What does the story of Jesus’ birth teach us about how God is present in our lives?
“God is unexplainably born in our hearts moment by moment, breath by breath. In order to discover that, we must leave the noise and business of the inn, finding our way in the dark back to the stable. We have to enter into the humility, simplicity, patience, and delicate nature of what’s unfolding in our hearts to discover how God is being born in our lives. We are asked to bring this delicate simplicity out into the world.”
Scroll down on the website of the Center for Action and Contemplation to to listen to James Finley’s entire Advent meditation … and also find meditations by Cynthia Bourgeault and Richard Rohr!
A Survey of the Philosophy of the Good, the True and the Beautiful. An Online Course taught by Dr Carrie Gress for Pontifex University
When I first decided, many years ago now, to become an artist, I wanted to know how to create beautiful art. Given this goal, it seemed obvious, along with all the other aspects of my formation, that I should start reading about beauty itself.
However, to my surprise, I found very little to help me from Catholic writers. Books on aesthetics talked at length about the nature of beauty – and some seemed true (although many didn’t) but barely anyone seemed to offer anything that was of practical use to an artist.
Everyone told me to read Jacques Maritain. I’m probably going to commit a heresy that will offend Thomists here, but I wasn’t at all convinced by him either. As I read through Art and Scholasticism, which was admittedly, full of complex reasoning about the nature of beauty, I still wanted to ask the question: and how do I use all of this to help me judge what is beautiful? I am an artist, how is all this going help me to decide whether or not to direct the brush to the left or to the right? But there was very little there to help me.
Finally, right at the end of the book, he told us that the embodiment of all that he had been describing was in the paintings of Braques and Picasso. You have to be joking, I thought. I knew that their work was designed so as to promote an anti-Christian worldview, yet he seemed to be unaware of this. After pages and pages of proofs justifying the objectivity of beauty, in the end, even for Maritain it came down to an arbitrary application of personal taste to tell us that beauty is what he happens to like. Why not just forget the first 300 pages, I thought, and tell us that the answers to what is beautiful, is that it is what clever philosophers say it is? This principle of elitism was no different from any university in the country, where the intellectuals use wordy arguments to tell you what they like is good and you’re a Philistine if you think differently.
Although many Church Fathers had written about beauty, they didn’t treat the subject separately and so it was difficult to know where (Read More)
Simple and Practical Ways to Promote and Preserve Spiritual Joy, Inspired by St Paul
There is a series of wonderful meditations on the Claritas blog at the moment by priests from the Argentian order, the Institute of the Incarnate Word. I wanted to highlight this, and also share with you here third in the series of meditations for this third week of Advent, based upon the readings from last Sunday. It is by Father Nicholas Grace who is in Cowdenbeath in Scotland. It is so refreshing to hear a priest actually confirming something that I have long believed, that happiness is a choice we can make, provided know how to make the choice. This is simple but profound advice!
We have a wonderful topic this 3rd Sunday of Advent because the readings the Church presents give us the opportunity to speak about that most desirable Catholic disposition of soul, that is, Spiritual joy.
The readings offer plenty of material for speaking about spiritual joy. The spiritual joy of the glad tidings that Isaiah was asked to bring to the poor or the spiritual Joy expressed in the Psalm we heard. The Psalm which was an echo of Our Lady’s Magnificat, an expression of spiritual Joy in its purest form.
However, we will focus instead on the 2nd reading from the letter of St. Paul where we are encouraged to rejoice always, to rejoice in God.
I would like to focus on three of the means Paul offers to cultivate and maintain spiritual joy. I will mention three ways to pray without ceasing, and three ways to avoid quenching the spirit. Finally, both of these means will be summarized in Paul’s admonition to retain what is good and refrain from what is evil.
First: Paul urges, pray constantly. How is this possible? It is possible in three ways.
1st: He constantly prays who does not neglect the appointed time for prayer. This begs the question, do I have an appointed time for prayer? If not, why not?
2nd: Always cultivate good desires in the heart. “Lord, you hear the desire of the meek”.
We pray for the good, we desire the good and we do the good. Prayer is always present in the good things we do. For this reason, the wise man says, “He does not cease praying who does not cease doing good.”
Therefore, to constantly cultivate good desires in the heart, is to constantly cultivate prayer.
3rd (Read More)
In the Outhouse by Michael Moynahan, SJ
It’s been a long,
A steep and winding road
up the sides of mountains.
