If communism is “The God That Failed,” liberation theology is the gospel that has succeeded. Marx may be dead, but the cause of the poor and oppressed has been resurrected.
This is the message the Argentine pope, Francis, sent by canonizing Oscar Romero, reversing decades of conservative opposition in the church hierarchy and setting the El Salvadoran archbishop on the road to sainthood. Romero was gunned down at the altar in 1980 by a right-wing death squad that regarded him as a dangerous Marxist because of his activism on behalf of the poor.
As Paul Vallely writes, Romero is an exemplar for Francis. Both are “orthodox and yet utterly radical.” Romero is “a priest whose life stands in testament to the kind of Catholicism preferred by a pope who declared within days of his election that he wanted ‘a poor Church for the poor.'”
In our Fusion series this week, illustrated with striking street murals, a gang leader says El Salvador still has lots to learn from the example of the martyred archbishop.
Refugees fleeing across the Mediterranean to Europe or from the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, especially Christians, have also been a focus of the pope’s concerns. This week, Asia became the focal point of the asylum crisis, where thousands of Muslim Rohingya who have fled persecution in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar are desperately seeking refuge. Writing from Sydney, Elliott Brennan sees a parallel with the “boat people” crisis after the end of the wars in Vietnam and Cambodia in the 1970s, and calls on the ASEAN nations to embrace an emergency response similar to the EU’s for the Mediterranean. Mehdi Hasan says that the silence —> Read More