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Alberto da Silva Moreira {*}

Spirituality and Conflict

Experience of Liberation Theology


From: Geist und Leben, 2/2011, P. 172-185
webmaster's own, not authorized translation


In some European contexts, such as Germany and France, today's religious landscape could be described as follows: Spirituality yes, church no. Studies and research projects show {1}, that leaving the church or the decline in the number of church goers cannot necessarily be equated with the loss of religious values or the declining interest in spirituality. Today, religious experience apparently follows a trend towards individualization and privatization, to diversity and multiculturalism; it becomes increasingly reflexive. Some functions of religion have been taken over by other societal authorities. There happens a shift of religiousness and an internal change in opinion on what generally should be regarded as religion. We do not want to deal with post-modern religious services or with the spirit of capitalism, although very important issues result from it. Our actual topic is the spirituality in the political conflict.


1st What is Spirituality?

After a long history of reception {2}, which starts with St Paul's distinction (1 Cor 2.13 to 3.1) between people who act "according to the flesh" (somatikos) and those who act "according to the spirit" (pneumatikos) {3}, there is today probably no universal or comprehensive definition of spirituality. The many and diverse meanings of the term are reflected in a very broad understanding (e.g. in the sense of a religious attitude, mentality, religiousness, etc.) up to a mere enumeration of many aspects of lived religiousness {4}. This diffuse religiousness may include very different things: relationship with God, the being, nature, emptiness, evolution, network, energy {5}.



Precisely because the term "spirituality" is so broadly applied and lived, and his post-modern use seems to give even "the shallowest striving the 'heiligen'schein of importance" {6}, we must first make it usable for our perspective.

Let us research into the term "spirituality" by recalling the bodily, physical and existential experience that lies behind this word. "Spirituality" comes from the Latin spiritus, which translates the Greek pneuma, which in turn translates the Hebrew ruach. Ruach means wind, air, breath, presence of God; it is perceived as something dynamic which internally and externally causes motion and creates reality. Ruach is a breath of life; it goes through man and he will breath it out when he dies. This whiff and breath is the vigour of all living things, like Yahweh's ruach, which hovered above the waters, and created new life. Ruach therefore means in a figurative sense also endurance, strength, life, staying power.

Pneuma, the Greek term, has no longer the deep bodily, physical, and vibrant meaning of ruach. It already sounds more abstract, also more spiritual. But the word at least retains the basic meaning of wind, air, breath, presence of God. In the New Testament one speaks of "Holy Spirit" and thinks first of the Spirit of Jesus. Later one speaks with increasing frequency of the "Holy Spirit" in the context of eschatological expectation. The Pauline congregation had ecstatic experiences and spoke in tongues (glossolalia) but was admonished by Paul that other charismata are more important than this. In the New Testament the Holy Spirit is basically the One who inspires and reveals what Jesus has meant and wanted.

Spiritus, the Latin word, reflects already the bodily-physical aspect: whiff, breath, breath of life. But it is soon understood in a figurative sense as soul, will, and enthusiasm. The term does not totally leave out of account the existential experience which is its source. In the German language "Spiritus" signifies ethanol; "Sprit" is a fuel, a substance that promises fire, heat, light and energy; it is explosive. That's why it also holds a certain risk, a danger - spiritus can mean life or death. Spirituality has therefore to do with an inner fire and blaze, and not with romanticized rest, heavenly idylls or with relaxation and lack of conflicts. Consequently, it is the concern of spirituality that one protects one's inner fire (spiritus) and does not allow that it is extinguished by random circumstances. Pay attention to your breath, do not waste your strength, do not exert yourself beyond the limits, go the long way, become tired but not breathless. Spirituality means first and always these physical, existential, and at the same time spiritual, namely deep human basic experiences.



Spirituality comes from the depths of man, not from above - as something that is artificial and is grafted on. When we deeply breathe in, oxygen penetrates into our cells and stimulates them from the inside again, every second, unnoticed, unasked, for free, simply ingrained, physiologically natural. Spirituality can therefore be described as thorough, permanent, non-bigot breathing of the soul. It is the cultivation of the power of the mind.

