In a new article titled Lost Lives and Impoverished Souls author Michael Hogan argues that the Catholic church has abandoned liberation theology and with it the best hope for the poor. Here is the conclusion of the article:
Pope Benedict's call for a new "evangelical mission" in recent communications in Latin America seems to be basically this: a removal of the Church from any real effort to work for social justice in Latin America and a decision to compete, not for souls, but for audiences in a new evangelical movement, where hymns, invocations of the Holy Spirit and shouted amens and allelulas will provide an other-worldly escape from reality, and where religion will finally become, as Marx so prophetically noted, merely an opiate of the people. The genuine irony is, of course, that liberation theology and the option for the poor which Cardinal Ratzinger denigrated as Marxist, was a clear and powerful alternative to Marxism, and, unlike populism and the militarism which will likely follow as the populist movements fail to deliver, it continues to be the last best hope of empowering people to change their lives, to create grass roots democratic movements, and to form safe, self-sufficient and prosperous communities.
The article is provocative, but whatever might be his insights into the hierarchy of the Catholic church, Hogan fails to recognize the dedication and work of many deeply faithful Catholic priests, brothers, sisters and laypeople in Latin America and throughout the world. The legacy of Oscar Romero, the Jesuit martyrs and the four churchwomen is not dead and dusty, but a living presence in the world.