A Church for the Poor: Pope Francis and Liberation Theology

A presentation by Dr. Laura Taylor, CSB/SJU Theology Dept. Sponsored by CSB/SJU Latino/Latin American Studies Department, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. February, 2016. Click here to view.

In Memory of Nine African Americans Murdered in 2015 While Attending Church in Charleston, South Carolina

By John Aaron, Sculptor and Director of Chalk4Peace

Early in the summer of 2016 I was commissioned to create this tribute to the Emanuel Nine of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. It is a memorial to the people who lost their lives when a self professed white supremacist gunned them down during their Bible Study at the Church on the evening of June 17,  2015. This sculpture took more than 500 hours.

Emanuel AME Church is a glazed porcelain relief sculpture 5’4” x 3’8” x 6” whose details include the embossed names of the Fallen, The Emanuel Nine. Renditions of the floral tributes and messages and pictorial accuracy of this historic building. This one-of-a-kind portrait of the most significant church in the heart of the civil rights movement in America, it is ready to join the Charleston community, where it belongs. A custom crate was created to protect it as it crosses the country. It has been meticulously packed.

I believe this piece belongs at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston to serve as a touchstone for hope and healing- a monument to peace and love and the greater good. Those so affected by the losses, family and friends are who this memorial was truly created for.  It is one of the ways to insure they will never be forgotten. Getting this art to the Church is my priority. But now the project needs help. A ceremony- the lighting of nine candles and the reading of each name of the Fallen as each candle is lit manifested itself as a result of the first installation of the sculpture. It is my hope that this gesture becomes a tradition to assist in keeping the memory of these fine people alive.

Read more…

Regarding Violence in America — July 2016

(A voice from 1968)

Robert F. Kennedy gave this speech, “The Mindless Menace of Violence,” (click title to view) in 1968 on the day after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was killed in Memphis. Kennedy himself was assassinated a few months later, making of these words his final plea to us to grow toward compassion and to renounce violence. His words still speak to us, some fifty years later, reminding us that violence has a deep grip on the soul of America. In the United States, in my view, Liberation Theology must address our profound cultural fascination with and addiction to violence. (Dennis Rivers)

Pope Francis’s Encyclical on Ecology — June 2015

pope-environment Download the PDF of the Encyclical:  English :: Español :: Française :: Deutsche ::  italiano :: Português :: Arabic :: Polski

10 key excerpts from Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment — Washington Post 6/18/2015

History is Made as Pope Francis’ Encyclical is Presented in the Vatican — America 6/18/2015

The Pope and the Planet (Review of Encyclical by Bill McKibben) — New York Review of Books  8/13/2015

read more…



Spiritual Activism: Leadership as Service

By Alastair McIntosh and Matt Charmichael — 2015

Over the past half century the issues facing activists have changed, as has our understanding and awareness of spirituality. For activists, spiritual philosophy is rising up the agenda because it offers distinct, tried and tested approaches to deep questions: Where did it all go wrong? What does it mean to be human? What is the place of leadership? What is the nature of power?

The book begins by defining spirituality for a modern audience of all faiths and beliefs, and goes on to consider the problems and necessities of true leadership. Drawing on a rich history of spirituality and activism, from The Bhagavad Gita, to the Hebrew prophets, to Carl Jung, it is both guide and inspiration for people involved in activism for social or environmental justice.

The text is enriched with tales from the authors’ own experiences. It contains case studies of inspirational spiritual activists (including Mama Efua, Desmond Tutu, Gerrard Winstanley, Sojourner Truth and Julia Butterfly Hill), which demonstrate the transformative power of spiritual principles in action.

Read sample chapter.   Read review comments…

Oscar Romero, Saint for Our Times

From the June 2015 issue of Celebration, A Comprehensive Worship Resource

Does beatification signal where Pope Francis is leading the church?

By Pat Marrin oscar-romero-celebration-june-2015

The beatification of martyred Archbishop Oscar Romero on May 23, 2015, acknowledges what has been celebrated throughout Latin America since his assassination at the altar on March 24, 1980, in El Salvador. Blessed Romero gave his life as a good shepherd for his flock in a time of persecution. He modeled what a bishop looks like in a church committed to justice for the poor. Romero’s death and the baptism of blood endured by the people of El Salvador during its 12-year civil war (1980-92) inevitably have larger implications for the universal church, and for us in North America. Pope Francis’ determination to advance Romero’s cause for sainthood recognizes this witness. It also reveals the influence Romero is having on Francis’ own goal as pope — to move the global church closer to the kind of church that emerged in El Salvador under Romero, whose story is a roadmap to such a church. read more

2014: Kathy Kelly: Good Friday Sermon at Nuclear Weapons Lab This sermon was given on April 18, 2014, by longtime peace activist Kathy Kelly outside the guarded fence of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, about forty miles east of Oakland. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has designed nuclear weapons for the United States military since the 1950s.  For more information about Kathy Kelly’s life and religiously inspired peace witness, click here.