This is the reason why people, regardless of religion, look for spirituality; it is the breathing of the human mind. People suffocate, die, or inwardly kill themselves, can become inhuman beasts if their mind gets no air, if they do not want or are unable to rise above their impulsive desires, mediocrity and the mere facticity of the world. Spirituality therefore originates from the inner desire of the mind for air, freedom, self conquest and perfection. In this sense, spirituality is the highest expression of the transcendent structure of the human mind, which in all situations of life longs for an authentic existence.


2nd The Spirituality of Christians living in Conflict

The daily life of countless committed Christians in Latin America was and remains marked by the experience of conflict. "Conflict" means here a comprehensive life situation, in which people are exposed to various degrees of hostility: from explicit physical threats and use of violence, over psychological intimidation, fear and material hardship up to extreme insecurity in view of the future. The active resistance against such a threat gives the conflict a "dynamic" aspect, i.e. it characterizes the situation as a confrontation. Since the conflict, depending on the case, has various causes, developments and ways of settling, its description must here focus on the major common features.

What is meant is not only the permanent "structural violence" of hunger, misery and marginalization, but also the conscious perception and non-violent participation of Christians in processes that aim at both the prevention of an imminent threat and the change of structural injustice. Why do we take the conflict as starting point for theological thought? Leonardo Boff says about this, "Both harmony and conflict exist. ... I believe that the conflict should be regarded as an occasion. It is universal and the object of general experience (harmony is experienced rather by the dominant, numerically smaller classes). In addition, and this is the crucial point, the absolute harmony is not a fact but a utopia. People dream of a society without conflicts, the kingdom of God, and everlasting peace." {7}



How do you Handle a Confrontation?

Does this mean that conflict is the final instance of reality? This is not meant here. We do not start from an ahistorical, essentialist view that e.g. there is in heaven an eternal struggle between metaphysical powers of good and evil, or on earth by their representatives.

We refer here to a conflict situation that remains historic and situational, like the people who experience it. This dynamic and provisional opinion protects against authoritarian generalizations and apocalyptic visions of a cosmic conflict. At the same time it keeps open the horizon for feasible changes and goals, and does not basically exclude a possible reversal of the conflict parties. That's why - as long as history goes on - we must not become the slave of a security scheme, because also the righteous can become wicked, and we cannot definitely be sure of salvation. This reservation is grounded on faith and should protect critical Christians against a "theology of victory" that has often been practised in history {8}.

The conflict must be perceived politically, theoretically explained - e.g. as an anthropological basic reality, as psychological compensation for psychological pressure or as socio-economic form of class struggle, and existentially mastered. According to Boff, the social conflict must be controlled by rules, mediation and arbitration. The conflict should neither be rejected in favor of harmony nor resignedly accepted by refraining from this control {9}.

Of people who - due to their Christian faith - are committed to the poor, the conflict requires above all that they perceive and productively deal with it on the basis of faith. Since she is associated with the poor, this conflict is an unparalleled pastoral challenge for the church. Her experiences include defamation, impugnment and aggression, but above all the sufferings of innocent people, the murder of the righteous, and the frightening frivolity in dealing with human life. They have always given rise to the deepest questions in the Judeo-Christian religion.



From the statistics of social injustice in the world a dark and heavy cry rises up to God. Bowed down by the weight of oppression, these Christians ask like Job "Why does God allow that the plans of the wicked prosper while the righteous perish?" Where is God, and why does he not interfere? Job asks with bitter irony, "Is not human life on earth just conscript service? Do we not live a hireling's life?" (7:1) {10}.

"Conscript service" here means hard forced labor, struggle, impugnment, conflict. Human dignity and freedom are denied to people. They struggle for it; in the hard forced labor the yoke forces them down. In the Bible, the prophets have shouldered conflict, persecution and death for Yahweh. People like Amos and Jeremiah have shared the fate of their people. And out of the double loyalty to God and their people, they point to the wounds of society, especially with regard to the then kingdom. They have neither denied or repressed the conflict nor have they tried to avoid it at all costs.


