Theology of Context as the Theological Method of Virgilio Elizondo and Gustavo Gutiérrez
Theology of Context as the Theological Method of Virgilio Elizondo and Gustavo GutiérrezSimon C. Kim, Ph.D.Director: John Ford, C.S.C., S.T.D. In many ways the theological reflections of Virgilio Elizondo and Gustavo Gutiérrez have been examples of the ecclesial fruitfulness of the second half of the twentieth century. Following the directives of Pope John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council, Elizondo and Gutiérrez have presented the Gospel message in relevant terms to their own people by engaging the world as the Church of the poor. Inspired by this moment in Church history, while at the same time recognizing the plight of their people in their poor and marginal existence, Elizondo and Gutiérrez discovered a new way of doing theology by asking a specific set of questions based on their local context. By investigating where God is present in the border-crossers of Southwestern United States and the poorest of the poor in Latin America, both theologians have uncovered a hermeneutical lens in re-reading scripture and deepening our understanding of ecclesial tradition. Their particular investigations have, in turn, benefitted the universal Church and overall society by prophetically reminding us of God's intent, the mestizo future of humanity through our encounters and the preferential option for the poor. Elizondo's mestizaje and Gutiérrez's preferential option for the poor arose out of a theology of context, a theological method that takes seriously the contextual circumstances of their locale. By utilizing the common loci theologici of scripture and tradition in conjunction with context, their own experience, Elizondo and Gutiérrez illustrate through their unique theologies how every group must embrace their own unique theological reflection. Examining their theological method and relating them to other situations such as my own has been the impetus for this dissertation. Through the monumental efforts of Virgilio Elizondo and Gustavo Gutiérrez, we are able to reflect in a similar theological manner locating the blessings of different worlds coming together in a mestizo manner while at the same time locating the poor and entering into solidarity with them to enjoy true communion with God and God's own. The moment we are able to accomplish this particular, yet universal task, the Kingdom is truly ours.
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