Is the Pope taking the liberal's side in the culture wars?Breaking News
tags: Pope Francis, liberation theology
Mural of Oscar Romero (Juana Alicia, CC BY-NC 2.0)
This week Pope Francis set in motion the beatification of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero. That's giving liberals like historian Greg Grandin hope. As Grandin argues in an article in the Nation, the Pope's selection of Romero reflects a conscious embrace of liberation theology, "a powerful force within the Catholic Church, aligning the church with the poor and condemning US-backed militarism." As Grandin notes, conservative forces in the Catholic Church long opposed liberation theology:
"In the 1970s both respected conservative theologians like Michael Novak and fringe Bible-thumpers, had set their sights on liberation theology as an evil that had to be doctrinally defeated and institutionally eradicated. It’s in this context that Oscar Romero being cleared for beatification (by a pope from Latin America who has his own complicated relationship to liberation theology—but more on that in another post) is important, which progressives should see as a rearguard battle in the culture wars, which are the political wars, which are the economic wars, which in Central America were real, life-and-death wars."
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