Vatican City, Jun 7, 2018 / 09:30 am
Pope Francis has sent a birthday greeting to Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez, widely considered the father of liberation theology, thanking him for his service to the Church and his dedication to the poor.
In a letter dated May 28, Pope Francis assured the Dominican priest of his prayers as he reaches the landmark age of 90, and said he thanked God “for what you have contributed to the Church and to humanity through your theological service and from your preferential love for the poor and discarded in society.”
“Thank you for your efforts and for your way of challenging the conscience of each person, so that no one can be indifferent faced with the drama of poverty and exclusion.”
Francis closed the letter encouraging Gutierrez to “continue with your prayer and your service to others, giving witness to the joy of the Gospel.”
Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez Merino, who will turn 90 June 8, was born in Lima and is considered by many to be the father of the liberation theology movement, which sprung up in Latin America in the 1950s.
Gutierrez is the John Cardinal O'Hara Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame.
In a 2015, Gutierrez, wrote an article in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, saying there are two schools of thought on poverty, both of which are rooted in the Gospel.
The first form of poverty, he said, is focused on Christ's sensitivity toward the poor and their suffering, while the second is that Christ himself “had lived a life of poverty, and so Christians, from their origin, understood that in order to be his disciples they also had to live a life of poverty.”