Click on image to start video.


2014: The "Hearing Voices" Newsletter from Pacifica Graduate Institute (12.5 MB)Graduate Education and Research in Liberation Psychology  

The “Hearing Voices” Newsletter from Pacifica Graduate Institute  (12.5 MB) With this newsletter, we are happy to share some of the news of the Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology specialization of Pacifica Graduate Institute’s M.A./Ph.D. Depth Psychology Program. Our students travel to campus three days a month (nine months a year) for three years from various places in the US and abroad. In the summer they are involved in community and ecopsychological fieldwork and research in diverse locations around issues of their passionate interest and commitment. On campus they engage in a curriculum that constitutes a bold initiative to forge interdisciplinary transformative approaches to personal, community, cultural, and ecological challenges of our time. This specialization places depth psychological theories and practices in dynamic dialogue with ecopsychology, critical community psychology, and indigenous psychologies and psychologies of liberation.

Mary Watkins, Nuria Ciofalo, and Susan James

Editors and Core Faculty

Conscience Behind Bars 

The Prison Letters of Norman Lowry

FREE PDF BOOK  (also available as paperback)
Arrested for his acts of faith-inspired civil disobedience, Norman Lowry reflects from his prison cell on what it means to follow Jesus in a culture of perpetual war-making.

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September 7, 2018 Interview with Norman Lowrey

Peace and Social Justice Show — Sept. 7, 2018

KZFR 90.1 FM People Powered Radio Chico, CA

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Nativity mural at Batahola Norte Community Center in Managua, Nicaragua. (click image to enlarge) 

Special Features & Links

www.ServiciosKoinonia.org (in Spanish / en Español) recursos de teología de la liberación, espiritualidad de la liberación, servicio bíblico latinoamericano, calendario bíblico litúrgico, Martirologio Latinoamericano, Monseñor Romero, Pedro Casaldáliga, Leonardo Boff, Maximino Cerezo, biblioteca, Revista Electrónica Latinoamericana de Teología, Libros digitales gratuitos, Agenda Latinoamericana, Cursos de Teología Popular

October, 2011

Breaking News: Protesters Speak Out Against Endless War and Reckless Greed

January, 2011:

A European Revival of Liberation Theology

Article by Ulrich Duchrow in Tikkun Magazine

August, 2010:

Glenn Beck vs. Christ the Liberator

Article by Rev. James Martin, S.J.*

2011 Book & Online Exhibit Nicaragua: Surviving the Legacy of U.S. Policy Paul Dix, Photographer

November 2008

“Green” liberation spirituality:  Joanna Macy streaming video a library of recorded workshops and lectures (free)

May 2008

A Fiery Theology Under Fire Michael Powell article in The New York Times

   Getting the Poor Down From the Cross (free PDF boook)
brings together the latest thinking in the global Liberation Theology community.



I N T R O D U C T I O N   A N D   O V E R V I E W


This web site presents Liberation Theology/Theologies as efforts to think clearly about the meaning of religious faith and action in the context of oppression, war, poverty, inequality and environmental destruction, and the effort to live a compassionate, courageous and life-sustaining response to those conditions.  Over the past several decades, people inspired by different strands of Liberation Theology have sought to give voice to a response that both addresses the needs of those who are injured and oppressed in a particular place and time, and also a response that works to change the structures and ongoing processes of injury and oppression.

Liberation theologies vary greatly according to the cultures in which they arise, but their underlying themes are immediately recognizable across the world: the transformation of everyday life through a new awakening of compassion, courage, truthfulness and justice.  Liberation theology and theologies, singular and plural, are works in progress, born out of enormous pain and extraordinary hope, efforts which are sure to inspire many and probably offend many, as well. We hope you will be inspired by what you find here, and also that you will explore these worlds of thought and feeling with empathy and patience for the concerns of those with whom you may disagree.  [DR]

* Editor’s note concerning permissions and endorsements:  There are many disagreements and controversies within the world of liberation theology.  Books, essays, articles and organizations listed on the pages of this site are listed here because they are available on the Internet, and are, in the opinion of the editor, part of the permanent intellectual public record of liberation theology as it has developed over the last century.  The presence of a link on this site should not be taken to imply that the author of the linked document knows, permits, endorses or approves of this site, or of any of the other linked documents on this site.




Religions and Peace Issue