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Bernard Bleyer

The Poor as Christ's Sacrament

The Sermon of Paul VI in San José de Mosquera (1968)


From: Stimmen der Zeit, 11/2008, P. 734-746
webmaster's own, not authorized translation


    BERNHARD BLEYER, teacher of religion and project consultant in moral theology at the Catholic Academy of Regensburg, reminds of a sermon delivered by Pope Paul VI forty years ago in Colombia to which until now was paid little attention and in which he calls the poor "Sacrament of Christ".


For the audience in St. Peter's Cathedral it must have been an impressive speech to which they on 6 December 1962 responded with vociferous applause. The 71-year-old archbishop of Bologna, Cardinal Giacomo Lercaro, had just given his views on the debate about the draft of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - his first speech in the Council Hall. They say Pope John XXIII himself had asked him to do that with the words, "One hasn't heard you yet in St. Peter's. So speak." {1}

Not even three months had passed since the Pope on 11 September in the "Radio Message to Catholics in the World" had put an audible emphasis on the coming Council. A month before the opening of the Council he had taken the "social obligations" which "the church has always at heart" as his theme. As essential elements of church life they were integrated in the church's twofold orientation "ad intra" and "ad extra", because the message for the renewal of the church's internal structure (ad intra) couldn't be separated from its outward manifestation of life (ad extra). But the relation between "inward-outward" could not be thought as a symmetrical one, and also the dynamics of the radio speech in its entirety shows an imbalance:

"For the Pope in great detail described the church's relationship 'outwards' in its care for the dignity of man and for the fundamental equality of all peoples, but above all he gave it a new label by calling it 'the church of everyone and especially the church of the poor'." {2}

For John XXIII that relation of the church to the world is constitutive. The speech makes that relationship of the church even pointed, "Towards the under-developed countries the church proves to be what it is and wants to be: the church of all, especially the church of the poor." {3}


Cardinal Lercaro's Speech at the Council

In the context of the debate about the first draft of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (1-7 December 1962) Cardinal Lercaro takes up that argumentation.



He at first restrained himself from explicitly criticizing the proposed scheme "and contented himself with presenting the basic interest which according to his opinion would have to mould the experience of the Second Vatican Council and become its main objective" {4}. He explicitly acknowledges the speeches of the Cardinals Léon-Joseph Suenens and Giovanni Battista Montini. The two-month working together during the first session had at last caused a better understanding of what the Church "is to propose to today's people when they want to know the innermost mystery of the church, which is, as it were, the great sacrament of Christ (intimum Ecclesiae mystery, quasi 'magnum Sacramentum' Christ)." {5}

In his analysis of today's time, which was characterized by dramatic poverty, Cardinal Lercaro emphasizes, inter alia, that the growing confrontation with the poor and the poor peoples had just to aim at overcoming poverty by the poor getting the ability to become aware of their situation and of their rights. This was inevitable for that reason, as the Church's outstanding task was evangelization. The proclamation of the Gospel in the world does there justice to the biblical perspective where the poor were accepted as the addressees of the Gospel. With it he points to a serious gap in the elaborations of the submitted scheme "De Ecclesia" and at the same time states, "The mystery of Christ in the Church is always, but in a special way today the mystery of Christ living in the poor." {6}

Despite its diplomatic tone Lercaro's intervention aims at the reformulation of the proposed scheme "On the Church". He purposefully pleads for the inclusion of the essential and fundamental aspect of the mystery of Christ in the poor: of that aspect which was announced by the prophets as the authentic confirmation of the Messiah and raised by the Mother of the Redeemer in the Incarnation of the Word, had become clear and effective in Jesus' birth, childhood, his hidden life and service; of that aspect which revealed the fundamental law of the Kingdom of God and which gave the church a special characteristic beginning with the Apostles' community up to the times of the Church's most intensive internal renewal and external expansion. It was finally the standard which at the Messiah's Second Coming will be the criterion by which an eternal sanction or reward will be given (cf. Mt 25:31-46). Lercaro appeals to the Council Fathers:

"We won't do justice to our task when we do not make the mystery of Christ in the poor and the evangelization of the poor the centre, the soul of the doctrinal and legislative work of this Council. It mustn't be one topic among others but is to become the central question. Topic of this Council is the church, especially in so far as it is a church of the poor." {7}

After that demand the Archbishop interprets in concrete terms the change of the theological perspective connected with it and at once gives reasons: The Council must therefore put the poor into the centre, because "as sign and form of Christ's presence and redeeming power" they were really present.



