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Father Gutierrez to Receive 2014 Gittler Prize

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez, O.P.Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez, O.P.

Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez, O.P., John Cardinal O’Hara Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, will receive the 2014 Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize from Brandeis University.

Established in 2007, the Gittler Prize is annually awarded to a person whose body of published work reflects scholarly excellence and makes a lasting contribution to racial, ethnic, or religious relations. It will be formally presented to Father Gutierrez in a ceremony and talk on Sunday, October 5.

A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 2001, Father Gutierrez is widely acclaimed as the “godfather” of liberation theology and the author of the movement’s foundational text, A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, Salvation. The movement launched by that work grew rapidly in a Latin America plagued by the military dictatorships of the 1960s and 1970s and became one of the most influential in contemporary theology by calling attention to the Church’s vocation to resist the oppression of the poor.

John C. Cavadini, director of Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life, was delighted to hear of his colleague’s honor. Cavadini chaired the theology department when Father Gutierrez came to Notre Dame 13 years ago and is also a member of the International Theological Commission. He recalled Pope Francis’ recent address to that organization.

“Pope Francis spoke of how theologians should be pioneers, and further, of how the best theologians are those who can operate on the highest scholarly level and are also able to explain the tradition to ordinary people,” Cavadini said. “Gustavo fits on both counts. He is a theological pioneer who operates on the highest scholarly level and at the same time constructed catechetical training materials to help bring the riches of the tradition to the poor of Peru.”

Gutierrez has been a principal professor at the Pontifical University of Peru and has been a visiting professor at many major universities in North America and Europe. In 1993, he was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government for his tireless work for human dignity and life, and against oppression, in Latin America and the Third World.

His other major books—which have been translated from Spanish into multiple languages—focus on issues of spirituality and Latin American history and include We Drink From Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of A People, On Job: God-Talk and the Suffering of the Innocent, The Truth Shall Make You Free, The God of Life, and Las Casas: In Search of the Poor of Jesus Christ. His most recent work is In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez.

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