Jesus' Contested Existence

For Christians who are active in social movements, base communities and political initiatives Jesus remains the prototype and model of handling inevitable conflicts. A brief comparison of the two types of Christ titles, witnessed in the New Testament, will suffice to become aware of how Jesus in his life experienced impugnment from everywhere.

In addition to the ascending Christology of high titles as e.g. "Son of David" (Mt 1:1), "Son of man" (Mt 16:27; 19:28, Mk 8:38), "envoy of God "(Mt 21:37, Lk 29:13) there is the less cited "Mockery Christology" that comes from the Sadducees, Pharisees, scribes, the rich and court officials. For them, Jesus is simply "carpenter", "Sohn of Mary" (= a fatherless child, Mk 6:3), he is "friend of the (public) sinners and publicans" (Lk 7:34), a "glutton and drunkard" (Mt 11:19), "possessed by an unclean spirit" (Mk 3:30, Jn 7:5), and even his family regards him as an idiot (Mk 3:21; Jn 7:5).

Jesus experienced conflicts in all spheres of existence: with his mother (Lk 2:48 f.; Jn 2:4), with relatives who try "with violence" to bring him back (Mk 3:21), with his friends (10:14) who "grumbled about him" (Jn 6:61) and went away (6:66); in public: conflict with religion, its institutions and laws (Mk 7:1ff.; Lk 6:7; Jn 9:16; see the discussion on purity rites and Sabbath),



with the (high) priests (Jn 11:47 ff.), the nobility of the temple, the "theologians and exegetes" (Mk 8:11; 11:27; Mt 16:4; 23:1 ff.), with economy and trade (Mk 11:15), with the Romans and Pilate, who "gave the command" to execute Jesus (Mk 15:15, Jn 18:28 ff.), with Herod and the State (Mk 13:31), with the people (Jn 7:20), with himself (Mk 14:33.34.38), with the devil (Mt 4:10, Lk 4:1 ff.), and Jesus feels abandoned even by God (Mk 15:34). And when in the end the conflict becomes life-threatening, the disciples leave him. Jesus' life is characterized by threat and danger. That's why Jesus warned his disciples that the world would not deal more leniently with them than with him (Mk 13:9 f.; Mt 10:16 ff.; Jn 15:20), the world would hate them, as it had hated him (Jn 15:18).

This does not mean that everything in the New Testament or in Jesus' life was conflict, not even, that the conflict was of paramount importance or had the final say. For Christians, only love has the final say, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." (Acts 7:60) and "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." (Lk 23:46). But until the last word is spoken, we grope through inscrutable situations and have to content ourselves with conditional and provisional answers to specific conflicts. Christian morality must not become abstract and individualistic or degenerate into mere declarations of intent. Love means much more than a psychological disposition. "Love has an ontological structure. It implies the search for the right order of things: the order of freedom in society and fraternities. Love that conceals conflict and injustice, is not worthy of that name. It is a false and improper appropriation of the most sacred name of the religions and Christianity" {11}.

Confrontations run like a thread through the life of Jesus. They can even provide a hermeneutic horizon, so that his actions and the opposition which he met can be understood. Jesus has neither resorted to the conflict nor radicalized it or relocated into the next world - as fateful battle between cosmic forces of darkness and light, comparable to Zoroastrianism and Gnosticism. In Jesus' life conflicts remain connected with situations, history and persons. He appeals to man's freedom. He declines to be infected with hatred. He visits the potential asserters of hatred, and eats with the Pharisees. Based on the specific situation, he puts questions to his interlocutors. He tries to create a dialogical relationship where the others have a say, and will not be morally destroyed. "Perceiving the conflict does not yet mean to accept hatred and to justify it for the sake of faith. Conflict is inherent in existence and society ..., hatred is the result of freedom ... and a creation of the heart. Jesus warns us against this and not of conflict, the struggle, the commitment to and the self-sacrifice for a cause." {12}



Given the vast abundance of passages in the New Testament where conflicts in the life of Jesus and the early church are brought up, it is amazing that in the Christian theology and spirituality this subject - also the social conflict - is scarcely considered. In proven and well-known works, as e.g. the Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, Theologisches Taschenlexikon, Kleines Theologische Wörterbuch, and Lexikon der Religionen, one looks in vain for "conflict" or even "fight" - at least in the earlier editions. One can conclude that the repression of conflict reaches deep - also in theology. The concealment or the sublimation of this issue in church and theology has often its counterpart in the (ideological and sometimes repressive) enforcement of an alleged harmony by means of disciplining. As a result, many Christians have lost their faith, as soon as they - due to personal or common experiences - have taken conflicts in church and society seriously and commented on them.