The formulation with which Lercaro names that presence is remarkable: "sacramentum magnum, dico, in Christo et in ecclesia" ("the great sacrament, I say, in Christ and in the Church") {8}. He immediately explains what that means: The church knew three deep "truths of the mystery of Christ in the Church" - namely, his presence in the leadership of the church and his presence in the Eucharist. In the history of the Church both kinds of presence had been thoroughly thought over, whereas the third presence of Christ in the church must be dealt with more in detail: Christ's presence in the poor {9}.

Taking a retrospective look at the arguments Giuseppe Alberigo comments:

"In the auditorium Archbishop Lercaro of Bologna declared himself in favour of making the church of the poor the central theme of the whole work of the Council; it was 'the factor of synthesis, the point at which all previously treated issues become clear and understandable in their connection', and that applied also to the future work. Christ's presence in the poor ... was connected with the two other deep mysteries of Christ in the Church: the Eucharist and the episcopate." {10}

Félix Ortiz de Urtaran assumes that Lercaro had taken over the expression "church of the poor" from the former Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Maurice Feltin, who had used it already in 1959 in a pastoral letter {11}. Through the communication of the French worker priest Paul Gauthier also Lercaro had come across the concept and content of a theological reflection on the "Church of the poor". Already in October 1962, as Alberigo reports, an informal group of Council Fathers and Periti was formed under the chairmanship of the Archbishop of Lyon, Pierre-Marie Cardinal Gerli. Its meetings mainly took place in the Belgian College. The group called itself "Jesus, the church and the poor"; one of the driving forces was Paul Gauthier. Despite the group's influence over some Council Fathers and for which it also wanted to win recognition, "it nevertheless always remained a side issue of the Council" {12}. It was, inter alia, owed to the close connection of Cardinal Lercaro's "house theologian" Giuseppe Dossetti that the Cardinal was probably always well informed about the state of the discussions.

On 22 December 1962, only two weeks after the speech of 6 December, Lercaro repeated his theses in a radio and television speech {13}. Just under one year later, on 10 October 1963, Pope Paul VI asked Cardinal Lercaro to examine, to what extent the work of the group "Church of the poor" could be "used in the decisions of the Council" {14}. One year later, on 19 November 1964, Lercaro sent him the opinion requested with the remark "that among Catholic Christians there was still a lack in preliminary work on the issue of poverty and that the proposals made were therefore only provisional." Despite the forceful reasoning of Lercaro's Council speech and despite the applause which it got, it corresponded "in no way to the general view" {15} of the Council Fathers.



The progress of the Council has shown that the speeches of Cardinal Montini, the later Pope Paul VI, and of Cardinal Suenens far more influenced the following discussions about the orientation of the Council than that of the Cardinal from Bologna: Montini and Suenens "argued for the necessity to take up the question of the Church's presence in the world. So the issue of poverty got only a small share during the Vaticanum II." {16}

Although the Council's documents only with a few major exceptions {17} take the ecclesial position of a "church of the poor" as a theme, the theological struggle for it is not lost. A few years later it appears again in another place. Margit Eckholt gives a hint about it. What John XXIII had begun to think about with a "church of the poor" was only formulated in the post-conciliar documents of CELAM (Conference of Bishops of Latin America): "His vision of a 'Church of the poor', which during the Council itself met with only little response takes shape in the Latin American church after the Council." {18}


Theological Reasons for the Church of the Poor -
the Example of Gustavo Gutierrez

