2015-06-09 13:00:00

Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez: Poverty is Death

(Vatican Radio)  The preferential option for the poor is a theological cornerstone of the Church.  In a conversation with Vatican Radio, Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez, OP explains the theological background of poverty and the challenges facing the Church’s mission of evangelization today.

Listen to Devin Watkins’ full interview with Fr. Gutiérrez:

Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez is a priest of the Order of Preachers and is widely held to be one of the founders of Liberation Theology, which places a special emphasis on the rights of the poor and their evangelization. 

Preferential Option for the Poor

Fr. Gutiérrez says that the preferential option for the poor – the Church’s concern for the poor – is not ‘an obsession with the poor; it is a reality of the world because poverty is destroying, destroying persons and families’.

‘Poverty’, he says, ‘is death, in the last analysis. The Church understands this better than in the past, but there have been many contributions’, including Pope St. John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council.

Important topics in Theology

When asked what the cutting-edges of theology are today, Fr. Gutiérrez lists three which press upon the Church’s mission of evangelization. 

The first, he says, is the question of secularization in a post-modern society.  'Chronologically, this was the first challenge to the Church two [millennia] ago’.

The second is poverty, which emerged as a pressing topic ‘50 to 60 years ago’.

The third most important topic facing the Church today is inter-religious dialogue.  Most important is the theology surrounding it; in his words, ‘the role of Jesus in the salvation of persons.’

In conclusion, Fr. Gutiérrez says ‘the Church exists to evangelize, and evangelization is mission.’

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