The concepts of spirituality did not keep pace with spirituality. They reinforce the experiences of a particular time but are often impervious to the new vital reality. Some terms from the classical theology and spirituality seem out of place or out of date, depending on where and how you live. Christians who are active in base communities, social movements, and trouble spots see very different (and very real) situations and realities in their mind's eye when e.g. there is talked of the "fight against sin" or the "dangers of this world". A new language for the spiritual experience must be created and include conflict-laden contexts.

In these battles it is not about the clash of cosmic energies but about real people, specific places, social groups as e.g. landowners, murderers or violent gangs, the State with army and police - clashes that have sometimes life-threatening effects. On the other side are: the landless, Amerindians, farmhands, environmentalists, street children, trade unionists, favela residents, people gathering waste paper, priests, members of religious orders and lay people, volunteers of all kinds who solidarize with those who resist, who live in this precarious situation and are faced with the reality of death.

What traits has the spirituality of these people, who from Christian or religious motives actively and liberatingly oppose structural aggression? How is e.g. imitation of Christ practiced and experienced in the movement of the landless in Brazil?



Life is infinitely richer and more diverse than reflection - also the theological - can express it in words, but I will try to point out some important aspects of this spirituality.


No Division in "Holy" and "Profane"

The spirituality of liberation knows no division of reality into a sacred and a secular sphere. It is characteristic of many religions that they establish here a dichotomy between sacred and profane. It continues as a permanent temptation also in Christianity: to turn one's back to the world and to devote oneself only to "holy things". But in the spirit of the Council the spirituality of liberation has rediscovered and revived an essential feature of Judeo-Christian faith, namely that we must take a holistic view of reality and a holistic liberation of man as our starting-point {13}. It is impossible that anything of the reality remains alien to God. Salvation or destruction is wrought also in areas such as economics, politics, culture, economy and ecology, areas that in the view of modernity do not belong to religion. Where the official religion localized and excluded the non-religious, namely those who were "impure" and "possessed by the Devil", precisely there Jesus saw the healing presence of God {14}. That's why the trite reality of everyday life or the struggle for the survival of the poor and of nature are of direct theological, spiritual density, and must be taken seriously.


Spirituality of Imitation of Christ

A spirituality of the conflict takes the basic value of communion with the poor as its starting-point. The social character of the conflicts is not only analytically registered, it also leads to a mysticism of identification and ministry - we serve Christ in the masses of the poor and downtrodden. Experience, thought, prayer and the songs of dedicated Christians are in many places shaped by solidarity, compassion and love for the poor - the collective Christ. There is no communion with God without the abandoned, suffering people who have to fend for themselves.



The many martyrs of Latin America have so identified with their people that they have reached a deep communion with it in life, death and resurrection. This feeling of responsibility for the poor and abandoned people shaped also Bishop Oscar Romero. "I want to assure you, and I ask for your prayers so that I keep this promise, that I will not leave my people, but together with it I will take all risks that my ministry demands." {15}

The turn to the poor is no one-way road, as though you alone would do something for the people who live in need. The effect is often reciprocal. We experience time and again how much the poor people can be teachers of spirituality and of an unbroken faith. From the poor people of God comes a strong, healing, viable and tough energy that gives you more than you are able to give back. Those who search for a liberating spirituality in a situation of structural aggression must primarily focus on the poor. They can teach us, what resistance, perseverance, solidarity and joy mean. However, to be in communion with them means also to deliberately and actively opt for the cause of the poor in the world.