Exemplarily that assertion can be examined with the help of the theology of Gustavo Gutiérrez OP. Indeed, Latin America's theological reflection carries on the subject of the Church's reorientation in the world as a "Church of the poor". In spite of all the diversity of the drafts that can be found it remains remarkable that many authors and also official texts of CELAM (at least since 1968) quote the same biblical reference text as Cardinal Lercaro at the Council. Already in his first, enormously influential chief work on the theology of liberation Gutierrez is convinced that the King's Speech in St. Matthew (Mt 25:31-46) "for some authors summarizes the essential statements of the Scriptures" {19}. Weighing the exegetical arguments he sums up, "According to Matthew the judgment is based ... in the prophetic perspective on a new ethics growing out of the principle of universal love." {20} The love of God was realized in concrete human practice:

"Mediation by man is needed to reach God. Indeed, it is not enough to state the love of God was inseparably linked with the love of one's neighbour. For the love of God cannot but express itself in the love of one's neighbour." {21}

It had been Pope Paul VI who, starting from Mt 25:31-46, in his sermon on the occasion of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council on 7 December 1965 aptly stated, "We must get to know man, in order to recognize God." {22} Gutiérrez therefore gives the post-conciliar theology a task for its future work:



"In our contacts with people we meet the Lord, especially in contacts with those whose human faces have been disfigured by oppression, exploitation and alienation ... The salvation of mankind comes through them; ... Our attitude towards them or - better - our commitment to them decides whether our existence is conform to the will of the Father. That is the content of the revelation Christ gives us, identifying himself with the poor of Matthew's text. On this basis a theology of the neighbour should be developed, which we currently still lack." {23}

The weight that Jesus of Nazareth gives the commitment to the neighbour wrote an absolute preference in Christian theology's memory, which was constituted by the neediness of people dependent on aid {24}. The wounded, robbed, battered and starving, thirsty, naked, homeless, imprisoned man is the preferred place where man makes himself a neighbour or not:

"An effective encounter with Christ will only happen by concrete gestures of love and solidarity ('That you have done for me'). When we refuse love and solidarity, we turn away Christ ('That you have not done to me'). The poor, the other person becomes the revelation of the One Who is totally different." {25}

Gutierrez repeats the argument in the lectures on spirituality of liberation given at the Pontificia Universidad Católica of Lima in 1982. In the last chapter we read under the heading "A Double Movement":

"Based on our Latin American experience we can confirm which weight is to be attached to Matthew 25:31-46. It has helped us to recognize that it just also depends on the effect which the service to the neighbour has. It's true though that we are not only interested in the effect of the love of one's neighbour but also in something that could be called ... the grounding of Christian charity. The text has opened our eyes for the fact that the encounter with the poor through concrete works is also the inevitable bridge for the encounter with Christ." {26}

Summarising, it can be made clear that the multiplicity of references to Mt 25 in Gutierrez exemplifies that a theology founded in such a way has "its roots in the divine mystery which is revealed by Jesus Christ in the lives of the poor who fight for their liberation in the world of today" {27}. With it something essential has been said about Gustavo Gutiérrez' theology and about the Latin American theology of liberation in all. Nevertheless, the identification of that presence of Jesus Christ in the poor remains unsettled. One can't help asking in what way that revelation of Christ in the poor can be thought resp. in what way Jesus' presence in the poor can be described by those who believe in Jesus Christ? The liberation theological discourse points to that question. A binding, definitive answer does not turn up.



One could quote further references about the importance of the King's Speech in the Latin-American liberation theology. They all would remain fragments detached from most different contexts. But the probably most meaningful interpretation of the King's Speech and a continuation of the theological intent of Lercaro's speech at the Council has fallen into oblivion. It had expounded a horizon of meaning in the interpretation of Mt 25:31-46 which lets every theology that puts the practice of charity in the centre of its reflection argue on a basis well-founded, supported by the teaching authority of the church. None of the major liberation theological writings refers to it. It is about the rediscovery of Pope Paul's VI sermon in San Jose de Mosquera in Colombia.


