The "Option for the Poor" and the Scottish Episcopal Church
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This thesis looks at Blessed are the Poor?, a document presented to the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church that sought to outline Liberation Theology to the Church. In response to this the Synod voted £1,000,000 of its resources to be used specifically in projects in the poorest parts of Scotland. The thesis outlines those projects and the way in which they sought to embody the "Option for the Poor". The thesis closes by looking at whether Blessed are the Poor? faithfully represented Liberation Theology and the "Option"; whether the projects represented that theology and concluding that they did not, recognises that it is the nature of both the "Option" and the institutional Church that such a task could never be achieved. In order to understand the pastoral project this thesis outlines the historical development of Liberation Theology after the Second Vatican Council and in Latin America with particular emphasis on the "Option for the Poor". This thesis proceeds to look at the development of an "Option for the Poor" in the work of Gustavo Gutiérrez, the leading Liberation Theologian. The critiques of that work from the Vatican, Pablo Richard and Hugo Assmann are then considered. Gutiérrez’s works are used to develop a theological matrix that identifies the essential elements of the “Option for the Poor”. Having considered the notion of the "Option for the Poor" the thesis proceeds to look at how the "Option" was taken forward in the Churches in Britain before focussing on the specific response of the Scottish Episcopal Church. The matrix is used as a tool to assess whether the various parts of the response truly reflected the “Option for the Poor”.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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