In relationships full of conflict, Christians must orient their spirituality towards Jesus. But what type of Jesus, if he is often shifted to the other world or trivialized to a mere star? It is amazing that the ordinary Christians - despite centuries of kingship Christology - gained a very humane, almost companionable access to Jesus. The Christian communities love the Jesus of history: the believer and prayer, the risen master, who has gone the same way with his people. The mysticism of liberation is therefore essentially the mysticism of companionship and discipleship, of participation and liberating work. About it Johannes Baptist Metz says, "Christ must always be so imagined that he is not only imagined. Christology does not simply lecture on discipleship, it lives - for its truth's sake - on the practice of discipleship; it is essentially expressed in practical knowledge". {16} So also Jon Sobrino, "There is only one access to the Christ of faith: the path of the historical Jesus, which means for its part discipleship." {17}



Honest and Courageous Confrontation

A spirituality of conflict opens room for anger at structural injustice and violence, which the henchmen of a system time and again inflicted on the small and humble, room for anger at the disregard of human dignity, the banal brutality with which people are killed, indigenous cultures and nature are destroyed. Pedro Casaldáliga writes, "My experiences here have aroused in me the passion for freedom and justice, but also a holy anger (let's call it holy, in order to scare nobody) at capitalism, and not only at capitalism, but at everything that is domination, colonialism, exploitation of man by man." {18} So also Erwin Kräutler, Bishop of Xingu, Brazil, in his sermon on the occasion of the third anniversary of the assassination of Sister Dorothy Stang, "Those authorities that were crying in front of the coffin wanted to show the world that they do not approve of death and violence in Amazon. But they made no effort to change reality." {19} The anger at the structural injustice has nothing to do with the spitefulness of the wire pullers or with the uncontrolled outbursts of anger of those in power, but it has to do with the "revolt" and "impatience" of the prophets, "Lord, how much longer?

A liberating spirituality cannot suppress the various conflicts between classes, countries, cultures, genders, geopolitical interests, ethnicities and generations, but must take them seriously. In many parts of the world one is not looking for confrontation, one is overtaken by it as soon as one stands up for change. From the place of danger and challenge - in concrete terms: from the option for the poor - these committed Christians want to send their message to all strata of society. You can neither accept everything, nor are you allowed to resort to every means.

Although it is often difficult, you must avoid seeing the Evil personified and objectified only in certain people and circumstances. A critical analysis is not allowed to "hypostasize the foe", as if the oppressors would be found only in the social structure and among the members of other classes. But this implicates openness and sense of justice - including the conflicts within the church. Above all within the church it should be possible that conflicts are honestly settled and without arrogance. Authority as a mere exercise of power is the weakest argument. Disappointment and resentment among employees, members of religious orders, priests and bishops should lead to a productive debate, and at the same time to a deepening of solidarity with other disadvantaged people - due to arbitrariness in church and society.



The experience of the limits of man and institution, suspicion, slander, thirst for power and mental weakness in one's own "family" can discourage and deeply hurt. Who can heal those wounds? But one does not only suffer in the church, one suffers above all from her, and this makes the communion so valuable. There are no recipes for the internal conflicts, just as little as for others. But the church will be judged by her own standard - and this at all levels: namely to be symbol and sacrament of the kingdom of God.


An Alternative Spirituality of Hope

In the Latin American context, a spirituality of the conflict must always take the possibility of martyrdom into account. This possibility has a thousands times become reality, so that you cannot disregard it. "The Church in the imitation of Christ has not only martyrs, it is a Church of martyrs," writes Boff {20}. In Latin America we speak of both of collective and of political martyrdom. Not only those who out of loyalty to their religious commitment accept a violent death are martyrs but also those who do it for the sake of truth and justice {21}.

It is about a spirituality of action and joy - against conformity, apathy and death. A spirituality of the conflict, as it is experienced in liberation theology, lives only by the strength of faith in a possible resurrection. There both reason and goal of the suffering of the poor become ultimately apparent. The hope of resurrection does not spring from a calculated consideration. The hope of resurrection originates in faith. It goes beyond the strategic calculus of the moment. It is a permanent and intrinsic motivation for action in the present, a motivation that is not only led by the real chance of success, but - out of the justice of the cause - it is experienced as God's call. That's why it can better endure disappointments and defeats than mere temporary waves of outrage.