The Sermon in San José de Mosquera

On 24 August 1968 Pope Paul VI in the Bogotá Cathedral opened the Second General Assembly of the Latin American episcopacy, which two days later began to meet in the diocesan seminary in Medellin {28}. Already in planning the first papal journey to Latin America one had connected the opening of the conference with the pope's participation in the 39th Eucharistic World Congress in Bogotá. Between the pope's arrival on Thursday morning, 22 August 1968, at 10.20 local time on El Dorado Airport in Bogotá and the opening of the Second General Assembly in the Catedral Primada de Colombia on the aforementioned 24th August some important appointments were fixed, including a meeting with the President of the Republic Carlos Lleras Restrepo, the consecration of 200 priests and deacons in the Congress Centre, the mass for the "campesinos" in San José de Mosquera and a meeting with representatives of the Jewish community in Bogotá.

Carmelo Juan Giaquinta could work out in detail that in the context of the journey four of the pope's speeches are particularly closely connected as regards content and are to be regarded as a whole: The sermon to the campesinos in San José de Mosquera (on 23 August at 11 clock), the speech on the occasion of the Day of Development (on 23 August at 17 clock), the sermon in Santa Cecilia (on 24 August at 8 clock) and the address to the assembled bishops (on 24 August at 10.30 clock) {29}. You can sum up the connection roughly in this way: Starting from the nameless situations of injustice from which the people of Latin America suffer, the pope described the Christian call for justice as the first and minimal requirement of Christian charity. Against the contemporary ideologies Christianity was convinced that this love for other people, for the neighbour took God's love towards people as its standard and, in addition, that people's love of God was the performance of interpersonal love turned round.



In all speeches mentioned Paul VI connects in points the motives of the two major religious events with each other: the impending implementation of the decrees of the Council on a continent full of injustice had always to keep in mind the centre of its starting-point, i.e. all efforts of the church to orientate must be carried by the belief in God's real, loving presence among men. It gives a truly Christian foundation to the church's charitable efforts.

Of the four texts the first has in language and intent the most recognizable profile. It sets a theological accent worth to be discussed in more detail. With it Paul VI follows the main reasoning steps given by Cardinal Lercaro in his speech at the Council. And still one more historical particularity must be mentioned: Cardinal Lercaro too was in those days in Bogotá. He was the Papal Legate of the 39th Eucharistic World Congress {30} and was during the Pope's visit to Colombia in close contact with Pope Paul VI. The reading of the following sermon gives the impression that by the authority of his own words the pope himself wants to get Lercaro's theological conviction recognition, which he had presented in an exemplary way during the Council.

On the day between his visit to the Eucharistic World Congress (22 August 1968) and the opening of the General Assembly of the episcopacy (24 August) the Pope on 23 August travelled to the diocese Facatativá in order there to say mass with 200.000 campesinos, farm workers and day-labourers from different regions of Latin America, at a place called San Jose de Mosquera, about 25 km outside Bogotá, hardly known even to Colombians. Never before a pope had said mass in a tropical landscape, on Latin American soil and, on top of that, in the presence of thousands of people who belong to the poorest of the poor of the country visited.

This extraordinary event he meets with unusual words. In a warm tone he already words his greeting, "¡Salve, Campesinos colombianos! ¡Salve, trabajadores de la tierra en América Latina!" ("Be greeted, Colombian peasants! Be greeted, farm workers in Latin America!") {31}. Already the beginning alone records something surprising: The encounter with them, so the Pope said, was one of the most longed for and wonderful moments of the whole journey; one of the inmost and most important moments of his apostolic and papal service. Immediately after a brief reference to his participation in the Eucharistic World Congress in Bogotá the pope unfolds an amazing theology in the interpretation of the speech of the Last Judgement (Mt 25:31-46). There he addresses the farm-hands and day-labourers with the words:

"You are a sign, a likeness, a mystery of Christ's presence. The sacrament of the Eucharist offers us his hidden presence, living and real; you too are a sacrament, i.e. a holy image of the Lord in the world,



a reflection which is a representation and does not hide his human and divine face ... The whole tradition of the Church recognizes in the poor the sacrament of Christ, which certainly was not simply to be equated with the reality of the Eucharist, but was in a completely analogous and mystical correspondence with it.

