Liberation theology refers to forms of local or contextual theology that proposes that knowledge of God based on revelation leads necessarily to a Christian theological praxis that opposes unjust social and political structures. It has been described as “an interpretation of Christian faith through the poor’s suffering, their struggle and hope, and a critique of society and the Catholic faith and Christianity through the eyes of the poor”. Detractors have called it Christianized Marxism.
The best known form of liberation theology is that which developed in Latin America in the 1950s, however various other forms of liberation theology have since developed, including Asian, Black, and Palestinian liberation theologies, among others.
Although liberation theology has grown into an international and inter-denominational movement, it began as a movement within the Catholic Church in Latin America in the 1950s–1960s. Liberation theology arose principally as a moral reaction to the poverty seen[according to whom?] as having been caused by social injustice in that region. The term was coined in 1971 by the Peruvian priest Gustavo Gutiérrez, who wrote one of the movement’s most famous books, A Theology of Liberation. Other noted exponents are Leonardo Boff of Brazil, Jon Sobrino of Spain, and Juan Luis Segundo of Uruguay.
The influence of Latin American liberation theology diminished after proponents were accused of using “Marxist concepts” leading to admonishment by the Vatican‘s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in 1984 and 1986. The Vatican criticized certain forms of Latin American liberation theology for focusing on institutionalized or systemic sin, apparently to the exclusion of individual offenders and offenses; and for identifying Catholic Church hierarchy in South America as members of the same privileged class that had long been oppressing indigenous populations from the arrival of Pizarro onward.