Where is the Church in the Time of COVID-19 Pandemic: Preferring the Poor via G. Gutierrez’ “Liberation” and the Catholic Church’s Social Teaching in the Philippine Setting

Journal of Social and Political

Sciences

ISSN 2615-3718 (Online)

ISSN 2621-5675 (Print)

Published: 22 April 2020

Where is the Church in the Time of COVID-19 Pandemic: Preferring the Poor via G. Gutierrez’ “Liberation” and the Catholic Church’s Social Teaching in the Philippine Setting

Jabin J. Deguma, Melona C. Deguma, Jemima N. Tandag, Harlene Marie B. Acebes

Cebu Technological University, Philippines

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10.31014/aior.1991.03.02.175

Pages: 363-374

Keywords: Preferential Option for the Poor, Liberation Theology, Catholic Church, Philippines, COVID-19

Abstract

In a world where everything seems to be measured in reference to money and economic progress, the problem of poverty becomes an increasingly urgent concern. The experience of poverty is even becoming problematic when the world seemed to be unprepared for times of pandemic. COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the suffering of the poor more than just a health risk, especially in the Philippine setting. In such a situation, people wonder, where is the church? Most critics of the Catholic Church in the Philippines utilized the social media platform in crying out their denunciation to Catholic Church leaders. It is in this context that the paper explores the ‘Liberation Theology’ of Gustavo Gutiérrez in relation to the Catholic Church’s Social Teaching, whether the experience of poverty and crisis is part of the socio-spiritual responsibility of the church. To do this, the paper utilized the exploratory method of textual analysis. Through examining the text of extant literature on Gustavo Gutiérrez’s Liberation Theology and the Social Teachings of the Catholic Church, the paper constructed a holistic understanding of “Preferential Option for the Poor.” The arguments presented in this paper could serve as the basis for current praxis of the different catholic congregations in the Philippines in mitigating the experience of crisis among Filipino poor amid COVID-19 pandemic.

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