberation theology / teologia de la liberacion.

    (Source: cartasliberales.blogspot.com)

     
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  8. If you want to understand radical Christianity in the Americas, this is a fun place to start. Carlos Mejia Godoy’s 1975 album, La Misa Campesina Nicaragüense features a set of songs designed for a Catholic mass, but with quite a different character than you might be used to. God is presented, not as some distant, mystical being, but rather as a worker or oppressed peasant with dark skin that inspires his followers to fight for their liberation. This type of depiction was common in Nicaragua’s popular church, which was growing rapidly at the time of this album’s release in conjunction with an overall heightening of political consciousness, while a similar situation was developing in nearby El Salvador. In fact, a similar album was put out by Salvadoran group Yolocamba I Ta 5 years later, titled La Misa Popular Salvadoreña. Yolocamba I Ta’s album represented a trend in the Catholic Church allied with the revolutionary forces of the newly-formed Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), similar to how Mejia Godoy’s album represented a trend that was beginning to identify with the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN).

    The opening words of the album in the Canto de Entrada (Entrance Song) can give you a good idea of what to expect:

    "Vos sos el Dios de los pobres, el Dios humano y sencillo,
    el Dios que suda en la calle, el Dios de rostro curtido.
    Por eso es que te hablo yo, así como habla mi pueblo,
    por que sos el Dios obrero, el cristo trabajador.”

    Translation:

    "You are the God of the poor, the humane and simple God,
    the God that sweats in the street, the God with a tanned face.
    For that reason I speak to you in the way my people talk,
    because you are the worker God, the laboring Christ.”

    The link takes you to PERRERAC, a great resource for all the types of music I present on this site. Scroll down a tad and click on Descargar via MegaUpload. Let me know what you think!

     
  9. From Valparaiso, Chile. The banner on the left says “It’s not enough to pray,” which was the name of a Chilean film by director Aldo Francia in 1972 whose promotional materials featured the same image as you see here. Watch the film here (scroll down a bit).

    (Source: adayt0me, via rodrigoraton)

     

  10. "¿Por qué no unirnos?, sí, por qué si ya se unieron el fusil y el evangelio en las manos de Camilo. ¿Por qué no unirnos? y luchamos como hermanos, por la Patria que está herida, nuestra Patria la que amamos."
    — 

    -Alí Primera, Dispersos.

    "Why not come together, if the gospel and a rifle were already united in the hands of Camilo? Why not come together and fight like brothers, for our dying country, for the homeland that we love?"

    From his first studio album Lo Primero de Ali Primera, 1973. The above-mentioned ‘Camilo’ refers to Colombian priest Camilo Torres, one of the earliest proponents of what is now known as liberation theology in Latin America. He joined the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) in 1965 but died in combat shortly afterward in February of 1966.


     

  11. "Hoy Señor tenemos hambre de trabajo, techo y pan; danos ya tu cuerpo y sangre, danos combatividad!"
    — 

    -Yolocamba I Ta, Canto de Comunión (Communion Song)

    "Father, today we are hungry for work, shelter and bread; give us your body and blood, give us militancy!"

    From Yolocamba I Ta’s 1980 Misa Popular Salvadoreña, featuring 10 songs to be used for a people’s mass, extolling virtues of life and liberation. Yolo’s members were also combatants in the Ejército Popular de Liberación (EPL), which joined with the Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo (EPR) to become the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional in 1980.

     

  12. "La pobreza no es una fatalidad, es una condición; no es un infortunio, es una injusticia."
    — 

    Gustavo Gutierrez

    "Poverty is not a fate, it is a condition; it is not a misfortune, it is an injustice."

    This reminded me of how much I loathe first-world guilt trips about poverty in Africa, Asia, Latin America, etc.

    I’m currently reading one of Gutierrez’s books, We Drink From Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People and it’s pretty fantastic. I disagree with the initial premise (the existence of God, the resurrection of Jesus, etc.) but beyond that, totally worth checking out even if you aren’t Christian. I think other Marxists like myself will find it particularly interesting.

     
  13. Managua, 1983: Pope John Paul II scolds Fr. Ernesto Cardenal upon the former’s arrival for a papal visit in Nicaragua. Cardenal was an early collaborator with the FSLN and, after the Sandinista victory in 1979, Minister of Culture for the government led by the Junta of National Reconstruction. He was one of a handful of priests with governmental positions, along with his brother, Fr. Fernando Cardenal S.J. who worked in the Ministry of Education and directed the successful literacy campaign of 1980.

    John Paul II, far less tolerant of the radical trends that had developed within the Catholic Church after Vatican II than his predecessor, frowned upon the church’s ‘politicization’ and condemned liberation theology, forbidding the involvement of priests in the Sandinista government in the process. Ernesto Cardenal and others ignored this order.

     

  14. "There is a contradiction, an unresolvable difference between a dogmatic priest and a dogmatic Marxist. They are irreconcilable. But between a post-Vatican II priest and a Marxist who vitally lives the reality of Central American history, there is no barrier, no ‘Church as opiate of the people’; there is rather the Church as a catalyst, a spur to the people. In America, in the realm of action, there is no contradiction whatsoever."
    — 

    -Fernando Cardenal. Jesuit priest and poet, former Minister of Education for the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, younger brother to the more famous Ernesto Cardenal.

    Interesting food for thought. I took this out David Gullette’s book ¡Gaspar! A Spanish Poet/Priest in the Nicaraguan Revolution, but unfortunately I can’t find an original source for the quote.

     
  15. Antonio Llidó Mengual, a Spanish priest and leader of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) in Chile. Below is an article I have translated into English from a Spanish news website.

    "And why won’t you talk, you faggot priest?", asked the torturers of the DINA of Antonio Llidó. "Because of my principles!", the Valencian priest responded while, through violent beatings, he was ordered to inform on the members of the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) in October, 1974.

    That’s how Edmundo Lebrecht recalled the events, having been the cell mate of Llidó in the detention center on José Domingo Cañas Street in Santiago, and whose testimony was filmed by Andreu Zurriaga, nephew of the priest.

    His final days were marked by horrific acts of torture, which included the application of electric shocks for hours on end. But all the witnesses agree: he did not inform on anybody.

    The strength of his spirit and conscience was a conviction of Llidó’s, who arrived in Chile in 1969 weary of Franquismo and the conservatism of the Spanish Church. He was assigned to the small town of Quillota, within the diocese of Valparaiso.

    The election of socialist Salvador Allende’s government in 1970 helped Llidó to develop strong works in defense of human rights and in bettering the living conditions of peasants and villagers.

    This commitment existed beyond the limits of religion, and in 1971 he joined the group Christians for Socialism and the MIR. That same year the bishop of Valparaiso, the ultra-conservative Emilio Tagle, suspended Llidó’s priestly duties.

    Augusto Pinochet’s coup d’etat in September of 1973 forced Llidó into hiding. Historian Mario Amorós noted in his book “Antonio Llidó, A Revolutionary Priest” that the Valencian priest was not simply another militant, but rather a key member of the MIR party apparatus under the dictatorship.

    Hence, he suffered the brutality of torture after his detention on October 1st, 1974. He was transferred ten days later to the Cuatro Álamos center, from which he was removed on the 25th of October as the only priest on the list of 1,192 disappeared prisoners during the Pinochet dicatorship.