After that a reference to the biblical text from Mt 25 is given and added: The Lord himself awarded his presence to those who suffer, are hungry and sick, need pity, as if he himself was that hapless man, in accordance with Christ's mysterious and powerful humanism in the Gospel. Directly addressing his audience the Pope continues:

"Beloved sons, you are Christ for us. We, who have the extraordinary luck to be his deputy in the teaching authority of the truth revealed by him and in the pastoral service of the entire Catholic Church, want to discover the risen and suffering Christ in you. We have not come to get your devoted applause, which is always pleasant and moving, but to honour the Lord in your persons, in order to bow accordingly before them and to tell them that we show that love ... to Him in you, in you yourselves." {32}

The head of the church moreover assures that he knew the miserable circumstances in which the assembled poor lived. With this confession he connects a sentence which the bishops of the General Assembly in Medellin will take over, "You are now listening to us in silence, but we hear the cry that rises out of your suffering." {33} Although Paul VI admits to have no "Competencia directa" in "earthly issues" and also no means or authorities to practically intervene in their situation, he nevertheless touches important points: He'd continue to see himself as a defender of the cause of the poor and as a prosecutor of economic injustices. The church therefore promoted the appropriate social reforms of the countries, especially of those which were in favour of the poor. The pope supported those efforts at the international level: to be at the disposal of people was the primary purpose of wealth. The Pope himself wanted to be an example by reviving the best traditions of selflessness and service in the Church, which each time reminded us of the spirit of poverty as the divine master had preached and the Ecumenical Council had reaffirmed it. Toward the end of the sermon he shouts to the farm workers:

"Beloved sons, be lenient when we preach also to you the Beatitude of the evangelical poverty which is characteristic for you. Your conditions as humble human beings are better suited to achieve the kingdom of heaven." {34}

That is why the pope exhorted the assembled to put their confidence not in violence or revolution but to promote the existing Christian initiatives (such as the Catholic Action). The sermon concludes with the words, "Receive our apostolic blessing! It is for you, campesinos from Colombia, from Latin America, for you all, you workers in the field of the earthly world." {35}



Christ's Real Presence in the Poor - Analogous to the Eucharist

Where does Paul VI the conviction take from to call the poor Sacrament of Christ? By theologically classifying the term he does not only confirm its definition as regards content but gives it a theological dignity that is based on the Church's teaching authority. The Pope does that by interpreting the "sacrament of Christ in the poor" in parallel to the "Sacrament of the Eucharist", the "centre" and the "culmination of the Church's life" - wordings which 35 years later John Paul II will use in the Encyclical "Ecclesia de Eucharistia" (EE 31) - and by saying that the whole tradition of the Church ("toda la tradición de la Iglesia") could recognize and theologically express the Sacrament of Christ in the poor in that way in which it could state it in its tradition only for the Eucharist.

By that connection the pope gives the highest esteem which the church can ascribe to created things, namely the conviction of the real presence of God himself in Jesus Christ in the matter of bread and wine (cf. KKK 1333), in a perfect analogous and mystical parallel ("perfecta correspondencia analógica y mística") once more: Christ's presence which can be found in the poor.

Paul VI names the place for God's most awe-inspiring demonstration in the world, as the church had always done in its theology of the Eucharist, when it said about that sacrament that the Church lived on the Eucharist and that it was the "core of the mystery of the Church" (EE 1), that the Eucharist was the "source and summit of the whole Christian life" (LG 11), that it was "the most precious good which the church could have on its pilgrimage through history" (EE 9) and that it was regarded "as the culmination of all sacraments" (EE 34).

