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From Liberation Theology to Ecofeminist Theology A Revolution Entrenched in the Church (III)

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Ecofeminist Theology Ideologically Supports the Most Extreme Demands of the Coming Pan-Amazon Synod

We will now continue with the topic of “ecofeminist theology” and its influence on the convocation of the next Synod on the Amazon.

As we will see, if they are not stopped, the transformations proposed by ecofeminist theologians can have profound consequences not only in the life of the Church but also in civil society, especially in countries with a predominantly Catholic population, as is the case in almost all of Latin America.

The Communist Party celebrates the emergence of ecofeminism

Jorge InsunzaAs it is easy to understand the CP, which has a hard time attracting grassroots to its squalid ranks, celebrates the appearance of this movement within the Church. Jorge Insunza, historical leader of the Chilean CP, states: “Without a doubt, when we talk about the need to create conditions to build a powerful political and social movement, we are simply echoing the current reality. … They have emerged to the forefront, and if the bearers of those contradictions act coherently they will have to collide with the wall of the system and understand the need overthrow it. I am talking about ecologism, feminism, original peoples, ethical values that as such begin to reappear in the Christian camp and even among people of other confessions. … we aspire to multiply our attention and work with the latter.”[1]       

FeminismoRecently, several leaders of the left published in the magazine Punto Final a manifesto titled “For More Left,” which returns to the same goal of supporting feminist and ecological groups as a means to advance towards complete socialism. “In an initial stage, the Committee of initiatives for more left will contact … social organizations … women for sexual diversity, ecologist women (who promote) the expansion of personal freedoms and overcoming discrimination of gender, ethnicity, age, religion and sexual orientation…”[2]  Unsurprisingly, the same issue criticizes the Accion Familia organization for “its attacks on homosexuals and feminism.” [3]

***

Let us look at the facts

We attended different panels at the aforementioned exhibition at the National Archives, titled “A Space to Pray, a Reflection to Think.” Very few attended, no more than 30 people, showing signs of having no interest in Marian devotion. The first speaker, the aforementioned Mother María de los Ángeles Martínez, with a fervor disproportionate to the audience, went about spinning some concepts that already gave a first idea of the direction in which her arguments were heading.

To understand them it suffices to read the list of topics and lecturers at the Exhibit. In addition to the aforementioned Mother María de los Ángeles Martínez, who spoke about “A New Woman for New Times,” Ricardo Salas[4] also spoke on “Marian Evangelization and Intercultural Reconstruction of Gender Roles in Chile;” María Palma,[5] an evangelical pastor, on “Evangelical Women: Between Eves and Marys.” The moderator was Loreto Fernández.”[6]

The second panel was devoted to the theme “Readings on Marianism from [the standpoint of] Sexual Diversity,” and had the participation of “lawyer Karen Atala[7] on “Neither virgins nor b*****s… nor women: just lesbians;” writer Juan Pablo Sutherland,[8] on “Marianism and Aesthetic Re-signification: Kitsch and Neo-baroque in Latin American Sexual Minorities,” Soledad Falabella, writer: “Ethics, Marianism and Gabriela Mistral: rereading from the publication of Niña errante, Letters to Doris Dana;” Lutheran theologian Ute Seibert:[9] “Looking at the Virgin from an Indecent Theology.” The moderator was Paula Palacios.” [10]

At the third panel, also devoted to the theme “Marianism, Domestic Life and Gender Views,” Josefina Hurtado[11]  participated with the topic, “Unveiling Mary.” Also participating in the exhibition were “theologian Doris Muñoz[12] talking about “The Silence of Others Regarding Mary.” The presenter was Emma de Ramón, an “ex-partner” of (also female) Judge Atala (top photo).

In order for the reader to assemble the puzzle of this silent neo-revolution within the Church, we will present the lecturers, their “readings,” and “works”.

As we said, Mother María de los Ángeles Martínez, of the Company of Mary, was the one who opened the exhibition talking about DIBAM’s “Marianism”. Mother Martinez is no ordinary nun. A Spanish national resident in Chile for several decades, she is one of the founders of the Gender Department of the Confederation of Religious of Chile (CONFERRE). She writes for the magazines Pastoral Popular and Testimonio, of the same CONFERRE. (From here onward, we will refer to the Confederation of Religious under its acronym CONFERRE).[13]

CONFERRE groups 58 masculine congregations, 158 feminine congregations and an unspecified number of contemplative congregations. “It totals about three thousand nuns.” [14]  Few congregations, if any, are not grouped in this Confederation. For this reason the orientation of its magazine Testimonio necessarily carries a lot of weight with all persons of consecrated life.

