VATICAN CITY -- The Brazilian archbishop who now heads the congregation for religious said he almost abandoned the seminary and the Catholic Church because of the ideological excesses that emerged in the early years of liberation theology.
"Personally, I lived with a lot of anguish during the years of the birth of liberation theology," Archbishop Joao Braz de Aviz said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, Feb. 2.
In January, Pope Benedict XVI appointed the former archbishop of Brasilia to head the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
The 63-year-old archbishop said he was studying theology in Rome when the liberation theology movement was building in Latin America, and it was at that time that "I came very close to abandoning my priestly vocation and even the church."
But a strong relationship with the Focolare movement and a dedication to its spirituality of unity "saved me," he said.