Then Paul VI makes clear that the church could, in a perfectly analogous and mystical parallel, express all its beliefs about the Eucharist also about the "sacrament of Christ in the poor": The poor too therefore formed the "core of the mystery of the Church" (EE 1); the poor were also "source and summit of the whole Christian life" (LG 11); the poor too were "the most precious good that the church can have on its pilgrimage through history" (EE 9), and the poor too were the "culmination of all sacraments" (EE 34).

By those words Paul VI gives the human and social service of Christian charity, which devotes itself to the sick, hungry, needy, "the poor and oppressed of all kinds" (GS 1) that place and status in the church, which the Church has always given the celebration of the sacrament of the Eucharist. Eucharist and the practice in favour of the poor belong together, due to their highest dignity in theology and salvation history. The profession of Christ's real presence in the world and people's possibility to meet him there are a central gift and task, sign and tool of the Christians in the world.



The pope even reinforces the parallel between Eucharist and practice in favour of the poor by the statement:

The poor are "a sacred image of the Lord in the world (una imagen sagrada del Señor en el mundo) ... You are Christ for us (vosotros sois Cristo para Nos)" {36}.

Since Paul VI recognizes Christ in the farm-hands and day-labourers, he appreciates the presence of the Son of God in them and through them. He deliberately uses for it theologically inspired concepts, as they are known from the Eucharistic adoration: "honrar al Señor en vuestras personas". You find references to the linked motifs in the Spanish versions of the later doctrinal documents of John Paul II: in the encyclicals "Ecclesia de Eucharistia" and "Evangelium Vitae". Both texts speak of the Eucharistic adoration and formulate, "honrar el cuerpo de Cristo" {37}. Both texts then quote verbatim from John Chrysostomos' sermons about the Gospel of Matthew {38}. Both texts quote the interpretation of the King's Speech in Mt 25:31-46:

"Do you want to honour the body of the Lord? Do not neglect it when it is undressed. Do not honour it here in the sanctuary with silk in order to neglect it then outside where it suffers cold and nakedness. The one who has said 'This is my body' is the same who has said, "You've seen me hungry and you gave me nothing to eat', and 'what you did for one of my brothers here, however humble, you did for me.' ... What use is it when the Eucharistic table is lavishly covered with golden chalices while he suffers hunger? Begin to feed the hungry, and then decorate the altar with what is left." {39}


Christ's Presence in the Eucharist and in the Poor

If the assertion is true that the theological reasons for the "church of the poor" were formulated in the conceptions of liberation theology's thought, then one with it continues the thematic line of the radio speech of John XXIII, of Cardinal Lercaro's Council speech, and of the sermon of Paul VI. Although that text fell into oblivion many prominent theologians have worked out and published comparable structures of argumentation. It is striking in this connection that they time and again referred to Mt 25.

Besides Gustavo Gutiérrez also the Jesuits of the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in San Salvador lean themselves on its significance. In his research on life and work of the Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Martin Maier SJ came upon a remarkable sermon at the Corpus Christi Festival of 1978, in which Romero, like Paul VI ten years before, established a link between Christ's presence in the Eucharist and the life of the poor and wretched:



"A veneration of the body and blood of the Son of Man seems perfectly appropriate as long as there are so many attacks on the body and blood in our population. In this celebration of our faith in honour of the presence of the Body and Blood of Christ ... I would like to include all the blood and the mountains of corpses which are killed here in our homeland and throughout the world." {40}

After Romero's assassination († 1980) Ignacio Ellacuría SJ († 1989) takes up the central argument and makes clear: In the poor "above all the presence of Jesus is given in a special way, a hidden but nonetheless real presence" {41}. Jon Sobrino SJ, standing on the same foundation, consistently emphasizes, "In the centre of the theology of liberation is God's presence in the poor." {42} Jesus Christ made himself in history for ever accessible. For it he announced a place where we can meet him in a dense and explicit way: in existentially threatened needy people. Just there, where the loving care for him in the humiliated becomes practice is the place of Christ's presence. It is a preferred Christian place, the place of the present Gospel: in the way that he promised to be with those to whom he preached the Good News of God's coming kingdom: the marginalized people of society.