Such hope can make people living in conflicts alive, active and generous. They firmly believe that a change of conditions is possible, and that it may come about through their work. The same basic trust is often found in the ceremonies and songs of the poor, in their hospitality, their dances, in their sensuous joy, and in the otherwise futile persistence, with which they continue their struggle for making a living and for surviving. Only this hope withstands also defeats or the pressure of a winner mentality.



A spirituality of Political Wisdom

A spirituality of the conflict must be aware of the temptations that are inherent in it. The first is not, as some think, the temptation of hatred but of despair and bitterness in view of the feeling of powerlessness. Resignation or destructive aggression are rather a result of it. Under such circumstances, it is difficult to find the golden mean. "I can compare my life with the Amazon: calm and storm, ebb and flow. I am sad and happy, gloomy and then happy again about some changes. (...) I feel the powerlessness in view of so many injustices ... exploitation and looting ... Then again I was thrilled by this or that initiative; they testify: the kingdom of God begins here and now!" {22}

Here again, the poor are a wise master. They show you how you are able to accept your limits, to reach the possible, to learn waiting, and to find a path to humanization - even in the dark nights of the soul and of the world situation.

A spirituality of political wisdom is deliberately directed against the structural injustice of capitalism. A prophetic and political activity will usually per se clarify the contours, if not fronts, in conflict situations. At stake are often interests that are represented by individuals or institutions. They are often quite objectively against the interests of the poor. There can be also occur complex situations in which it is difficult to recognize profile and intention. In any case, vigilance and caution are needed here, because only a naive attitude would misjudge a dangerous threat; only a dreamy mind would underestimate the exaggerated aggression of the enemies of justice. One cannot always and everywhere expect understanding and willingness to dialogue. So Erwin Kräutler said about the murder of Dorothy Stang, "She has decidedly sided with the disadvantaged, who are excluded by a rampant capitalist system that prevails in our region. With it she stood against the interests and the pursuit of an oligarchy that wants to take possession of Amazon, in order to exploit its riches." {23}



The commitment to the poor, social justice or the endangered nature therefore demands precise knowledge of the oppressors and their allies in the state apparatus, in the economy and the media. It requires, on the other hand, an alliance with those who are dedicated to the cause of the poor and justice, beyond differences of class, nationality, denomination etc. The result is a new, real ecumenism.

A spirituality of the conflict, which is aware of the great sufferings of the poor and the earth, will refrain from strict classifications. It will try to address the commonalities in the churches, in the religions and among people of good will. As a result of this insight, it also leads to political wisdom, which can endure the tension between hope and suspicion. In dangerous situations one does not gamble with one's life; one avoids risks that are not absolutely necessary. The actions of individuals must be based on freedom and responsibility for a common cause, which is greater than the ability of each individual to realize it or regard it as "private business". One counteracts thus tendencies to independent initiatives and isolation. A community of fighters develops that is rooted in, and draws its strength from faith. It includes in this faith many other fighters of whom one knows without ever meeting them.

It may be that the number of such people in the liberation theology has decreased. But almost everywhere there are social movements that - with or without ties to a religious faith - stand also up for justice, freedom, equal rights and an ecofriendly, sustainable living. Here, too, men and women have - out of conviction - joined forces, organized a movement, formed an identity, and often also developed a specific mysticism. In Brazil, a large part of the impulses of liberation theology transitioned into the social movements of Latin America that would otherwise not have come about.


3rd Prophecy of the Social Movements

These explanations treat only a part of the living spirituality that concerns the Christians every day. We have dealt with a spirituality that in this form seldom occurs or is made the subject of discussion, a spirituality that is lived by people in highly conflict-laden life contexts. Just among distressed people, who are experienced in suffering and had every reason to despair, we found a liberating spirituality, a mental attitude and spiritual strength that is deeply rooted in the soil of life and faith. People whose physical strength and health is often fragile find thus an attitude that makes them able to support even others: those half-despairing people.



