Changing structures and changing persons

Changing structures and changing persons August 31, 2009

[Critics of liberation theology] can abandon the idea that we care more for the transformation of structures than for the transformation of persons, that we care more for the social than for the personal. The contrary is the truth. Our revolution is directed toward the creation of a new human being. But unlike the attackers, we seek to posit the necessary means for the formation of this new human being. And the indispensible means is a new social structure. […] How far can you get with the idea that a person should not place his or her heart in money and material things (the central idea of the Sermon on the Mount) if the existing social system inculcates just the contrary under pain of blows and death? Perhaps an insignificant minority can heroically resist the peremptory mandates of such a system. But Christianity cares about all human beings. It cannot content itself with saving a tiny minority. […] Structural change will be a mere means for personal change — but a means so obviously necessary, that those who fail to give it first priority demonstrate by that very fact that their vaunted desire to transform persons is just empty rhetoric.

Jose Miranda, Communism in the Bible (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1982), p. 6.

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