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Two padres — one fight

13 July 2009

Hemano Juancito went to Sunday Mass.  The homily (sermon) ws given by Padre Fausto.  The padre is one tough hombre:

He spoke passionately about the presence of Billy Joya as a security adviser of acting president Micheletti. Joya was involved with the military group 3-16 which has been accused of torture and of collaboration with death squads. Padre Fausto then spoke of his experience of being held in a jail in the 1980s and hearing the screams of a young man who was being tortured in the jail. As they dragged his limp, tortured body past Father’s cell he heard them saying like, “You SOB, you didn’t sing today. But what will we do tomorrow to make you sing.”

Padre Fausto, also quoted Al Gore

… to the effect that “The incestuous marriage of power and money is the worst enemy of democracy” – and of the church, Padre Fausto added. Pastors need to be far from power and money.

morelosypavonI’m not surprised.  I’ve been re-reading Wilbur Timmon’s “Morelos of Mexico” (as far as I can tell, the only English-language study of the first great Latin American guerrilla leader) who was also one of those no-nonsense Latin American parish priests.

A poor parish priest (and even as “Generalissmo of the Republic” Morelos drew no salary.  His uniform was a gift, and he only collected enough pay to cover his food … and buy an occasional cigar),  Morelos’ was  hardly the only cleric in that struggle.  Timmons writes of the Independence-era clergy  in Mexico:

… the upper clergy were to a large extent loyal to the established system… while the lower clergy divided sharply in their reaction to the rebellion.  Many of the latter remained loyal, and a majority were probably neutral in the struggle; yet an important segment joined the insurrection and played a role of greater significance than their numbers would indicate.  They … contributed greatly to activities concerned with press and propaganda, and soothed the consciences of their ignorant countrymen…

If a third-rate gangster like Billy Joya isn’t going to scare a guy like Padre Fausto, what chance did Royalist General Felix Maria Calleja, back in the days when the Empire was that of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the exploiting class were the Europeans (and not fellow Americans) have against Padre Jose Maria?  His radical vision — as much religious as nationalist, called for racial and social equality among what he called “Americans”… the people of his homeland, free from outside control of their economic and personal destiny.  And free from those who do the bidding of those outsiders.

He who dies for the true religion and for his country, does not die unhappily but gloriously.  You, who wish to die for the cause of Napoleon, will end in the same way that is designed for the others.  You are not the one who determines the final moment… but rather it is God, who has decided the punishment of the Europeans, and who has declared that the Americans should recover their rights. … Even if this army should be defeated, there still remains all America, which knows its rights and which is determined to destroy all gachupines… you are no longer able to deceive [Americans] with your false proclamations.

Today’s Felix Maria Calleja (who incidentally became Viceroy after a coup against the incumbent whom the elites worried was too willing to compromise with the “radicals”) —  serve perhaps a different foreign master, and the  “gachupines” may be from the same continent, but the issues are the same . What Padre Morelos said in the Spring of 1812 could have been said yesterday in a pulpit in Copan, Hondruas by another brave country priest.

One Comment leave one →
  1. John permalink
    13 July 2009 11:44 am

    Actually Padre Fausto is a gentle soul and very pastoral.
    By the way, the threat was not made to him, but to the young man they were dragging.

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