Such a spirituality also promotes the Church of Jesus, if she is sensitive and opens to God's revelation in reality. The disciples of Jesus must be ready in courage and humility to go also to those places where their master has pitched his tent: in the heart of the crises in this world.

Today, when many people in church and society have retired to private goals, this spirituality sometimes flourishes where we do not suppose it: in social movements that are deliberately supported and shaped by critical Christians. They are like a small, yet warming flame that is fed by faith and the imitation of Christ. On the occasion of the Castor demonstration in Gorleben on 8 November 2008, the writer Andreas Maier said, "In Wendland one is closer to the truth. Since I was here in 2002 for the first time, I know better what people can do - in evil as in good. You are pretty much the only role models that one can imagine today. Your actions will later be declared to be as exemplary as those of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose have been declared to be a role model. They will always do this when everything is too late. (...) But today we are only ragged figures who climb trees like monkeys, and the headmasters see us in television and are angry at the troublemakers." {24}

These social movements are theologically relevant for us, because - due to hope - they motivate people to build groups and communities of people who possess neither soil, land, shelter, home nor identity. For these are places where you experience prophecy in a world that has become indifferent. Social movements are not churches and no substitute for religion, and yet, one can feel in many of them the moving inspiration, the staying power, and the driving presence of the Holy Spirit.



{1} See P. Zulehner / R. Polak and others, Kehrt die Religion wieder? Religion im Leben der Menschen 1970-2000, 2 volumes. Ostfildern 2001/2006.

{2} See J. Sudbrack, Art. Spiritualität, in: Sacramentum Mundi 4 (1969), 674-691.

{3} See the same, Art. Spiritualität, in: ²LThK 9 (2000), 852.

{4} See U. Kopf, Art. Spiritualität, in: 4RGG 7 (2004), 1590.

{5} See J. Sudbrack, Art. Spiritualität (note 3), 853.

{6} See K.-F. Wiggermann, Art. Spiritualität, in: TRE 31 (2000), 709.

{7} See L. Boff, Luta de classes, libertacao, amor cristao e lgreja. Petr-polis 1978, 4.

{8} See A. Moreira, Der gekreuzigte Messias und das Land der Freiheit, in: Institut für Theologie und Politik (editor), Der gekreuzigte Messias und die Erwartung vom Land der Freiheit. Münster 2004, 205-218.

{9} See L. Boff, Luta de classes (note 7), 7.

{10} See G. Gutierrez, Von Gott sprechen in Unrecht und Leid Ijob. München 1988 and, The same Aus der eigenen Quelle trinken. Spiritualität der Befreiung. München 1986.

{11} L. Boff, Luta de classes (note 7), 25.

{12} See in the same place., 24.

{13} See F. Castillo, Evangelium, Kultur und Identität. Münster 2000, 200.

{14} See in the same place., 202.

{15} Sermon of 11.11.1979; quoted from I. Ellacuría, Conversi-n de la Iglesia al Reino de Dios. Santander 1984, 113.

{16} J.B. Metz, Zeit der Orden? Zur Mystik und Politik der Nachfolge. Freiburg 1977, 41.

{17} J. Sobrino, Cristologia desde America Latina (1976); quoted from H. Goldstein, Brasilianische Christologie. Mettingen 1982, 57.

{18} P. Casaldágliga / J.M. Vigil, Espiritualidad de la Liberaci-n. Quito 1992, 79.

{19} Quoted from

{20} L. Boff, E a Igreja se fez povo. Petr-polis, 1986, 134; see also Concilium 19 (1983), issue 3: Martyrium heute u. lnstituto Hist-rico Centro-Americano, Martirol-gio latino-americano Managua 1984.

{21} See L. Boff, E a Igreja se fez povo (note 20), 141ff.

{22} See E. Kräutler, Mein Leben ist wie der Amazonas (1992); quoted from

{23} Quoted from

{24} Quoted from

    {*} Alberto da Silva Moreira
    geb. 1955 / verh. / Dr. theol.
    Prof. für Religionswissenschaft
    an der kath. Univ. Goiania
    Theologie, Politik


Link to 'Public Con-Spiration for-with-of the Poor'