On the occasion of the beginning of the 2008 Pastoral Year, with the presence of all the clergy and religious of the Archdiocese of Santiago, presided over by Cardinal Errázuriz, the Spanish nun Maria de los Angeles was one of the few speakers among those present.[15] For its part, the Office of Communications of the Chilean Episcopal Conference calls her “a source to deepen vocational discernment and accompaniment.”[16]

With her bulky curriculum, Sr. María de los Ángeles does not hide her friendship with ecofeminist theologians Doris Muñoz and Loreto Fernández, participants in the same exhibition on Marianism, and recognizes that “three encounters … mark a time of transition in my life.” They are the conversations with José Comblin, the Belgian-Brazilian priest supporter of Liberation Theology;[17] with the mentor of that same theology, the Peruvian priest Gustavo Gutiérrez, and with Dolores Aleixandre, [18] “a woman with the Bible in her hands and her feet in history.”[19]

Mother María de los Ángeles publicly maintains that “women should have access to the priesthood … the Church is too patriarchal and machista (male-chauvinistic). A Council is needed to revise the dignity of women and their ministries.” [20]  Let it be known that none of these positions so openly contrary to Catholic doctrine has earned her any admonition on the part of the ecclesiastical authority.

To find out who the people that Gender Department of CONFERRE really likes, it is well to mention that its publication dedicated to the Month of Mary in 2009 expressed gratitude for “women’s collectives in our country and their promotion work”.

Among these groups of women who were thanked, the calendar highlighted “DOMODUNGO: Organization of Women in Talca,” the “Ecumenical Center Diego de Medellín” an ecumenical NGO which, since its inception 27 years ago, has had a program for women in search of gender justice.” And “CONSPIRANDO, a Collective of ecofeminist women who for several years have developed, among other activities, the prestigious publication (sic) that bears the same name.” [21]

Seeking to know more about “ecofeminist” doctrine, we researched the sources cited by Conferre: the “Con-spirando collective”, whose publication of the same name defines itself as a “Latin American magazine of ecofeminism, spirituality and theology.”

In the next article we will relate what we have found behind these organizations and their publications. It is increasingly clear that all the ideological support that the Synod of the Amazon is now encountering, the bringing together of feminist, ecological and indigenous causes, was already present for several years. The novelty is that it is now showing its power.

 Excerpts from the book, Desde la Teología de la Liberación a la Teología ecofeminista. Una revolución enquistada en la Iglesia. Download in Spanish here.

 

