The Leadership Center for Social Justice Podcast

The Revival of Liberation Theology in Latin America: A Conversation with Maria Clara Bingemer

March 20, 2023 Season 1 Episode 8
The Leadership Center for Social Justice Podcast
The Revival of Liberation Theology in Latin America: A Conversation with Maria Clara Bingemer
Show Notes Transcript

This episode’s guest is Maria Clara Bingemer, Professor of Theology at the Pontificial Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In this episode, we are in conversation with Maria about her book Latin American Theology: Roots and Branches (Orbis Books, 2016). Maria discusses the origins of liberation theology in Latin America, the Vatican's repression of theologians over several decades, and the dramatic changes that have taken place since the beginning of the pontificate of Pope Francis.  Following Gustavo Gutiérrez, she speaks of the universal pretensions of liberation theology as a proposal that centers the poor as both the subject and method of an entirely new way of doing theology. She also shares about recent theological developments in eco-feminism and the global struggles for a habitable earth amid the climate catastrophe.


Latin American Theology: Roots and Branches

Episode Transcription available here

Host: Ry O. Siggelkow

Producer: Adam Pfuhl

Podcast Engineer: Michael Moua

Music: Kavyesh Kaviraj

Episode Recorded on October 31st, 2022

You can find out more about the Leadership Center for Social Justice on our website and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

In Conversation with Maria Clara Bingemer

Ry Siggelkow [00:00:00] Hello, everybody. I'm Ry Siggelkow and I direct the Leadership Center for Social Justice at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. Today, I'm excited to be in conversation with Maria Clara Bingemer, a professor of theology at the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Maria is widely published in many languages. Her English works include A Face for God: Reflections on Trinitarian Theology for Our Times, Witnessing: Prophecy, Politics and Wisdom and Mary, Mother of God, Mother of the Poor. More recently, she published Simone Weil: Mystic of Passion and Compassion, The Mystery and the World: Passion for God in Times of Unbelief and Latin American Theology: Roots and Branches, which is the text that I would like us to discuss today. Welcome to the podcast, Maria. 

Maria Clara Bingemer [00:00:59] Thank you. Thank you. 

Ry Siggelkow [00:01:02] Maria, I thought we could begin our conversation today by asking you to talk about what you call the revival of Latin American theology in our time. In your book, Latin American Theology: Roots and Branches, you say that “Things have changed radically in the Vatican since Francis became pope. The Latin American pope turned the world's eyes again to the church and the theology of his continent.” You note that “the theologians who had been punished and forbidden to teach are now returning to the universities where their publications are again in bookstores being studied and discussed.” To the question, is liberation theology dead? You reply: “Clearly it is not.” I wonder if you could speak to these changes, the role of Pope Francis in shifting the conversation, and why you think this is so important? 

Maria Clara Bingemer [00:01:56] I think the arrival of Pope Francis to the Vatican as a pope was very important because, in my opinion, he brought the language of Vatican II back. We didn't hear anymore about Vatican II. It seemed that it was silenced for 30 years. And then he began immediately to bring back the language of the whole Council and mostly the question of the poor. The question of the poor was at the center of his pontificate, since the beginning. Even his first document Evangelii Gaudium has a whole chapter on that. Chapter seven is on social justice, the poor, etc.. And at the same time there was great enthusiasm in some sectors of the Latin American church – because it's not unanimous, never – but in some sectors of Latin American church, and I am included in that, because I belong to the second generation of liberation theology. Gustavo Gutiérrez and Leonardo Boff, all those were my masters and I learned with them. I had them as professors, some of them at the university, and then I worked with them. So all those texts were rehabilitated; those who were marginalized for some time. This was very impressive and very good. And this gave a very positive feeling to the theology of the continent, to feel that our proposal – because liberation theology is a proposal of reading the whole revelation and experiencing faith with a priority on the poor – so we felt that we were not crazy. And this was not that. It was very alive. And there was a revival which happened. 

