(Rome) Pope Francis has congratulated the Dominican Gustavo Gutierrez, the "father" of Marxist liberation theology, on his 90th birthday.
The Catholic Church Maximum Leader sent a letter of congratulation to the Peruvian theologian. It is an award bestowed upon the Liberation Theologian for the first time in his life. The relationship with Rome was for a long time very different.
The papal letter is dated May 28th. Gutierrez was born on June 8, 1928 in Lima. With his book published in 1971 Teología de la liberación ("theology of liberation", German edition 1973) he coined the name for a whole movement, whose currents sought an alliance between Christianity and Marxism and some are still looking for.
The first contact between Gutierrez and Pope Francis during the current pontificate was in the Fall of 2013, at the urging of the then CDF Gerhard Müller.. Peru's primate, Juan Luis Cardinal Cipriani Thorne, said then, "Müller is a good theologian, but a bit naive." The Peruvian cardinal could not understand the sudden courting of Gutierrez and liberation theology by Rome. Cipriani Thorne left no doubt that Liberation Theology, a name coined by Gutierrez, has inflicted "great damage" on the Church. He also did not know if Gutierrez had "corrected himself", the cardinal said.
At that time it was not yet known what kind of sympathy Pope Francis had for leftist and even left-radical movements and parties, especially in Latin America.
Gutierrez has been received by Francis three times since autumn 2013, most recently in January at the Apostolic Nunciature in Lima. The congratulatory letter in the text:
On the occasion of your 90th birthday, I am writing to congratulate you and assure you of this important moment in your life of prayer.
I join in your thanksgiving for God's grace and thank you also for what you have done for the Church and humanity through your theological service and your love for the poor and the outcast of society. Thank you for all efforts and for your form to address the conscience of each individual, so that no one remains indifferent to the drama of poverty and exclusion.
With these wishes, I ask you to continue with your ministry and prayer, bearing witness to the joy of the gospel.
And, please, I ask you to pray for me.
May Jesus bless you and guard the Blessed Virgin.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org