They race the sun
with prospects of a new head to tax,
albeit a small one,
an impending certainty.
Sky and mother
are visual proof.
They reach the city
but full of hope.
mistaken on occasion
for her father,
fails to act his age
and dashes toward
a door about to close.
Could you give us a room for the night?
Some place to lay our heads?”
“Can’t you read, buster?
We’re all filled up.”
It’s my wife.
She’s about to have her first child.”
“That’s not my problem.”
“He’s not a problem.
He’s a fact
“Open your ears, buddy,
because I’m only
gonna say this once.
We aint’ got no room.
by the sound of a
Three times he will try
to find them lodging.
And with each failure
feel less capable
of caring for his wife
and that life within her
“It doesn’t look good.
All their rooms are taken.”
God will provide.”
And all the time thinking:
“That’s what I’m afraid of.
but they’re full.
It’s looking bleak.”
“God will give us
what we need.”
He shakes his head.
She believes this
and it comforts him little.
The third stop
looking like a
distant bleak relation
of the previous two.
Until the owner’s wife
spies the young girl wince
from movements she understands
all too well.
“You can have
the place out back.
It isn’t much
but it will be a roof
over your heads.
There’s fresh hay thrown.
The animals won’t bother you
and the child will be warm.
I’ll get some rags and water.
Go on now,
the young girl’s face
I was delighted to receive notice of the completion of a major commission by Thomas Marsh.
It is of the Holy Spouses, Patrons of the Unborn and is located at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Bakersfield, CA.
I love the restrained use of color as applied to the bronze. Also, note that the faces are not portraits of a model, but rather they are idealized, taking inspiration from the Greek ideal, that was used by High Renaissance and Baroque masters. This is something that is so important in sacred art, yet is not understood by so many artists who work in naturalistic styles. I explain the reasons why idealization is important in sacred art in an earlier blog post here.
Beautiful art is as important to the creation of a culture of life as the noble political battles fought by those in the Right to Life movement, I suggest!
Below is a detail of the original clay model that the cast was based on:
Thomas has been an advisor to me in the creation of the Masters of Sacred Arts program at www.Pontifex.University, which offers the all-round formation, the Catholic inculturation that would tell an artist how to direct his brush or chisel, and a patron which artists to commission!
He is also the teacher of Deborah Samia who has created one of the two online studio classes required for the MSA program, an Introduction to Sculpting the Figure.
Anyone who wants to learn to draw and paint in the naturalistic style should consider classes at the atelier of Catholic master artist Anthony Visco. The perfect combination would be to learn your practical artistic skills with Anthony at his Atelier for Sacred Arts and take the Master of Sacred Arts with www.Pontifex.University in order to have the all-round formation and Catholic inculturation that will help direct your brush…and chisel…and crayon!
A video commentary by Bill Donaghy of the Theology of the Body Institute, Here is the second in the series of 12 short videos on art by Bill Donaghy of the Theology of the Body Institute in Philadelphia.
This week and next he discusses two paintings by William Blake the poet and artist. In this case, he discusses illustrations to Milton’s Paradise Lost. First is Satan Watching the Caresses of Adam and Eve.
At first glance, the art of Blake may seem a world apart from the grand fresco of Adam and God in the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo. However, both draw on the ancient Greek ideal of the human form for inspiration. This can be seen if you compare the paintings in each case with any Venus or Hermes (as below)
This is appropriate to the subject matter and consistent with the ideas of John Paul II because he stated that in his view the Greek ideal might be the starting point for the art of the Theology of the Body.
Here is the video:
It was recorded in April last year and so the course that Bill refers to is past, but I would encourage people to look for courses in the coming year. His approach to art and beauty is fully in harmony with that of Pontifex University and my own Way of Beauty book.
The dream of God is a vision of Shalom, a rich Hebrew word often translated as “peace” but meaning much more than the absence of war. It means well-being in a comprehensive sense. It includes freedom from negatives such as oppression, anxiety and fear, as well as the presence of positives such as health, prosperity and security. Shalom thus includes a social vision: the dream of a world in which such well-being belongs to everybody.
