Leading Roman Catholic clerics identified with "liberation theology" attended a week-long seminar in Mexico to discuss ways to spread their ideas in the Third World, despite the reservations of Pope John Paul II about the political objectives of the movement.
The clerics at the conference sent a message of support to Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Miguel d'Escoto, a priest in the Maryknoll order. D'Escoto defied Pope John Paul's demand that he leave his office, and was suspended from his priestly duties.
Open sessions were held in Mexico City and closed-door meetings in the resort of Oaxtepec, 25 miles south of the capital. The seminar got off to a tense start when conservative Catholic Mexican youths disrupted the opening session, shouting "John Paul II, the whole world loves you" and other pro-Vatican slogans.
Father Gustavo Gutierrez of Peru, one of the movement's founders, summed up the conference by saying: "If I am hungry, it is a personal problem. If someone else is hungry, it is a spiritual problem. Disgracefully, in Latin America, we have millions and millions of spiritual problems."