Some of the theologians who were really punished and couldn't publish at a certain moment were rehabilitated either by the same pope, with discourses and speeches and in the same universities, or by the publications of their texts that were not well known. The texts of Gustavo Gutiérrez, Leonardo Boff etc. were very well known, translated in many languages, etc. But people like Rafael Tello, for instance, who is an Argentinian theologian, was not allowed to teach anymore. At a certain moment, he was depressed. And he has precious things on popular religion, etc. Then all his texts were again published. But it was not only that, I think. It was felt that liberation theology was not dead. The reason why I entitled my book Roots and Branches was because from those roots there were new branches coming. So to think that the integrity of liberation, of integral liberation is not only on the economical and social and political terms or angle, but also in the cultural one, anthropological one. And so what came were the questions of ecology; Leonardo Boff is an authority on that. He began immediately after '89. Leonardo Boff started thinking and publishing a lot on that. And there are many theologians now in Latin America who think, mostly after Laudato Si, the encyclical of Pope Francis, and also on gender questions and diversity and interreligious dialogue. So it was not only the question of justice and poverty. That always remains there, as Gustavo Gutiérrez says, because unfortunately there is always the poor. Poverty didn't disappear; it grew. So liberation theology is more than ever necessary, but also there is a broader thought about cultural-anthropological poverty, besides economic and political. 

Ry Siggelkow [00:06:57] In many conversations about liberation theology, there is an assumption that it began in the era of the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath. But you locate the historical roots of liberation theology in Latin America to a much earlier period within the context of resistance against colonialism. You also point out that liberation theology in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s was not only a Catholic phenomenon, but had distinct Protestant roots as well. Among figures like Rubem Alves, Emilio Castro, Julio de Santa Ana and José Míguez Bonino, among many others. I wonder if you could speak about the deeper roots of liberation theology and why you think it's important to highlight the diverse theological origins of liberation theology in Latin America? 

Maria Clara Bingemer [00:07:46] Yeah, I think since the beginning, since the colonizers arrival in the continent there were the seeds of what would be liberation theology in the 20th century. Gustavo Gutiérrez points to the work and the texts of the Dominicans or the missionaries who were there and denounced the violence against the original peoples, the indigenous, etc. Frei Bartolomé de Las Casas, Frei Antonio de Montesinos; all those who already denounced the violence against the poor, the indigenous, the slaves, the African American, African descendants, etc.. So that's why I think it's very important to situate the intuition of liberation theology before the Medellín conference in 1968. And it is true that the movement who originated that intuition and that ecclesial assumption was not only Catholic, perhaps mostly Catholic, because the continent is mostly Catholic, but not only. There were already Protestants since the beginning, including Míguez Bonino, for instance, who was an observer at Vatican II and he was very present and very active. Rubem Alves is one of the key authors of liberation theology from the beginning. So there were many important figures and afterwards since the 80s. There is a group of women too, there are Catholic and Protestant women. The Protestant, very important, are Elsa Támez and Beatriz... 

Ry Siggelkow [00:09:48] Melano Couch 

Maria Clara Bingemer [00:09:49] Yes. 

Ry Siggelkow [00:09:50] Yes. I know her work well, from Argentina.

Maria Clara Bingemer [00:09:53]  Nelly Martinez, I believe, and many others. Elsa Támez is a very shiny figure as a great Bible scholar, and the first meeting of women theologians in Latin America was convened by her. And it was ecumenical, very naturally, very comfortably, a very friendly ecumenism, since the beginning. I was there and I experienced that. So there were not so many theories about ecumenism. It was ecumenist practice in the way we talked about ourselves, our place in the church, our dreams, our frustrations. In '86, in Buenos Aires, there was this first meeting of women theologians. I don't speak very much about this in the book, but it was like that. Now there are many groups of women of Latin American theologians, female theologians who are making very important work in spite of not having, in my point of view and in others’ point of view too, the visibility they should have. I think our continent is still very patriarchal. Our church is very patriarchal. I think in the North you give us a very good example of how feminist theology and the female voices are visible and heard and with great importance in the theological community. 

Ry Siggelkow [00:11:34] In some textbook treatments of the topic, liberation theology is portrayed as a theology that emphasizes the political and social dimensions of faith commitments, one that centers, of course, liberation as a guiding motif or theme. But I wonder sometimes if these treatments miss the fact that the Peruvian theologian who you've already mentioned, Gustavo Gutiérrez, one of the major figures of liberation theology, of course, argued that liberation theology is not merely a subfield or a subset of theology, but really a proposal for an entirely new way of doing theology. I think this is not always fully understood by readers of liberation theology. He famously spoke of theology as “critical reflection on praxis in light of the Word of God.” I wonder if you could speak to what Gutierrez meant by this and the ways in which liberation theology introduced not merely a new sub-theme in theology, but a radical re-envisioning of the theological task itself. 

