liberation theology, belief that the Christian Gospel demands "a preferential option for the poor," and that the church should be involved in the struggle for economic and political justice in the contemporary world—particularly in the Third World. Dating to the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) and the Second Latin American Bishops Conference, held in Medellin, Colombia (1968), the movement brought poor people together in comunidades de base, or Christian-based communities, to study the Bible and to fight for social justice. Since the 1980s, the church hierarchy has criticized liberation theology and its advocates, accusing them of wrongly supporting violent revolution and Marxist class struggle.
See studies by P. Berryman (1987), A. Hennelly (1989), and J. R. Pottenger (1989).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.