between certain Latin American governments and those Christians seeking
At a 1968 conference
of bishops held in Medellin, Columbia, Catholic bishops decried poverty
and oppression in Latin America and called upon the churches to support
the quest for liberation. The bishops encouraged the formation of base
communities where people could reflect on the Gospel in their own context
and act accordingly. At another conference in Mexico in 1978, against
the wishes of Rome, the bishops reaffirmed a commitment to liberation.
In El Salvador, Archbishop Oscar Romero
was assassinated for speaking against the military. In Brazil and Nicaragua,
bishops called for a just, new order. In Guatemala, hundreds of lay catechists
were murdered because they were considered enemies of the state. Such
persecution corroborated the
rise of liberation theology.