  • [1] “Conferencia Nacional del PC. Discusión a puertas abiertas”, May  5, 2000. Cf. http://www.puntofinal.cl/000505/nactxt2.html
  • [2] The manifesto “Por Más Izquierda” was signed by “Alvaro Ramis, theologian, former president of FEUC, Faride Zerán, Jorge Arrate, former leftist candidate to for president, Manuel Cabieses, director of Punto Final magazine. Victor Hugo de la Fuente, director of Le Monde Diplomatique (Chilean edition). Cf. Punto Final, July 9- 22, 2010.
  • [3]Mapa de la Ultraderecha Católica”, Op. cit. pp. 8 y 9
  • [4] Ricardo Salas, PhD, dean of the College of Social and Juridical Sciences of the Catholic University of Temuco. (2008), was chaired professor at the Catholic University Silva Henríquez and guest adviser on philosophy for the College of Religious and Philosophical Sciences of the Catholic University of Maule.
  • [5] Maria Palma : Member of the editorial staff of Pastoral Popular magazine, for which Msgr. J. Hourton has been an  habitual writer. The magazine is issued by the Centro Ecuménico Diego de Medellín, aligned with Liberation Theology.
  • [6] Loreto Fernández: In 2007, the webpage of the Archbishopric of Valparaíso informed: “The Valparaiso diocese is present at the V Conference. Most Ver. Santiago Silva, auxiliary Bishop of Valparaíso and Loreto Fernández, Executive Secretary of the Department of Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue of our diocese have been invited to the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate that will be held in the Sanctuary of Our Lady Aparecida in Brazil this coming May 13 to 31. … Loreto Fernández Martínez has been included on the list of lay persons invited to participate in this Conference. Loreto Fernández is a teacher of religion and works at the Diocesan Department of Catholic education (DEC) and is Executive Secretary of the Department of Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue of our Diocese. Cf. Comunicaciones Valparaíso http://www.obispadodevalparaiso.cl/
  • Valparaíso, 320//2007, emphasis ours. More recently, in February 2010, she directed a retreat in La Paz, Bolivia. She now works for the diocese.
  • [7] Karen Atala: Famous for losing a tuition lawsuit by her husband over their two children, because of her condition as a lesbian (2004).
  • [8] Juan Pablo Sutherland, gender theory activist.
  • [9] Ute Seibert: Member of the “Con-spirando” collective, was in charge of the Programa de teología desde la mujer del Centro ecuménico Diego de Medellín in Santiago (1988-1994). She recently traveled to Germany in her capacity as a Protestant pastor.
  • [10] Paula Palacios is the coordinator of the project “Biblioteca Popular, Pedro Mariqueo 2005-2008” the goal of which is “To build the resignification of the cultural expressions of settlers reflected on the occasion of the anniversary of the village of La Victoria … Strengthen the settlers’ identity memory through the recompilation of audiovisual and photographic records of the history of La Victoria village. To recover the street as an expression of popular culture…” Cf. http://www.slideshare.net/zmjuanpablo/biblioteca-popular-pedro-mariqueo-paula-placios-presentation
  • [11] Josefina Hurtado Neira: Author of several books about “Derechos Sexuales y Políticas públicas” [Sexual Rights and Public Policies], participant of “Con-spirando” collective  (1989).
  • [12] Doris Muñoz: Belonged to “Con-spirando”; in the 1980’s,  did parish work  under the Columban Fathers; later she participated in the Center for Education and Pastoral Reflection of the Mariknoll Fathers. She practices Tai Chi. (Cf. “Lluvia para florecer”, Juy 2002, Colectivo Con-spirando, pp.219-241).
  • [13] “CONFERRE stands for Council of Senior Male and Female Superiors of Chile’s Men and Women Religious. It is a religious association of Pontifical Right, erected by the Holy See and dependent on the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and also a member of the Latin American Confederation of Religious (CLAR). The conference enjoys public, ecclesiastical and civil legal personality. Its legal representative is the President of the Conference. It is governed by the legislation in force in the Church and by its Statutes.”
  •  Cf. http://www.conferre.cl/presentacion.html
  • [14] Mother Flor María Garrido, Conferre Secretary General, Cf. Caras magazine, May 13, 2010, “Las monjas deberían acceder al sacerdocio”.
  •  
  • [15] (By a ) “… call from the Archbishop of Santiago, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz during the beginning of the 2008 pastoral year, made in the morning of March 13 at the Extension Center of the Catholic University. Vicars, parish priests, men and women religious, permanent deacons and lay pastoral agents came to the Juan Francisco Fresno Hall … Finally, sister María de los Ángeles Martínez, of the Company of Mary; Fr. Andrés Moro, Prefect of Theology of the Pontifical Seminary of Santiago; deacon José Higueras and layman Jaime Huerta gave witness of their conversion regarding the Aparecida Document.” (cf. http://noticias.iglesia.cl/noticia.php?id=6262).  
  • [16] “The Press and Communications Office of the Chilean Bishops’ Conference suggests to the media, the following sources to deepen their discernment of vocational counseling… Sister María de los Ángeles Martínez, of the Company of Mary” (Cf. http://www.iglesia.cl/prensa/prensa_fuentes_voca.html).
  • [17] In one of his lectures to the “Somos Iglesia” [We Are Church] movement, Fr. Comblin explained the need to unite ecologists, feminists and indians to overcome the fiasco of leftist movements. “… The second powerful movement is the feminist movement … which can still grow a lot and already goes through an outstanding and remarkable expansion, but it also has a specific project, that is, women’s rights, the recognition of equality between men and women, so it is oriented to the woman’s condition. Then they hardly fit into an ensemble. The Indians pursue a project, the women pursue their project, then you have the ecological movement that also has its specific goal. So you have a diversity of movements with a specific goal. As long as they are disunited and separate, they have little change to make their own projects prevail, because in  each area they meet a very strong opposition and reistance, so the queston is: how can all this be integrated?” Cf. (http://alainet.org/active/5212&lang=es).  
  • [18] Dolores Aleixandre, a sister of the Sacred Heart, is professor of Holy Scripture at the College of Theology of the University of Comillas, Spain. For more information about her feminist position, see (http://www.fespinal.com/espinal/llib/es43.pdf).
  • [19] Cf. “Pastoral Popular”, November-December 2009.
  • [20] Cf. “Las mujeres deberían acceder al sacerdocio”, Caras magazine, May 13, 2010.
  • [21] Cf. http://www.iglesia.cl/CONFERRE/Calendario_mes_Maria.pdf.
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