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date: 19 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The term ‘theologies of liberation’ refers to a global theological movement that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s among Christians working for justice among the poor of the Third World. Most systematically articulated, initially, by Latin American theologians such as the Peruvian priest Gustavo Gutiérrez, liberation theology is rooted in the Gospel claim that Jesus Christ is identified in a special way with the poor and marginalized of our world. Early influences on the emergence of liberation theology in Latin America included: the Catholic Action movement, base ecclesial communities, Vatican II (especially Gaudium et Spes), and the Medellín Conference of 1968. The central insight of liberation theologies is that, because God makes a ‘preferential option for the poor’, we are called to do so as well; if Christ is identified with the marginalized, the lives of the poor is the privileged locus for practising Christian theological reflection.

Keywords: liberation, freedom, poor, Medellín, Puebla, Latin American, popular religion, Gutiérrez

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