I have been involved in a continuing dialogue recently with a pastor who insists that I distance myself from Archbishop Romero and liberation theology...not that I have ever particularly associated myself with them, but I simply have committed the sin of refusing to condemn them wholesale. I have been trying to find out for several weeks from my interlocutor what exactly about Romero I'm supposed to be condemning, and little has been forthcoming, except for suggestions that he was in some way Marxist. In trying to research it myself, I came across this gem.
"First, Romero is very clear - the Church must reject Marxism, but he also makes it clear people need to understand what Marxism is and what it is not."
"Why has the Church’s social doctrine often been confused as Marxist by its critics? There are two reasons. One, because the Church rejects all forms of economic materialism, including capitalism, as being too reductionistic. “The real problem, however, arises from the fact that alongside the traditional condemnation of Marxism the church now lays down a condemnation of the capitalist system as well. It is denounced as one version of practical materialism” (77)...
"Worldly interests try to make the church’s position seem Marxist when it is in fact insisting on fundamental human rights and when it is placing the whole weight of its institutional and prophetic authority at the service of the dispossessed and weak” (78)." "
He goes on to clarify how either capitalism or Marxism can be usefully employed in a limited fashion by Christians, as long as the Church does not fall prey to the seduction of political ideologies.