Maria Clara Bingemer [00:12:37] Yeah, this is a very important point, and I would add a second sub-point to this. He emphasizes that liberation theology is a critical reflection on praxis in light of the Word of God, but also it is an encounter, an existential encounter with the poor in the face of the Lord. So there is a spirituality that is mystical, which is at the bottom of the whole experience and the whole movement. So it is true that liberation theology did not intend to be a section of universal theology, of a kind of theology done in a certain context. It is that, but this particularity, this particular context, had the pretension to be universal because the theologians of the first time of the first moment understood themselves as rooted in the gospel. And the gospel says that Christ is present in person in the poor, in anyone who experiences any kind of vulnerability, of diminishing, of oppression. So, for those [people] should be directed the priorities of the church. So it does not make sense to have one course or one section for liberation theology. It should be transversal and be present in any and all of the sections of theology: in dogmatics, in Bible studies, in moral theology, in everything. 

That is the spirit of the collection that was planned in the 70s and 80s. It should have had 50 volumes, but it had to stop at the 20th because of the intervention of Rome. In this collection, there were previewed volumes on canon law. Canon law seen from the perspective of liberation. I collaborated on two of them: eschatology with João Batista Libanio, who had been my teacher, and then we wrote the book together. He wrote three quarters, and I wrote one chapter, but I took part in the whole process of the book, and then we went on. And then the book on Mary.

But then we were in the meetings of the authors, Leonardo Boff was the leader. He was organizing everything because he was the editor and director. He had contact with the other editors. And the books are published in English and French, in German, in Spanish, in many languages. The difficulties became more and more oppressive because finally the books had to pass through seven censorships. Seven censorships. It takes two years. Then the bibliography is already old. It's impossible. And then the decision was made to stop it. It was impossible to go on with the project. But that is proof of what you say, quoting Gutierrez, it is a project to rethink the whole theology, and it's not a section of theology. And that's also in the discourse of Leonardo Boff and then the book he wrote about the basic communities. No, the basic communities are not only a new way of being church, they are a new way for the whole church to be. So this pretension of totality was very present in liberation theology. And the conviction that theology was always defined as intellectus fidei but liberation theologians, Jon Sobrino created, no, he found, this new definition: intellectus amoris. To say intellectus amoris is to say reflection on praxis, that is, theology as a loving praxis, a charitable praxis. 

Ry Siggelkow [00:17:43] Could you speak a bit more about this mystical dimension that you wanted to add? I know you've written on the mystics before and how that relates to liberation. 

Maria Clara Bingemer [00:17:50] Yeah. Because one of the accusations against liberation theology was that the theologians didn't pray and they didn't take into account the spiritual dimension of theology. They were Marxists, atheists. They were materialistic. They didn't care about the mystical dimension of Christianity. And that's not true. That's not true. Gustavo Gutiérrez wrote a famous book, a very beautiful one, We Drink From Our Own Wells, speaking about the spirituality of liberation, those wells, this water where this theology drank. And he said this famous sentence. And he said this sentence a little bit quoting an orthodox theologian. But he gave it his particular tone. "If I am hungry, it's a biological problem. If my brother is hungry, this is a theological problem."

And so to meet in the encounter, to experience the hunger, the lack of things, the lack of justice that pertained not only to me, but the others and the whole people collectively. The church in Latin America acted a lot, building very good schools and good universities, thinking that it was important to form the leaders of society, so they would create a just society. But this did not happen in four centuries. That did not happen. Then it was a conviction of the church in Medellín that we have to go from the center to the margins, to live beside the poor. There is the place to make theology because there we can encounter Christ in the face of the poor. 

Many religious communities made this option. They closed their schools and they went to the peripheries and the very poor, to the grassroots, and they made their religious community there. They celebrated there. They lived there. And also some of them lived there and went to the university to teach and then came back. That happened with Ronaldo Muñoz in Chile, with Benjamín González Buelta in the Dominican Republic. With Clodovis Boff. Clodovis Boff was our professor in the Catholic University of Rio. He spent one semester in Acre, in the north of Brazil, in the very poor region, and then one semester teaching, because they felt it was necessary to hear, to listen to what the poor experience, what they claimed for, and then reflect, enlightened by the scripture and the tradition, and build a theology. So it is not at all materialistic. It's a very spiritual and mystical method, it’s a very mystical method.


Ry Siggelkow [00:21:24] As you were talking, I was reminded of Ignacio Ellacuria's work. And, for him, the crucified people, it is a kind of mystical conception of Christ's presence in the world. 

Maria Clara Bingemer [00:21:37] Of course, of course. 