Fr. John Fullenbach, SVD – Kingdom of God as Principle of Action in the Church
St Lucy is a 3rd-century saint, a virgin martyr who was venerated from the moment of her death and whose feast is celebrated on December 13th in both East and West. An account of her life can be found here. As with all worthy images intended for worship, we see in this portrayal of her (by the great 18th century Venetian, Tiepolo) we see an account of her story and the characteristics that identify her uniquely. So we see her receiving communion just at the moment of death caused by being stabbed in the throat. As the instrument of her death, the dagger is placed bottom right in the composition, along with her eyes on a plate. This latter symbol is most commonly associated with her, although it is developed relatively late, in the middle ages, linked to her name which is derived from the Latin word for light. Other attributes we will see are a palm branch – which is appropriate to all martyrs – as seen in this famous Renaissance period painting by Francesco de la Cossa And, people struggling to move her. The consul Paschasius ordered that she be removed to a brothel and abused until she died. However, teams of men tried but failed to move her. We see this in the painting below in this 15th-century depiction. Teams of oxen are being used. A tradition iconographic image has the saint holding a cross as a sign of martyrdom as in the beautiful fresco: I finish with Caravaggio and his burial of St Lucy. This is a late painting done when he was in exile, so to speak, from Rome and living in Sicily, the home of St Lucy. It is an altarpiece and in my opinion, one of the most brilliant paintings he has done. I do not know if the stylistic development is by accident or design, but regardless I like the result. Notice how much more this reflects the developing baroque style than his early work. It is shrouded in more mystery, with disappearing edges, far more numinous monochrome rendering and less colouration than he might have painted in his youth. The composition is brilliant, with the arcs of the arcs of the limbs of the two figures in the foreground creating a mandorla, which frames the figure of St Lucy. This is one of a (Read More)
Christmas is just around the corner, and here at Creator Mundi in Denver, Colorado, we have religious gifts for kids that will help bring the true meaning of Christmas into your home this year. We offer a wide selection of beautiful, sacred items that’d make lovely gifts for the young ones in your life.
Any religious boy or girl would love to receive one of our unique cross pendants this Christmas season. Our solid brass filigreed Tree of Life pendant is distinguished, yet elegant. The Jerusalem Cross Pendant is handcrafted from wood and symbolizes the symbolically vibrant design of the Jerusalem Cross. For a more delicate looking cross pendant, consider one of our Italian handcrafted glass pendants.
A stunning wall cross would make an excellent addition to a child’s room. Our bronze wall crosses feature unique and detailed designs. Here are a few of the ones you’ll find in our selection:
- We Join Our Hands Together Cross
- Called to Serve Cross
- Manna From Heaven Cross
- Tree of Life Cross
- Filigreed Tree of Life Cross
- Resurrexit Cross
- Transformation Cross
- New Beginning Cross
- God’s Creation Wall Cross
If you’re looking for something meaningful, yet affordable for the children in your life, consider giving a gift of faith with one of our pocket pieces. Made from solid pewter, these pocket pieces are beautiful and would make a great gift this Christmas. Quantity discounts are available.
Our figurines are popular for spiritual gift giving. They can be displayed on a desk, shelf, dresser, or nightstand. They can also be carried in a purse or pocket as a reminder of comfort and protection.
Children and adults alike enjoy the traditions that help us anticipate the Christmas holiday with excitement and wonder. Dating back to 19th-century Germany, Advent Calendars are one way to countdown to the big day. Our Advent Calendar features the story of Christ with whimsical pictures. Let your children experience the story of the nativity with our Children’s Nativity set. This plush nativity scene is adorable and safe for all ages. Let’s not forget to keep a reminder of Christ hung prominently on the Christmas tree. The elegant Cross Nativity Ornament is made of copper, brass, and tin and will serve as a reminder of the sacred nature of this holiday season.
Shop Creator Mundi for Christmas
Whether you’re looking for a gift for a child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or someone in your Sunday School class, you’ll find the perfect spiritual gift at Creator Mundi in Denver, Colorado. Visit us and purchase that special gift today.
In the first of a series that will run for the next few weeks, here is a beautiful and simple analysis of this scene from the fresco by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. It is presented by Bill Donaghy of the Theology of the Body Institute in Philadelphia. The Institute offers a series of intensive classes for a certificate on the writings of St John Paul II, which I recommend wholeheartedly. They focus especially on their relevance to the culture and the New Evangelization, as well as marriage and the family. In this five-minute presentation, we see all three come together!
John Paul II was a great admirer of Michelangelo and his style. He suggested that idealized naturalism, which draws on the ancient Greek ideal, might be a way to represent mankind ‘naked without shame’.
Advent is a time of waiting — in the widest sense. Be blessed!
