We will write a custom Research Paper on Poverty in “A Theology of Liberation” by Gutierrez specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Gustavo Gutierrez has speculated on the efficacy of the theological method of administering poverty. In his reflections, among other things, he exposes three states of poverty which are well described in “A Theology of Liberation” (2016IntroChristianity4.pptx). As per Gutierrez, voluntary poverty is argued for as the most optimal way of struggling against poverty which must not be idealized.
The three states of poverty
The three states of poverty include poverty as a “scandalous condition,” “spiritual childhood,” and a synthesis of the two which might be deemed voluntary. The first one stands for material poverty, which is a lack of property. On the other hand, this state of poverty is not solely materialistic. A poor person is the one who is deprived of empirical and esthetic values as well. This is the reason for Gutierrez to assert that such poverty is designed to dehumanize: the materially and spiritually incapacitated do not realize they are being exploited and abused (2016IntroChristianity4.pptx).
Contrary to the first one, the second state which is described as “spiritual childhood” can be summed up as letting God into one’s life and becoming a witness – and a focus – of His presence. This state is characterized by indifference to property; however, as Gutierrez states, this indifference is rather ambiguous. Being indifferent to material entities cast doubt upon a person’s eagerness to the spiritual ones. As per Gutierrez’s experience, the poor who long for the property are the most willing to welcome God, which is why the indifference does not indicate religious predisposition (2016IntroChristianity4.pptx). A synthesis of these two states of poverty is the deliberate one, the one accepted out of solidarity and protestation.
The most critical aspect in which this state deviates from the former two is that a poor person perfectly understands the necessity to abide with God and, simultaneously, the debilitating effect of poverty. Such a person believes that, with the exclusion of the poor from society, God is excluded as well. Which is why, Gutierrez states, the voluntary poor are the most efficient in their attempts to administer poverty (2016IntroChristianity4.pptx).
Commitment and protest in a struggle for justice
The main goal that voluntary poverty sets is, thus, showing commitment and solidarity to the poor. This is done not to praise poverty as such but to help the poor. The voluntary poor are de facto committing a breach with their social status to communicate the way they are abused to the “scandalous condition” sufferers and help the “spiritual children” perceive another way of letting Christ into their lives. The voluntary poor are the ones who better understand the impropriety of idealizing poverty, as per Gutierrez. His position is that poverty is the ultimate evil that handicaps and dehumanizes people and must be abolished.
For that sake, the evil should be witnessed and fixed by those who can sympathize sincerely and conscientiously. Poverty is the exact opposite of justice, Gutierrez states, and the struggle for a just world begins with commitment with the poor and objection against their condition. The justice is, thus, constituted by the presence of God, the protest, and the commitment that is the only way to fight the evil that should by no means be idealized or overlooked (2016IntroChristianity4.pptx).
To conclude, Gutierrez states the necessity to struggle against poverty through sympathy and commitment. These will help witness the evil, as opposed to the idealization of it, and eventually eradicate it in the long run.
Gutierrez, Gustavo. A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation. Translated by Sister Caridad Inda and John Eagleson. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1973.