Father of Liberation Theology visits Vanderbilt on 40th anniversary of movement

Gustavo Gutiérrez, author of A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, Salvation and other ground-breaking works on issues of spirituality and Latin American history, will speak on the Vanderbilt University campus Nov. 8.

Gutiérrez’s keynote address, “Liberation Theology: 40 Years Later,” will be at 7 p.m. in Benton Chapel. The lecture is sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies, which is hosting a series of events this year to examine the impact of liberation theology on Latin American society and politics.

Liberation theology, which places a strong emphasis on Christian churches aiding the poor and oppressed through political and civic involvement, began in the 1960s in Latin America. Gutiérrez, a Roman Catholic theologian and Dominican priest, is widely considered to be the father of the movement. Liberation theology played a strong role in Latin American churches’ involvement in human rights activities during the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship in Chile and other oppressive regimes.

Gutiérrez has been awarded numerous degrees including a doctorate in theology at the Catholic University of Lyon, France, in 1985. He has taught at the Pontifical University of Peru and at many colleges and universities in Europe and the United States, including the University of Notre Dame.

Gutiérrez’s talk is free and open to the public and will be preceded by a reception starting at 6 p.m. in the Divinity School’s Reading Room. Video of the lecture will be available later at http://news.vanderbilt.edu. For more information, call 615-322-2527 or click on www.vanderbilt.edu/clas.