In the theology of liberation the interpretation of Mt 25 was in many places and with well-known authors of great importance. It is all the more surprising that the most meaningful interpretation of the church's teaching authority fell into oblivion, even in the context of Medellin's foundation event - the creation of liberation theology supported by the bishops. The sermon by Pope Paul VI in San Jose de Mosquera on August 23, 1968 can be read as an expression of the Church's traditional belief: The Real Presence of God who once and for all reveals himself to be present through Jesus Christ in the world can twice be expressed by the church in perfect analogous and mystical parallel: Christ's presence in the Eucharist and Christ's presence in the poor and oppressed of all kinds.

Regarding the Church's practice and conception of itself we can say: When the core task, the actual mission of the church in the world and the reason for its existence is to bear witness to the Gospel and to preach it, and when it knows where the places of God's real presence are in the world, namely in the encounter of God and man in the Eucharistic and in the care for the poor and those who are hard-pressed by plight of all kinds, then it names two foundations on which it builds its legitimacy: The Church exists to witness Christ's life, cross and resurrection in the world; the church does that in the highest form by celebrating the Eucharist and by serving the poor and distressed.




{1} Quoted from P. Gauthier, Tröstet mein Volk. Das Konzil u. "die Kirche der Armen" (Graz 1966) 247.

{2} N. Klein, Aggiornamento u. "Zeichen der Zeit". Zu den Konzilsprojekten von Johannes XXIII. u. Paul VI., in: Visionen des Konzils. 30 Jahre Pastoralkonstitution "Die Kirche in der Welt von heute", edited by G. Fuchs and A. Lienkamp (Münster 1997) 27–50,34f.

{3} K. Wenzel, Kleine Geschichte des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils (Freiburg 2005) 16.

{4} G. Alberigo, "Die Kirche der Armen". Von Johannes XXIII. zum Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzil, in: Blutende Hoffnung (FS Gustavo Gutiérrez, Luzern 2000) 67–88,76.

{5} The original text is published in: Acta synodalia sacrosancti Concilii Oecumenici Vaticani II. Periodus prima. 4 Congregationes generales XXXI–XXXVI (Rom 1971) 327–330, 327.

{6} In the same place 327f.

{7} Quoted from M.-D. Chenu, "Kirche der Armen" auf dem Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzil, in: Conc(D) 13 (1977) 232–235,233.

{8} In the same place.

{9} See G. Ruggieri, Der schwierige Abschied von der kontroverstheologisch geprägten Ekklesiologie, in: Geschichte des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils (1959–1965), volume 2, edited by G. Alberigo and K. Wittstadt (Mainz 2000) 331–419,404–407.

{10} G. Alberigo, Die Fenster öffnen. Das Abenteuer des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils (Zürich 2006) 78.

{11} See F. O. de Urtaran, La opción por los pobres. Un poco de historia, in: Lumen 36 (1987) 216–246, especially 220, note 10.

{12} Alberigo (note 4) 71.

{13} Vgl. CivCatt 114 (1963) 285–286.

{14} See J. O. Beozzo, Die brasilianische Kirche nach dem Konzil – Zeichen der Zeit u. aktuelle Herausforderung, Das Zweite Vatikanische Konzil u. die Zeichen der Zeit heute, edited by P. Hünermann (Freiburg 2006) 451–476,456


{15} Alberigo (note 4) 83.

{16} G. Gutiérrez, Die Kirche der Armen, in: MThZ 42 (1991) 141–150,143.

{17} e.g. GS 1; LG 8,42,88; CD 13; PO 20, or the chapter about the economy in GS.

{18} M. Eckholt, Kirche der Armen. Die Rezeption des Zweiten Vatikanums in Lateinamerika, in: HerKorr Spezial: Das unerledigte Konzil. 40 Jahre Zweites Vatikanum (2005) 50–54,50,52.