Ry Siggelkow [00:21:38] And so it can't be reduced. Liberation theology, I hear you saying, can't be reduced to a kind of materialism, but also can't be reduced to a kind of ethical theology or a theology that is just focused on ethics or a kind of actionist theology. It's much broader. It's much deeper than that. 

Maria Clara Bingemer [00:21:58] Yeah. 

Ry Siggelkow [00:21:58] Yeah. It's a theology of prayer. 

Maria Clara Bingemer [00:22:00] Yeah, and the ethics is born from that. This creates a new ethic. Carlos Mesters, who is a very famous Bible scholar, created the methods of the biblical circles, those who gave birth afterwards to the basic communities. So people gathered around the biblical text. They brought the cases they lived during the week, the difficulties, and then a passage of the Bible in light of it. And then they thought about actions to do communitarily. So Carlos Mesters says, the logic doesn't create love, but love can create a new logic. So it is the mystical experience of a loving encounter with God in the face of the poor that can create a new logic, a new way of reflection, of doing theology. 

Ry Siggelkow [00:23:04] At the second Assembly of the Episcopal Conference of Latin America, which took place in Medellín, Colombia, in 1968, the bishops wrote the following in their final document and I just want to read this for our listeners. They wrote: “The Latin American bishops cannot remain indifferent in the face of the tremendous social injustices existent in Latin America, which keep the majority of our peoples in dismal poverty, which in many cases becomes inhuman wretchedness. A deafening cry pours from the throats of millions of men asking their pastors for a liberation that reaches them from nowhere else.” In a later section of this same document, the bishops become more concrete about their commitments. They say, “We, the bishops, wish to come closer to the poor in sincerity and brotherhood, making ourselves accessible to them. This has to be concretized in criticism of injustice and oppression, in the struggle against the intolerable situation which a poor person often has to tolerate, in the willingness to dialogue with the groups responsible for that situation in order to make them understand their obligations.” 

11 years later, in 1979, at the next general conference at Puebla, Mexico, the bishops spoke of "our preferential option for the poor," which has become something of a touchstone of Catholic social teaching, especially liberation theology. Drawing on these traditions, you speak of “the poor as both the subject and method of liberation theology.” I wonder if you could speak to the meaning of the poor in liberation theology. Why is it expressed as both a socioeconomic category, a question of class, of course, and also a theological category or a theological option?

Maria Clara Bingemer [00:25:04] Yeah, the poor. First of all, I think the poor are not romanticized poor but the real poor. This is very clear because the majority of the population of the Latin American continent is poor and even one-third of the population is below the line of poverty. So, misery. Brazil at this moment has 33 million people who are hungry, don't have what to eat, don't arrive at the end of the day having eaten what they need to eat to live. They dig into the discarded things to find food. It's a terrible thing. And in ‘68, it was the situation. Also, no, it didn't become better. It became worse. 

So it's kind of the same thing that many years later, Pope Francis will say in one of his exhortations, Gaudete et exsultate, about holy sainthood, about holiness. He says that a person could be considered as a saint if he or she practiced the works of mercy, the material works of mercy, and the spiritual works of mercy. But, he notes, the material has priority. Because if a person doesn't eat, if a person doesn't have somewhere to live, a roof over his or her head. If a person doesn’t have enough to raise their children, they can't arrive to experience, not to be conscient of the needs of the works, of the spiritual works of mercy. So he emphasized the priority of this. And it is a little bit like that for the bishops. We have to address that, because many said “no, the mission of the church is spiritual.” No, the mission of the church and the church has a glorious tradition, and that is also to be close to the poor and to provide for their needs and to organize charity so they have enough to eat, to live, because the mission of the church is to bring life and life in abundance, as Jesus did. 

There is a conception that the theologian – he is not Latin American, he is German, but he was very close to many Latin American theologians – Johann Baptist Metz said, the main concern of Jesus was not the sin of the people. Jesus didn't meet a person and think about his or her sin. No, he was concerned about his or her suffering, his or her needs. That’s the main thing. So I think this was the spirit that inspired the bishops united in Medellín in 1968. And they made the option, the preferential option for the poor, an option of the whole church. It's not one bishop or another bishop. It's the whole church who goes in that direction. And this was very important.


Well, in Puebla, it was the moment of officializing the name of the preferential option for the poor. It was sealed completely in Puebla. It's already present in Medellín, but it was sealed and confirmed in Puebla. Also then the category of liberation theology, the teología de la liberación. It's explicit in Puebla, although it was already present in Medellín. And the importance of the grassroot groups that were all over the continent, who read the Bible, who got together even when the ordained ministers were not there, received and baptized in basic ecclesial communities. Some of that was in Puebla and after Puebla, well, Santo Domingo was a very different conference in ‘92, almost 20 years after. And only in Aparecida, it was rescued, the same spirit we could find in Mendellín and Puebla. 

