Edited by Daniel G. Groody and Gustavo Gutiérrez
Since the 1973 publication of Gustavo Gutiérrez’s groundbreaking work A Theology of Liberation, liberation theology’s central premise of the preferential option for the poor has become one of the most important yet controversial theological themes of the twentieth century. As the situation for many of the world’s poor worsens, it becomes ever more important to ensure that the option for the poor remains not only a vibrant theological concept but also a practical framework for living out the gift and challenge of Christian faith. The Preferential Option for the Poor beyond Theology draws on a diverse group of contributors to explore how disciplines as varied as law, economics, politics, the environment, science, liberal arts, film, and education can help us understand putting a commitment to the option for the poor into practice.
The central focus of the book revolves around the question: How can one live a Christian life in a world of destitution? The contributors address the theological concept of the option for the poor as well as the ways it can shape our social, economic, political, educational, and environmental approaches to poverty. Their creative examples serve as an inspiration to all those who are seeking to put their talents at the service of human need and the building of a more just and humane world.
Contributors: José O. Aylwin, Patricio A. Aylwin, Mary Beckman, Matt Bloom, Javier María Iguíñiz Echeverría, Georges Enderle, Stephen M. Fallon, Paul Farmer, Daniel G. Groody, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Pat Maloney, Sr., Mary J. Miller, F. Clark Power, Robert E. Rodes, Jr., Stephen Bede Scharper, Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Gerard Thomas Straub.
“Daniel G. Groody and Gustavo Gutiérrez have given us a series of testimonies to the significance of the preferential option for the poor in the lives of authors writing from a variety of disciplines and perspectives. By fostering such interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary conversation, the authors deepen our understanding of the concept and show us its relevance outside of theology. That the poor become subjects of history, and not only its objects, lies at the core of the liberation theological approach of Gustavo Gutiérrez; it reflects an approach to challenges that is at least as necessary as our technological, political, and economic approaches and, by so doing, touches on important theological issues.” — Jacques Haers, Catholic University of Leuven
“This is a timely, rich, and thought-provoking book. In the midst of a widening gap between rich and poor, a growing knowledge of the plight of the excluded, and a renaissance of a call to solidarity in the Church, the contributions remind us that there is a lot that can be done to alleviate poverty. This book with its interdisciplinary approach encourages us to think of solutions. A preferential option for the poor as a firm commitment of thought and action can be extended beyond the boundaries of theology. Gustavo Gutiérrez, the living icon of this option, and Daniel G. Groody, a respected authority on this topic, take us on a journey that is intellectually and culturally encouraging.” — Clemens Sedmak, F.D. Maurice Professor of Moral and Social Theology, King’s College London
“[T]he book’s value is clear: if enacting true change around the problem of poverty requires input from many disciplines, then those disciplines must be brought into conversation with one another. . . . This volume should interest a broad audience, including scholars; general readers interested in the question of poverty as it relates to various disciplines and industries; and undergraduate or graduate students in classes covering liberation theology, as a needed complement to theological approaches.” — Choice
“Tackling one of theology’s most important yet controversial issues, Groody and Gutiérrez ensure that the option for the poor remains a framework for living a Christian life.” — U.S. Catholic
“Drawing on a diverse group of contributors to explore how various disciplines such as law, economics, politics, the environment, science, liberal arts, film, and education can shed light on a commitment to the poor into practice. The book explores the question of how to live as a Christian in a world of destitution.” — Notre Dame Works
“. . . This book could not be more timely and relevant. . . . Each of the twelve chapters provides an inspiring and gripping testimony by a scholar or professional and their efforts to integrate the POP with their work as a lawyer, economist, businessperson, biologist, politician, professor, teacher, physician, filmmaker, or advocate for justice.” — Catholic Library World
“The essays are well written, personal, and yet replete with each author’s expertise . . . . The authors skillfully and clearly point out that the option for the poor is both personally unique and socially transformative.” — American Catholic Studies
“One of Gutiérrez’s key insights into missionary engagement was what is referred to as ‘a preferential option for the poor.’ . . . The importance of this publication is that while making an option for the poor can involve living in solidarity with the oppressed, the various authors demonstrate that it means above all using the skills and qualifications that one had gained in order to be in solidarity with those who are oppressed in their struggles for justice and dignity.” — Mission Studies
Winner of 2014 Second -place Award, Social Teaching Category, Catholic Press Association