Theology, not Ideology; Preach Christ, not your Agenda

Reflecting further on my little tirade against Fr John Dear below, I realise the difficulty we get ourselves in when we embrace ideology rather than theology. Dear advocates the total renunciation of the use of force (“violence”, in his parlance)–not just as a personal virtue, but as a policy for states. “Non-violence” is, in fact, his ideology, for which he seeks theological support. In fact, he will bend his theology in the service of his ideology if need be. In this, he is little different from those 1970’s proponents of Liberation theology who claimed “The only truth is the truth that is efficacious for liberation” (Juan Luis Segundo) or “The Bible! It doesn’t exist. The only Bible is the sociological Bible of what I see happening here and now” (Hugo Assmann). (Source: John Allen).

But, as always, Pope Benedict shows us “a more excellent way”. In his homily at the opening of the CELAM conference in Brazil on Sunday, the Holy Father said:

Not a political ideology, not a social movement, not an economic system: faith in the God who is Love—who took flesh, died and rose in Jesus Christ—is the authentic basis for this hope which has brought forth such a magnificent harvest from the time of the first evangelization until today.

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