Ry Siggelkow [00:30:07] You've written at length about the role of women in Latin American Christian communities and how the theological work of women in Latin America has often been connected to struggles for land, care for the earth, reproductive rights, and the question of ordained ministries. You say that while Latin American women theologians were in conversation with the feminist theologies emerging from North America and Europe, their theology was distinctive in many ways, especially in its emphasis on the preferential option for the poor and in its engagement with struggles for land and care for the earth. At a time when reproductive rights are increasingly under attack and when misogyny and transphobia are pervasive, I wonder if you could speak to the distinctiveness of the theology produced by women in Latin America and where you see some of the most important work being done today at the intersection of human rights, gender and sexuality, feminist struggles and ecology. 

Maria Clara Bingemer [00:31:08] Well, it's a very big question. I don't know if I will be able to answer it. There are very important movements of women theologians in Latin America. I would highlight the one of Argentina called Teologanda, led by Virginia Azcuy, an Argentinian women theologian. She teaches at the UCA at the Catholic University of Argentina and also at the Pontifical University of Chile in Santiago. And she began to get together with a lot of young theologians, female theologians, who didn't find space for teaching or for work and had the great desire to study theology, of having academic degrees. And, well, finally, they did the very important work to search the whole of Latin America. Who are the women who are producing theology? Make a review of their works. All this is published. It's published in Argentina. It's not very well known outside of Argentina. That's a pity. I think that women are making very good theology but they don't sometimes find the channel to be published and to be more widely known. 

About the earth, Ivone Gebara, who is a Brazilian theologian, very well known in the States, and she is very active and wrote a lot of very important things on eco-feminism. So eco-feminism is one area of feminist theology in Latin America which is developing more. I myself am coordinating a research group together with the University of Lisbon, with Portuguese and Brazilian theologians about eco feminism and agriculture. And we study the works of Ivone Gebara. And also we create our own texts because there is a conviction that the oppression on women and the oppression on the earth go together. And to solve one, we will have to solve the second. 

This is very dangerous because the oppression on women is much older than the ecological crisis. The ecological crisis dates from modern times and the oppression on women dates from ever, since the paleolithic. So you can't move and do eco-feminist theology believing that when you solve one, you will solve the other. You have to, but one can be like the other. That is true because women have a very deep center and closeness with the processes of the earth, even in their bodies, capable of generating and feeding with their own body. And there are many women who are very active in caretaking and taking care of the Earth and the natural resources, working on theology together with ecology, eco-theology. 

There is important work being done mostly after Laudato Si. Even if the women criticize the little bit of Laudato Si because there is a great silence on women. Women are not very mentioned in Laudato Si. One of my Portuguese colleagues did research and she found three times in the whole encyclical. One is Our Lady who is mentioned, the other is Saint Joseph, the husband of Our Lady, and the third is Santa Teresa of the infant, the little flower, it's not a very important presence. But it is true that the Pope refers to the Earth in feminine terms: mother, sister, and well, he didn't invent this, Francis did that, and much of the Christian and Catholic theology did that, thinking of the Earth in feminine terms. 

So I think the two topics, the two oppressions are thought of together. And there is a fertile way to go above the rights of the body. It is a very delicate and complicated topic, mostly for Catholic women, because, well, the ordained ministries are out of question. This is a closed question. John Paul II made a note saying this is not under discussion because it belongs to the tradition of the church. Jesus could do it. He didn't do it. The apostles could do it. They didn't do it. We are not going to do it. So ordained ministries for women, it's not for our generation. I don't know if it will be for the next one, but really and practically, women are assuming ministry in the communities and they are recognized by the people. 

In Latin America, I’ve heard in some poor communities, “I prefer the mass of the nun rather than the mass of the priests.” They feel very much at ease with women, religious or lay women who are close to them. They coordinate the community, they organize liturgies, they exercise the ministry. And it's a very important and beautiful practice. Now, the topic of gender is not only about women. So that is a new element, too. Now you have the whole agenda, LGBTQIA+. I think I missed some letters. Which is a very complex phenomenon that is growing a lot. Our students come and they are committed to the LGBT struggle. The first theses on that, they are beginning to appear, even in the Catholic faculties and institutes. So I think at this moment, all the question of gender has not to do only with women, but also with this diversity of gender. I have a colleague who is a Jesuit who makes a very beautiful work with it called Catholic diversity. He has a website which works very well with all that. I guide the doctoral thesis on gender violence. So there are many works which are appearing, and I think this is one of the main topics for women for the next decade, I would say. 

