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Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese
The aim of this paper is to provide a clear understanding of the issues that arise in "liberation theology". It is the author's contention that the most speculative and least defensible aspects of liberation theology reside in its economic and political assumptions – in particular, that Latin America constitutes primarily a market economy, and that, if poverty is rampant there, the market is to be blamed. Alas, even the most casual observers may note that the overall structure of Latin America society is far from being that of a free market. It may be argued that the popularity of liberation theology both in Latin America and in the United States reveals a gap in Catholic social thought. It is also true that Catholic socio-economic teaching has up to now been based on an agrarian mindset with zero-sum assumptions, thus causing the Church to focus on distributive justice while neglecting the development of an ethic of the production of wealth, sometimes referred to as the concept of productive justice. Nonetheless, there is reason to be confident in the resiliency of the Catholic intellectual framework, especially as expressed in the Natural Law tradition as such, and the ability thereof to incorporate, where necessary, the positive principles of classical liberalism, which finds sustenance in natural law.