A Blessing for Waiting
by Jan Richardson, Circle of Grace
for the night
for the night
in the hospital room
in the cell
who wait in prayer
for the phone call
who wait for a word
who wait for
who will come home
who will not come home
Who wait with fear
who wait with joy
who wait with peace
who wait with rage
who wait for the end
who wait for the beginning
who wait alone
who wait together
what they wait for
should not wait
when they should be
when they need
when they need
to set out
for the end
for the fullness
And How the Sacred Art Reveals It
Have a look at this ancient wall painting of the prophet Daniel’s companions in the fiery furnace. It is from the Roman catacombs and is one of the images that is included in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Scripture tells us of the fate of Daniel’s three friends (Daniel 3: 49, Knox translation). It says that an ‘angel of the Lord had gone down into the furnace with Azarias and his companions and drove the flames away from it, making a wind blow in the heart of the furnace, like the wind that brings the dew. So that these three were untouched, and the fire brought them no discomfort. Whereupon all of them, as with one mouth, began to give praise and glory and blessing to God, there in the furnace.’ Afterwards, the king who had thrown the youths into the fire, Nebuchnudnezah said he saw four figures, and the fourth was ‘as it had been a son of God’ (v92).
I recently examined this passage in scripture because the song that the three subsequently sang is known as the Canticle of Daniel and is sung on Feast days at Lauds. I was looking at the background to this and considering why it is sung in the liturgy.
My understanding is that in the interpretation of the Church Fathers, the reference to the wind and the dew in the scriptural account has been connected to the Creation story in which the Spirit of God was over the water, and then to the baptism of Christ in which the Holy Spirit comes down and the sacrament of baptism is initiated. Baptism is, through water, the instrument of the death of the old self spiritually so that we can be resurrected, also spiritually, in Confirmation or Chrismation by the action of the Holy Spirit.
There is a similar connection to the passages describing the crossing of the Red Sea and the crossing of the Jordan by Joshua, in which the water and wind are connected. Wind is the action of the Spirit, as is fire (as at Pentecost which the Church Fathers also connected to the burning bush).
These common themes are the reason why traditionally in baptistries we would see portrayals of all these scenes, as described here.
So who is the fourth figure?
He can be represented simply as ‘an angel of the Lord’, as in this contemporary (Read More)
How about this from Durham Cathedral – St Cuthbert in the style of the School of St Albans? It is in the Galilee Chapel at the Romanesque cathedral in northern England. I suggest that this approach of simple line drawings describing form, and simple coloration is one that artists of today could adopt. If they do so, a wonderful new 21st-century gothic style can emerge for the greater glory of God and the Church! If done’ properly this would be simultaneously contemporary and traditional in a way that speaks powerfully of the Faith.
This shows that the miniature illuminations of Matthew Paris, which www.Pontifex.University promotes, can work well on a grand scale on walls too. Here is a miniature by Matthew Paris, from the 13th century.
I say on this pilgrimage of life, let’s set the bow of the barque headed firmly towards heaven, with tradition at the tiller!
Artists! Learn to paint in the style of the School of St Albans in the www.Pontifex University. My course, A Study of Artistic Method for Patrons and Artists not only teaches you how to paint in egg tempera, but it explains the principles by which you can make any style of art you like your own; and it so happens that the style I focus on in the class to illustrate is the School of St Albans style, as seen in the Galilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral!
Here are some more photos of Durham Cathedral to give you some context.
The Norman nave of Durham Cathedral, a World Heritage Site, Durham, County Durham, England, UK.
Today is the Feast of St Andrew who, as an Apostle, is mentioned in the Roman Canon of the Mass.
Before he was called to follow Christ he was a follower of John the Baptist and like him, he is depicted with unkempt hair.
Here are two more icons that caught my eye. The second of the two was painted by Sr Petra Clare and it hangs in Pluscarden Abbey in Scotland. I remember seeing it many times when I visited.
The cross upon which he was martyred, during the persecution of Nero, is a characteristic X shape. As someone from the British Isles, I am well aware of this because he is the patron saint of Scotland and the Scottish flag depicts it symbolically. This was incorporated into the Union Jack sometime after the formal union of the two countries in the 18th century.
The martyrdom itself is depicted in Western portrayals of the saint. For example here is one by Rubens in characteristically dramatic style. In accordance with tradition he is shown bound, not nailed, to the cross:
Andrew was the brother of St Peter and the portrayal of the calling of the two as fishermen who will become ‘fishers of men’ is another common scene in Western portrayals.
