In synod debate over married priests, is the Rhine flowing into the Amazon?

Crux | 10/18/2019 | Staff
red815 (Posted by) Level 3
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ROME - Back in the mid-1980s, rebel Brazilian Franciscan Leonardo Boff was the enfant terrible of Latin America’s liberation theology movement, and he had a couple of celebrated run-ins with then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican’s doctrinal czar under St. John Paul II and the future Pope Benedict XVI.

At one point, Ratzinger jokingly said of Boff that his problem was that he’d “read too much German theology.”

Boff - Origins - Liberation - Theology - Experience

Boff was indignant, insisting that the origins of liberation theology were in the experience of the Latin American poor, especially the comunidades de base, or base communities, and the movement was therefore autochthonous rather a colonial import.

Yet Ratzinger undeniably had a point, because Boff spent 1965-70, meaning the immediate post-Vatican II years, at the University of Munich in Germany studying under Jesuit Father Karl Rahner, an intellectual hero of the progressive reform forces at the council. There Boff also came under the influence of another German Catholic theologian, Johann Baptist Metz, whose “political theology” in some ways was a precursor to the emergence of liberation theology in Latin America.

Take-away - Man - Island - Movement - Catholicism

Perhaps the take-away is that just as no man is an island, no movement in Catholicism is ever purely local. The Catholic Church is universal, so ideas developed in one place inevitably have an impact elsewhere - even if those impulses are always refracted through a given place’s experiences and priorities before they take root.

Flash forward more than thirty years later to the Oct. 6-27 Synod of Bishops on the Amazon, and one could pretty much make Ratzinger’s joke all over again.

Prelates - Synod - Favor - Ordination - Viri

Consider four prelates in the synod who’ve spoken in favor of the ordination of the viri probati, meaning tested married men: Cardinal Claudio Hummes of Brazil, the synod’s relator, or chairman; retired Bishop Erwin Kräutler of Xingu, Brazil; Bishop Carlo Verzeletti of Castanhal, Brazil; and Bishop...
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