The Preferential Option for the Young, by Michael Pakaluk

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John Paul II in Puebla

By Michael Pakaluk, The Catholic Thing, Sept. 17, 2019

Michael Pakaluk“The different theologies of liberation are situated between the ‘preferential option for the poor,’ forcefully reaffirmed without ambiguity after Medellin at the Conference of ‘Puebla’ on the one hand, and the temptation to reduce the Gospel to an earthly gospel on the other. We should recall that the preferential option described at ‘Puebla’ is two-fold: for the poor and ‘for the young.’ It is significant that the option for the young has in general been passed over in total silence.”

So wrote Cardinal Ratzinger in the CDF’s 1984 Instruction on Certain Aspects of the “Theology of Liberation” in a passage setting down principles for teasing out the good from the bad.  The criterion he sets down here is this: talk of preferential option for the poor, without regard to an equally compelling preferential option for the young, is likely to be misguided.

In support, he refers to the Document of Puebla by John Paul II, where the great pope urges the bishops of Latin America to redouble their efforts at evangelization.  The saint picks out three themes for special emphasis by the bishops – which today can seem to us eerily distant.  ….