Here is Duccio’s painting…
…an early mosaic from Ravenna (note how Christ is beardless)…
I do not know who the figure in the toga is on the right. Below is a baroque painting of the same scene.
FIT58808 The Calling of St. Peter and St. Andrew, c.1626-30 (oil on canvas) by Cortona, Pietro da (Berrettini) (1596-1669); 28.7×57.4 cm; Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, UK; Italian, out of copyright
This is one of a series of articles written to highlight the great feasts and the saints of the Roman Canon. All are connected to a single opening essay, in which I set out principles by which we might create a canon of art for Roman Rite churches, and a schema that would guide the placement of such images in a church. (Read it here.) In these, I plan to cover the key elements of images of the Saints of the Roman Canon – Eucharistic Prayer I – and the major feasts of the year. I have created the tag Canon of Art for Roman Rite to group these together, should any be interested in seeing these articles as they accumulate. For the fullest presentation of (Read More)
“We are called, then, to draw near to the poor, to encounter them, to meet their gaze, to embrace them and to let them feel the warmth of love that breaks through their solitude. Their outstretched hand is also an invitation to step out of our certainties and comforts, and to acknowledge the value of poverty in itself.”
Pope Francis on the First World Day of the Poor, November 19, 2017
I have just been creating a new online course on the mathematics of beauty and as part of this, I wanted to show how to represent the symbolic meaning of number in the context of the liturgy in such a way that it might deepen participation. The obvious way to do this is to have a pattern with the symmetry of the number. This will require also some catechesis of the congregations so that they are reminded of what it is pointing to every time they see it.
It can be part of the decoration of the church, incidental, as it were, to the structure:
Or it can be more intimately and obviously bound with the form of the church, as it is in the medieval rose window. Here is a window dating from about 1500 in the cathedral at Amiens in France:
It is important to awaken our innate sense of the symbolism of the natural world and all that is created as this stimulates also our natural sense of the divine. The awe and wonder that we feel when we contemplate the world around us is, for all that it seems profound, little better than a shallow emotion generated artificially by a drug if we stop there and do not allow it to draw us closer to its source – God. This is its true consummation, we are made to see the glory of God in his creation and it will be to his greater glory and our greater joy if we allow the beauty of the world to take us to what it points to.
We can consider this to be a form of relation. Creation is in relation to its Creator. By virtue of its existence, it is relational, for it is connected to its Creator by the mark of divine beauty He has impressed upon it. This interconnectivity of all that exists, therefore, is not a mental construct thrust upon the cosmos artificially by mankind. Rather it is a property of the object that we see. All being is relational by nature and is patterned lattice that has the Creator at its heart.
As created beings ourselves, we participate in this dynamic too, seeing a natural connection between ourselves and the rest of the cosmos. All of mankind is endowed by the Creator with an intellect and the capacity to observe the world around us in such as way (Read More)
Painting the 21 Christian Coptic Martyrs
Anyone who has ever seen an icon of St Therese of Lisieux painting or John Paul II will know how difficult it is to paint an icon of a modern figure. There are two problems associated with them that I can think of:
Firstly, when the facial features are well known through photographs, there is a tendency to over naturalize the facial and the mismatch with the stylization of the rest of the figure and it ends up looking like an iconographic version of a head-in-the-hole picture
Second is dealing with contemporary clothes. While it seems to have been fine in the middle ages to paint the soldiers of their past in contemporary chainmail because the idea of awareness of what the biblical soldiers might actually have worn was different (here’s Samual anointing David and David slaying Goliath).
…I don’t think it would work today. We would use historical dress. When it comes to contemporary saints, such as the 21 Coptic Christian martyrs beheaded by ISIS, the iconographer can’t suddenly put them in historical clothing to give the aura of holiness but must aim to represent the clothes they wore in an iconographic way.
Here is an icon by a neo-Coptic iconographer of the 21 martyrs. Notice the sensitive way that the painter has handled the faces and the clothes, to create a contemporary icon very well, even portraying the bright orange jumpsuits that the prisoners wore.
Artists! Do the Master’s in Sacred Arts at www.Pontifex.University
Ron Rolheiser OMI writes in his May 1992 blog that “To be a saint is to be motivated by gratitude, nothing more and nothing less. Scripture, everywhere and always, makes this point.” Read the full reflection below.