Ry Siggelkow [00:38:51] Maria, I wanted to ask you to share a bit more about how you connect liberation theology to the planetary to the earth, especially in our current moment when we are facing an unprecedented climate catastrophe. We are currently witnessing the rise of violent, authoritarian nationalisms across the globe that criminalize those who seek to protect the Earth for the sake of a habitable future for all which, as we know very well, disproportionately affects indigenous women across the globe, whether that's in Minnesota, where I am, Brazil or Honduras, not to mention other struggles, Canada as well. So given these realities, the framework of, as you mentioned, the eco feminist liberation theology, it seems more important than ever. But I wanted to ask you, what might it look like for the church community and churches around the globe, whether in Minnesota or Brazil or in Canada or wherever the earth is under attack, what might it look like for the church to organize and stand in solidarity with others across the planet who are struggling for the Earth's liberation from exploitation and domination? 

Maria Clara Bingemer [00:40:04] Well, I think that this is a call for the church undoubtedly. Mostly after Laudato Si, it's very clear. The pope said that and I think it's a wonderful document. It's a document that inaugurates a new age in Catholic social thought. I think this and it was appreciated by intellectuals outside the church, people who are not believers. So I think that the thesis of the Pope is very clear. The question of the earth is intimately connected with the question of the poor, because the poor are the first victims of the disorder of the climate. So if we attack the planet, humanity is in danger and mostly the most vulnerable in humanity. So if you ask me if I think that this ecological consciousness, eco-feminist consciousness, ecological consciousness, is present in the whole church, I don't think it is, but I think it's growing. It's growing because the effects of the planet are dramatic and visible, becoming visible. 

My daughter lives in France at this moment. This should be almost winter. It's hot. They're going to the beach. It's weather is completely unwell. And we had this last year, we are close to Rio de Janeiro, where I live in Petropolis, one hour from here. A flood that we never saw in the whole history of the city. Things like that are happening more and more. Fire and the heating and avalanches. The whole planet and the animals are in danger. Besides that, there is the irresponsibility of those who attack nature in order to make money. That was the case of our now former president. He's still there for two months. But Eliane Brum, who is a very committed journalist, a female one, very bright women. She said some days before the election, "if he wins Amazonia will end in four years because he cut already almost half of it". It's very devastated. And, yes, we are feeling the consequences. The rains are uncalibrated and the seasons are completely. So the Amazon is responsible for at least 20% of the equilibrium of the planet. 

So I think this consciousness is growing more and more, but it's far from being what it should be. And in the struggle for that, I think the church is together with the society, with the secular society. Christians are not leading this struggle, but they are helping, they are collaborating more and more. There was a little bit of prejudice against that, because Brigitte Badal and Prince Charles were denouncing that it looked like a romantic, idealized ecological concern. Now, I think people are seeing it's very serious and that we have to take measures. Those measures are difficult to take because it goes against the system, no? Downsizing and a new lifestyle. I had a lot of hope after the pandemia because the pandemia obliged us to change our habits, not to travel so much. But now that things are going back to normal, I see people desperately wanting to retake the same lifestyle as before. I don't know if it's going to change a lot, but I think we have to continue working on that. And I think in Latin America, there are good groups working on that. The secretary of the Latin American desk for lay people in the Vatican is an Argentinian woman, Dr. Emilce Cuda. She organized a lot of groups of the church on that, departing from Laudato Si and bringing many elements for the reflection. 

Ry Siggelkow [00:45:06] That's wonderful. Maria, I'm very grateful to you for taking the time to speak with me today. Your work is so thought provoking and engages with so many important issues that we're facing in our world today. And I find it encouraging and inspiring to read your work. So, take good care. 

Maria Clara Bingemer [00:45:27] I thank you very much. It's just very good for a theologian to see that my work is being read, and is provoking people. I'm very happy with it. 

Ry Siggelkow [00:45:41] Well, it's very lucid. And I think tying it to ecofeminism and tying it to liberation and to kind of the contemporary issues and tying it to the tradition as well, which I see in your work, is inspiring. It's challenging. And I think it pushes us to go deeper into these issues in our lives, not just at the level of the theory. This is about praxis at the end of the day. And so I thank you for that. 

Maria Clara Bingemer [00:46:12] Thank you. Thank you very much.