- God is not simply power, as most people were inclined to think. God is love, and he manifests himself in the dialectics of an impotent love. ... The emperor is not God. Jesus desacralizes that kind of power and its claim to be the absolute mediation of God. The pax romana is not the kingdom of God. The political organization of Rome might dazzle the world with its power, but it was oppressive; hence there was nothing sacred or divine about it. ... In Jesus' eyes God's ultimate historical word is love, whereas the ultimate historical word of power in the human world is oppression. Jesus' journey to the cross is a trial dealing with the authentic nature of power.
- Christology at the Crossroads (1978), p. 369
Jesus the Liberator (1991)
- Jesuchristo liberador. Lectura historica-teológica de Jesús de-Nazaret (1991), as translated by P. Burns and F. McDonagh (1993)
- At its beginnings there was very powerful meditation on the presence of Christ in the oppressed Indians, which objectively pointed toward a christology of the "body of Christ." Guamán Poma, for example, said, "By faith we know clearly that where there is a poor person there is Jesus Christ himself," and Bartolomé de las Casas declared, "In the Indies I leave Jesus Christ, our God, being whipped and afflicted, and buffeted and crucified, not once but thousands of times, as often as the Spaniards assault and destroy those people." But this original christological insight did not thrive, and what became the tradition was a christology based on the dogmatic formulas, in which—however well they were known and understood—what was stressed was the divinity of Christ rather than his real and lived humanity.
- p. 11
- The sublime title "Christ" is an adjective which only receives its specific value from the specificity of the noun, Jesus of Nazareth. If Jesus is forgotten, then it becomes possible to fill the adjective with whatever suits at the time, without checking whether Jesus was like that or not, or whether this means leaving the world sunk in its wretchedness or not; or worse still, without asking if this image legitimates the tragedy of the world or brings liberation from it.
- p. 15
On the one hand, there is the type of sinner whom, in present-day language, we would call ‘oppressor.’ Their basic sin consists in oppressing, placing intolerable burdens on others, acting unjustly and so on. On the other hand, there are those who sin ‘from weakness’ or those ‘legally considered sinners’ according to the dominant religious view.
Jesus takes a very different approach to each group. He offers salvation to all, and makes demands of all, but in a very different way. He directly demands a radical conversion of the first group, an active cessation from oppressing. For these, the coming of the Kingdom is above all a radical need to stop being oppressors.
- pp. 96-97
- The ideal person cannot be thought of as the whole person developed from the possibilities of the present-day person, but as the "new man" who, to become such, has to pass through the critique and negation of the present-day person.
- p. 117