Date of Publication
Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Theology
College of Liberal Arts
Theology and Religious Education
Delfo C. Canceran
Defense Panel Chair
Jaime A. Belita, CM
Defense Panel Member
Rebecca G. Cacho
Willard Enrique R. Macaraan
Lysander P. Rivera
Francis Xavier R. Salcedo
Solidarity is regarded as a moral principle and virtue in the Catholic social teachings. Each historical moment evokes a challenge and an opportunity to give solidarity a fresh articulation. Our present time demands it. While arguably the most significant development in Catholic social ethics in the twentieth century, and despite countless theological and pastoral reflections, solidarity with the poor is not free of ambiguity. The ambiguity in the meaning of solidarity is deemed problematic by some and frustrating to many. This study, however, argued that depth of meaning can be found in the ambiguity.
Using a framework of dialogue between the praxis of solidarity and María
Lugones’s theory of coalition, this study embarked on an exploration of a coalitional praxis- based theology on how we should think of solidarity with the poor in our time marked by
the persistence of injustice and an evolving global consciousness of the intersectionality of our oppression and resistance.
In situations of survival, solidarity becomes an act of resistance against the normalization of injustice. It must avoid one-track understanding of justice or exploitation. Solidarity should heed the prophetic warning that power is a double-edge instrument in dismantling unjust systems and oppressive structures. Solidarity demands confronting the contradiction between word and reality. Yet, solidarity needs to be a resistance imbued with hopes and dreams of the poor, and their views about life and God that can nourish that persistent hope.
The experience of solidarity provided ways of speaking about God in the concrete lives of the oppressed and in their struggle for justice with others. The multiple and diverse ways of speaking about God can be a challenge but offers enrichment of the faith. Yet, what if these many and varied voices are incoherent and confusing? How is it possible to talk about God as both present and absent? How do we respond to a worker who thinks that God can be annoyed by our prayers? Or to a church organizer that claims that God toils, sweats, and experience fatigue, just like a factory worker? How do we affirm the experience of a pedicab driver who feels that God might have forgotten him? How do we listen to the stories where God is not mentioned at all? What are we to do with these “silences” that can unsettle us? This is a daunting task to a theologian seeking religious coherence but wants to be faithful to the experience of the oppressed.
This dissertation responds to the challenging theological task by calling attention to the subjugated knowledge of the oppressed, in their persistent hope amidst injustice, toward new ways of speaking about God in solidarity. Labeled as “coalitional praxis-based theology,” this way of doing theology is concerned with disrupting dominant thinking to allow the cracks, the fractured, the indefinite, and provisional ways oppressed people make sense of their reality to be part of theologizing. The process of disruption enables the freeing of subjugated knowledge to bear upon the accepted tenets of the faith.
Hence, to speak about God as One who creates in coalition in the context of the workers and their experience of solidarity is made possible by this theological approach. It allows the tension that erupts between the certainty of God as Creator who sustains life and the refusal of a God unaffected by the act of creation. In the end, a theological praxis informed by coalition is an attempt to be faithful to the experience of the oppressed, welcoming ambiguity and religious incoherence, to open doors for diverse ways that God can be encountered in solidarity among the poor in history.
Solidarity—Religious aspects; Social ethics; Christian sociology—Catholic Church
Dionco, C. C. (2020). Disrupting solidarity: A theological reimagination of solidarity in dialogue with Maria Lugone's theory of coalition. Retrieved from https://animorepository.dlsu.edu.ph/etd_doctoral/1401
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