February 11, 2001
volume 12, no. 42

Bishop, Theologian Debate "Indian Theology" in Mexico

    MEXICO CITY, Feb. 8, 01 ( - A Mexican bishop and a theologian engaged in an unexpected debate on Thursday when they expressed opposing views regarding the history of evangelization during the 11th Conference of Indian Pastoral Agents.

    Father Eleazar Lopez Martinez, president of Mexico's National Center for Support to Indian Missions (CENAMI) and a strong supporter of "Indian Theology," said: "The Church has completely forgotten the Indian people in the past 500 years."

    Addressing the 450 priests, religious, and catechists from Mexico, the US, Guatemala, and Bolivia, Father Lopez Martinez also said that the Church "has taken an active role in offending, stealing, oppressing, and exterminating" Native Americans.

    Bishop Carlos Suarez Cazares of the Mexican Diocese of Zamora, responded, saying: "Despite its limitations and sins, the first evangelization of the people in America is a universal model," and recalled Catholic personalities such as Bishops Vasco de Quiroga, Bartolome de las Casas, and Toribio de Mogrovejo, who "willingly gave their lives for bringing the Gospel to the needy."

    "The first missionaries discovered the way to integrate this culture with the Christian perspective," he said. "No one, neither those in the past nor us now, can preach another Gospel than the one of Jesus Christ," he added.

    The so-called "Indian Theology" has been a source of controversy among Catholic leaders. Even Pope John Paul II took part in the controversy when he said during his trip to Mexico in 1999: "Many today think to replace Liberation Theology with Indian Theology, which would be another version of Marxism. But I think that the solution is in solidarity."

February 11, 2001
volume 12, no. 42
News from the Universal Church
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