There’s a Jewish folk-tale which runs something like this:
There once was a young man who aspired to great holiness. After some time at working to achieve it, he went to see his Rabbi.
“Rabbi,” he announced, “I think I have achieved sanctity.”
”Why do you think that?” asked the Rabbi.
”Well,” responded the young man, “I’ve been practising virtue and discipline for some time now and I have grown quite proficient at them. From the time the sun rises until it sets, I take no food or water. All day long, I do all l do all kinds of hard work for others and I never expect to be thanked.
“If I have temptations of the flesh, I roll in the snow or in thorn bushes until they go away, and then at night, before bed, I practice the ancient monastic discipline and administer lashes to my bare back. I have disciplined myself so as to become holy.”
The Rabbi was silent for a time. Then he took the young man by the arm and led him to a window and pointed to an old horse which was just being led away by its master.
“I have been observing that horse for some time,” the Rabbi said, “and I’ve noticed that it doesn’t get fed or watered from morning to night. All day long it has to do work for people and it never gets thanked. I often see it rolling around in snow or in bushes, as horses are prone to do, and frequently I see it get whipped.
“But, I ask you: Is that a saint or a horse?”
This is a good parable because it shows how simplistic it is to simply identity sanctity and virtue with self-renunciation and the capacity to do what’s difficult. In popular thought there’s a common spiritual equation: saint=horse. What’s more difficult is always better. But that can be wrong.
To be a saint is to be motivated by gratitude, nothing more and nothing less. Scripture, everywhere and always, makes this point.
For example, the sin of Adam and Eve was, first and foremost, a failure in receptivity and gratitude. God gives them life, each other and the garden and asks them only to receive it properly, in gratitude—receive and give thanks. Only after doing this, do we go on to “break and share” Before all else, we first give thanks.
To receive in gratitude, to be properly grateful, is the most primary of all religious attitudes. Proper gratitude is ultimate virtue. It defines sanctity. Saints, holy persons, are people who are grateful, people who see and receive everything as gift.
The converse is also true. Anyone who takes life and love for granted should not ever be confused with a saint.
Let me try to illustrate this: As a young seminarian, I once spent a week in a hospital, on a public ward, with a knee injury. One night a patient was brought on to our ward from the emergency room. His pain was so severe that his groans kept us awake. The doctors had just worked on him and it was then left to a single nurse to attend to him.
Several times that night, she entered the room to administer to him—changing bandages, giving medication, and so on. Each time, as she walked away from his bed he would, despite his extreme pain, thank her.
Finally, after this had happened a number of times, she said to him: “Sir, you don’t need to thank me. This is my job!”
“Ma’am!” he replied, “it’s nobody’s job to take care of me! Nobody owes me that. I want to thank you!
I was struck by that, how, even in his great pain, this man remained conscious of the fact that life, love, care, and everything else come to us as a gift, not as owed. He genuinely appreciated what this nurse was doing for him and he was right— it isn’t anybody’s job to take care of us!
It’s our propensity to forget this that gets us into trouble. The failure to be properly grateful, to take as owed what’s offered as gift, lies at the root of many of our deepest resentments towards others—and their resentments towards us.
Invariably when we are angry at someone, especially at those closest to us, it is precisely because we are not being appreciated (that is, thanked) properly. Conversely, I suspect, more than a few people harbor resentments towards us because we, consciously or unconsciously, think that it is their job to take care of us.
Like Adam and Eve we take, as if it is ours by right, what can only be received gratefully as gift. This goes against the very contours of love. It is the original sin.
Remember the Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador, who were killed 28 years ago today.
Below is an excerpt of a reflection by William Bole on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the events.
It was one of the most glaring and brazen human-rights crimes of the late 20th century. In the predawn hours of November 16, 1989, an elite battalion of El Salvador’s military forced its way into the Jesuit residence at the University of Central America, or UCA. The university, led by its president, Father Ignacio Ellacuría, SJ, had become a stronghold of opposition to human rights abuses committed by the U.S.-backed military.
On that night, soldiers dragged five priests out of their beds and into a courtyard, made them lay facedown on the grass, and fired bullets into their heads. They went back inside and killed another Jesuit. Then, searching the residence further, they found a housekeeper and her teenage daughter crouching in the corner of a bedroom, holding each other. The gunmen shot them too.
Twenty-five years later, many are still waiting for justice in the case of the murdered Jesuits and women. None of the top military commanders who issued the orders to kill was ever prosecuted for the crimes.