Quick notes on LT ecclesiology

It seems to me that the Liberationist Ecclesiologies of Latin America have much to offer the Church as a whole. At the most fundamental level Liberation Theology (here out LT) informs us that the Church exists only in so far as its life is constituted in solidarity with the poor. This is a much needed reminder for not only the Church in the majority world but also throughout the entire world in which, in many ways due to the unbridled spread of Capital, the have nots are often kept in bondage to perpetual poverty by the haves. In so far as the Church does not recognize this part of its life it is in collaboration with the principalities and powers of darkness rather than with God’s Kingdom.

            This leads to the other important aspect that LT can teach the Church as a whole, namely that the Church is a political body that stands in opposition to the violent, hegemonic and oppressive socio-economic-political arrangements of the world. This is true whether dealing with American empire in its guise of democratic late-capitalist development or communism, which, although not necessitated by its theory, has more or less unilaterally existed in consolidation with oppressive forms of totalitarian dictatorships. (This is not to say that communism is to be rejected, but rather to recognize its existential  quandary.)In response the Church offers a life of equality constituted around the life of Christ as existentially manifested in the eucharistically formed local ecclesia.

            Of import here is the idea of Leonardo Boff that the apostolicity of ecclesial life, and thus the ecclesiality of individual church bodies as they make and are made by the Eucharist, is not dependant on hierarchical apostolic succession but rather on the community’s life in the Spirit, which is what constitutes apostolicity. Here is the point at which universality and particularity can be connected. In the Eucharist, which can only be performed when the church is living a life of justice alongside mercy and faithfulness to one another and Christ, the whole body of Christ is present and the Church is constituted in the particular ecclesial community. This is the bottom-up approach to ecclesiology versus top-down. 


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