Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff arrived in Rome on September 2 to answer questions from the Vatican on "liberation theology", of which he is a leading exponent.
2/9/84 ROME, ITALY
SV Father Leonardo Boff through customs greeted by friends
SV Boff speaking to reporters (Italian SOT)
CU & SV Cardinal Ratzinger arriving for news conference (2 shots)
CU Title of papal document PULL BACK TO journalists
SCU Ratzinger speaking (Italian SOT)
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Background: Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff arrived in Rome on September 2 to answer questions from the Vatican on "liberation theology", of which he is a leading exponent. Father Boff was due to appear on September 8 before the Vatican's doctrinal control body headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Father Boff told reporters he thought the exchange of views would be fruitful. "Liberation theology" uses Marxist analysis to build up a doctrine of Christian action against social injustice. The Vatican is concerned about its Marxist influence, particularly in Latin America where the new theology has been developed and practised. On September 3, Cardinal Ratzinger presented a directive ordered by Pope John Paul II entitled "Instruction on certain aspects of liberation theology". It condemns the use of Marxism in conjunction with theology. Cardinal Ratzinger said he hoped the long-awaited document would free the church from doctrines which impeded reform through their tendency to lead to totalitarianism. It was pure coincidence, he said, that the directive was issued the day after Father Boff's arrival. The Cardinal rejected the notion that the Vatican did not understand the realities of Latin American politics. Church leaders from the region worked on the directive, which acknowledged social injustice, human rights abuses by military dictators, and "the savage practices of some foreign capital interests" in Latin America.