Friday, December 20, 2013


"I am fully aware that very soon the Bible and the Gospels will not be allowed to cross the border. All that will reach us will be the covers, since all the pages are subversive—against sin, it is said. So that if Jesus crosses the border at Chalatenango, they will not allow him to enter. They would accuse him, the man-God ... of being an agitator, of being a Jewish foreigner, who confuses the people with exotic and foreign ideas, anti-democratic ideas, and i.e., against the minorities. Ideas against God, because this is a clan of Cain’s. Brothers, they would undoubtedly crucify him again. And they have said so." Father Rutilio Grande S.J. 

The first priest martyred in El Salvador as the civil war began to heat up. This was part of a homily protesting the kidnapping an expulsion of another priest. A father Bernal Londano. A poignant reminder that Jesus whose birth we're supposedly celebrating in a few days wasn't the tamed, safe figure most of us grew up with. 

Chalatenango is a city to the north of the capital San Salvador, perhaps fifty miles of so separate them. Grande may or may not have continued that if Jesus managed to get past the first check points he surely would be stopped long before he reached the capital. 

Ironically for whoever ordered the murder the result was to push what had appeared to be the safe choice of a conservative churchman, Oscar Romero, as archbishop into increased activism on the part of the poor and persecuted campesinos. The oligarchs and the government were not pleased. Less than three years later the archbishop joined the likes of Martin Luther King. 

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