Friday, December 28, 2018

"But only now, when an army patrol has just come, have I really understood that very real and harsh circumstance that the Gospel presents to us here; repression"

A couple of weeks ago I transcribed part of a sermon given by Fr. Jack Lynch in which he noted how much he learned from the impoverished lay people of barrio he served as priest in Peru as opposed to the great University of Toronto.  That's true in my experience of reading and rereading The Gospel in Solentiname, the discussion of mostly uneducated, sometimes illiterate peasants as related by Fr. Ernesto Cardenal. 

The death of Jakelin Caal, a seven-year-old girl and, now Felipe Gomez Alonzo, aged 8 in the custody of the Trump regime, are only two of certainly scores of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of innocents slaughtered as a result of the violent, oppressive Pax Americana, an effort by American presidents and politicians and businessmen to manipulate events and policies to subjugate as much of the Western hemisphere to serve their wealth and power as they can manage.  Overtly, from the beginning, American politicians, as soon as more powerful countries holding parts of the Western hemisphere were unable to maintain control of them the United States has done its best to exercise hegemonic power over those people and those places in service to the wealth of wealthy Americans.   I am sure there were earlier examples but as good a place to start with that is Thomas Jefferson's overtly stated intent to prevent the slaves of Haiti from ruling themselves, more than two centuries of American meddling have taken their tole there and then pseudo-Christians like Pat Robertson slander the people so oppressed and subjugated in the most overtly racist of terms. 

Central America, as soon as later presidents issued things like the Monroe Doctrine, became especially vulnerable to the most horrific of terrorism and oppression as American presidents worked with local elites to enslave and oppress and terrorize the inhabitants, often for the overt benefit of nameable American companies and industries.  Fruit, coffee, other commodity industries, the Panama Canal, . . . it is rumored even the illegal drug industry all figured into the machinations of American presidents, up to and including Reagan, Bush I, Bush II and certainly Trump.   The recently beatified George H. W. Bush, if there is a purgatory, will, no doubt be confronted with his massive sins in that regard, including the terror campaigns of the Reagan administration which he was part of.  Not to mention those he was part of during the Nixon administration.

I am going to spend several days with Chapter 8 of The Gospel in Solentiname because if there is one thing these peasant theologians understood better than those living in relative safety as white members of the imperial power,  it is the slaughter of innocents  as exercised by the local puppet despots of the predominant imperial power. 

In Central America then, as now, it is a central fact of life, the murder of children, the slaughter of children, the terrorism exercised by gangsters, official and unofficial as a means of gaining power and wealth.*  Today it's not just the official puppet governments in Central America, it's the rule by drug gangs exported to Central America by the American government, after government policy helped found such gangs.  Even as The School of the Americas trained the terrorists of the 1970s, American prisons are the School of the Americas of the criminal gangs who Central American parents flee from with their children. 

If there is a crisis of Latin American refugees on the American border, it is a problem that American governments and governing elites created with centuries of oppressive and viciously violent foreign, military and economic policy created.  The United States, in the Western hemisphere has acted as the aristocratic class of Romans did.  If they had nurtured egalitarian democracy there, there would be no flood of refugees from American policy trying to get here, today.   It would certainly be easier to help The People of Latin America nurture good government and honest economic policies than it has been to maintain an oppressive regime of enslavement, but it wouldn't have been as profitable for the rich here and there.  People tend to want to stay home if home is a place they can live a decent life.  The racist stupidity of Americans has caused this problem, the crooked aristocratic elites here have used that as much as anything to thwart egalitarian democracy here.  We are a manipulated people, a used people and a divided people.  White people, up till now the numerically dominant population will find a lot of this hard to get.  Members of racial minorities here, those with dark skin,  will certainly find a lot that is familiar in what was said more than 40 years ago. 

The Slaughter of the Innocents   
(Matthew 2: 12-23)

Shortly before we had Mass this Sunday a National Guard patrol came to inspect our houses.  (Martial law had been declared throughout the country, with a suspension of individual liberties.)  Some people seemed to be a little afraid,  but the children rushed gaily throughout the church and made so much noise that it was hard at times for us to hear clearly the commentaries on this Gospel passage MYRIAM had read:

After the wise men left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in his sleep and said to him:  "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to the land of Egypt and stay there until I tell you to come back.  Because Herod is going to look for the child to kill him."

Among those present was my brother FERNANDO (a Jesuit priest), and he said:  "I think that if Mary, when she was waiting for the birth of the infant, had the idea of a messiah who would be a power, she quickly lost the idea.  She realized that she had given birth to a messiah who was subversive from birth.  And I also think that for a long time we have been misreading the Gospel,  interpreting in a purely spiritual sense, eliminating all its political and social circumstances, which are certainly very dramatic;  that is, we have abstracted the Gospel from its reality.  How often have I read that Saint Joseph and the Virgin fled to Egypt.  But only now, when an army patrol has just come, have I really understood that very real and harsh circumstance that the Gospel presents to us here; repression.  

One of the ladies said:  "It's very rough, but what happened then has gone on in every age.  There was a king like those who exist now in many countries, in our country and in many others, and if that child was coming to liberate from injustice, the ruler had to pursue him and try to kill him so that the people would liver forever in slavery.  The same thing happens here the minute a good person appears.  We've seen how in the north they've killed that union leader Catalino Fores.  I heard the news on the Cuban radio; up to then I still thought it wasn't true.  Sure, they always persecute people who want to free the rest, and they kill them.  That's what happened to Jesus;  they tried to eliminate him when he was a child." 


  1. The world doesn't want salvation, it wants contentment.

    1. People settle for so little. I wonder if that could be considered a sin.