{19} G. Gutiérrez, Theologie der Befreiung (Mainz 41979) 181.

{20} In the same place 184.

{21} In the same place 186.

{22} Final speech of Paul VI on 7 Dezember 1965, in: Das Konzil u. seine Folgen, edited by M. v. Galli u. B. Moosburger (Luzern 1966) 287–295,295.

{23} Gutiérrez (note 19) 190.

{24} See G. Gutiérrez, Evangelio y derechos humanos, in: the same, Densidad del presente. Selección de artículos (Lima 1996) 289–293,293.

{25} G. Gutiérrez, Befreiungspraxis, Theologie u. Verkündigung, in: Conc(D) 10 (1974) 408–419,412.

{26} See G. Gutiérrez, Aus der eigenen Quelle trinken. Spiritualität der Befreiung (München 1986) 124.

{27} C. Luy Montejo, Armut u. Spiritualität. Der Beitrag Gustavo Gutiérrez’ zur Theologie der Evangelisierung (Frankfurt 2006) 26.

{28} More in detail see: B. Bleyer, Subjektwerdung des Armen. Zu einem theologisch-ethischen Argument im Zentrum lateinamerikanischer Befreiungstheologie (Regensburg 2008) chapter 7.

{29} See C. J. Giaquinta, La pobreza y los pobres de América Latina en la enseñanza de Pablo VI., in: Pablo VI y América Latina. Jornadas de Estudio. Buenos Aires, 10–11 de octubre de 2000, edited by R. Papetti



(Brescia 2002) 127–139,134; S. Scatena, In populo pauperum. La chiesa latinoamericana dal concilio a Medellín (1962–1968) (Bologna 2007) 429–445.

{30} See F. Oberkofler, An den Wurzeln des Glaubens. Gott, sich u. die Welt finden. Kardinal Giacomo Lercaro (1891–1976). Leben, Werk, Bedeutung (Würzburg 2003) 117.

{31} See Paul VI., Ad quamplurimos Columbianos agri cultores v. D. "campesinos", undique in Campo v. "S. José de Mosquera" coadunatos, in: AAS 60 (1968) 619–623, 619.

{32} "Para honrar al Señor en vuestras personas, para inclinarnos por tanto ante ellas y para deciros que aquel amor ... de quien somos el humilde y último sucesor, lo rendimos a El en vosotros, en vosotros mismos."

{33} Quoted from Medellín, "Armut der Kirche", No. 2, in: Dokumente von Medellín, edited by Bischöfliche Aktion Adveniat (Essen 1972) 133–139,133.

{34} Paul VI. (note 31) 623.

{35} In the same place.

{36} In the same place 619.

{37} See Ecclesia de Eucharistia 20 and the commemorandum belonging to it 34; Evangelium vitae 87 and the note belonging to it 113.

{38} See M. Blum, "Aber Dir ist ein anderes Ziel gesetzt: Christus in den Armen zu bekleiden ..." (Hieronymus ep. 130,14) – Rezeptionsgeschichtliche Anmerkungen zu den Werken der Barmherzigkeit, in: "Dies ist das Buch ..." Das Matthäusevangelium. Interpretation – Rezeption – Rezeptionsgeschichte (FS Hubert Frankemölle, Paderborn 2004) 254–274,270.

{39} Quoted from Ecclesia de Eucharistia 20 and the note belonging to it 34; see J. Chrysostomus, In Evangelium S. Matthaei homiliae, 50,34, in: PG 58,508–509.

{40} M. Maier, Oscar Romero. Meister der Spiritualität (Freiburg 2001) 136.

{41} I. Ellacuría, Die Kirche der Armen, geschichtliches Befreiungssakrament, in: Mysterium liberationis. Grundbegriffe der Theologie der Befreiung, volume 2, edited by the same and J. Sobrino (Luzern 1996) 761–787,781.

{42} J. Sobrino, Gedanken über Karl Rahner aus Lateinamerika, in this journal, Spezial 1 (2004) 43–56,51.


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